B2 questions


 

Please let me have any questions or feedback about B2 here and I'll put your question and my answer on the website - Martin Brennan.


Quick update 20th May


Thank you for all your recent questions - they are going to help me make the website more useful - I am currently working through the questions and adding to this page - Martin



Search the Brennan website using Google - JB7 and B2 

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How will B2 perform with my 4 Ohm 10 watt speakers or will it destroy them?

I haven't tested this extensively - but B2 is was fine driving BSP50's in parallel to simulate a 4ohm speaker. The power amplifier has a thermal shutdown and this will kick if too much power is drawn because of the reduced load - but it will be fine for normal listening levels.

Beware though B2 is capable of destroying your 10 watt loudspeakers - so keep the volume down.


Does the B2 take Headphones?

Yes - plug them into the Line Out at the back - that will mute the main speakers.

As I understand it, I can use my iPhone or android phone to control the B2 and to select / search through my collection and play an album or track.  However, what is the dependence on these phones?  I am looking for longevity on my B2 and worry that it may not function as phone develop to a point where they are unrecognisable to today's models.

Good question - actually I sidestepped that problem because the B2 has a web interface - so when you control it with an iPhone or Android - its not an "App" but the handset web browser that you use. Future devices will work with B2 in the same way you can confidently expect them to display old websites.

Internet radio: will Radio Caroline be included in the "more coming" comment?


If you are prepared to do a bit of digging I can add your radio station to the next software release. Your radio station needs to stream mp3 and I'll need the URL of a playlist file - typically ends in something like .m3u or .pls. If you look on the Wikipedia entry for BBC Radio Two - you can see their URLs. Send in the URL of your favourite station and I'll add it. 

I found these Internet Stations that would be good, I did not know which URL to use so copied them all. Absolute Classic Rock stream URLs MP3 128k: http://network.absoluteradio.co.uk/core/audio/mp3/live.pls?service=vcbb
...


Thanks - thats perfect I
 just added all the Absolute Radio stations you sent me.


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.

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.
 

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. 
 

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.

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 will have a similar mechanism that can be applied to music you copy from your JB7 to B2.
 

Does the B2 have an analogue line out as my HIFI does not have a digital line in?

Yes - B2 has analogue line out. Because B2 is so small there isn't a lot of room for connectors so we used a special combo connector for SPDIF/Line Out. You can plug in a standard 3.5mm stereo jack for analogue or plug in our optical cable that has a standard Toslink connector on the other end for digital. Optical is not susceptible to ground noise so is better - if you have kit that has it. 


Can I transfer my JB7 music collection onto a B2?

Yes - if you backup your JB7 onto a USB hard disk - then B2 can load this backup. What's more B2 will read the backup twenty times faster than the JB7 so its a relatively quick process. Also B2 will extract artist information - where available - from the backup and organise your JB7 music by artist... a feature not available on the JB7.

 

Can I purchase my own speakers for the B2?

B2 was designed for 8 ohm loudspeakers - like our BSP50s. The BSP50s are matched to the power and physical size of the B2. If you are looking for higher quality loudspeakers then you need to think about spending more than £200. 


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 detacheable with a small figure eight style connector.

 

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.

 

Hello Martin
Your instruction manual says the B2 will play M4A files, does that include the Apple Lossless (ALAC) file format? They use the file extension m4a but are more like a FLAC file than an AAC file. I believe Apple have made the ALAC licence universally available now.


Sorry just WAV,FLAC,MP3 and AAC right now. Your request has been noted.

 

hi does the b2 have a radio built in if not would it be possible if you released a new jb unit?


B2 does not have a traditional radio receiver and I'm unlikely to add one. Part of the reason is that DAB reception is rubbish where I live and work. Internet Radio is great and if you need real radio you could feed the line out or headphone output of a traditional radio receiver into the B2 Aux In.

 

hi, good luck with this new product. Question. If i load CD discs and connect the device to an external high quality CD player which can be used as a DAC (Simaudio Moon CD 3.3) in my high end hi fi system, are the files compressed or will it sound the same as playing the CD? Thank you.


On B2 CDs are normally compressed to FLAC and FLAC files are reconstituted to exactly the same samples - so it will sound the same as the original CD - because it is the same.

Can you just plug in a portable USB hard drive and copy across the music in folders? Is this supported? Also, does it support USB 3.0?


Yes use the Import function in the USB menu. B2 will copy all compatible music files - using the parent folder as the album name - and the grandparent? folder as the artist. If the track name begins with a number eg 15-Jailhouse Rock then that number will be used for track ordering. This convention is used quite a bit.

Sorry no USB3 but 480Mbits USB 2 is a whole lot better than 12Mbits JB7.

does the B 2 have dab radio or bluetooth?


DAB no. Bluetooth yes - you need to buy the optional dongle. Bluetooth input only at the moment - play your phone or tablet through B2.
 

Can you deliver to Dominican Republic?

Yes - anywhere the big couriers go.
 

If my cd isn't a official cd, can i then program the track/artist info myself?

Yes you can rename the album and tracks any time. You cannot rename the artist at present. It will be filed under unknown artist.
 

Will I be able to transfer CD tracks to my iPhone?

Not directly - I recommend you use a PC or Mac. First backup your B2 to a USB hard disk then plug the backup disk into a PC or Mac. Copy the music to the PC/Mac then import to iTunes.
 

Will the B2 eventually be compatible with MP4?

I've no plans to support video but this is something that could come from the Raspberry Pi community.


Can you hook up speakers to the B2,,as did the JB7.I did not see any speaker wire connections on the back of the B2..Thanks

Yes - there's a small picture showing speaker wires on the Features page at the left.
 

Can I use B2 in conjunction with my wireless Sonos Speaker system?

Sorry no - I believe Sonos use their own proprietary wireless system.
 

Will it be able to store or play 24bit hi res files with the aid of an external DAC?


In theory yes - B2 could drive a 24bit USB DAC. The SPDIF output is restricted to 16 bits I think though. 24bit comes up from time to time but there has been no significant interest expressed in the thousands of comments received from customers. Maybe because there is no ready supply of 24 bit music. 

 

Will multiroom with several b2s be possible albeit with tweaks to the raspberry pi is I've seen several implentations on the pi that do?

 

Its clearly possible from a technical perspective but I want to keep B2 simple. So this may be something that the Raspberry Pi community will get into...
 

Hi Martin

I've had the JB7 for some time and regularly back it up but was wondering if by connecting the JB7 to the new B2 via a USB cable, can I cut out the middle man of my back up disc or do I have to load from my back up?


You have to use your back up disk - but B2 USB is twenty times faster than JB7 so importing the JB7 music will be much much faster.

 

 





 

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.
 

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.
 

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 - I anticipate providing an image file that you can copy to any 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.


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.






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.

Can headphones be used with the b2?


Yes - plug them in the line out.

Can the B2 be used in the USA? ie 110V?

Yes - the power supply is international

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 - its not something I will be supporting but Raspberry Pi enthusiasts should be able.

Do I need to keep separate back up drives for the two devices - one for my JB7 and one for my B2? or can I use the same one for both, assuming that both have the same content?

 
You only need one backup disk. In fact if you loaded new CD A to the JB7 and new CD B to B2 then backed up each to the one backup disk - then the backup would contain both CDs. If you then restore then only the absent CDs will be transferred.