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  #1  
Old 06-17-2008, 03:01 AM
biggiep biggiep is offline
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Default What's the best way to transfer AAC files to the Zen?

Hi everyone! I am a recent iPod-convert to an 8GB Zen, but my experience transferring AAC files to the player has been horrible. A large part of why I chose the Zen over other players is that my collection is mostly AAC from my iPod-using days and converting all of them to anything else will lower the quality immensely. The manual says I have to use the Zen Media Explorer to transfer AAC files to the player, but I dislike that program because it does not allow me to organize my library of music on the computer like iTunes can. I have to select entire folders to transfer to the Zen, but I only want to add certain genres of music and I can't make selections based on ID3 tags.

I've tried Winamp, but that was mostly hit and miss. Sometimes the music works. Others play for 1-3 seconds and then I get the "cannot play music file" message and the player moves on to the next track. Others freeze up the player completely, and those files actually bricked my player because after I reset it, the player would not turn on again. I had to send it in for a replacement, and I chose replacement because I haven't given up on this player's ability to get AAC files correctly (but I will after the second one)! Any ideas?
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  #2  
Old 06-18-2008, 12:28 AM
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ZEN Media Explorer...
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Old 06-18-2008, 01:03 PM
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To answer your question directly.... drag-and-drop using Windows Explorer. Why introduce possible issues with transfer when using sync software.

You mention that you don't like using the Zen Media Explorer because of how it doesn't organize the way you want, but if it does what you ultimately need (getting the files on the Zen) with no issues, why not use it? I'm not that familiar with iTunes, but what can't you do in Zen Media Explorer that you would like to do? Zen Media Explorer integrates itself into the Explorer shell so you get to control how you organize the files easily; files/folders if you like.

It helps if you enable the Zen as a PMD in My Computer:

1. Open Zen Media Explorer.
2. Select “Settings and Information”.
3. Select the “Tools” tab.
4. Select the box to enable "Show my player as PMD in My Computer".
5. Open My Computer and you'll see the Zen.
6. Select it and open “Storage Media” to see all the folders.
7. Now you'll be able to copy any file to the Zen’s internal memory.
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Old 06-18-2008, 08:23 PM
biggiep biggiep is offline
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To answer your question directly.... drag-and-drop using Windows Explorer...I'm not that familiar with iTunes, but what can't you do in Zen Media Explorer that you would like to do?
Thanks for your input. I did do drag and drop, but through the Zen Media Explorer rather than Windows Explorer. When I did that and tried to play the music on the player, I would just be told 3-5 seconds into the song that the audio file couldn't be played and the Zen would skip to the next one. When I get my second unit, I'll see if doing through Windows Explorer by enabling the Zen as a PMD in My Computer will change anything.

As for my issue with Zen Media Explorer, I dislike how it asks me to sync only with folders on my hard drive. That way, I can't select music by genre or album to sync because all my songs are just in one big folder.
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Old 06-19-2008, 09:26 PM
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I would also try booting into Recovery Mode and doing a Cleanup just in case you have any kind of database issues causing the playback issues.

What OS, Service Pack, and version of WMP do you have installed?
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Old 06-19-2008, 11:03 PM
biggiep biggiep is offline
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I would also try booting into Recovery Mode and doing a Cleanup just in case you have any kind of database issues causing the playback issues.

What OS, Service Pack, and version of WMP do you have installed?
I have Vista SP1 and WMP 11.

I already bricked the player and had to request Buy.com for a replacment. What happened is that I used Winamp to sync AAC files in a playlist to the Zen, and when I tried playing some of the files, the player froze and I could see the album covers all glitchy and corrupted on the screen. A reset of the player led to a freezing when the player was trying to rebuild the library. My last resort was try all functions in the recovery mode. Cleanup, format were both useless. Finally, I did firmware reload and erased the firmware. When I tried to reinstall the firmware on the Zen, the player was unable to reboot. I reset again and every time I slid the power switch since the last reset, there was no reaction whatsoever. The power light did not light up or anything. I knew it was over.
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Old 06-19-2008, 11:06 PM
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Ouch.... So are we talking about the same player here or the replacement?
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  #8  
Old 06-20-2008, 01:13 AM
biggiep biggiep is offline
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Ouch.... So are we talking about the same player here or the replacement?
I'm about to get a replacement, and I was wondering what would be a better way to go about transferring AAC files to it. Hopefully Windows Explorer does the trick, though I don't understand why Creative's manual insists that Zen Media Explorer is the only way....
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  #9  
Old 06-20-2008, 08:03 AM
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If you finally get it working, you should go up in MediaMonkey or Windows Media Player, go to the genre you want, and drag the music from the genre into your music folder on your ZEN.

And about the AAC, is it from iTunes Plus or is it the protected AAC that Apple loves to use to make you buy another iPod?

Quote:
I already bricked the player and had to request Buy.com for a replacment. What happened is that I used Winamp to sync AAC files in a playlist to the Zen, and when I tried playing some of the files, the player froze and I could see the album covers all glitchy and corrupted on the screen. A reset of the player led to a freezing when the player was trying to rebuild the library. My last resort was try all functions in the recovery mode. Cleanup, format were both useless. Finally, I did firmware reload and erased the firmware. When I tried to reinstall the firmware on the Zen, the player was unable to reboot. I reset again and every time I slid the power switch since the last reset, there was no reaction whatsoever. The power light did not light up or anything. I knew it was over.
That ZEN suffured, man...
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Old 06-20-2008, 09:38 AM
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Well I like to be in more control over my files so I pretty much only drag-and-drop anymore. However, I do occasionally use WMP, which if I did use syncing software, WMP is what I would recommend.


You won't be able to play any protected AAC files on the Zen. Unprotected, yes.

Couple threads of interest here and here.

Check out the Zen FAQ (see sig below) for more info.
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  #11  
Old 06-20-2008, 01:06 PM
biggiep biggiep is offline
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I know I can't play any protected AAC files, and hence, none of mine are. I'm ok with just dragging and dropping as that does give me control over specifically which files I want add, genre or album or whatnot. The Creative Zen manual, though, gave no indication that the player supported drag and drop. All it talks about is the stupid Zen Media Explorer program.

Another thing, is there a difference between drag and drop through normal Windows Explorer and drag and drop through Zen Media Explorer? I tried drag and drop through ZME and the player told me there was an error that audio files couldn't be played. I hope that doesn't happen with Windows Explorer too.
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Old 06-20-2008, 06:33 PM
WeenieDog WeenieDog is offline
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Well, maybe the ZEN figured "You know what, he killed my twin bro. I'm gonna make him return me and get a crap iPod. That'll show him"

Perhaps you need to update your firmware. I don't know
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  #13  
Old 06-20-2008, 08:51 PM
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Quote:
The Creative Zen manual, though, gave no indication that the player supported drag and drop. All it talks about is the stupid Zen Media Explorer program.
Yeah, but remember it is their software and promoting it does allow for many who are not that knowledgeable in regards to other methods, be able to make sure their files get converted/transferred in one step for them. I do agree though they should at least acknowledge there are other ways to transfer your media. Maybe not go in depth in what or how to do it, but at least mention it.

Quote:
Another thing, is there a difference between drag and drop through normal Windows Explorer and drag and drop through Zen Media Explorer?


Drag-and-drop is drag-and-drop. The Zen Media Explorer is integrated into the Explorer shell, so it will depend on what you are actually doing to transfer the files. As long as you aren't using any of the additional features of the ZME that calls up other software to complete tasks (like the Add Media option that just brings up the Import Wizard), then it is basically the same as dragging the media from one location on the compter to another on the Zen.

If you are getting errors, try to not use any Creative software at all when transferring. If you continue to get errors, even when transferring with Windows Explorer, then I would start looking at your source files for possible issues or incompatibilities with the Zen.

Quote:
Perhaps you need to update your firmware. I don't know


Before a Format, I would try a Cleanup from Recovery Mode.
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  #14  
Old 06-29-2008, 02:59 AM
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I just received the 2nd unit and tried drag-and-dropping AAC files via Windows Explorer onto the Zen. I can resoundingly confirm that THAT DOES NOT WORK. None of the music will show up upon disconnecting and rebooting the Zen. Even after a disk cleanup initiated by the recovery mode to allow for library rebuilding can make those files show up. The only way to get the Zen to play AAC files is through Creative's stupid Zen Media Explorer, and that's just too bad.

EDIT:

That being said, I tried installing Zen Media Explorer and the drag-and-dropping of AAC files worked there. Suffice it to say, Creative was not just trying to advertise their own software. That program is indeed the only way to transfer AAC files, third-party programs like Winamp and MediaMonkey, notwithstanding.

Last edited by biggiep; 06-29-2008 at 03:44 AM.
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Old 06-29-2008, 01:14 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by biggiep View Post
I just received the 2nd unit and tried drag-and-dropping AAC files via Windows Explorer onto the Zen. I can resoundingly confirm that THAT DOES NOT WORK. None of the music will show up upon disconnecting and rebooting the Zen. Even after a disk cleanup initiated by the recovery mode to allow for library rebuilding can make those files show up. The only way to get the Zen to play AAC files is through Creative's stupid Zen Media Explorer, and that's just too bad.

EDIT:

That being said, I tried installing Zen Media Explorer and the drag-and-dropping of AAC files worked there. Suffice it to say, Creative was not just trying to advertise their own software. That program is indeed the only way to transfer AAC files, third-party programs like Winamp and MediaMonkey, notwithstanding.
What version of Windows are you running? What version of Windows Media Player do you have installed?
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Old 06-29-2008, 01:28 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ZenChick View Post
What version of Windows are you running? What version of Windows Media Player do you have installed?
Quote:
Originally Posted by biggiep View Post
I have Vista SP1 and WMP 11.

Quote:
I just received the 2nd unit and tried drag-and-dropping AAC files via Windows Explorer onto the Zen. I can resoundingly confirm that THAT DOES NOT WORK.
What type of AAC files are you transferring? I can transfer M4A files using drag-and-drop and they show up and play just fine. I'm also using Vista. Remember, protected AAC files like M4P and M4B files will not play/show.
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Last edited by BobbyRS; 06-29-2008 at 02:01 PM.
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Old 06-29-2008, 01:34 PM
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Ahh, thanks - I missed that. Guess I'm not quite fully awake yet this morning.
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Old 06-29-2008, 01:51 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ZenChick View Post
Ahh, thanks - I missed that. Guess I'm not quite fully awake yet this morning.
No problem. Good morning. Nice to have you back.
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Old 06-29-2008, 06:10 PM
biggiep biggiep is offline
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What type of AAC files are you transferring? I can transfer M4A files using drag-and-drop and they show up and play just fine. I'm also using Vista. Remember, protected AAC files like M4P and M4B files will not play/show.
I am transfering non-protected AAC files. I am now able to transfer the files to the Zen via Zen Media Explorer and play those files without errors on the player. The only problem is that on many of my tracks, the album art does not appear. It seems that if I transfer songs over to the player in small groups (~60 songs) the album art will be fine whereas if I transfer a large part of my library at once (~900 songs) almost all of the album art in them will be missing.

And no, I couldn't get drag-and-drop of AAC files in Windows Explorer to work, but at least Zen Media Explorer does.
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Old 06-29-2008, 09:10 PM
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Quote:
I am now able to transfer the files to the Zen via Zen Media Explorer and play those files without errors on the player.
Well, then that is all it really matters here then isn't it...

Quote:
It seems that if I transfer songs over to the player in small groups (~60 songs) the album art will be fine whereas if I transfer a large part of my library at once (~900 songs) almost all of the album art in them will be missing.
If you feel like troubleshooting a bit more, you can also try doing the same with some MP3's as see what kind of results you get.

Enjoy!
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