B2 Q&A

 

Please let me have any questions or feedback about B2 here . I'll put useful questions and my answers in this Q&A section - Martin Brennan.

Its easier for us and you are more likely to get a quick answer if you post one question at a time. 

Make sure you try the troubleshooting tips on the left before writing.



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Cover Art

 14th Feb 2017

I recently added some support for Album Art. You can add an image to an album so it will be displayed when a track from that album is played. 

You can use the "official" cover art but there is nothing to stop you using your own images - an old friend or photo from a holiday or special occasion.

You can load the image when your rip the CD.



These images come from indirectly from MusicBrainz so its not 100%.



If it finds an image then it will be saved with the music. Remember to click on Art first.



You can load an image after ripping. Either drag and drop an image file from your desktop or copy and paste an image - could be from another website - like the Amazon shop page for the CD.

I'm not a Mac expert but I found that on a Macbook I could drag an image from the Amazon website to the desktop. I then dragged this file to the B2 web UI - though it might have been sensible to rename it to coverart.jpg first - it had a weird name.



You will see a thumbnail of the cover art in the album panel to confirm.

 


You can't delete album art at the moment but if you drag an image called coverart.jpg to the album - this name will take priority so will be displayed in preference to any you loaded before. [Cut and paste images automatically take this name].



Sonos Clarification

 

I have seen that the B2 is compatible with Sonos. I connect my B2 through an amp to wired speakers. I would like to be able to also play my B2 music in another room (upstairs).

My understanding is that if I purchase say a Play 1 Sonos speaker for the room upstairs and the updated B2 SD card I would achieve my aim (subject to following the set up procedures and having reasonable wi-fi).

Simple question, is my understanding correct? If so, how would I determine which speakers (wired or Sonos) are used at any given time (I only want to play music in one room at a time)? Can I control it from my laptop/tablet?

Apologies if these are silly questions, but I am new to this and don't want to spend nearly £200 on kit that won't do what I want it to!

Regards

Paul
 

Hi Paul
Great question and definitely not silly. Yes your understanding is correct.
What I failed to make clear is that when you combine B2 and Sonos - B2 acts like a disk drive for the Sonos system no more than that. The Sonos does not become a loudspeaker for the B2.
So when you press play on B2 (or the Web UI) it will always come out of the Brennan speakers.
To play music on the Sonos speaker upstairs you need to fire up the Sonos program - I have only tried it with a laptop so I don't know about tablets.
There are really two independent music players - in theory you can play different music upstairs and downstairs - if you ever wanted.
Martin



SPDIF Volume

Hi Martin. Thanks for the B2 - brilliant. I'm using the SPDIF output to get best quality, but consequently cannot control volume from the Web UI (which I love!). Is this inevitable? Is there (or will there be) a way to control volume from the web please? At present I have to use energy and walk to another room to use the remote or knob on my amplifier! I don't want to have even more Weetabix in the mornings! Thanks. Paul H.


Hi Paul. There is a technical reason for not having volume - that you might find interesting (or maybe its just me). The SPDIF output comprises of 16 bit samples. If I was to reduce the volume by half (6dB) in the B2 then the output would only really be 15 bits - so it would be effectively be more noisy - poorer quality. This is not a big deal at 6db but if you turned it down say 40dB for background music you would effectively be listening to 8 bit audio.

Having said that I think convenience might trump audio quality on occasions so I could add this as a switchable capability - and have added your request to the wish list. The facility would also benefit owners with Bluetooth speakers for the same reasons.

Martin

 

Ethernet

 

"Hi Martin,
I'm really delighted with and enjoying the B2. As a new user I have a few queries that I can't find answers to in the FAQs - I'll submit them one by one as requested. First up is that I want to use Ethernet rather than rely on wifi. I've read the Ethernet section in the online user guide and am nervous about attempting this myself because I have no electronics experience. First, is this something that should really only be attempted by someone with relevant knowledge? Second, would attempting to fit the Ethernet cable invalidate the warranty? Any help you can give on this much appreciated. Best regards, Paul"


Hi Paul. Great question. No problem with warranty if you open B2. You don't need any electronics know how. I suggest you get hold of some flat Ethernet cable because its a bit of a squeeze with regular Ethernet cable - though it can be done. You just need to remove the two screws marked with chevrons on the back. The rear panel and main assembly will then slide out about 2cm. If the rear panel is fitted tightly just prise it out with a small screwdriver using the ethernet cables slots to get a purchase. I suggest wrapping tape around the screwdriver so you don't chip the B2 paintwork on the main body. Once plugged into the Ethernet socket on the Pi you will need to loop the cable around to feed it out the slot. If the rear panel was snug it will need the screws to be tightened and a bit of a squeeze by hand and it will snap back into place.



If you need to remove the ethernet cable from the Pi - you will need a bit of dexterity with a small flat screwdriver to lever up the Ethernet retaining clip. Don't force it. Don't rush. It will come out. I do it all the time.


How to change the Micro SD card


Since Spring 2017 B2s have an micro SD card that is not accesible without opening the box. If you want to change the SD card to increase storage for instance. Uncrew the two screws at the back marked with chevrons.

Then pull the rear panel and attached assembly out slowly about 3cm or 1.5 inches.

You may need to prise the panel out with a screwdriver - thats normal. Take care not to damage the metalwork.



I wrapped tape around the screwdriver to protect the metal.

You can just see the micro SD card and it will pop out when pressed.



Reverse the steps to assemble - again its common for the rear panel to "snap" back into place.

HDD Sleep

Hi Martin.
Very pleased with my new B2, definitely a big advance and some great new features. One concern is that I have noticed that the HDD runs all the time even when the B2 says Standby and nothing has been played for hours. Is this correct as it will surely shorten the actual 'playing' life of the HDD if it is permanently running?
Many thanks, Pete

Hi Pete. Good point - I added an HDD sleep function on 4th April - so upgrade your software. It will power down the HDD in standby - after compression. Or you can force it by holding the stop button. Martin


 

Troubleshooting B2 Tips


Turn off and on
Get the latest software
Settings->Scan Disk
Press Info on the remote to get stats on your B2.

 

 

Problems with Radio Stations?

Make sure you have the latest radio station addresses. Use Settings->Radio Update to bring them up to date.

Our UK Radio Station links have been provided by www.radiofeeds.co.uk.

Our international radio stations are provided by www.vTuner.com.

Let them know if you discover any out of date links.

Vinnie at Radiofeeds has written some tips here.


Can I have a copy of the B2 instruction booklet?

Quick Start Guide download

 

jb7_top_300

 

I am developing a comprehensive online user guide that will be change to reflect new software features. Current version here.

(Updated 25th November 2016)

 

Inline switch


 

There wasn't room to put an on-off switch on B2 - but you may be interested to know about this switch from Amazon for £2.49. It is compatible with the 2.1mm DC jack used by B2 and may be better for you than unplugging or turning off at the mains.

 

Update 6th March 2017


I'm told that switch on Amazon  has changed and is not compatible - I'm leaving the answer in case you can find something like it elsewhere. I have been using one for more than six months but beware I have had reports they are not so reliable - Martin


 

Dodgy Wifi


My B2 connects to my router and can download CD data, play internet radio and support the WEB UI - but only for about 10 minutes. After that communication between the router and the B2 stops altogether, and I have to cycle power to get wireless connectivity again, but only for another ten minutes. Any ideas?

My router is a Technicolor TG588V v2 supplied by my service provider (Fleur telecom) and they don't allow browser access to the router.


Hi Phil

The simplest solution might be to attach a cheap travel router like TP-LINK TL-WR702N £18.99 to your household router with the short Ethernet cable that comes with the TP-LINK - then connect the B2 to the TP-LINK wifi.

But it may be worth phoning Fleur - Virgin were able to sort similar problems for me remotely.

Martin