Strongbad, do you have 400,000 viruses?
August 8, 2008 11:47 AM   Subscribe

My MP3 files are scrambled... but now only on my MP3 player! Is my MP3 player somehow defunct? Are my .mp3 files corrupted? Please help!

First and foremost, this is a follow-up to this question, so if you'd like the back story it's all there. I have checked the date modified, run virus scans and so on, and nothing has shown up.

Since then, however, several things have happened. I loaded up my MP3 player with Audible files and set off on a weekend trip. An Audible file that worked flawlessly at the beginning of the trip was, by the return journey two days later, also scrambled and in French and backwards. Somehow, it managed to develop this during a period of being totally undisturbed.

Secondly, I downloaded VLC Media Player and tried playing the MP3s on my computer in that. They work perfectly-- no scramble, no skips or cracks. "Aha!" I said. "It's a software problem!" I uninstalled JetAudio and RealPlayer and Winamp and every other media player and rebooted the computer.

I suspected that maybe somehow, the software problem had been transferred to my MP3 player. I deleted everything on my Creative Zen Muvo Tx FM and reformatted it, thinking this would erase any remaining traces of data I might have missed in my sweep. I uploaded some MP3s. Lo and behold, they sounded scrambled. Yet, when I played them with VLC Media Player off my hard drive two seconds ago, they were fine.

What could have possibly caused this mess? I work outside and do use my MP3 player in upwards of 96 degree temperatures for four or five hours sometimes, so if it were solely my MP3 player I would suspect some kind of hardware failure. The fact that it's also my computer, though, leads me to believe software. I consider myself pretty computer-savvy, but I am so confused and lost it's not even funny.

One last note: the scrambled MP3s remind me somewhat of an Audible file played without the software "key" that allows you to unlock them. Is it possible AudibleManager is the cause of my troubles?
posted by WidgetAlley to Computers & Internet (3 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
I used to have this problem if I transferred files on a slow computer or had a lot of stuff going on in the background when I transferred. I even had a file that got "stuck" like a broken record.
posted by GilloD at 12:38 PM on August 8, 2008

Try playing the files on your MP3 player disk from your computer. You might also try scanning the MP3 player disk for errors.
posted by Pronoiac at 12:48 PM on August 8, 2008

There's no way* the software issue you were having (likely a corrupt codec, VLC comes with it's own codecs built in, so is a great way to test for these problems) has transferred itself over to your mp3 player.

The 'software' on your MP3 player is very, very specific code designed to operate and work with that specific brand of MP3 player, to the point where it's probably actually built into hardware. There's as little chance of a windows program being able to get into your Mp3 player and run itself at random times as there is of putting a human brain in a hamster and expecting a decent game of chess. It just isn't going to work.

I uploaded some MP3s. Lo and behold, they sounded scrambled. Yet, when I played them with VLC Media Player off my hard drive two seconds ago, they were fine.

Do the following:

1. Plays MP3 PC verify it's fine
2. Move the file to MP3 Player and play, wait until it seems corrupt.
3. Move back to PC and play it-- is it good, or bad?

Whether step three reveals a good, or bad file, it sounds like your mp3 has a clear fault. Download a firmware update from Creative (if they have one available) to rule out firmware corruption, otherwise, borrow an mp3 player off a friend and see if your problem still presents itself. Then buy a new Mp3 player (or RMA your current one).

*Unless you have a very technical enemy who has targetted you for a really boring prank and enjoys programming in assembler in her spare time.
posted by Static Vagabond at 1:18 PM on August 8, 2008

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