Nastygram; Rockbox on the Sansa e200 Series

As I promised in my last entry, I sent a nastygram to iResQ to complain about how they sent my iPhone back in pieces. They replied within 24 hours. First they explained that they found it necessary to disassemble the iPhone to diagnose it (duh), then they apologized for having made the “mistake” of sending it back to me without first reassembling it. As reparation, they asked me to send the unit back to them for reassembly, and offered to pay for the shipping cost. I’m still deciding whether I’ll take them up on their offer or simply reassemble the iPhone myself. I got my point across, which is the important thing.

On another topic, I recently purchased a refurbished Sandisk Sansa e260 4Gb music player from Buy.com for just $60 shipped. Compare that to a 4Gb iPod Nano at $149 plus tax, the Sansa is a great deal. Of course, it has the word “Refurbished” emblazoned boldly across the back, but I don’t mind. I’m not concerned about how my backup PMP looks, I just care how it sounds. Turns out, it sounds pretty crappy with the default Sansa firmware. Plus the user interface is a joke, relative to the iPod 6th gen interface, or even that of my iPod 5th gen 30 Gb.

That was before I decided to install the open source Rockbox alternative jukebox firmware.¬† What a difference; like night and day! The Rockbox firmware makes the audio coming out of the Sansa sound so good over my car stereo (Dual head unit with auxiliary input + factory speakers) that I forget to skip over even the irretrievably crappy songs. I first tried installing the Rockbox firmware via a beta installer app for the Mac — however, this failed and temporarily bricked my Sansa. After several tense minutes of frantic googling, I learned how to force the Sansa into recovery mode, and was able to download and install a copy of the default Sansa firmware, which instantly resolved the issue. Whew! All I had to do to force the Sansa into recovery mode was engage the Hold switch and press the Power and Record buttons simultaneously for a few seconds.

After successful recovery, I then tried reinstalling the Rockbox firmware, this time in Windows XP under Parallels 3. It worked, and now I have the best sounding music player I’ve ever owned. If you’re interested in getting the best possible audio from your portable music player, I heartily recommend installing the Rockbox firmware. It really rocks!

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5 thoughts on “Nastygram; Rockbox on the Sansa e200 Series

  1. I installed Rockbox on my sansa e260, I am a proud non iSheep. With a little tweaking of the reletivly complex audio controls you can make it sound like heaven through damn near any setup, I am the proud owner of Bose QC3 headphones and I since i got those bad boys the difference between the defualt firmware, which is simpler to use, and Rockbox, which is funner to screw around with, is like night and day.

  2. I can’t say I noticed any difference in sound, but the interface – wow! This player went from being my backup player to being my favourite, largely because of the simple file system, easy queueing and most of all the bookmarking function.

  3. Guys, I am just not able to install rockbox on my e260 (though I was able to do it on my kids e250R). Problem is when I install it via the rb util, it does not boot up (bootutil not found) but boots up when I connect it to USB. I then have to uninstall Rockbox to revert to sansa. I have the same 4 GB version from Buy.com. Any help would be appreciated. Thanks

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