Frequently asked questions.


Use the Brennan on its own or combine it with your existing system.

Knowledge base and email technical support here





Can you search for an artist or composer?

Yes - by convention the artist or composer is appended to the album name (or to the track name for compilations of various artists). So for instance if you use the Search Albums function and search for "beet" you will find all albums with Beethoven in the name.


Can you recommend a good USB drive for backup?

We recommend the 2.5" Freecom Mobile Drive classic II 320G USB2 drive or the Freecom Mobile Drive XXS 320GB USB2 - both work out of the box.

If you are more technically minded the JB7 works with most USB hard drives but you may need to reformat to FAT32 and if the drive is bigger than 500G you will need to partition it into smaller drives and the JB7 backup drive should be first in the partition table and active.

The Buffalo Drivestation 500GB used to work straight out of the box but may now be NTFS (it doesn't say on the box) . We have also tested the Western Digital My Passport 320G 2.5" drive, although this needs to be reformatted to FAT32. We also tested the Maxtor Basics 320G 2.5" drive - it needed to be reformatted to FAT32 then worked OK.

Philips 500G and Maxtor Basics 500G 3.5" external drives need to be reformatted to FAT32 - see the item on the left about formatting.

Customers have reported problems with Toshiba drives.


Can you update the album database?

We update the album database monthly and you can order a copy on CD from us. Update the database from the settings menu. You are free to share the database with other JB7 owners.

Any CDs that you loaded but weren't found in the old database can be looked up in the new database. Use relabel in the album menu. 


Why do you need to update the album database?

If you bought JB7 today then it would know about almost all the CDs published before 1st May 2009. So if you inserted a popular CD that was published in December 2007 then JB7 would almost certainly know the album and track names. (Its hard to believe but this information is not actually stored on the CD). 

If a band like the Hoosiers was to release a new CD next week and you bought the CD then JB7 would not recognize it. You would then have to give the album a temporary name – say “Hoosiers” – when you load it onto JB7.

In a few months you could purchase the latest album database CD from us and load it onto JB7.

You can then use JB7 to re-label this album from the new album database. Its in the manual - but you select the Hoosiers album either by scrolling through the albums or doing a text search then select “Re-label Album” from the menu. JB7 will then rename the album and all the tracks from the newly loaded database.

If you have a large pre-existing CD collection and its not growing that fast then you may never choose to update the album database. If there are particular tracks on new CDs that you want to find easily then you can edit the name on an individual track.


Can you feed JB7 into an amplifier?

Yes - about half our customers use JB7 with an existing amplifier. You can either use the JB7 line-out or the headphone out. (Both use 3.5mm stereo jack connectors.) The advantage with using the headphone out is that JB7 detects the headphone is being used and turns off the internal power amplifier. Also the main control can be used to adjust the volume of the headphone out - the line out has a fixed level.The JB7 power amps are happy to run without any speakers connected.

Customers have connected the JB7 to amplifiers from a huge variety of manufacturers - Bose, Denon, Sonos, Linn, Arcam, Sony - you name it - without any difficulty.


Does JB7 have network connection or a WiFi connection?

No - JB7 doesn't have a network connection. If you have a lot of MP3s from the internet JB7 will play them from your favourite MP3 player. Or you could transfer the MP3s to a USB hard drive where JB7 can play them. Finally you can load them into JB7 from the USB hard drive so you have an additional copy of the MP3s for safe keeping. 


I heard that your product supports lossless storage but I cannot find anything on the website.

JB7 is about convenience and accessibility so we tend not to focus on compression types and bit rates – I design the low level software that deals with inverse cosine transforms, Huffman codes, psycho acoustic masking and all that kind of stuff but when I listen to music I don’t want to deal with all that – I just want my music easy to get to. 

JB7 uses MP3 compression so it can fit more CDs on a hard disk – most people most of the time will not notice any difference. I know what to listen for and most of the time I cannot tell the difference and often think I am listening to one when its the other.

Some people may want to keep an exact copy of the CD so JB7 provides the option to enable/disable MP3 compression on a CD by CD basis. If you load a CD with compression turned off it will not be MP3 compressed but it will use more space on the disk.

This is lossless storage of the original CD but it is not compressed so it is not a lossless compression like FLAC - its just an exact copy of the CD.


I have a lot of MP3s on my PC what is the best way to get them into JB7 so that they are organised into albums?

You need to use a USB memory stick or a USB drive as a go-between. There are three ways of transferring MP3s from the USB device onto the Brennan. 

  1. Load all the MP3s on the USB device to one new "album" on the JB7. Connect your USB device to the USB port and  select "Load MP3s" from the USB functions menu. You can rename the album later. 
  2. Load all the MP3s keeping their album organisation. "Upload Albums" from the USB functions menu loads all the MP3s from the USB device and uses the folders names on the USB as album names on JB7.
  3. Load one folder/album from the USB. Select USB on the remote. Pick the album/folder on the USB drive using Album Search or Browse Albums functions then chose Upload Album.

Please can you tell me if the Brennan JB7 supports Windows Media Audio (wma) format audio files?  I've got tons of files in that format

JB7 doesn't play WMA but a customer in a similar position recommended using a program called Switch to batch convert the files to MP3. Once you have them in MP3 copy them to a USB drive/memory and plug that into JB7. You can download Switch here.


What can I do to ensure a gap between tracks?

The JB7 normally blends one track into the next. Its called Segue. Classical listeners generally do not want that. To turn Segue off select Settings from the menu, then Play Mode, then select Segue Off. There is also a Classical play mode that turns segue off and stops playing at the end of each album - like a performance.


Can I record individual tracks from a CD onto the Brennan?

The simplest approach to this is to load the entire album; then simply delete those which are not required.


Vinyl & Cassettes

dscf0625_300You can record your cassettes and records on to the Brennan as if the JB7 was a very large tape recorder.

Depending on your equipment you may need a 3.5mm stereo jack to twin phono lead or an adaptor or some other lead - see below. We buy our cables from Cabling4less  


You need to connect a line level signal into the JB7 Aux In. The simplest way to do that is to use line out or the headphone out on your existing amplifier.


  1. Press Aux on the JB7 remote control - you will hear what you are about to record through the JB7 loudspakers or headphones.
  2. Press Rec to start recording
  3. Press Rec to stop recording






Default Recording Time - before recording for the first time it is important to set the default recording time. From Recording on the main menu press Recording time and set an appropriate maximum recording time-out eg. 60 mins. The default exists to stop accidental over recording which could fill the hard drive.

Recording Level - from the Menu press Recording, then scroll to find and select Recording Level.  Find and play the loudest passage of music to be recorded and increase the recording level until it starts to distort.  Then turn it back a  couple of clicks to select the optimum recording level.

Turntable - if your present turntable does not have a built in pre-amp then connect via your amplifier's Line Out or Headphone socket to the Brennan's Aux socket.

Line-out Sockets - Some systems , such as Micro cassette players do not have twin line out sockets.  In this case, using a single jack plug lead, connect via your system's headphone socket.

Find & Rename - to find the recording go to Browse Albums in the main menu.  The last album will be called Recordings.  From here you should Rename the entire album or Pick a track and Rename those individually.  This can be done using the remote or a USB keyboard.

Tip -  each time you press Rec a new recording will be listed and will need to be renamed.  Many find that recording a side at a time (A & B) is the ideal solution.  Perhaps that favourite track could be recorded seperately.

Is there any place I can see and hear the Brennan in the flesh? I live quite near Cambridge. 

I know what you mean about wanting to see it in the flesh. We only sell direct however (internet & mail order) so there are no retailers and we don't have a showroom at our offices or factory. There are quite a few reviews of the JB7 on the internet to help you with your decision and then there is the money back guarantee if the JB7 isn't all you hoped for. Selling direct allows us to sell at a much lower price than if the JB7 was sold on the high street.


Will the JB7 work in North America on 110V?

Yes - the JB7 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.  

Can I open up the JB7 and put in a bigger capacity hard disk? 

Not really - there a lot of screws and printed circuit boards to be removed. Then the hard disk will need to be formatted with a proprietary format and the database installed etc - so its not something we can support.

What is the best way to get music from JB7 onto my iPod?

Transfer the music from the JB7 onto a USB memory stick. Then plug the memory stick into your PC. Copy the MP3s to a convenient folder on the PC then use iTunes to load these MP3s onto your iPod.

What is the best way to get my iTunes music onto JB7?

The best way is to copy folders of MP3s from your iTunes library onto a USB memory stick. Plug the memory stick into the JB7 and select upload albums from the USB functions menu. If your iTunes library contains non MP3 files then you will have to convert them first.







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In depth guide

I am working on a detailed guide for customers and owners who have detailed questions. Its work in progress but you can read it here.

Martin Brennan



  • How many CD's can you store at the various bitrates and what about lossless or uncompressed?

               160G   320G   500G

128k        2500    5000   5000

192k        1600    3200   5000

320k        1000    2000   3000

Lossless    210     420     630

N.B. 192k is the default setting - normal compression. 


  • How do I format a USB drive to use FAT32?

Windows will not format with FAT32 if a USB drive is bigger than a certain size. JB7 needs FAT32 to work so we use a free utility program called Swissknife to to re-format USB drives. You can download Swissknife here.

We have also heard good things about EASUS Partition Manager Home Edition that you can download here


  • CD-ROM missing?

We install the album database at the factory so we no longer ship a CDROM with the JB7.  


  • Can I have a copy of the instruction booklet?

Instruction booklet download


  • Do you export?

Yes we have exported JB7 to lots of countries as far away as Australia. We do not export loudspeakers because it is not economical to fly them. Delivery usually takes two or three working days. We do not have mains plugs for countries other than the UK but the AC adaptor is universal and has a detachable lead with a small figure eight connector.