Q&A - Aux In and Recording

How to record music on B2

The basic steps are

  1. Connect your turntable/cassette player etc to the B2 Aux In
  2. Select Aux on the B2
  3. Press REC to start recording
  4. Press Stop to stop recording
  5. Repeat from 3 as necessary
  6. Select HDD
  7. Transfer the recordings to the hard disk with Settings->Get Recordings
  8. You will find the music in an album called “Recordings”
  9. Rename the Recording so it won’t be overwritten

I recommend you make a few short trial recordings to get an idea for the process before setting about transferring your entire vinyl collection. And make frequent backups. Recording and renaming is quite labour intensive so its worth taking extra care not to lose your work.

Here is a little more detail and explanation

1) There are a few ways you might connect the music source to the B2 Aux In.

  1. A low end cassette player might have a headphone output so you will need a 3.5mm stereo jack to 3.5mm stereo jack lead. You should adjust the volume on the cassette play as loud as it will go without distorting when you play through the B2.
  2. An amplified turntable may typically have a lead with twin phono plugs - you will need a twin phono to 3.5mm stereo jack adaptor to connect it to B2
  3. A portable radio may have a headphone output so you will need a 3.5mm stereo jack to 3.5mm stereo jack lead.
  4. An unamplified turntable with raw cartridge output needs a phono preamplifier. You can buy these as stand alone gadgets but - assuming you already listen to your turntable - you will have an amplifier with a phono input. So you can either feed the line out of the amplifier to the B2 - usually a twin phono to 3,5mm stereo jack lead. Or you can connect the headphone output of the amplifier to the B2. The 3.5mm stereo jack to 3.5mm stereo jack lead will be needed but you may also need a ¼ inch to 3.5mm adaptor if your amplifier has a traditional ¼ inch headphone jack.

2) Select Aux on the B2 remote control. This will reboot the B2 in a mode that allows the Raspberry Pi to make recordings - but it disconnects the hard disk and internet. You should now hear your music source playing through the B2 speakers. Though nothing is being recorded yet. Now is a good time to play with your connections and volume levels. You may notice that if you touch the tip of one of the connectors on the lead feeding into the B2 that you get a crackle or hum - this is good and it's often a quick way to check that side of the system is working.

3) Start your music playing and press REC on the remote control. The B2 LED will flash and the display will show the current recording length and the name of the track. Each recording doesn’t have to correspond to a track. It could be the side of an album or cassette or it could be a radio program. You could even turn the vinyl album over quickly and record the other side on the same track. The recording is an uncompressed WAV file and it is stored temporarily on the SD card.

4) Press stop to stop recording.

5) Repeat from 3 - each recording will be given a new name like track 1, track 2.

6) Once you have made all the recordings that you want in one “album” - select HDD on the remote. This will reboot the B2 so that you can transfer the recordings to hard disk and listen to them.

7) Transfer the recordings from SD card to HDD with Settings->Get Recordings.

8) You can now listen to your recordings - search for “Recordings” and press play.

9) Recordings from Aux In are stored as tracks in an album called “Recordings” and artist “Unknown”. Let’s say you actually recorded a vinyl album - Dark side of the Moon by Pink Floyd and you recorded each side as a single track. So side one is recorded as track 1 and side two is recorded as track 2. At the very least you should rename the album so that subsequent recordings do not overwrite it. You can rename using the front panel or the Web UI. On the front panel search for “Recordings” then in the album menu choose Rename Album then repeat and pick Rename Artist. It's quicker on the Web UI - search for the “Recordings” album and double click to rename Album and Artist at the same time. You can delete any recordings you don’t want to keep. Either whole albums or individual tracks.

Automatic Track Splitting? 

The short answer is you need to do track splitting manually. I have used automatic track splitting - a piece of software called Audiograbber - but its not 100% accurate - not seeing gaps where they should be or splitting tracks in the middle.

Cleanup Recording With Audacity?

Yes in theory you could use NAS so that recordings were visible to a PC where yoiu could use Audacity to edit them. If you change the name or add or remove any music files - use Settings->Scan Disk after so B2 is aware of the changed files.

Click and Scratch Filter?

There is nothing built in to B2 - this job is done very well by off the shelf programs- like Magix Audio Cleaning Lab - so I suggest using something like that on a PC using NAS to access the files on B2.