Q&A - Can B2 do this?





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.


Power

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?


Yes
 

DNLA

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

Martin
 

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.

Martin

 

DJ Mode

 

Hi,
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

Vinyl Crackle Filter

Q: I have a large collection of vinyl, it would be good to transfer it to hard disk, especially if some of the crackle could be filtered out in the process. A firm (Goodmans?) produced a crack filter many years ago, unfortunately I never got one. Could a modern version be built into the B2?


Hi Ian. I've added the suggestion to the wish list. I think I'll be offering more support for transferring vinyl in the long term. One customer suggested allowing tracks to be split after the recording was made. Which I think is a great idea. Click filtering could prove to be difficult and you may be better off using free specialist software like Audacity 

 

ALAC

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.

 

Traditional Radio

Q: 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.

 

DAB & Bluetooth

Q: 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.
 

MP4

Q: 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.

24 Bit

Q: 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...
 

Recording From Radio

...Having read about the ‘new improved’ B2 on the website (especially the inclusion on internet radio!) I ordered one sometime ago and hope to be able to use it during the Proms season starting 17 July 2015. I think the site mentions one of my queries (fast forward and rewind) but I would be very grateful if you could answer the following queries:

a) I am assuming that I can record directly from the internal internet radio without using a lot of other ‘gear’? Definitely the most attractive new feature to me!
b) Have you managed to incorporate some kind of ‘pause during recording’ facility?
c) ‘Fast forward & rewind’ if not already implemented, can I add this in the near future via a download?
d) I’m assuming from reading the website that I will not lose-out by buying the B2 on its launch (rather than waiting 6 months) as any new features can be added later. Is this correct?
As classical music (and the collecting of it!) has been a major part of my life from school to retirement, I can honestly say the JB7 has been great fun and I look forward to using the B2.


Hi - thanks for the feedback and the longest question so far.

a) recording from internet radio is on the wish list
b) pause during recording - not heard this request before I've added to wish list.
c) Fast foward and rewind - this is in the pipeline I've already coded some of the inner workings of this.
d) Quite right - you will be able to upgrade and early adopters will get more of a voice in shaping how B2 works - I've talked to quite a few new B2 owners about what they want out of B2.
 

DNLA

HI Martin,
Great product. Glad to see yet another innovative use for a PI.
Obviously with this at it's core is there any chance of adding DNLA client software.With over 1000 CDs stored on a NAS drive, a compact all in-one unit would be great.
Similarly allowing the B2 to act as a DNLA server would be great.


Hi I have added this to the wish list - and I will investigate further - although I have to say DNLA did not come up a lot in the thousands of comments I received. Interoperability is a potential problem. 

 

Audio Books

Hello Martin,
Is it possible to put multi disc audio books as well as music albums on the B2 in such a way that they aren't included in the random play function, and would play in order.


Not possible at the moment but another good idea. I seem to remember a B&O product that grouped music into different members of the household. I've put your question in the wish list. I think some of these ideas will be a lot more feasible with the new web UI that I'm working on.
 

DVD

Hi Martin,
It seems to me that the B2 would be capable of storing and playing DVDs as well as CDs with the correct programming - is that the case and if so, would it be on your list of future developments or would you leave it to hobbyists to create the program?


Its certainly possible to play DVDs on B2 - I did it with a Raspbmc SD card - but I will leave video to hobbyists.
 

Bass & Treble

Q: Does the B2 have base and treble adjustment?


Not yet - its on the wish list - JB7 had it - I just need to copy the code.

ID3 

Q: Does the B2 use ID3 Tag information?

I export music from my JB7 to a USB stick to play in my car but, without the track numbers, they are played in alphabetical order of the file names. Regards, Peter


Hi Peter. B2 does not use ID3 tag information at the moment but I'll be working on that area - so that B2 can make the most of downloaded music from Amazon and ITunes etc.

You can now edit the track order number on B2 - if you adhere to the convention 01 Trackname, 02 Trackname etc then alphabetical order corresponds to the correct play order so your car will play them in the right order. Martin

12V Car Battery 

Q: I spend a lot of time travelling in my Motor Home. Will the B2 work on a 12 volt system?


Yes - I just tested my B2 at 12V and it works ok. The display is not as bright and the power amplifier will not be able to deliver its full power but the core B2 electronics runs at 5V with a switcher so 12V is as good as 24V.

Album to USB

Q: Can I save a single B2 album or track to an external storage device rather than the whole collection?
Thanks,

Sorry not possible at the moment - its on the nice to have wish list.

Sonos & Ethernet

"Martin, there was an earlier question about Sonos specifically asking about the wifi link and you said they are not compatible.    I see the B2 has an Ethernet connection, so would it work as a music server connected by Ethernet to a Sonos amp? Lee"

Hi Lee. Sorry no. It would be theoretically possible to use the B2 hardware that way - it has all the right stuff - if I wrote the software - but all my experience of network attached storage devices and investigation into DNLA and UPNP has been very negative - they are complicated and unreliable so not my cup of tea. Martin

Automatic Music Recognition

A few years ago i asked if it would ever be possible to name albums and tracks uploaded from compilation cassette tapes wihout the laborious task of manual typing them in, i wanted to know if these tunes from the cassettes would be recognised by gracenotes, soundhound, shazam etc. at that time you replied 'unfortunately not at this time' now there is an internet connection to the B2 would it now be possible? thanks. 

Hi Its probably possible now that B2 has an internet connection but...its not something that has been requested before and I'm not sure how good the services are - I mean they may be adequate at recognizing today's top ten but have no coverage of older recordings. Its not something I foresee working on - sorry.
 

Home Automation

Can I use the Brennan with my Control 4 home automation system?


Hi Richard - if you mean can you control B2 from your system - sorry B2 has not been designed to work with Control 4. However if you operate the Control 4 system from a tablet then you could use its browser to control the B2 - ask your dealer.

SACD

Hi - I saw that the drive of the B2 is capable of playing DVD's and appreciate of course that the machine is for audio not video. However, is it likely that the drive would, via an update, play and record SACD's and DVD-Audios?


Sorry I'd have to say its unlikely in the near future - mainly because I have not had many requests. I'm posting this question in case there are other SACD and DVD Audio owners who want to register their interest. Martin.

 

Random within Artist

Hi Martin - I'm really enjoying the B2 now that I have loaded all 2,000 albums! I have tried but failed to play tracks randomly within an Artist - have I missed something or is this not possible? Thanks

Hi Peter - its not possible at the moment - its on the wish list so its coming. As a temporary measure you could copy the albums into a playlist and play that randomly - 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

Gapless?

"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

SD v SSD

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.
Martin

SSD?

I have a JB7 and would be interested in B2, I was wondering if you have plans to use SSD drive instead of traditional hard drive? Regards Ian

Hi Ian. The way I think of it is that the SD model is the SSD variant. SSD is really just a different kind of flash memory. It costs more than SD per G because it is different mechanically and has different capabilities. But SSD has been designed to replace Hard Disks in computers. Actually SD is closer to our needs so its a better deal. Martin
 

Export FLAC as MP3

Can you export the FLAC-compressed music files stored in the B2 to an external USB drive in mp3 format (e.g. so the USB stick can then be plugged into a music input slot in a car)?

Good Question. Sorry no - not at the moment. The main reason is that it would be sloooow. MP3 encoding on Raspberry Pi is slow. It a good idea and its on the wish list. The way around it would be to keep a second MP3 copy of everything. The MP3 would be generated in advance while the B2 was in standby. Martin

24 Bit USB DAC

Hi, Congratulations for your product! I already advertised it to my friends and I am tempted to buy one. Just a question: is it possible to connect it to a Cambridge DacMagic100 digital to analogue converter via USB Audio 2.0, so that I can take advantage of 24bit/196kHz files?
Thank you in advance for your help,
Antonio


Hi Antonio - B2 will not drive an external USB DAC - at the moment possibly in the future.
However B2 will play 24 bit FLAC files. I bought some from hdtracks.com (dont remember the sample rate). So there is nothing to stop you migrating to 24 bit.  Martin