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    NW-A3000, MZ-N1

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  1. A few pointers that may help: - If your player supports mp3s directly, don't transcode them (converting from one lossy format, eg. mp3, to another lossy format, eg. atrac3plus, should be avoided if possible as it can effect the quality and occasionally introduce sound glitches). - Atrac3plus is far superior (no comparison) to mp3 at lower bitrates (<=160k), once you get to higher biterates (=>256k) it's much more difficult to tell the difference. If like me you have a fair number gapless CDs (no silences between tracks), then atrac3/atrac3plus should always be your first choice. - I would always choose actrac3plus 128k (16x sampling) over the older atrac3 132k (4x sampling) for quality although some people prefer or are limited to the older atrac3 132k format. - There's not much difference is size between formats at the same bitrate. Hope this helps
  2. I've been using my NW-A3000 for several months now, and there are several basic features that are missing from the NW-A Series that are essential (IHMO) for easy, frustration-free use. These features are not so much a wish-list, but more of a "why didn't they include these" list. What's more frustrating is that these should be considered basic music player features, and are found on the mayority of other non-Sony players. Please Sony, these should be easy to implement in a firmware upgrade: Seach for Album by Genre:This is one of the most annoying ommissions. eg. If I want to listen to a Chillout/Ambient album, which I'll often do later at night, or a Dance album, I have to scroll through several hundred albums and try to remember which albums are in one of these genres! Often I find myself drilling down and playing an album just to remind myself if it's in one of these genres. The Genre search by song feature is of no use, as selecting a song by genre plays that artist's songs only, which is nearly always only a song or 2 because Chillout, Ambient, Dance etc albums are usually Various Artist compilation albums. . Shuffle play Albums:Most of us usually want to listen to more than one album at a time, and usually in the same genre, but without having to pick another album each time the current one ends. Currently the only option is to listen a mish-mash of songs, eg. a indie song followed by a classical song followed by a gapless trance song from the middle of an album, etc. I'd like to say "shuffle my Indie albums" - I get to listen to the style of music I'm in the mood for and I don't end up with mixed tracks all over the place. . Album Artist displayed when using Search by Album:Finding albums alphabetically is fine, but when you have hundreds and can't see the album artist it makes it really tedious choosing an album to play. I'd like to see an option to enable/disable displaying the album artist name underneath each album name in the album list (maybe using a smaller font for the list when enabled). Alternatively even just being able to press the "Option" button in album list mode and having the album artist & genre details also appear on the options menu would be a huge leap forward. PS. If anyone knows of a way of doing any of these that I've missed, please let me know.
  3. There seems to be some confusion in some of the posts above regarding formats. Hopefully this will help you. Sony's earlier format is the ATRAC3. Their new format is Atrac3plus which uses much more sophisticated algorithms. As a result you get smaller files with better quality. Atrac3plus 64k is Sony's direct replacement designed to replace Atrac3 132k, and although having different bitrates are near enough on a par (with some exceptions) due to the newer Atrac3plus algorithms. It's fair to say that Atrac3plus 128k is better quality than ATRAC3 132k. If your player supports A3+ 128k (A3000 does) and you want a good space/quality balance, go for A3+ 128k (or higher). For info, 132k is the only old ATRAC3 format still supported for importing CDs in the new SonicStage & ConnectPlayer (for backwards compatibility with older players). All other ATRAC3 formats have been dropped. PS. The statement about Sony dropping Atrac3plus is incorrect. Although they've added support for WMA & MP3, Atrac3plus still remains an important format, not least for the following reasons: - It's almost exclusive in being able to offer gapless playback on it's players (very important to me as I have 40+ gapless albums, dance compilations, ambient & chillout stuff - which would be spoilt on MP3 and iPod players). The need for gapless support is not small - there's even an internet petition to make the iPod gapless capable, with 6,000+ signatures last time I looked. - If space is important, it's still one of the only formats that can create 64k tracks that are worthy of listening to. eg. a 2gb Sony flash player is on par with a 4gb hdd based iPod mini - being able to store the same number of tracks in half the space usually without any noticable loss in quality. Hope this helps
  4. Here's a link to the RM-MC35ELK For NW-A3000/1000 Manual. As far as I know, the 40ELK has the same capabilities as the 35ELK and the scroll wheel isn't used on it for any extra tasks.
  5. It's in their info at http://www.sony.net/Products/ATRAC3 and the test docs they released when Atrac3plus was launched. They created Atrac3plus to superceed ATRAC3, with A3+ 64k superceeding A3 132k. I've used an MDLP for a couple of years (132k A3), followed by Hi-MD (64k A3+) and testing the two for a while side by side found them to be pretty much on a par (IMHO). However, I'm using 128k A3+ now as I have the space (NW-A3000), which should be a lot better (mp3 192-224k?). For info, 132k is the only non-Atrac3plus codec that's still supported in SonicStage3.3 and CONNECT Player for encoding (other than ATRAC Advanced Lossless - the holy grail, lossless CD compression).
  6. Atrac3plus@64k and ATRAC3(non-plus)@132k are very close to each other in terms of quality IMHO (and Sony's) due to the improvements in compression technology between the older ATRAC3 (66/105/132) and the newer Atrac3plus (48/64/96/128/160/192/256/320). They should have called it ATRAC4 to stop confusing people, LOL. This is a my current personal do's & don'ts for Sony players, but it may help you: -- Don't use ATRAC3@66k or Atrac3plus@48k - they're just nasty - a lot lower than mp3@128k . -- Don't transcode your mp3s to Atrac. (the exception to this is if you REALLY need the space, and generally it works best if you convert to Atrac3plus above 64k and your mp3s have more of the original soundwave, ie. higher bitrate mp3) -- If your device supports only Atrac3plus@64k & 256k, choose A3+ 256k for quality and A3+ 64k (which is still a good quality bitrate) for space. Ignore ATRAC3 bitrates. -- If your device supports and all the new Atrac3plus rates including 96/128/160/192 etc, choose A3+ 128 for a very good space/quality balance, 96 (or 64) for more space, and 256 for superb quality (320 for extreme quality). Ignore ATRAC3 bitrates. -- If your device only supports ATRAC3, use 132k. The 66k & 105k bitrates aren't worth the tradeoff IHMO.
  7. Sony say (taken with a pinch of salt ) that Atrac3plus 64k is equivelent to mp3 @ 128k, and Atrac3plus 256k is near enough CD quality (mp3 @ 320k?). But there's no guide as to where their new bitrates fit in - the answer to the which would probably help many Atrac3plus users - new and old. Generally people know what mp3 bitrates they prefer and what are worth considering (eg. I prefer 192k mp3s over 128k, but don't often use 256k). I know there are a lot of variables, and for me at least, 256k A3+ uses too much space. But can anyone help fill in the blanks below from their experiences/ABX findings etc... A3+ .... mp3 64k ..... 128k 96k ..... ? 128k .... ? 160k .... ? 192k .... ? 256k .... 320k?
  8. I've tried dragging or browsing to artwork but it disappears as soon as I move off and back on to the album. I've tried gragging it to the individual tracks in the album as well. Basically it doesn't work. However, I have a couple of albums that do have artwork that show up in CP, but these were imported from SonicStage. SonicStage did pick up a couple of album covers along with the CD details from Gracenote, but these were French CDs For info, the artwork I have is called jacket01.jpg, lives in the album folder and is 400x400 pixels (approx 30k).
  9. Some helpful hints (especially if doing compilation CDs): Remove Genre from CD Ripping format: I've found that the best file naming option when ripping CDs is "%R\%A\%T - %N - %S". By removing the Genre (%G\) you don't have the problem of a complilation CD (eg. Now album) containing many songs with different genres ending up in a dozen or so separate folders! (and your OMA files aren't in the wrong folders if you decide to change the genre of any songs). Also when playing OMA files in Windows Media Player it makes more sense, as they play in the right order due to the track number and show the artist and song name. Importing compilation CDs: When importing compilation CDs, specifying the Album Artist name as "Various Artists" will place all the compilation CDs in subfolders within a "Various Artists" folder, making them easier to find/manage. Fixing imported albums that end up in multiple same-named library albums: One of the biggest pains is when an imported album ends up as many single track albums. This happens when some/all tracks have a different Album Artist. If you change the Album Artist (no need to change Song Artist) these tracks will then merge back into a single album. Unfortunately, unlike SS3.3, you can't just select all the tracks and change the Album Artist for all tracks. The quickest way I've found to change these so far (due to CP not allowing multi-track property changes) is as follows: Make sure you've got the Album Artist name in the clipboard (eg. copy the text using Ctrl+c). I use 'Various Artists' for compilation CDs. Choose "All Tracks" view in CP, sorted by Album, and select the 1st song in the album that has the problem. Then repeat the following steps for each album. - Press Alt+e, Alt+e, Tab, Tab, Tab, Ctrl+v (this should open the current track properties & paste in the required 'Album Artist') - Press Enter, Enter, cursor down. Importing Singles: If you have a lot of CD/mp3 singles to import (I've got about 200 Dance CD singles), change the Album to 'Singles (genre)' and the Album Artist to 'Various Artists'. This will stop you from having hundreds of 1 track albums to search through on the player (eg. my 200 singles were in 200 albums named after the single and are now in 1 album called 'Singles (Dance)'. I can now shuffle within my one album and don't 200 pointless albums to scroll through. Lets hope they fix the 'change properties of multiple tracks' limitation/bug soon .
  10. Let's hope that they release these fixes soon. Personally I think Sony would do well to announce to both registered users and on the sonydigital-link.com CP support site that an improved version is in the pipeline. It might encourage many users to hold on, who have now instead given up and returned their units or are thinking of doing so. It makes good business sense to re-assure your customers that you take the situation seriously and are working hard to address it. We have 4 x A-series players amongst friends and family, and 2 are now actively considering returning their units whilst the rest of us are battling with the frustration and time-wasting using CP (in between the odd re-install). Some acknowledgement from Sony could help them hang on to customers that may otherwise permanently lose faith in the Sony brand.
  11. The BIG advantage (IMHO) of all Sony players over almost anything else, including the iSheep, is support for Gapless albums. I have a large number of gapless/mixed albums - even my xmas stocking brought me 3 more gapless albums, including Madonna's new album & a couple of Dance albums. Not to mention sound quality is pretty much unsurpassed. Playing these on iPod etc results in them being spoilt by the dead gaps that are inserted between the tracks. It might be worth hanging on for a short while as the people in the know say there is a MAJOR upgrade of CP software & NW-A3000 firmware very shortly. If they get it to work like SonicStage, which looks almost identical but without the bugs and performance problems then we'll be on to a winner. You could try using SonicStage3.3 (d/l from connect.com) for a while. I have both installed and it's not just quicker - it actually feels fast and loads in seconds whereas CP takes 1-2 mins. It can import and use your existing OMA files created by CP so no need to uninstall CP, just upgrade when the better software is released. You'll lose the odd CP specific functions (Artistlink updates etc) but you may find it's an acceptable temporary solution. As for playlists, as above post, you can add to bookmark lists on the fly - I think holding play/pause down for a sec while a song is playing adds it to the current list, but the manual expains it. Hope this helps.
  12. CONNECT Player has been released for Sony NW-A Series. It doesn't seem to be announced anywhere, but if you download what reports to be the version, it now downloads instead of 11170. PS. I can't test what, if anything, this update fixes/changes, as it'll only upgrade versions below 11170.
  13. I disabled my floppy drive in XP Device Manager. It was even accessing the floppy randomly while importing an album . Not sure what the "Enable network features" does, but the manual helpfully says:
  14. It's nice to see Sony are finally thinking about accessories . I'll probably stick with the soft case though (similar to what ships with PSPs), as I can use the RM-MC35ELK LCD Remote I bought off ebay to save me needing to get it out to use the buttons so often. The soft case should also absorb knocks and drops better (hopefully I won't do either), plus it's available now, so will protect it for the 3 months until the seethru one is released.
  15. Forgot to add that I now have an RM-MC35ELK LCD Remote (officially supported by Sony on the A series) and it works a treat. I no longer have to get it out my pocket all the time, can change EQ at the press of a button and can listen to it in bed without having to reach for the player etc
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