This is more for my own reference. Rockbox, if you aren’t familiar, is a WONDERFUL open-source firmware replacement available for several MP3/media players. I have a SanDisk Sansa Clip+ that, with Rockbox, supports at least 64gb MicroSD cards and likely beyond, which is way more than the stock firmware will support. It also supports FLAC, Vorbis, and a cadre of other codecs. I’ve been using this tiny player with near 70gb of storage as my main portable player since the day I installed Rockbox a couple years ago. Recently, something happened after I dropped the player a couple times – it got stuck in a strange loop. I thought I was hearing a song I heard before, but with about 9000 songs on the player, which I listen to in one big shuffled playlist, I have several remixes of some songs, so it took me a while to notice the same three songs in a row over a number of days.
In the course of looking into the problem, I recreated my playlist several times. I did this mostly using Rockbox’s Database functionality. I would find a top-level node in the Database (Artists, for instance) and long-press the select button to bring up the context menu, then choose Play Next. This does insert them into the playlist. The problem, though, was that it took like 2-3 minutes every single time I turned it on to resume playing. This was new, it was instantaneous before. I also tried saving the dynamic playlist to a file and loading it via the Playlist Catalog, but same delay. Worse, when I plugged it in to a computer, it would take 2-3 minutes upon unplugging it, AND 2-3 minutes to resume playing. The issue felt vaguely familiar, so I scoured the internet and found articles about database loading issues with the original Sansa firmware… lots of them. I tried twiddling settings. I created playlists in different ways. I used crazy tricks regarding how the player is turned off and disconnected. None of this made any difference.
Then, after really just a couple days of minor annoyance, I created the playlist in a very subtly different way. In the Database, instead of using the context menu on a top-level node, I browsed into Artists and just selected the first item – incidentally, “<Untagged>” – which I assumed would open another “folder.” Instead, it asked if I wanted to clear the playlist (I selected yes) and watched it load everything. At that moment, I remembered having figured this all out before. Instantaneous resumes once more. I really don’t see why this is different from the other method, and the playlist it creates seems identical. However, I’m glad to have a very snappy player once more.
Seldom annoying playlist issues aside, I do heartily recommend using Rockbox if you have one of the many supported players. And the Sansa Clip+ is a very nice little media player that, with Rockbox and a large memory card, makes a good main portable.