Q&A - Miscellaneous




Falling Under a Bus

A question about future proofing - a lot of the success and unique accessibility of B2 seems to hang on one individual Martin Brennan - do you have business succession plans to keep the product updates and personal attention going in the event of his eventually losing interest/selling out/moving on or falling under the proverbial bus?


Hi John - that made me smile. I think the company could easily maintain and continue add features to the B2 in the event of my unsheduled departure (proverbial bus) - there are enough folk with the right skills on the project. I personally enjoy design so much I don't anticipate losing interest etc - I just have too many ideas I want to try. Martin 


Software Upgrade

There are several mentions made of future applications. Is the B2 designed so that modifications in the future can be loaded into the B2? In short can the B2 be constantly modified in the future?

Yes - the easiest way is to do an internet upgrade - just go to Settings->Web Upgrade - takes a few seconds. I'll publish what the new versions do on the website. You can also upgrade using a USB memory stick if your B2 is not connected to the internet. Finally you could swap the SD card - so B2 could run third party software.

Wireless Speakers

Will the new B2 wireless compatable . I live in a four story house and would like to use wireless speakers if possible.


We cannot drive wireless speakers right now - I think thats something for the wish list - let me know if there is a particular wireless speaker that you favour and I will look into it.
Update Bose Soundlink has been suggested - I have one of those so I've added that to the wish list.

 

110V

Will B2 work in North America on 110V?


Yes - B2 has a universal laptop computer style AC adaptor that will work on 110V. The mains lead/cord is detachable with a small figure eight style connector.

Ps 50Hz or 60Hz is OK as well.
 

Dimensions

What is the size of the B2? - Thanks


Not sure if you wrote this before we wrote the B2 specifications page on the website - click on features above then B2 specification on the left - its 4.8cm high, 17cm deep and 15.3cm wide though.
 

High Court Ruling

How does the latest High Court ruling on copying CD'S affect the Brennan?


I am not a lawyer but this doesn't really change anything. As I undestand it its a challenge against the government as opposed to a music publisher or artist going after CD owners. I take a great deal of comfort in the statement - I think it was the Britsh Phonographic Industry - made in the House of Lords that they would never pursue music owners making copies for their own use. 
 

B2 DAC Quality

What quality is the DA converter? For a top end, system ie SE OTL tube amp, full range horns, would I need a separate higher(?) end DA converter? If so, would you be planning an upgrade choice to a higher end chip in the B2, for extra few $$$?


We use a Burr Brown (Texas Instruments) PCM2902C DAC - you can look it up. The optical SPDIF output from B2 means you can spend as much as you can afford in pursuit of audio quality on a DAC, Amplifier and Speakers and the B2 will not compromise the sound.

Raspberry Pi Login

Could you be a little more explicit about how to log on to the Raspberry Pi? Something that would be useful to someone who hasn't done it before?


You need to use SSH to login to the Raspberry Pi from a PC on the same network. I use a prgram called Putty. Select SSH as the Connection type. Type the IP address of the B2 and click Open. You should then see a terminal window with a login prompt. The user is root and the password is brennan. [I found that the connection is more reliable if I set Seconds between keepalives to 1 - on the connection tab of Putty at startup]
 

What Pi is inside? Could I upgrade to a Pi2 just by switching the Pi Board to get the performance increase.


New Raspberry Pi

Any plans for B2 Pi2?


We use the Raspberry Pi model B. The later Pi is not physically compatible. No plans.
 

Use B2 as Hard Disk

Hello Martin,
Could the B2 be used as a hard drive? I am currently ripping some DVDs to .avi and wondered whether I could store them on the B2? I don't expect to play them via the B2 just use it as a repository.


B2 is a fully fledged linux computer so if you understand how to use the linux command line you can get access to the B2 hard disk and could use WinSCP for instance to store files on B2. If you are not familiar with Linux its not a consumer oriented system so a steep learning curve.
 

5000 Album Limit

Why do all hard disk models of B2 have a capacity of 5000 MP3 CDs - regardless of disk size?


There is a software limit of 5000 CDs even though the hard disks themselves have sufficient space for 7,500/15,000/30,000 CDs. The reason is that I am not aware of anybody with a music collection greater than 5000 CDs and it would be difficult and time consuming to test the software worked with 600,000 tracks!

The real benefit of the larger B2s is the number of FLAC albums they can hold.

If you do own more than 5,000 CDs let me know and I will consider increasing the software limit. (Update: The album limit is currently 6,000)
 

Bigger SD

Can one substitute a 256G SD card for the 64G one to increase capacity?


Yes - thats exactly what I want you to do - to take advantage of new technology. In fact B2 has new menu functions to transfer everything to the new bigger card.

 

  • Plug the new bigger SD card into a USB SD Card adaptor like this.
  • Plug them into USB C on B2.
  • Settings->Maintenance->SD to USB C
  • Settings->Maintenance->Copy SD Music


You will need the latest software to get these new functions. 

Transfer Music to big SD

"Hi,Just received my B2 64Gb and it looks impressively well made. I have about 100Gb of mp3 files on my computer is there an image file available that I can copy to a 128Gb SD card so I can fit these albums on it?
If so can I just drag them all on to the 128Gb SD card?
Thanks for your advice.
Best wishes,
Stephen"


Hi Stephen The simplest thing is to follow the instructions above to create a bootable SD card then load the music from a USB hard disk using USB Functions->Import from C. If you know what you are doing take a look at the files on the SD card in the third partition. You could copy more files to that partition of the SD card from your computer and then run Settings->Scan Disk so the B2 application finds the new content - Martin
 

Upgrade Hard Disk

I am buying a 500G B2 can I upgrade to a bigger capacity hard drive in the future?


Yes - we intend to be hobbyist friendly so if you want to open up your B2 and replace the hard disk thats OK.
 

Add Hard Disk to SD B2

If the SD only version is ordered, can a HDD be retrofitted later? Is 64Gb the current SD limit, and is SSD an option for retrofit instead of HDD?


Good Questions - The SD only model lacks a PCB and mounting for a HDD you would need to buy these from us.

64G is not a limit - B2 can copy its SD card onto a larger SD and it will use all the available space. SSD is compatible with the hard disk but they are expensive if you don't need the speed and hard disk noise is not an issue with 2.5" drives.
 

SD Compatibility

With the 64g SD version pre-ordered; Can you advise on the selection of appropriate larger SD cards?
I am looking into these (plan to buy a larger one) and costs vary as so their 'speeds'; is there a minimum specification (other than storage capacity) that I should look for to function well with the demands of the B2?


I've not encountered any SD cards that don't work. Some take a bit longer to boot just a second or two extra but after that no difference. The biggest I used so far was a very cheap 128G seems OK but let me know any experience good or bad (especially bad) and I will publish it
 

Bluetooth Dongle

I already have a Bluetooth dongle, but will add this to my order in case the b2 needs a specific one.


If your Bluetooth dongle says CSR4.0 on it then yours will work.
 

DVD 

Will the B2 allow me to store and play my dvd collection from UK USA France Hong Kong and Australia?


B2 is physically capable of playing DVDs - I was able to play DVDs using a Raspbmc SD card - however its not something I will be supporting but Raspberry Pi enthusiasts should be able.
 

Stop Cross Fading

How do I stop it cross-fading between tracks?


Settings->Segue->Segue Off
 

Remote Control Included?

Does the B2 come with a remote control or do I have to buy one?

 

Yes B2 comes with a remote control.
 

Power Consumption

What's the Standby Power Consumption?


B2 doesn't have a true low power standby mode - so I urge you to turn off at the mains when not in use - it will extend the life of the OLED display as well. The idle power consumption is just over 6 Watts.
 

Seamless Track to Track

I've had a JB7 for a few years. I don't like the segue play mode but obviously I can switch this off. However where this doesn't work is one of these operas which are divided into about 40 tracks - the jerk between tracks is jarring but then this doesn't lend itself to segue either. It's not just opera, a live recording which has just been split into tracks without fades does the same.

I suspect there isn't an answer but maybe the B2 has leapt forward?


I'm surprised about this - I listened to a few live albums on JB7 uncompressed and could not hear any transition. Although audio artefacts will depend on the actual music - you will hear a small interruption in a sustained piano note that you would not hear in an audience clapping. There is a reason why MP3 encoding would introduce a discontinuity - because it works on frames of data about 1/40 of a second and CD frames are 1/75 of a second. WAV and FLAC do not work with frames so no reason in principle for a discontnuity. I'll be happy to investigate and attempt to remove any discontinuity on B2 if possible.
 
Update January 2016 - FLAC and WAV are now absolutely identical to the CD when segue is turned off.
 

NAS Storage

I have a 2TB NAS drive. Could I use the B2 SD only model with the NAS drive?


Sorry the B2 does not work with NAS storage and although the Raspberry Pi can do that sort of thing I am unlikely to develop that facility. My experience of NAS products has been - difficult to setup, unreliable and poor performance. Do you have a NAS that is simple and reliable?
 

FAT

Running mount shows that the hard drive is formatted as VFAT. This seems like an odd choice, given that ext4 or any of the other Linux file systems would be a good deal more robust than VFAT. Can you tell me why this choice was made?


PCs cannot read ext4 disks. I chose FAT32 so that the B2 hard disk can be plugged into a PC - allowing you or our service centre to take a look and fix/rescue any problem disks using a PC.
 

Power Cuts

I am concerned about turning off the B2 as I live in an area where supply outages are common. As I have not got a hard disk will an outage have the same effect that is losing everything on the SD card?


Generally unless you were actually writing to the SD card when the power went off there will be no problem. If you were ripping a CD or if B2 was compressing music when the power went off then it is possible to lose information on the SD card.
Generally Settings->Scan Disk will recover all the music but it makes sense to make a backup then you can't lose anything.

What Power Amp

What is the output of your B2 power amplifier into 4 ohms and if the amplifier is a class T or D, is there a difference in the frequency response into these differing loads?


We use a TPA3110 power amplifier IC please refer to the TI data sheets for detailed technical information.

 

Random

Hi Martin, recently purchased a b2 overall pleased one slight quibble , random play not quite as random as one might expect with over 1500 tracks loaded have heard the same songs a few times it also seems to prefer playing from the same albums any reason for this?


B2 uses a shuffle mechanism so you should hear each track just once before it repeats. Having said that - the deck is reshuffled from time to time - if you add more music or delete or rename something - also when you turn off and on - so that would allow you to hear a track again sooner.  

What does Saving mean?

On pressing the STOP button the B2 now indicates 'saving' and not 'stopping' I would appreciate your comments please. Robert

Actually B2 displays "Saving" if you press and hold the stop key. That tells you B2 is writing its settings and files to disk so you can turn off without fear of losing recent changes. Martin

Random within Album

"Hi Martin, Had my B2 for 10 days and very pleased with it. I don't seem to be able to choose an album and then play that albums tracks in random order?
Mike"


Hi Mike - Sorry that's not possible at the moment - it may be added later in the year through the web UI. If you really need it - put the album in a Playlist and then play the Playlist - you can then play the Playlist at random - Martin

CD Laser Cleaning

I have now ripped about 2000 of my CDs onto the B2 Does the CD reader need cleaning and if so how often? Can you use a standard CD cleaner for this purpose? Regards Philip.


Hi Philip - I have heard from JB7 owners in the past that their player benefited from being cleaned and B2 uses a similar mechanism. A standard CD cleaning disk will be OK - audio and computer mechanisms are quite similar as far as this is concerned. There is a tiny lens held above the disk surface and it must get dirty eventually. Martin