Head-Fi.org › Head Gear › Portable Source Components › Digital Audio (FLAC/MP3/etc) Players (DAPs) › SanDisk Sansa Clip+ 8 GB MP3 Player (Black)

SanDisk Sansa Clip+ 8 GB MP3 Player (Black)

86% Positive Reviews


Pros: Cheap price. MicroSDHC slot. Supports flac. Can run Rockbox firmware.

Cons: Cheap build. Makes some unwelcome noises. Original firmware can't do gapless.

I bought my Clip+ 8GB in December 2010 and paid £36.99. It was something of a distress purchase in that I bought it to replace another Sansa player, a Fuze, whose wheel type buttons had ceased to work.

I used the player with the original firmware and I also installed Rockbox. I'll deal with notable points of each firmware.

The hardware:

It's cheap. This needn't be such a bad thing as in a bigger player. Cheap stuff can work fine. There is no mystery involved in assembling/making a small plastic case or a two colour display or some buttons. The Clip's clip still clips after 28 months and the buttons still work. The one component that was always much too cheap and has become worse is the headphone socket. It doesn't hold the headphone jack tight and it has become a little looser over time. In contrast the headphone sockets in my other players and phones and tablets all have a small spring clamp in the socket and any jack inserted is held securely. With the Clip+ noise from the poor connection is audible every time the player is moved, such as while in my pocket as I walk. To me this counts as a major failing. I bought the Clip+ for use while I'm out or busy but this is where its most prominent shortcoming is evident.

The microSDHC slot is a great feature. MicroSDHC cards have tumbled in price and it cost me less than £25 to add a good quality 32GB Class 10 card that works perfectly. The internal 8GB of storage is very slow.

The radio is basic but decent enough. If you live somewhere with strong FM signals and little interference you'll enjoy it. It's not a great radio with weak signals.

The player is so tiny and light that you can clip it onto a belt or sleeve or pocket and just forget about it.

My review doesn't cover Slot Radio or Audible audio book support as I don't use either facility.

I'm not sure there's any more to say about the hardware.

Notable features of the OF (Original Firmware):

Gapless playback is not supported even for those formats which natively support gapless (flac and ogg vorbis). Some people don't seem to mind clicks or gaps artificially inserted into performances. I definitely do. Bad Sansa.

The OF is database only. It can present a "browse by folder" option but this actually depends on the database so it will only show you files it knows. Refreshing the database can be very slow indeed if you have a large capacity card in the slot. This is most definitely a deficiency as it's inefficient and inconvenient enough to become annoying.

Aside from that I think the OF interface is pretty reasonable. It's easy enough to browse by folder/genre/artist and so on.

Notable positive differences of Rockbox over the OF:

Gapless playback. It works! It works in every format which can support it.

You can choose not to use a database. Even if you use a database it refreshes on changes extremely quickly, just a few seconds.
You can choose to browse by folder, and which types of files you want to see.

Rockbox supports many more audio codecs. It can play your m4a files or midi tracks or the weird format from your old skool game.

There are numerous other features and enhancements (bookmarking, sleep timer, wake up alarm, games, apps etc.) but in this review I want to concentrate on the player and its core task - music playback.

Sound Quality:

Firstly the sound quality is basically fine. It's neutral. There is no silly bass emphasis or nerve jangling highs. It works well with my typical low impedance IEMs and 'phones (various Sennheiser, Shure and Sony models from 16 ohms to 32) and also seems to put out a fair bit of power for a portable device so can drive plenty of full size headphones if they are sensitive enough. It easily drove my Sony MDRZX700 headphones (106 dB/mW and 24 ohm) but wasn't really capable of driving an old pair of Sennheiser HD 500 (101dB/mW and 150 ohm).

Some people note a difference between Rockbox and OF and claim one sounds better than the other (or one is right and the other is wrong). This can get very exciting with accusations of deafness, bias, stupidity and all the rest. There can be differences in the sound because each firmware does some things differently:

Supports 44100 and 48000 Hz files without sample rate conversion.
Has a pitch error so 44100 files play back at the wrong speed (you can hear this but you might not notice it). 48000 Hz files have correct pitch.
Dithering seems to applied and cannot be switched off*.
Replay Gain is off by default.

Only supports 44100 Hz files internally. Uses a linear sample rate converter for other rates.
Plays back with no pitch error (or error so small you need measuring instruments to detect it).
Dithering is not enabled by default (user can enable it).
Replay Gain by default is in mode "Track Gain if Shuffling". This means it "Maintains a constant volume between tracks if Shuffle is set to Yes. Reverts to album mode if Shuffle is set to No" (from the Rockbox manual). Clipping prevention is off and pre-amp is set to 0.

So if you play a 44100 track in each firmware at seemingly identical volume (max in OF and 0 dB in Rockbox measure the same on my Clip+ into a recorder) it's possible to notice differences in level (due to Replay Gain in Rockbox) and pitch (due to error in OF) and perhaps a difference due to dithering.

If you play back a 48000 Hz file the OF's pitch error is gone. There is still the possibility of Rockbox's Replay Gain altering the level. There is a definite change in the sound in Rockbox due to the resampler. This is completely unmissable with 10000 Hz sine wave or if you want to hear it in real music try a track with some cymbal splashes and hi-hats. It's horrible.

So people claiming to hear a difference between the firmwares can be reporting a real difference. And people reporting no difference may also be right.

Almost all of my music collection is 16-bit 44100 Hz audio from CD so Rockbox's sample rate converter hardly matters. Replay Gain can be toggled off or its settings changed. Dithering can be enabled/disabled as preferred. But in the original firmware there's nothing you can do about the pitch error (and you can't switch off the dithering). Rockbox clearly has an advantage over the OF for 16-bit 44100 Hz audio. It can play it back at the correct pitch without introducing artificial gaps. If you are that rare person with a huge collection of audio at 48000 Hz (maybe a big collection of music from DVDs) then the OF is better. If your priority is playback of 88200/96000/192000 or even very low bitrate HE-AAC then this isn't the player for you.

Output level is pretty good. Assuming no positive increase of level from Replay Gain you won't get distortion even at maximum volume in the OF or up to 0 dB in Rockbox. Rockbox can artficially go louder but you might not like it much. There are louder players but the Clip+ should satisfy anyone who hasn't already damaged their hearing.


The Clip has an unexpected feature - a collection of squeaks, clicks, screeches, buzzes and rumbles that if emitted by an adult human might qualify them for psychiatric evaluation and some interesting pills. Some of these noises arise from button presses or play pausing/resuming/stopping and are tolerable. Others can appear in playback. I assume the player's CPU and/or memory get maxed out (maybe I'm wrong) but you can sometimes get the kind of annoying noises you'll know from cheap PC boards with integrated audio. On one occasion my player made a nasty screeching sound for a second or two instead of music and did so in the same place several times. I powered it down and up again and all was back to normal. On another occasion it did a similar thing but distorted as though clipping - again it was repeatable in the same place in the track and powering down solved the problem. Sometimes a piece gets to a quiet passage and I notice there shuffling/rumbling noises that don't come from the music file. Again powering down and up fixes it. I'm glad the player can resume from the same point. Occasionally it fails to complete playing a track and just jumps right to the next one. So Tourettes wasn't all, it also has Alzheimers. Making whacky noises and forgetting to play a track right through isn't exactly audiophile territory and does reveal the Clip+'s lowly origin. But for the most part it does play back perfectly normally. Until it doesn't.

How to minimise the noises and dementia (assumes running Rockbox):

You need to minimise CPU and memory load so:

Don't enable the database (or enable it but disable auto updating and gathering of runtime data)
Don't enable dithering
Don't use EQ, crossfeed, tone controls or anything that touches the audio.
Luckily normal playback without modifying the audio sounds very good.


When it isn't making unwanted noises it's hard to fault. When it is making unwanted noises it's hard to listen to. The headphone socket is the weakest part of the player as it's not replaceable, is of the lowest possible quality and if/when gets noisy you can't fix it. Assuming your headphone socket is OK then Rockbox turns a player with huge convenience but hardware and firmware problems into something extremely appealing and enjoyable to listen to. Until the headphone socket breaks.

If I could rate the player and the firmwares separately I'd give the player and OF 2 stars with 4 for value. Rockbox would get a straight 5 stars, lit up and heralded with a fanfare. Rockbox rescues the player from being a joke (wrong pitch!), makes it really appealing in many ways and gets the best out of the player but there is no getting around the deficiencies or limitations of the hardware.

It is very, very cheap. It can be terrible, it can be brilliant. But it's always cheap. So am I, and that's why I bought it. If you're cheap you'll probably like it too.

*I noticed a perfectly silent 44100 Hz file played back silently in Rockbox but with a little noise in the OF. There was no EQ applied or sample rate conversion. If I enable dithering in Rockbox I then get the same quiet background noise as the OF produced.


Pros: sound quality,rockbox,compact,robust

Cons: tiny screen,tiny battery, feels cheap


I own the current Sansa for about 3 years, so I can say I am very familiar with it.


Bad start




When I happened to own Cowon Iaudio 9 I took this guy for a minute and thought to myself - what a simple sound, it's far less powerful and enjoyable than the Cowon, I must not forget that the Cowon is a premium player and this guy is just cheap and tiny. But time passed, J3 replaced my Iaudio and at some point of time magically disappeared. When I looked for a new DAP immediately I thought about the Sansa, with all the god reviews it's getting. So sansa was bought and I was very happy with it. At one stage I found a bargain on Cowon D2, so I sold the Sansa and tried to enjoy the Cowon, but could not, in spite of it having much more powerful amplifier, battery and touchscreen as well as buttons. So D2 was sold, and I bought another Sansa that I am enjoying still.


What I like about my Sansa?


Obviously the sound. The sound is great "as is" without any manipulations whatsoever. And it's with many decent headphones.

Format support - this thing can process so many formats, that it's really hard to find unsupported ones for it.

Rockbox - this thing is just absurdly good. Many many options (not just equalizer and crossfeed) that make life so much easier

Reliability - my player have fallen so much and there are hardly any scratches on it


What I don't like ?


Recently it started to develop problems with being recognized by PC in order to transfer music. I have to turn it on and off several times.

Volume - there are almost no reserves. I am using Koss KSC-75 and Sennheiser PX80 (re-issued PX100 first edition) and at the gym I almost have to max it. Also with Koss TBSE1 at home I have to listen at 90-95% from the maximum volume.

Batery life - only about 10 hours, not so great



Bottom line


Iconic player, one of the best at it time. I think now there are better options around (for budget-conscious audiophiles) but this one surely is exceptional, mainly because of Rockbox. I know it's not ideal player, but considering it's price and features it's very close.


Pros: Dead Easy to use if your computer likes it. Loud. Sounds good

Cons: If your computer doesn't like it, you've had it.

I was given this as a Christmas present. It took ages until I got a peep out of it. Windows XP Service Pack 3 seems to act like rat poison on this. Utterly refuses to acknowledge the presence as an external drive.


Sure you can trawl Google and get any amount of fixes (generally involving holding down button combinations or worse), but they didn't work for me at all.


Download a new driver, you say? Not if the Sandisk website requires you to plug the thing into a USB port before it parts with said driver. As it doesn't show up, you are stuffed there.


XP Service Pack 2 or Vista work a treat, so everything becomes a doddle. The ripping implement is Windows Media Player. You can ether synchronize the Clip to it, or if you don't get the terminology, and can't be bothered looking it up, set WMP to rip when you whack a CD in and drop the ripped files into a convenient folder.


Then drag 'n' drop, and you are away. I've fiddled with the EQ a bit, and adopted a "Decca Phase 4" policy. Boost the bass and treble. Then boost the middle while you are at it.


Volume is quite deafening, yet the sound stays clear. My listening criteria are merely that it sounds reasonably close to The Big Stereo speakers or the Grado SR125s (which have supplanted the Sony CD470s as they are just more. Everywhere.


The Clip copes admirably with everything on it. Chamber music to big orchestras, Organ, Brass and Concert Bands, McGarrigle Sisters and Proclaimers to Alabama 3 via Robert Gordon, Chris Spedding and a lot of metal. They all sound like I want it to sound, and I can't really ask for more.


The battery life appears to be geological.  I do have to charge it up now and then. but I've never actually timed it.


I like it, it's tiny and it preserves my sanity on the London Underground. I confess I use the clip to tidy the miles of wire on the Sennheiser PX200s rather than attach it to pockets and such. 


I've also just stuck a 16GB Micro SD card into it and bulldozed everything over from the main 8GB drive. Sounds just the same.


Pros: CHEAP + Expandable + Great SQ

Cons: The battery isn't the longest laster... otherwise NONE

I really like my Clip+ k701smile.gif



  • It's tiny
  • It's expandable
  • It sounds great!
  • Support for a wide range of Codec's / Rockboxing is super easy.
  • It has voice recording and radio 
  • For the price - no other manufacturer that I know of can touch it.



  • Battery life isn't the best... Which is its only real 'flaw' as far as I can see. I'm never that far away from a USB point though... If I were going on an extended break, I'd definitely want to take something with a better battery life.
  • The clip... it's a bit crap... I almost never use it.


My thoughts


I don't think it's the worlds best kept secret that this is a really good little player. Most reviews (like this one) are very positive. So all of the below has pretty much been talked about by everyone already.


Bearing in mind, players these days seem to be aimed aimed at consumers who want 'fancy' OLED displays for 'video on the go' ... So, if that's your bag, don't bother reading further... why are you reading a review for this anyway?


First off - I've read of some issues (which are a mystery to me...) some people have mentioned they had problems running it under certain platforms. I run OSX/Win7/ArchLinux and can confirm that it works fine in all of these as a simple drag/drop player - it has never given me any issues (you can even sync it in itunes using 'itunesmywalkman' if you so desire).


This powers headphones very well (compared to ipods) and does not need an amp for most portable cans... then again, it will look little silly if you plug it into your HD800's as the Clip+ is tiny. When I needed one (rarely) I used the iBasso T3 / D-Zero.. I have been using rockbox (which is incredibly easy to install on the Clip+).


Plus describes it pretty well (because it has a lot of great plus points 'har har'). I bought this when I was a bit low on funds and needed an emergency PMP, the fact that I could shove in a microSD was what made me buy one. After a long period of getting my music pumped via ipod (5g 120GB) or a Cowon S9 (both of which have now been sold); the SQ/price ratio is astonishing from the Clip+. There is a noticeable difference in sound quality between the ipod and this fun, cheap little player. The Cowon, not so much a noticable difference - but it's over £200 cheaper.


In terms of SQ - I'd describe the clip as slightly warm (which I enjoy), but overall very well balanced. As a source it plays OGG, MP3, FLAC & ALAC (and more when using Rockbox). It delivers nicely on bass, has pleasant mids and nice highs. I haven't heard it struggle with anything thrown at it so far - and my music collection is a pretty eclectic mix.


I have a 32GB micro SD plugged in, so at around 40GB total it's more than big enough for FLAC playing. I've had this for around a year now and I've plugged a few cans in. I'm settled on listening with my Phonak 112's (they sound great on the Clip+), but also I use RE-zero's and this tiny device even reaches fine volume on my Beyerdynamic DT770 pro's (120 ohm). My iPod does not do that... 


Nothing in this price-range comes even close.. and it beats the pants out of quite a few more expensive players. I don't need OR want video functionality. I won't rant on about it...  I should re-iterate - I don't have any desire for a portable device to supply video, for me - the fact that the sansa clip+ doesn't have a huge screen, doesn't support video etc and has a very minimal mono-LED interface is a plus in itself.


So... save some money on your player and go and invest in some decent cans for gods sake! I'll be happily testing out a pair of DT1350's on this next week :)


One last thing ... Its voice recording functionality is surprisingly good and I've found it useful to record conversations for possible evidence of malpractice / on-spur interviewing where I've needed it... whilst clipped to my pocket. Totally unobtrusive and oddly useful. 


Pros: Sounds perfect to me. Really small, portable. Got a nice clip. Flac support, FM radio, voice recorder.

Cons: Ugly. Almost no screen (do you really need it?)

I got a sansa clip+ for my pair of custom iems. Really small, really portable, big nice clip to clip on something while training. Almost perfect sound, some audible noise (really really low, like really low, with balanced armatures, other headphones are ok - I'll accept it, some folks may not), price - almost nothing, 10 hours battery, ugly as hell, crappy screen, fm radio, recorder, flac support, microsd card, perfect. Not much else to say, really. The thing has 1 ohm output impedance and flat frreq response, and packs some serious power. All that for the cheepy price, you can't go better, imo. Installing rockbox and the classic theme corrects some very small issues, and basically makes this perfect for music and audio. Face it, you don't need extra bulk in your pockets for a screen the size of a smartphone, eating your battery.


Pros: Low Price, Expandable Storage, Syncable w/ Any Software, Clear Sound Quality

Cons: Compromised Build Quality, Susceptible to Water Contamination, Fragile Plastic Clip, Dodgy Quality Control

The reason I went with the 8gb model was because I previously had another Clip+ that had compatibility problems with my storage expansion card, so I went with more onboard capacity.


Also problematic with my previous Clip+ was OS instability, causing me to return it. To this, I attribute poor quality control.


These are the reasons why I subtracted 1.5 stars.


It gets 3.5 stars because when it's non-defective, it works well; It's dirt cheap, it has a clear, uncontaminated sound quality, you can sync files with any software, it's tiny and virtually weightless making it ultraportable, it clips onto your person so you can wear it with workout clothes that typically have no pockets, etc.


So cheap and so good, there's nearly no reason to not try it at least once. Just go with the 4GB model.


Pros: cheap price, micro SD, clip, light and small

Cons: Sound

Franchement je ne comprends pas pourquoi tout le monde parle d'un son pas mal sur ce lecteur. J'écoutes avec des m audio bx5a en enceintes, des westone 4 en intra, un fiio E7 au mieux et mon nokia lumia 620 au moins bien en passant par un cowon i5. Et bin j'ai eu envie de m'en faire une pince à linge à la première minute d'écoute.
J'ai pourtant eu du mal à sentir une différence entre du wav et du 128k/bit ! J'écoutais un morceaux disco 70' rippé par mes soins sur mes w4/fiio E7. J'avoue! Je sens que je vais me faire lyncher, huer, bannir mon ip du forum mais j'avoue! Donc franchement achat inutile, je le remets en vente direct!




Unlike other commentary, I think this device sounds very bad. It is really worse compare to an average smartphone or a cowon. I listened with my weston 4, wich I usualy use with a fiio E7 (muuuuuch better off course), a cowon i5 (really better), or a nokia lumia 620 (agressive but still much better). I regret my choice and gonna sell it back right away.



>> To wijnands: Bravo pour ton anglais, joli vocabulaire.. "A rant", ahah! Pour 5 lignes?? Avec les pavés qu'on se tape sur headfi?? Sinon mes oreilles vont bien je pense, assez pour être déçu par ce lecteur et vouloir éviter la déception à d'autre. Après peut être que je ne le situe pas assez par rapport à sa gamme de prix, en tout cas j'ai détaillé mes points de comparaison.


Pros: Cheap, good sound, many functions, sd-card slot

Cons: Battery life, speed uploading

Well, by now everyone knows about this sweet little device.

Tried it with my Beyerdynamic DT770 Pro (80ohm) and Philips Fidelio S2 for some time now and here's my simple review.



- It's cheap (paid € 29,-).

- Play's a lot of audio formats and does it with decent quality. Sound is quite balanced, but you get the option to use settings. Price/quality ratio is very good.

- Lot of extra functions, though I never tried the radio.

- Never tried radio because it has a sd-card slot that holds my 32mb card. Also never use the onboard memory because of this (so save money and buy the even cheaper one with the smallest on board memory).

- Build quality; some will call it cheap, but I say it's not. Although it feels cheap (and will be to make), it works just fine for what it is needed for. Light and simple, and because it's not complicated it doesn't break down on you.

- Easy software to use with lovely simple menu use to find your music, even if you keep thousands of numbers like I do. Works also simple, "plug and play" as they say, with as I know any pc.



- Battery life is relatively low. 

- It takes a lot of time to upload again when you enter a new sd-card (even if it is 32mb, it takes a long time).

- They deliver a headphone that is not worth mentioning. But who buy's this thing for its headphone?


So, in really every way better than that pretentious iPod. Trust me, in every way better (except build and design, I admit). Just a true iPod killer.

Yeah, and screw iTunes too.


Pros: Size, Construction, Price, Capacity (w/ card), Rockbox-able

Cons: Screen size, battery life (before Rockbox)

Sansa has a winner in the Clip +. I'm listening to FLAC files as I write this review and I can't stop laughing because of how much I got for how little I paid. This is a great little device.


The Clip is TINY. I didn't realize how small it was until it was delivered in the padded envelopes in which I used to get baseball cards. 


The design is just great. The efficient button-layout is intuitive and makes navigation a breeze, the clip is great for my shirt or pocket, and the easy-to-read screen gives me just enough information to do what I want: listen to music. 


With a 32gb SD card ($20) I can give the Clip more capacity than a 30 gig iPod. This makes loading up my FLAC and MP3 320 files painless since I don't have to pick and choose which songs are worthy and which aren't.


The sound coming from this device is just fine. Obviously for under $50 you can't expect this thing to blow you away with SQ but the GR07s and FXT90s I use sound as good as ever, especially when I run them through a cMoy or E5 first. 


Have I mentioned that this is Rockbox-able? That fact alone is just icing on the cake as far as I'm concerned. For the super-low price, I would buy this player with an SD card and very contently use the native UI. However, after Rockboxing, I'm now able to customize EQs, change display information, and increase the battery life to boot! Will the super value never stop?!


All in all, I think if you are interested in a pocket-sized setup for way less than $100 with options and features often reserved for more expensive players, you can't go wrong with the Clip +. Cheers. 


Pros: Sound is very clear, great for kids

Cons: not that easy to set up

Got a couple of SanDisk Sansa mp3 players for the kids from Amazon and they work great.  I'm so excited that I wanted to share the 40% discount that I received with anybody who is looking to purchase this wonderful piece of technology: http://amzn.to/ZlPzaY  -  You will not be disappointed with this mp3 player.

SanDisk Sansa Clip+ 8 GB MP3 Player (Black)

The Sansa Clip+ MP3 player gives you more to enjoy.  Enjoy up to 2,000 songs†† with an 8GB* player, FM radio, long-life battery and voice recorder. PLUS now even more! Expand your enjoyment when you add in preloaded content cards** into the new memory card slot, including slotRadio™ and slotMusic™ cards**. Or, save your own music, podcasts, and audio books onto a microSD™/microSDHC™ memory card** to expand your play.It’s brought to you by SanDisk with awesome sound to enjoy your music. Just clip it on and enjoy more music with an incredible 15 hours† battery-fueled fun. See what you’re listening to with the bright, easy-to-read screen and intuitively searchable menus. Color your world in red, blue or sleek black undertones.

ColorSleek black
FeatureBuilt-in clip for easy carrying
Height0.6 inches
Length2.16 inches
Weight0.05 pounds
Width1.36 inches
List Price$103.20
Package Quantity1
Product GroupCE
Product Type NameMP3_PLAYER
TitleSanDisk Sansa Clip+ 8 GB MP3 Player (Black)
Hardware PlatformPC
Is Autographed0
Is Memorabilia0
Legal DisclaimerWe do not in any way represent that any part we sell is legal to possess in your jurisdiction. Check with you local authorities to ensure it is legal for you to possess before buying!
Number Of Items1
Model Name/TypeMPNEAN/UPC
Head-Fi.org › Head Gear › Portable Source Components › Digital Audio (FLAC/MP3/etc) Players (DAPs) › SanDisk Sansa Clip+ 8 GB MP3 Player (Black)