FYI - M3U Playlists do in fact work in MSC mode
Just got my 4GB Clip yesterday and am very impressed with the little device so far. One concern I had was whether playlists would work in MSC mode. Previous posts in this forum had conflicting reports. Some said it worked, others had problems. So I thought I would report that it does in fact work. I apologize in advance that this post turned into a novel, but I thought others might benefit from all the details.
Here's what I did:
1) Connect first in MTP mode and delete all the demo crap that comes with the player. Not necessary to get playlists to work, but once you switch to MSC you can't get to these files. The player still sees them, but you can't get to then via Explorer.
2) Switch to MSC mode
3) Get your files and playlists onto the device. I used Winamp's portable sync feature to do this. Basically you use Winamp to create playlists of the music files on your computer. Then you setup the sync preferences for your portable device. Here you specify which playlists to sync, transcoding options, file naming conventions, etc. Once you've done the setup you just hit the sync button and any changes you've made to the selected playlists are automatically applied to the portable device. Also, the playlists themselves are sent to the device. Winamp is not required for this to work. I just thought I'd mention it because I think a lot of people aren't aware of how good it's portable support is.
4) Here's where I think people run into trouble. The first time I did the above steps, the playlists showed up on the Clip but appeared to be empty. The problem seems to be that the Clip expects to have relative paths inside the playlist, but Winamp uses full paths.
For example, assuming the playlist is in the root of the player and all your files are under the \MUSIC folder in Artist/Album subfolders:
Relative path: MUSIC\Artist1\Album1\Track1.mp3
Full path: \MUSIC\Artist1\Album1\Track1.mp3
Note the leading backslash on the full path. This seemed to prevent the player from finding the files in the playlist. Removing the leading backslash solved the problem. So I think the paths in the playlist need to be relative to the location of the playlist file itself.
So the short version of the solution that worked for me:
1) Put all your music files under the \MUSIC folder on the player
2) Put your playlists in the root folder of the player
3) Make sure the paths in the playlists are the correct full paths to the files on the player, but without a leading backslash
Do that and the playlists will work perfectly. The one thing I noticed is that large playlists are a little slow to load on the player. Meaning when you select a 500 song playlist on the player it might take 20-30 seconds to open it and can be slow to navigate in the playlist. But once you start playback it works perfectly.
To deal with fixing the paths in the playlists I created a little batch file that uses a free command line search and replace tool. The tool is SSR (Simple Search and Replace).
Get SSR here: http://www.programmersheaven.com/dow.../download.aspx
Here's batch file contents:
FOR %%f IN (*.m3u) DO ssr 0 \MUSIC\ MUSIC\ "%%f"
Put the ssr.exe and the batch file in the root of the player. Then after syncing, just run the batch file and all the playlists will be fixed.
Hope this help anyone else having trouble with playlists in MSC mode.
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