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Wednesday, October 8, 2008


Around October 1, I started another email trail to Creative's Technical Support regarding the 'issues' I was currently (and consistently) experiencing with their new Xen X-Fi 16 GB media player. I listed my issues and added details. Their response after their automated 'we received your message here's a useless tracking number' email went something like this :

Dear Joe,

Thank you for contacting Creative Technical Support Services.

I understand that there is some problem with your player. I apologize
for the inconvenience that has brought to you and I will try my best to
assist you.

Can you please send us a more detailed problem description so that we
are able to help you troubleshoot.

Thank you for the continuous support of Creative Technical Support

If you still require assistance, please reply to this email with any
previous correspondence to ensure the quickest and most accurate

Best Regards,

Foreign Rep. Name
Technical Support
Creative Labs Americas

It was a response, but not the one I wanted. It was 'progress' as in what happened prior to the Industrial Revolution where progress is a flat line. I responded thus:

Thanks for getting back to me. I am still having issues as they seem non-fixable without a firmware update.

Here are the issues I am experiencing :

1) Backlight timer and brightness. I cannot turn the screen off. If the unit is on, the screen is always lit even if I am not actively controlling anything. The screen never turns off. I can diminish its brightness to 10% and set the timer to 5 minutes, but it doesn't actually turn off. This affects battery life. Currently the 36 hour play back listed in the specifications is a gross misrepresentation. I dont' think I get more than 12 hours on a full charge because of the inability to have the screen turn off when not in use or turn the display off entirely (please see and iPod for an example of this).

2) Sleep timer. I am not sure what this is suppose to do, but what it does is nothing. I had it set to the minimum of 15 minutes. I waited with the unit in play and in pause/stop mode, to see if anything would happen after 15 minutes. Nothing. The battery just continued to drain.

3) X-Fi Crystalizer. The setting is currently on. When I power the player on, the music starts out normally, but after a few seconds the volume seemingly diminishes itself to an almost inaudible level. Turning the volume to max barely comes close to the original volume level. I have to go to the X-Fi crystalizer and cycle through the settings. It doesn't matter what those setting are. If it was set to Max and I cycle to off, the sound jumps in volume to where it should have been initially. I have to do this constantly after every shutdown, even if it was set to off.

I am eagerly awaiting the next round of firmware updates that would resolve these issues.

The response :

Dear Joe,

Thank you for writing back and letting me assist you further with your

I apologize for any inconvenience caused from this experience. Please
allow me to assist you further in resolving the issue.

Here are a few suggestions that you can try:

1) I would need you to perform a Reset for your player by following the
link below:

Resetting an MP3 player

2) Afterwards kindly visit this site to download and run the MP3
Recovery Tool by following this link:

Again, I apologize for the complications that you have experienced and
hope that I have given you enough information to resolve your issue.

If you have tried all the above and are still experiencing issue, please
reply to this communication citing each of the troubleshooting steps
that you have taken and what the result were.

Thank you again for contacting us, hope to serve you better in future.

Best Regards,

A different foreign tech/customer rep.
Technical Support
Creative Labs Americas

My retort :

Creative Tech,

This is the second unit (X-Fi 16 GB) that I have had (so far). The first one I had to return because the power button did nothing. They both had the same issues (the 3 mentioned before). The first unit I reset and performed the recovery tool, twice. I have done both tasks once with my current player (so far), with the same success : NONE. The reset and mp3 recover tool have done nothing.


Their last communication to me, from yet a third tech/customer service person :

Hi Joe,

Thanks for the reply.

I understand that none of the troubleshooting steps provided resolve the
issue. I would like to recommend that you send the unit in our service
depot so we can test it for you.

Kindly provide the information requested below:

First/Last Name:

Address (No P.O. Boxes please):



ZIP/Postal Code:

Contact Telephone Number(s):

Email address where you would prefer to be reached:

Product Model Number :

Color of player:

Alternate color choice:
(Please note that the alternate color choice is only used to decrease
the turnaround time of your RMA if the unit must be replaced and the
color of your player is out of stock. If you only prefer to have the
same color that you sent in, please be sure to note this.)

Size of the hard drive or amount of onboard memory:

Product Serial Number (often listed inside the battery cover):

Place of purchase:

Exact/Approximate Date of Purchase:

Creative Care Protection Plan Number (if purchased):
Creative Care Protection Plan Order # (if purchased):

Brief Description of Problem:

Once this information is applied to the RMA database, we will reply to
you with an RMA reference number and shipping instructions.
* Please note that an estimation of repair costs cannot be made without
the above information.

Should you need further assistance, please reply to this email with any
previous correspondence to ensure the quickest and most accurate

Best Regards,

Tech #3
Technical Support
Creative Labs Americas

My response will not be pleasant. Stay tuned for more to come.


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