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A rare small animal of the species 'Textius Electronicus'. It is known for its helpful attitude and vicious misspellings.
This FAQ is for questions (that we have answers to) that have been asked repeatedly either in emails or on the Rockbox IRC channel. This FAQ includes questions that are common to Rockbox on all supported platforms. Please be aware that there are separate FAQs related to specific lines of players (ArchosFAQ, IriverFAQ, IpodFAQ, SansaFAQ) as well as about specific topics like batteries (BatteryFAQ, LiIonBatteryFAQ) and the use of Rockbox by the visually-impaired (BlindFAQ).
Rockbox is an Open Source replacement firmware for portable digital audio players. A list of supported players can be found on the frontpage. For a more detailed list and for a list with targets under development see TargetStatus.
Rockbox is a complete rewrite and uses no fragments of the original firmware. It boasts numerous features while remaining easy to use.
We support several different hardware platforms, as mentionned above, and for each platform Rockbox is released in three versions: Release, Current Build and Daily Build. These only differ in release frequency.
The Release version is a frozen known-good state. This means that we are confident that few, if any, significant bugs reside within the code for that version.
The Daily builds are automated daily builds of the development code (in SVN). As such they contain all the new features (and bugs) that have been introduced after the last official release, up to this morning. They are recommended for usage only when reverting past what is available on the current build page is needed.
The Current builds are built from the SVN code when a new change is committed. The purpose of these builds is to verify the code builds properly on all platforms (and simulators) and also to allow testers to try out new features and bug fixes without having to build the code themselves.
Well you can follow the full line of emails at http://www.rockbox.org/mail/archive/rockbox-archive-2002-01/0062.shtml However, the brief rundown is that it was recommended first by Tome Cvitan, and put to a vote (which it lost).
Funny thing about democracies. This isn't one Our beloved project leader vetoed the winning name and chose Rockbox instead. http://www.rockbox.org/mail/archive/rockbox-archive-2002-01/0134.shtml
There you have it. Recommended by users, decision by dictator.
Other projects exist with the same name ... OtherRockbox.
What exactly are you trying to achieve with this line of development? (A.K.A. what's your purpose for being here?)
Firstly, we wouldn't start something like this if we didn't simply enjoy it profusely. This is great fun! Secondly, we feel the original firmware is lacking some features and contains a number of annoying bugs that we don't want to live with.
Is this legal? I mean, I'd just hate to see something like that challenged under the DMCA in all its ridiculousness. Any thoughts or ideas?
We believe we are in the green on this. We are not violating anyone's copyright and we are not circumventing any copy protection scheme. This has been a big point for the project since its inception. Some people wanted us to distribute patched versions of the original firmware, but seeing as that would have violated the manufacturers copyright, we didn't follow that course of action.
On the web site [and various information postings] you state "Every tiny bit was reverse engineered, disassembled and then re-written from scratch". If it was rewritten from scratch then why was it first reverse-engineered and disassembled? Instead this sounds more like someone disassembled it then used the understanding that they gained to create a new version, which is not quite the same as "from scratch".
Don't confuse the terms. Reverse engineering means examining a product to find out how it works. Disassembling the firmware is merely one tool used in that examination. Oscilloscopes and logic analyzers are other tools we have used. We have written every single byte of the Rockbox firmware. But we could not have written the software without first researching how the hardware was put together, i.e. reverse engineer it. All of this is completely legal. If you define "from scratch" as writing software without first researching the surrounding interfaces, then no software has ever been written from scratch.
Yes. If you bought the device as a consumer in the European Union, you have a legally binding 2-year warranty that is not voided by replacing the firmware. For more details, see this post by laywer Carlo Piana.
Outside the EU, it generally is up to each company.
However, most large companies tend to be lenient with warranty claims. So even if using Rockbox will technically void your warranty, quite probably the aftersale service won't cause any trouble. Of course, they can, but it is not really in their "commercial interest" to do so, and there is plenty of testimony from users who got their device replaced even if the issue was caused by misuse (example: hard drive dead due to a fall, or even LCD screen broken).
Iriver now have the following statement in their online warranty terms, specifically naming Rockbox as voiding the warranty: "This warranty is void if [...] the player is opened, repaired, modified or altered by third parties e.g. Rockbox, unless such repair, modification or alteration is expressly authorized in writing by iriver". Archos has also been known to refuse warranty repairs for people that have returned their units with Rockbox flashed.
All firmware mods that are presented are still highly experimental. Use them at your own risk. We offer no guarantees that this software, or the hardware modifications we show, will not damage your player or void your warranty. That said, we have not been able to damage any of our units by modifying only the firmware. On the Archos, you can accidentally password protect your hard disk, but there are ways around that. (See ArchosFAQ)
Note: Several companies, including Archos and iriver, claim installing Rockbox voids their warranty.
No, everything is done in software, you can put down the screwdriver.
But I really want to see what the inside of my player looks like! But I would also really like to avoid voiding my warranty... Is there anything you can suggest?
We have a collection of photos of both the Archos Player and Recorder here, and if you take a peak at most players' port pages, chances are there will be some hardware scans in there. See TargetStatus for a list of players.
Our guide to first time Rockbox development should answer most of your questions. It's over here: http://www.rockbox.org/twiki/bin/view/Main/DevelopmentGuide.
There are many ways to contribute to the project without knowing how to code. Daniel sums it up quite nicely in his blog post over here.
Subversion (http://subversion.tigris.org). Read the UsingSVN page to find out how to use it. The term "SVN build" refers to the build produced from the source currently stored in the Rockbox SVN repository - i.e. the very latest build.
Just like the name implies, it lists conventions that the project follows, and in turn asks you to follow, for the formating of source code in general. See CONTRIBUTING
Okay, so I read CONTRIBUTING and although I don't agree with all your conventions, I am going to be sensible and follow them anyway. Now what?
Start by reading up on the information about the target(s) you use on our web page. Then go into SVN and look at the code we've written. Then take what you need and start writing.
Start submitting patches (see WorkingWithPatches). If your patches are consistently well-written and thus accepted, you may ultimately be offered (or request) SVN commit access.
Check out WorkingWithPatches as it should answer any patch related questions you may have.
Check out the Flyspray tracker for a listing of bugs that have been reported.
If we were better programmers we would take that as an insult. But we aren't, so we won't. See the ReportingBugs page for the How To.
Sure do! As a matter of fact, we have several of them for specific things. Please check out: http://www.rockbox.org/mail/.
Check out the archives at: http://www.rockbox.org/mail/.
The same way you subscribed, but you send an 'unsubscribe' request to the mailing list server instead of the 'subscribe' one you sent before. This is all mentioned on the same web page: http://www.rockbox.org/mail/
Please please please pretty please with sugar on top, DO NOT attempt to mail unsubscribe requests to the mailing list itself. That will only annoy hundreds of readers and will have no effect on your subscription.
In fact, you NEVER unsubscribe to ANY mailing lists by mailing unsubscribe to the list's address. You might as well take the opportunity to learn this right away.
When you first subscribed to the mailing list, you were sent a welcome mail from the server. It contained information about the mailing list and instructions on how to unsubscribe. It is considered a good habit to keep such welcome messages from mailing lists.
In addition to all this, every mail that is sent out to the rockbox mailing list has a set of standard headers that offer info about the mailing list: how to post, how to unsubscribe, where to find the mailing list archives etc. Sensible mail clients can display these headers.
One way is by visiting us on IRC. Head on over to the server irc.freenode.net, and then join "#rockbox". There is usually at least one person there. If you don't see any activity, feel free to post questions anyway, several of us log the channel and will get you answers when we unidle.
Wow, you guys talk on IRC a lot! I wish I had been around for those conversations to see what happened.
We are glad you mentioned that! http://www.rockbox.org/irc/ happens to have a list of various logs we have recorded of events in the channel. Feel free to read up, and ask questions on what you find.
No. Post to the mailing list and we will get back to you.
I'm sorry. My girlfriend/boyfriend/pet/exbabysitter says I'm not allowed to, and the doctors here won't let me have pens or pencils. They say its some rule about us not having sharp objects. I'm sorry. Now please stop calling me here.
You make the common mistake of confusing Rockbox development with that of commercial projects. There is not much of an agenda for the development of Rockbox. Anyone who wants to write new features can do that.
If there is a current "huge emphasis" on the X functionality, it is because one or more developers, decided he/they wanted to write it. It's not because "Rockbox project management" decided function X is a more important feature than anything else.
That is the nature of free software: people write code that scratches their own itches, or that simply is fun to write. Everybody working with Rockbox is doing it for fun. A wide or narrow audience actually has only little bearing on the choice of features to implement.
The moment someone with a bit of time to spare and the necessary programming skills (or a will to learn them) feels function Y is a sufficiently useful feature, it will be written.
(That could be you.)
Yes. Search the manual.
This depends on the player. Archos Players don't, all other supported targets do. If your player supports loadable fonts, get a fonts package from http://download.rockbox.org/daily/fonts/rockbox-fonts.zip
You sure can. Take a look at our manual.
A whole bunch, check out the list here.
Yes. See here for details: SoundCodecWMA. It is very unlikely that Rockbox will be able to play protected WMA files.
The answer to this question is a qualified "Yes."
MP3s were not designed to be played back gaplessly; this is a limitation inherent in the MP3 format. MP3 stores data in frames that contain 1152 samples (48/44.1/32 kHz sample frequency) or 576 samples (24/22.05/16/12/11.025/8 kHz sample frequency). Since the length of a song rarely corresponds exactly to a whole number of frames, MP3 encoders "pad" the end of the final frame in the song with additional samples. Unfortunately, most MP3 encoders do not store any information indicating what is padding and what is supposed to be part of the song. Thus, it is impossible for an MP3 decoder to play back an MP3 file gaplessly with two exceptions: (1) LAME 3.90.1 and higher stores information about the exact file length in the header (the LAME tag), thus allowing us to calculate which parts of the final frame are padding and to disregard those samples on playback. (2) LAME and maybe other encoders allow to encode an album in a way that the song ends are slightly shifted to end up exactly on frame boundaries (the LAME -nogap method; the shift is max. 1/2 frame length, i.e. usually not noticeable). These files can be played gapless regardless whether the player handles the LAME tag or not.
Note that some MP3 players implement a pseudo-gapless playback using one of a couple of methods of cheating. Some players which claim to be gapless will actually do a very short crossfade between the end of one song and the beginning of the next. Other players cut off any zero data (or near zero data) in the final frame of an MP3. This method, which is sometimes referred to as "gap detect" or "gap delete," is not truly gapless, because (1) is it not accurate, and (2) it will cut off silence that is supposed to be at the end of a track. "Gapless" will play back MP3s of a CD the way the mastering engineer intended it to be; "gap detect" or "gap delete" will not. For example, if the mastering engineer decided to put a 2-second gap between one song and another on a CD, true gapless playback will retain that 2-second gap, whereas gap detect or gap delete will not. Rockbox uses gapless playback, not gap detect or gap delete.
What does all this mean? Basically, Rockbox will play back LAME-encoded MP3s either gaplessly or very nearly gaplessly. However, MP3s encoded with other encoders will play back with a small but noticeable gap.
No. As explained above, for all codecs which support gapless and for LAME-encoded MP3s, Rockbox plays back your songs the way they were intended by the mastering engineer to be heard. If the mastering engineer did not include a gap at the end of a file, Rockbox does not add one.
If the transition between tracks is too abrupt for your liking, you have two options. First, you can turn on the Crossfade feature so that songs fade smoothly into one another. Second, you can create a short file containing several seconds of silence and insert that file in your playlists or in the directories where you want a gap.
Rockbox supports both id3v1 and id3v2. If you have problems, report it to the developers and please provide an example.
This feature was made available with v2.5 release. It has since been remade. More on this topic to be found here: DataBase.
It sees the playlist as a deck of cards, shuffling the entries using a pseudo-random generator called the Mersenne Twister. After shuffling, the list is never changed again until you re-shuffle the list, by stopping the playback and restarting. If the repeat mode is enabled, the list will simply start over from the first file again, without re-shuffling. The random seed is stored in the persistent setting area, so that the resume feature can shuffle the playlist in exactly the same way when resuming.
How do I shuffle all of the songs? I tried setting the shuffle setting to 'all', but that only shuffles the current directory.
Rockbox is based on playlists. There are many ways to add all of the files on your device to a playlist and shuffle them, here's one:
The manual goes into further detail about how to create and manipulate on-the-fly playlists. You may find that there is another method which you prefer, such as using the Insert Shuffled option on your entire Music directory.
Additional information regarding the voice interface is available in the manual. There is also a Voice How-To page for the voice interface.
The PluginMidiPlay plugin still needs lots of optimizations to work well, but it is usable. Complex MIDI files will likely give lots of 'Buffer miss!' messages, and those songs will be essentially unlistenable.
Yes. To record from the FM radio, select FM Radio the main menu, tune the radio to the desired station, press A-B to enter the menu screen, select Recording, then select Recording Screen. Then record using "FM Radio" as the source.
No. Common digital audio player hardware does not have the capability to support this type of game.
Emulating a different architecture is a demanding task for the CPU. Someday maybe someone will optimize it further to improve speed. Playing around with the frameskip options and turning off sound may help. Speed and the impact on playability differs greatly between games. Colour games are slower than regular Gameboy games.
See the key features page located here.
Rockbox lets you pick different fonts and "themes." Themes change the font, while playing screen, and in some newer ones the backdrop (only available on color-screen models). Unfortunately, not many themes have been created yet, and most of those aren't included in the build. The few that do exist can be found here in the WPSGallery. If you would like to contribute and develop your own theme, instructions for the WPS are here.
Instructions for installing Rockbox can be found in the beginning of the manual.
There's a section right after the Installation instructions which explains how to do this.
That is the 'While Playing Screen'. Basically this is what is shown on your player's display while we are playing your song.
It is very good if you want information about the current item playing By using a WPS configuration file you can manage exactly how/what you want displayed on your player. (Even better yet, if you want a feature that's not there, we are always open to suggestions!). Please see the manual for information.
These are configurable values. These numbers are just defaults that can be changed by the user via the Settings menu.
It means you have more files in a single directory than you have configured Rockbox to support. See the answer to the previous question. Solution: Increase the "max files in dir browser" setting.
Actually, that isn't entirely true. It is a little more complicated than that. The "max files in dir browser" setting allocates a buffer that fits X files with an average filename length of 40 characters. If the filenames are very long, the buffer will still not fit all X files.
Note: The Archos 2.2 release contained a bug that set the default buffer setting to 0, giving the dir buffer full error. Solution: Upgrade to 2.5.
There are many programs that can create .m3u playlists. WinAmp is one. Another simple method, that requires no extra software, is to use the shell:
In Windows and its cmd.exe, having your player at the X: drive:
dir /b /s X:\ > X:\allfiles.m3u dir /b /s X:\Pop > X:\pop.m3u
In UNIX-like OSes, having a 'music' directory at the root of your player:
cd /mnt/my_player/music find . -type f | sed -e 's#^.#//music#g' > allfiles.m3u
Remember that playlists are simple text files. You can edit them with any normal text editor.
You don't need to. The directory should have been created when you installed Rockbox. If it wasn't created, you haven't installed it correctly. Re-read the installation instructions in the manual. You also might want to try RockboxUtility.
There are several types of microphones.
Dynamic: The one that's available from Archos is a dynamic one. Dynamic microphones do not need external power to operate. They do however need a preamplifier to use them on your AJBR, which is included with the Archos stereo microphone.
Backplate Condenser: These are the professional mics. They need phantom power (48V) for charging the condenser. They also need an amplifier, because their output level is low.
Electret Condenser: These capsules are cheap and result in a good recording quality. They don't need phantom power voltage. They need power for the FET (field effect transistor) that's inside. If you have such a mic with a battery in it, it is mostly because of the FET power, not because of an amplification circuit inside the mic. These mics are in all the consumer products like mobile phones, PC headsets and so on.
Recommendation for do-it-yourselfers: Use electret condenser mic capsules, solder an amplifier for them which both amplifies the output level and feeds the power needed for the FET to the capsule. The one on http://www.geocities.com/ferocious_1999/md/micpreamp2.html was soldered and tested by Uwe Freese, and it works. There are some others available from www.elv.de and other sellers.
Recommendation for others: Buy some mic + preamp combination which can be plugged into a line in of any amplifier. Maybe such a commercially available combination needs a power supply and doesn't work with batteries. Some are very expensive. You might have some luck at http://www.giant-squid-audio-lab.com/. Also the Archos stereo microphone has a separate preamplifier and microphone, available for about 25. This preamplifier works with other microphones - the ones that do not work with plugin power or phantom power but with their own battery. The microphones sold as being a minidisc/DAT microphone with their own battery work fine.
What does not work: Don't use an amplifier thing that is simply connected between some mic cable without a battery or other power source. Maybe it sounds as if it could work, but it doesn't. If the piece of (expensive) electronic doesn't have a power source and your mic doesn't either, it does not work! A PC sound card or md player usually has a power output (same pin where the sound goes through, dc value) for feeding the FET of an electret condenser capsule (see above) (and this power could also used to feed a mic amplifier), but the Archos hasn't (it's a line in and no mic in!).
If you want to know more on microphone powering, read this: http://www.hut.fi/Misc/Electronics/circuits/microphone_powering.html. (As described, you also need amplification.)
The database plays tracks in whichever order they are displayed; albums are sorted by track number by default, other views sort alphabetically or whatever is logical for that view.
Using the file browser, no, the tracks are always played in order of their filenames. To play tracks in CD order from the file browser, you have two options:
1: You can rename all tracks to have the track number in front of them (01 - track1.mp3, 02 - track2.mp3, ...). Just make sure to zero-prefix the number properly so that 10 will play after 09. There are a number of programs available that can automate this process for you, including The Godfather, MP3Tag, Tag and Rename, and MediaMonkey. You should be able to find these and others through a Google search.
2: Make a playlist for each album and play that instead of the .mp3 files.
Because the disk manufacturers have a different definition of Giga than the rest of the computer world does. Read more about it here.
Button actions change based on the current screen you are in. See the manual for details.
This varies from plugin to plugin, but usually to exit out of the currently viewed plugin you press power/menu or left. Don't forget that experimenting is a great way to learn!
No. Depending on what player you have, you can either access the device as a USB Mass Storage (UMS) device through the original firmware or through Rockbox. This setting causes the device to act as a standard drive when plugged into a USB port, allowing you to simply drag and drop files or use a syncing program of your choice.
Anywhere you want! Keep in mind that some directories (such as the
Not if they are DRM-encrypted. Firstly, this would be extremely difficult to implement legally - Rockbox is not legal entity as such, and therefore is unable to enter into license agreements with providers of DRM technology. Secondly, Rockbox is open source, which would mean that any DRM technology we incorporated into our codebase would suddenly become visible to the whole world, completely defeating its purpose. Remember, DRM achieves part of it's security through obscurity, and publishing the keys necessary to decrypt DRM crippled media would essentially render it useless. And finally, the members of the Rockbox community don't like DRM, and we see no reason to encourage its use by allowing our firmware to read it.
The Rockbox developers and community will not assist in removing DRM or in using the resulting files - please do not ask. If you choose to do this you are on your own. If however, your music was from the iTunes music store, you can upgrade to a DRM-free higher quality file for $.30.
There are two different menu items in Rockbox that relate to playlists. Most playlist functions are controlled through the Playlist sub-menu on the Main Menu. To create an on-the-fly playlist and add files or directories to it, use the Playlist option on the File browser context menu. For more information, see the manual for step-by-step instructions on creating, editing and saving an on-the-fly playlist.
Rockbox has the ability to search by string under each of the song, artist and album tag fields. To do so, you first need to enable the Rockbox database using your previously filled-in music tags, by (1) downloading various pieces of software/software files onto your player and computer, (2) building your database, and (3) selecting the database as your file selection means. Then, to find your music, you choose "Search" under the database, followed by the field you want to search (Artists, Albums, or Songs), at which point you are presented with a letter/number/symbol data entry screen. Insert a string of characters (this does not have to be a full word) and press ON, at which point Rockbox searches the selected tag field and gives you the results, for you to select between.
Instructions on how to set the database up are located at the Rockbox Database page. http://www.rockbox.org/twiki/bin/view/Main/Database
The WPS context menu has an option called Pitch, this is what you're looking for.
Rockbox creates a playlist any time you play a song. When you play a song normally, Rockbox will create a playlist of all of the songs in the folder with the song you select. If you want to play only a single song, or start a new playlist with a single song rather than the entire folder, do this:
That's too bad. On some platforms Rockbox has actually surpassed the retail firmware in battery life. Check out the BatteryRuntime page to see other users' battery measurements and even contribute your own!
In general the AAC decoder in Rockbox works fairly well, however there are some known glitches such as problems with certain metadata, crashes with very long files and skipping at high bitrates (usually >192kbps). Most developers don't listen to their music in AAC, so there are few people with specific experience/focus in this area. Your best bet is to use files created by the iTunes software (not from the music store, but if you use iTunes to rip and encode a CD) as they seem to cause the fewest problems at this time. As stated above, DRM encrypted files (such as those from the iTunes Music Store) are not supported and probably never will be.
You probably have a monochrome iPod. Rockboy is currently unavailible on monochrome iPods; you cannot play Gameboy ROMS.
The MIDI player plays it's samples at 22.050KHz. Because the iPod audio drivers do not support this sample rate, it will be played back twice as fast. This also doubles processing power required for a MIDI file, so you might get 'Buffer miss!' messages.
A quick and dirty fix is to recode all your MIDI files to play an octave lower, and at half the tempo. However, the untransposed drum patchset will still sound distorted.
Clearing your settings is described in the manuals as it requires you to press a specific button on startup. It will reset all settings to safe defaults. It is useful if you run into problems because the configuration data has changed or you've messed up your settings. Rockbox stores its settings in the config.cfg file inside the .rockbox dir, deleting this file will also reset all settings to the default values.
When foreground and background colour of the theme are the same this will happen. Use voice features to guide you or reset to the default settings, see the manual for how-to.
You have most likely changed the Show Files setting. See the manual for details.
There are several reasons why this might be happening.
The database does not handle embedded album art well, particularly if they're large. Try removing it. A corrupt file is another common reason for this. Verify your drives contents with checkdisk.
STOP! We have put together a completely different FAQ for Archos battery related questions. Check out the BatteryFAQ.
You have a couple options here. You could forget the question, find an easier question, or accept '42' as the answer no matter what. We don't really recommend any of these (though I do opt for '42' often myself). What we do recommend is first of all reading the manual for your target. It's really rather good. Checking the FAQ specific to your particular brand of player might also help (see the top of this page). The port page of your player may provide some interesting results as well, they can all be found on the TargetStatus page. If you can't find an answer there, try searching the forums, the wiki, or even the entire website, to see if the question was answered elsewhere (like our NoDo page) and just not included here, or ultimately dropping by IRC or sending an email to the mailing list.
CategoryFAQ: Rockbox Frequently Asked Questions
r75 - 19 Oct 2012 - 14:35:11 - AlexMayerRevision r74 - 19 Oct 2012 - 09:30 - BjornStenberg
Revision r73 - 09 Apr 2010 - 12:24 - TorneWuff
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