Q&A - Organising Your Music

This is how music is organised in B2

You don't have to use an artist name. You could use another convenient class like "Dance", "80s" or "Choral".

When a CD is ripped - if there is no data available for that CD it will be assigned to Artist "Unknown".

If you rename an artist to an artist that already exists then the albums will move as you would hope - the previous albums will remain.  This happens if there are two spellings of an Artist - say "The Rolling Stones" and "Rolling Stones" and you want to combine them.

Two Kinds of Rename Artist

The first kind of rename artist affects all the albums by that artist. You do this from the Artist menu on the front panel  (you get the Artist Menu by selecting an artist in search results or through Browse Artists). Or by double clicking on an artist in the Web UI

Changing Artist 1 to Artist 3 - all the albums - in this case just two - have had their artist changed.  You typically do NOT use this to rename "Unknown" because it will typically include a number of albums from a variety of artists. 

The second kind of Artist Rename affects just one album. You do this from the Album Menu on the front panel (which you get by picking an album in the Search results or Browse Albums). Or by double clicking on an Album in the Web UI.

Just one album is affected. This is the function you would normally use if an album is by Uknown and you want to give it a proper artist or other more helpful classification.  

Can I merge two albums with NAS?

Yes - you can move tracks and albums around using the file explorer on a computer just like normal files. Just remember to do Settings->Scan Disk from the front panel after you have finished. This tells B2 to refresh its index of tracks.

Rename on Tablet

 I cannot fathom out how to change an album name from a tablet using the web interface. I'm sure it must be very simple. Help please! Thank you.

Hi Somi. On a computer you double click. On an Android tablet you can tap twice. But it doesn't work on iPad. I will be adding better support for touch devices to circumvent difficulties with drag and drop and double click. Martin

Play All Albums by Artist

Hiya, just wondering with having various albums by same artist!! When I play an album, is there no way to add software so it will play onto the next album. At present once album finishes it randomly just play a different album from different artist??? Thanks

Hi. Good idea. I think I will add some more play modes in the future. Like stopping at the end of the album for classical listeners. Or looping the current album - that kind of thing. For now I suggest making a playlist with just your artist - then play that playlist. Martin

Automatic track naming

Hi Martin,
I have been looking for an intuitive easy to operate home juke box and your product looks like it may fulfil all my criteria. Will the B2 collect track listings from the internet when uploading my CD collection?

Yes - assuming you have an internet connection - B2 will go online and collect album, artist and track names from freedb.org - whenever you insert a new CD. These names are used when you copy the CD to the B2 hard disk or if you just play the CD. If you do not have an internet connection its not a problem - B2 will use an offline / internal database of 3.4 million CDs instead - thats the way JB7 worked. The internal database will not have CDs released after the database was created but we update the database monthly so its pretty up to date.

If your CD is not in the database or online - just copy to disk with the default name and rename albums and tracks later as necessary.

Untitled tracks from JB7

Q: Will CDS which were originally transferred to the JB7 without any track information (because it wasn't in the database) be updated automatically once transferred to the B2?

Good question - when a CD is not in the database - its fingerprint is saved on the hard disk so that it can be looked up in a later version of the database. The re-index function on JB7 did this.  It has to be a manual process because there can be multiple matches in the database. B2 doesn't have this.

How do I view the Catalogue

Q: What software reads the catalogue of albums and tracks?

You just need a text editor like Notepad.

Rename then Backup

Q: If I rename a CD or track on JB7 then backup and upload the backup disk to B2 - will B2 upload the manual changes?

Good question. The short answer is yes B2 will upload the new names. But...if you did a backup on JB7 then changed the name of a track (for instance) and then did another backup. JB7 would treat the track as a new track and you would have two copies of the track on the backup disk - with both names.

My suggestion is that - before you load the B2 - delete the old JB7 backup - use a PC and delete folder "hardfi" on the backup disk - and do a fresh backup from the JB7. That way you will get just one copy of everything - with the latest names.

Unwanted Artists

Q: How do I get rid of unwanted artists? May seem a strange question, but I have three artists named:

Emerson, Lake & Palmer
Emerson Lake & Palmer
Emerson Lake and Palmer

Another good question - and I tried to show how to do it in my first Youtube - but I made the mistake of trying to show everything in one video so its a bit tedious - for me and for you.

The best way is to decide on the best version of the artist name - then rename the other two artists to match.

You can do it from the front panel by finding the artist - say Browse Artist (or Goto Artist from the Album) then in the Artist Menu select Rename Artist.

Its all a lot easier with the Web UI - just double click on the artist name and you get to rename it.

By the way its important not to turn off B2 immediately after a lot of renaming - press and hold the stop button to force B2 to save the changes to disk. If you turn it off by accident don't worry Settings->Scan Disk will sort it out.

PS I will do a few shorter Youtubes when time permits - let me know anything that needs explaining.

Export Names

Q: Will it be possible to edit Album details, as with the JB7, by saving the listings via the USB port, editing on a word processor and importing them ? This method is far easier than using the remote.

The Web UI is a far simpler and more direct way of editing Album details. So it is unlikely that I will develop an equivalent to the JB7 import-export mechanism.

Tracks starting with a number.

Q: If a track name begins with a number it gets cut off and played in the wrong order.

Make sure you have the latest software - this displays the track order number and lets you edit. So track if track three is called 21 - the full track name should be "3 21". You can change the ordering of tracks by editing the first number.

Album Listing

Is it possible to arrange the Web UI to allow you to print out a list of CDs, with artists and maybe tracks so you can keep a paper copy of what you have in your collection? Best wishes, Rob.

Hi Rob. Settings->Maintenance->List Albums will create a text file on a memory stick in USB C. You can then print that on a PC

Compilation CD Artists

How do I search for an artist on a compilation cd as the album artist is listed as Various artists? E.g I'm trying to search for Vienna by Ultravox but Ultravox is not listed anywhere. As I've got over a hundred compilation cds i could have potentially 4000 Unknown artists Regards Steve.

Hi Steve. If the information is there B2 will find it. If your track names came from Freedb - the database used by JB7 and B2 - then the convention is to start track names from compilation albums with the artist for that track.

I just searched the B2 next to me for "ultra" and found a track "Ultravox   Vienna" on compilation CD "Greatest Love 2".

It works from the front panel as well - just press find on the remote.


I have set up about 1200 tracks on B2. These are a mixture of mp3, flac and wav, uncompressed. I wanted to replicate this collection on my JB7. I created a backup of B2 to a 64gb drive, deleted all old music on JB7 and restored B2 backup to the JB7.
The flac and uncompressed tracks did not transfer, just left a heavy hiss in their place. I now see that JB7 doesn't do flac. Any way around this?

As you have discovered JB7 will only play MP3 and WAV (actually 2012 onwards JB7 also plays AAC). One way of getting round your problem would be to batch convert the FLAC files to WAV (or MP3) on the backup disk. I haven't used it but JB7 owners recommended a program called Switch http://www.nch.com.au/switch/ to do jobs like this.

Add Artists with Front Panel

Is there any way that I can add the Artist names using the Dial on the unit without having to erase the track name first ? Sorry to keep asking questions but I really like the B2 and hope you can help

You need to use the remote control to help with  that. Press the Prev button on the remote control when you are renaming and the cursor moves left. Next moves the cursor right and Del deletes the character to the left of the cursor. If you are able try the web interface - its a far far quicker way of doing this - Martin

Playlist Limit

Martin, Is there a limit to how many tracks or albums
can be held in one of the playlists ?
Thanks, Keith

Hi Keith the limit is 1000 tracks - if you add an album to a playlist then its the tracks in the album that count. Martin

CD Number

"Hi Martin
Delighted with my B2 and already have a JB7.My question is this.The JB7 automatically numbered each cd I ripped but the B2 does not.I can do the numbering by renaming each cd but that's rather laborious.Any help would be appreciated."

Actually I don't think the JB7 added a number to the CD name - I mean you could not search by number - but it did display a number as you browsed through the albums. However this number would change if you deleted a lower number album. The most recent B2 software does display an album number so try Settings->Web Upgrade. I plan to organise the album names alphabetically when time permits - though I do know that some owners like the idea of putting in a number to play an album.

Moving Tracks

One of the frustrations I had with the JB7 was the difficulty of moving tracks between albums. I store a lot of opera on mine, which usually comes more than 1 CD. The only way of storing the work on the JB7 as a single album is by ripping it onto my PC, then downloading it onto a USB stick and uploading to the JB7, hoping that it's going to appear in the right order. Does the B2 interface make this any easier?

Hi. Good Question. There is at least one way in which B2 can help. On B2 you can now edit the track order by editing the number at the start of the track name. And if you want you can put those numbers on while you are compiling the collection on your PC. You cannot move tracks from album to album within the B2 but you can build a playlist from tracks and the Web UI makes reordering items on a playlist very simple - just drag and drop. I wasn't a great fan of Playlists on JB7 but with the Web UI I intend to develop that side of things - starting with more playlists. Martin

Music Grouping

After much frustration I have hit upon the optimum method for grouping music in folders on the B2 which is simple and does not involve lots of use of web interface and uploading, thought it was worth sharing.

I made a backup of several albums onto the USB drive (Freecom 260g Toughdrive which you could add to your compatible devices list) . This gave me a structure as an example on the USB Drive of
hardfimusicAdele 21
hardfimusicLed Zeppelin Physical Graffiti

I then created more folders such as:
hardfimusicVarious Rock
hardfimusicVarious Indie
hardfimusicVarious Northern Soul

You can then simply copy tracks into the folders on the USB drive which in effect creates a playlist type folder.

Delete all music on the B2, plug the USB Drive into Port C on the B2 and use the restore from backup option. This then keeps the albums to the single artist ones you wish to load, but also gives you the ability to play a couple of hours of Rock, classical, indie, pop, Peruvian nose Flute concertos, or whatever takes your fancy really. There will probably be a cap on number of tracks I assume within a single folder, but this has sorted my problem out, and I have a backup folder to repopulate the B2 in case of issues. Of course I can also replicate the USB contents on my desktop including folder structure so if I lose the USB a simple file copy will restore it.

For info, I have tried a few Western Digital USB 3.0 drives on the B2, first and second generation, and none of them appear to be compatible. The second generation are different in that the USB3.0 interface is part of the drive, whereas the earlier ones were a standard 2.5 SATA interfaced via a separate board.



Thanks for the suggestion and for the feedback on the drives. I imagine other B2 owners could use this technique without deleting all the music first. I mean provided the B2 has enough storage then you could have the music as arranged by B2 plus some of the same music arranged into these "psuedo" albums - Martin

Play Order

Q: The B2 Artist view would display all albums by an artist alphabetically? Would it also play them in that order in ‘normal=continuous’ mode even if the albums were not stored in that sequence on the B2 hard drive. (eg if on the hard drive album 1 is ‘BBB’ by Artist1, album 2 is ‘XXX’ by Artist2, album 3 is ‘AAA’ by Artist1, album 4 is ‘YYY’ by Artist3 and I perform an artist search for Artist1 and play music in ‘normal’ mode, assuming it lists that artist’s albums alphabetically then it would start with album AAA? And when album AAA ends would it go on to album BBB or album YYY?)

Hi Eric - at the moment B2 plays the albums in the order they appear on the disk - thats not very helpful because unlike on the JB7 where this was the order you loaded the CDs B2 uses Linux and the order is out of my control. I recently added alpha sorting to B2 and have it in mind to extend this to play order. You could then control the play order by prepending the album names with a number like 001 Aida Act One, 002 Aida Acts 2-3. Another way to control it for now is to put the albums into a playlist and they will play in that order.

Rogue Artist

"Hello Martin:
Now two technical questions for you:
1. After deleting an album I’ve ended up with a ‘rogue’ artist – an artist with no associated album(s). I use the proper switch-off procedure and generally don’t interrupt any recording or deleting processes. I can rename the ‘artist’ but can’t delete as there’s no album to ‘pick’. If I rename the artist of an existing album to the ‘rogue’ and try to delete, the albums goes but the artist remains. I’ve run Scan Disk and HDD repair but the ‘artist’ remains. Any suggestions short of re-formatting the HDD and importing from the backup?


Merging CDs

2. Copying music onto the b2 has shown how many are split over two CDs, creating two albums. Not a problem with playlists I know, but I’d like to ‘tidy’ things up by creating ‘single’ albums. I know I can do this through iTunes, but that means re-loading all those CDs. I can see the .wav files in separate folders in the b2 backup disc and I can obviously move all the .wav files into a single folder – but how can the TOC be updated? This is an area of which I have no technical knowledge; and I’m working on a Mac!

Thank you

Hi Andrew. There is no provision to delete an artist - even if it has no albums in it. It is on the wish list. I may add a cleanup function that removes empty albums as well.

If you play around with - sorry reorganise - the music on a backup and then restore to a B2 then B2 will build its toc (Table of Contents) from what it finds. So if you have CD1 with 20 tracks and CD2 with 19 tracks and you create a new CD3 on the backup disk containing 39 tracks - then this is what you will see on the B2 after restore.

By the way Restore will not replace the old CD1 and CD2 - you will have to delete these manually.


Manually Rename SD

Just purchased a B2 64G – version 24.Jun16 (plus unknown update)

The B2 Browser Editing Facility (on Desktop pc) is poor compared to the Export/Import Names on JB7.

I’m considering an alternative, but it may be risky. Your comments would be appreciated.

If I connect the SD card to my PC (windows 7), and rename the Folder and Track titles, would this upset the B2 when the card is replaced. I assume I would then need to refresh the database by selecting Scan Disk. I could cut and paste album title and all track titles (from JB7 Export Names) with a single cut and paste using a visual basic program.

Is this process likely to change the CD play order or track play sequence.

At present the CD’s play in ‘load’ sequence like the JB7 (which is what I want) This does not appear to be the norm, after looking at comments on the web site.

K Gardner

Hi Keith. Make sure you do a backup first in case you make a mistake but yes its perfectly OK to rename the music on the SD card using a PC provided you do a Scan Disk first. 

The play order is likely to get scrambled but you can use one of two approaches to force play order 1) Put a number on the start of the CD name and enable Alpha sorting 2) put albums you want to play in order into a playlist.

NB If you put a number at the start remember that alphabetically 10 is before 2 so use the same number of digits throughout. Either use 02 or start at say number 100 hope that makes sense.



PC Tool

Andy C has written a PC Program to help organise your B2 music collection.
Download this zip file and read the ReadMe file. Send your feedback and I'll forward it to Andy.

How Many Playlists?

How many playlists can you create and can you name them rather than the colour system on the JB7?

At launch B2 will have the same seven playlists as JB7. The good news is that while JB7 had very little memory making new fautures or improvements difficult - B2 has tons of memory - and I have just scratched the surface of what is possible. I will be putting a wish list on the website showing what features are in the pipeline and to let you register what is important to you.

ID3 Tags

When previously ripped and tagged albums are copied onto the B2's hard disk will the inbuilt database try to re-tag them? If so is there a facility to stop this happening?

At the time of writing B2 ignores any tags (I assume you mean ID3 type tags). I may add support for ID3 tags in the future but the tags are not touched.

False Albums

I have several hundred obscure tracks that have never appeared on CDs. Will I have to create 'false' albums
to fit in with B2's music hierarchy?

Hi Phil - I assume you plan to import these albums from USB or the album upload on the web UI. But yes you do need to create 'false' artist and album labels to fit in with the B2 hierarchy. The names can be anything. So you could make the Artist "My Obscure Music" and have album names like "Folk", "Choral", "1970s" that kind of thing. Martin

Reload without Compression

If I transfer all music from my JB7 to a B2 and then in due course reload the majority of CDs without compression is it possible then to distinguish between the 2 types of file? The original MP3 version could then be deleted.

Good Question - if you didn't change the name of the CD or the tracks then when you reload the CD on the B2 it will replace the previous MP3 track with the uncompressed music from the CD. So no need to delete the old MP3s.  If you edited the album or track names then probably it makes sense to manually delete the MP3 album before loading the CD again.

Keep Old Names

Hi Martin, on my JB7 I had a large number of Specialist organ records that do not appear on any database, therefor I had to enter all details manually, quite a lot of work. As my hdd was small all were mp3. Now I have B2 with 1tb I want to convert these to uncompressed. How can I do this without losing all my manually entered details?

Hi - I'm assuming you have the organ music on CD and that you intend to load these on the B2. Unfortunately you are still in for a bit of manual data entry - there is no automatic process to do what you want. However you can make the job a whole lot easier if you 1) Export Names on the JB7 2) Use the Web UI on the B2 to rename 3) Cut and Paste the names from the JB7 file into the Web UI - a PC with a big screen will help or just resize the browser and text editor side by side - Martin


I have some albums where the title / artist / track names are in Greek. Will the web interface allow me to enter names using non-Latin characters? Would I be able to use the remote control to find these? Thank you.

Hi - Good question. Yes - the web interface will allow you to enter non-Latin characters - you may need a Greek keyboard or know the special keyboard tricks to enter the characters - I tested this functionality with a Chrome Extension that let me put in a few accented characters. The remote control is very limited so you cannot enter Greek characters on it. International character support is quite a sprawling issue so if you find that some parts of the UI work but others do not - let me know and I will fix - Martin

Max Tracks in Album

Hi Martin,

Are there any restrictions on how big an album can be, both in terms of the number of tracks it contains and the disk space it uses? Looking at the file names generated after ripping a CD, I see that track numbers are assigned 2 digits, so I'm guessing each album can contain a max. of 99 tracks, but what about file size restrictions?

The reason I ask is because I have a lot of compilation type cassettes all containing the same type of music performed by the same performers (e.g. Bach cantatas). When recording onto the B2, rather than just calling each cassette an album, I'd like to re-organize the music in a more logical and natural way. For example, if I want all my recordings of Bach cantatas performed by Nikolaus Harnoncourt and his ensemble in one easy to find place, I could create a giant album containing them all.


Hi Terence - great question. Actually there is no limit on how many tracks you can have in an album I tend to use two digit track numbers in my answers because you can only have 99 tracks on a CD.

B2 has no limit - but I would suggest you keep it under 1000. I have noticed that digital cameras and other devices tend to limit to 1000 photos per folder.

b2db - how does it work?

Martin. On the b2db - How is the track structure recognised by the b2 program? What happens if I remove or re-arrange tracks?

Hi H. b2db is just an index to what is on the hard disk - to save B2 having to search the entire disk when you turn it on. Its not something you should change.

If you did want to experiment then Settings-Scan Disk will restore it. Martin

Composers & Orchestras

Hi How can I search for all music performed by a specific conductor or orchestra, it seems to be a tad hit and miss. I have loaded a Mozart CD that has two different orchestras playing – when I enter the name of either orchestra it does not come up. I have several Deutche Gramaphone CDs with Karajan playing Beethoven, if I search for Karajan there is no result. Russell

Hi Russell. The album database is generated by the general public so the amount of detail and the details themselves will vary. I know this can be irksome to Classical listeners. The solution is to edit the names afterwards. You can insert Karajan and or the orchestra in the album name or track name as you think appropriate. There are no rules - the B2 search function just looks for text - it has no sense of whether its a composer or performer or soloist or conductor etc. It can seem a bit unstructured but it works well in practice. Martin

Track Play Order

Have just recd my new b2 Fed in about 30 cds and uploaded some from laptop. On choosing albums to play I note that some (not all) are playing tracks in random order. each track number on the screen follows in order ie1-20 but they are not corresponding with the correct track. For instance the first track will indicate 1/20 but start with say track 5 from the published CD The title of each track on the screen though is the track being played. Steve hope you can help

Hi Steve. When you load from a laptop the order of the files on the disk determines the play order if B2 has nothing else to go on. The order of the files on the disk from your laptop is not under our control so the solution is to rename the tracks and put a sequence number at the start of the track. You don't have to do all the tracks just those that matter. Some downloaded music already adheres to this convention so will play in order Martin