Q&A - Before You Buy

How noisy is the CD?

hello, what dvd drive do you use and how is it interfaced with the pi? also how noisy is it during playback?


Its a Sony drive - with a SATA interface that goes to a SATA USB Bridge then to a USB hub then to the Pi. How noisy? That's hard to answer - its like a quiet computer fan - not whisper quiet but you wouldn't hear it above the music unless you went in close.


Q: Does the new Brennan B2 have sufficient amplification for a ballroom dance class in a small hall? i.e. 20m x 10m

Hi - you might just get away with it - I listened to my B2 from three rooms away - about 12 meters - and it is pleasantly loud. I think if you were doing an aerobic class I'd say not loud enough. Test the B2 first and check that it is happy playing at your desired loudness for as long as you need it. B2 has a thermal cutout so I dont want it cutting out mid waltz. If it ever does cut out just press stop and play again after it has had a chance to cool down - usually ten seconds would be enough.

Vinyl Megabytes

Q: How much memory would a FLAC long player vinyl recording need?

Hi Mark - Good question. FLAC compresses to about 60% on average and the raw uncompressed data rate is 176,400 bytes per second. Thats roughly 10M bytes per minute uncompressed or 6M bytes per minute as FLAC.

If a vinyl album is say 25 minutes on a side that comes to 158M byte per side - Martin

Line Out and Volume Control

Q: If I link the B2 to a pair of Focal CMS 40 active speakers through the B2 line out, will the B2 volume control operate?



Q: Is the B2 compatible with DLNA?

Sorry no.

Album Capacity

"Hi Martin I have a JB7 and am considering a 2 TB B2. I have spoken to your colleague about the maximum capacity of the hard drive on a B2 and she told me 6000 cds. For 4 times the memory it doesn't seem alot considering I have 3,900 cds on the 500mb B7.

However she told me that you can 'extend' the capacity. I am in the process of digitising up to 9,000 LPs so she suggested I email you about the possibility of extending the capacity of a B2 to meet my requirements.

I wonder if this is possible. Best wishes John R"

Hi John I can send you a bespoke version of the code with increased limits if and when you start to run into the limits. I can increase the limits very simply but I don't want to publish code with a limited audience that is by its nature very difficult to test. 

You should be aware that increasing the album count can only help if you intend to encode with MP3. The 2Tb disk can "only" hold 4400 albums as FLAC.


Artists & Composer on Classical CDs


I have a very large collection of Classical Cd's - can I ask before buying a B2 if the name of the composer appears as the 'artist' and the those names will be in alphabetical order on the screen of the B2.

Hi James - the simple organisation of music into Artist and Album breaks down for Classical music where Composer, Orchestra, Conductor, Soloist etc are all important. However the database has been created by the public - by CD owners like yourself so you will tend to find that all the most relevant information gets recorded - even if its not consistent. In my music collection Dvorak appears as an artist for the album Requiem and Mass in D. But he also appears in the album name Dvorak Requiem Op89 - which has an Artist that includes the Soloists the LSO and Istvan Kertesz (the conductor I imagine). You can search for any name - it doesn't matter if its in the Artist or Album or Track. You can also rename - so if I wanted to add Dvorak at the start or the Artist name I could.

Finally - yes the artists are sorted alphabetically


Total Harmonic Distortion


"What are the audio specifications for this product? what is the thd "total harmonic distortion" rating? what is the dac "digital analog conversion"?"

Hi Kurt

B2 uses a Texas Instruments TPA3110 power amp and a Burr Brown PCM2902C DAC - you can go to the TI website for real detail on the specifications of these devices. Its been a while since I measured the distortion on the B2. The power amp has a THD around 0.1% until it starts to clip at high volume - around about 12 watts per channel.



DJ Mode


Does it have an auto DJ mode ie beat match/mix from one tune to another from a play list !? thank you in advance.
Regards John

Sorry John - no it doesn't - Martin


I have Slow Internet

My internet connection is pretty feeble - around 150 kilobits per second.
Would that allow me to use the B2 properly?
Thank you

Hi Alan. Should be OK for looking up album & track data and it wont affect the Web User Interface - because thats down to your Wifi speed - probably many megabits. You might have problems with internet radio though. Martin


"Using dlna and connecting my current music server to a Panasonic TV I find that spurious inter-track gaps are introduced. In many cases a key feature of an album is for one track to run straight into another. Take for example Equinoxe by Jean Michel Jarre, or several albums by Flairck

CD players handle this no problem but not my TV. Using vinyl studioI have digitised some of my vinyl LPs and made the length of the gap zero but the dlna client in the TV is obdurate.

How does the B2 handle this situation? 

Hi Tony. B2 will play Jean Michelle Jarre and other continuous pieces of music - EXACTLY as the original CD will play - so no gaps. Martin


Please can you advise if I am better off buying a B2 and swapping the HDD for a SSD, or should I get the 64GB one and put in a larger capacity SD card. Is there any notable difference in the performance of the SD card compared to the HDD/SSD.
On paper the spec of the SD card has slower read/write speeds, but I don't know if this will actually make the B2 take longer to rip cd's, and the UI be slower etc. Thanks Robin

Hi Robin - Good question. There is a perception that SSDs are high performance and that SD cards can be slow and can limit perfomance. The SSD thing really comes from PCs where the operating system needs to load thousands of files amounting to several Gigabytes before the PC wakes up. A SSD beats a hard disk at this. The SD thing comes from cameras - SLR and Video - because the burst rate of an SLR and the data rate of a 4K camera both exceed the data rate of cheaper SD cards.
B2 doesn't simply doesn't need these data rates so SSD makes no sense on performance grounds - if SD has enough space thats the smart choice. I know some customers have swapped the HDD for an SSD on the grounds that it won't wear out and will consume less power. At the moment thats a pretty expensive decision, Less so with time I would imagine - but SDs are getting bigger at the same rate.