Q&A - Music Transfer and Backup

Two Ways to Load Music from USB

1) From a JB7/B2 Backup Disk - use Restore
2) Everything else - use Import

This is the file structure of a JB7/B2 backup disk. The Artist is optional and forms part of the Album name.

Import will cope with many file arrangements on the USB device - though the USB device should be formatted FAT16 or FAT32 (not NTFS).

B2 uses the parent folder as the album name and the folder above that as the artist. If there are no parent folders B2 will assign a name like USB C to the artist. You can rename it. 

NB Do not use folder called hardfi if you intend to use import (if you have called it hardfi just rename to something like mymusic or musicfrompc).

JB7 to B2

Q: 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.

Folders and USB3

Q: 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.

CD to iPhone

Q: 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.

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.

NAS - Network Attached Storage

Q: I have a Netgear ready NAS on my network which I use for remote backing up of my PC etc. Can the B2 backup to a remote NAS?

Hi B2 can't do that but given the question you may be able to set this up yourself by logging into the Raspberry Pi in the B2 (user root password brennan). Have a look around. You will find your music in /media/hdd1/music.

Update January 2017

The new NAS function makes this possible - see this note from Adrian.

Hello Martin,

Some more feedback on your NAS development. I am using Windows 10, but other versions would be similar.

On your web site under 'Music Transfer & Backup', there is an entry, under NAS where the question is asked ""Can the B2 backup to a remote NAS?"", with your answer of ""No"". With your new NAS support the answer can now be ""Yes"".

I use a backup program called SyncBack. The Source is set to the B2's music folder and the Destination is set to my NAS.

After ripping a CD I wait for the B2 to compress the tracks to FLAC then run the backup program. It just copies the new/changed tracks.

No need to disturb any USB ports.


Backup works on USB A only

The back-up disc doesn't appear to work from Port C - only Port A - so we have to take the wireless key out of the port to back-up. Is this right? Could the wireless key go in any other port?

The two ports have slightly different power capabilities so if it works with your hard drive in A thats fine.

The only thing to note is that the wireless dongle can interfere with the audio – very slightly – when it is in Port C. This can be remedied by using a short USB Extension cable like this from Amazon.

Connect B2 to JB7?

Q: Can the JB7 be connected directly to the B2 to copy music?

Sorry no. Need a backup disk as intermediary.

JB7 Backup - Unknown Artist

I've restored the backup from my JB7. Nice and quick, but I notice that several of the albums are coming up as unknown artist. These are albums that were originally ripped on the JB7. Do I need to reorganise the albums and reload again? I can move them to another device and change the organisation to <artist><album><track>

I think it might help if I describe what B2 does when restoring from a JB7 backup disk.

JB7 did not have any notion of an Artist. Music on a JB7 is organised into Albums and Tracks thats it.

However many albums on a JB7 would have titles taken from JB7's album database. And most of those followed the convention of including the artist in the album name. The artist is followed by three consecutive spaces then the album name.

When B2 restores music from a JB7 backup it looks for these three consecutive spaces and if it finds them it treats the preceding text as the Artist and the following text as the Album. If it cannot find the spaces the B2 assigns the album to artist Unknown. Its not foolproof but it works well enough.

So you will find that some music restored from a JB7 will have Artists and some will be Unknown. You can edit the Artist for each album or rename an Artist generally later.

When the B2 does a backup it creates a JB7 compatible album name from the artist, three spaces, then the B2 album name. This means one backup disk is interchangeable between JB7s and B2.

One word of caution. If you backup your music then rename anything then do a further incremental backup - then B2 (and JB7 for that matter) will treat the renamed music as new music and will make another copy of the renamed music on the backup disk. To avoid this - delete the old backup - just delete folder "hardfi" using a PC - and do a fresh total backup - after you do any renaming.

JB7 and B2 - Two Backups?

Q: 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.

However...JB7 cannot play FLAC files so if you need your music to be interchangeable with a JB7 either set compression to MP3 or turn off compression - on the B2. Thanks Jim.

Recommended Backup Disk for B2

Dear Martin.
Can you tell me the 2TB external hard
drive which you would recommend. Is it your intention to offer this for sale through your shop?

Hi JB7 had a bit of a problem with external USB drives because it needed something called FAT32. That was pretty common when JB7 was launched but became hard to get later so we sell a FAT32 500G USB drive. B2 uses FAT32 but B2 can format the external disk to FAT32 for you. Use Settings->Maintenance->Format USB. So you can buy any 2TB external disk for backup.

Import FLAC

Hi Martin - a friend has recommended one of your players and I am very interested in the new B2 model. Some questions - I can make a one-off copy off a USB drive filled with 600Mb of FLAC files ? I can also out the output into a DAC as well as a standard audio output into my amplifier ? I know I don't need to do this but I have the DAC in place already for an Apple TV.

Yes you can load all your FLAC files onto the B2. Use USB Functions -> Import From C. If your DAC has an optical SPDIF input then yes you can drive the DAC from B2 - then the sound quality is limited only by the depth of your pockets because everything is digtal up to the DAC.

JB7 Playlists

My JB7 playlists were not restored when I used the JB7 backup to load the B2. Is this intentional, or should I have been able to reload the playlists?

Sorry - the B2 cannot load a JB7 playlist.

JB7 Unknown Artist

I have a backup disc from my old JB7.
I imported around 650 albums from a file named unknown. The B2 filed them all as an artist called unknown, with the real artist name and album name as the album.
for Example -under artist it says Unknown then as the album title it says Pink Floyd Dark Side of the Moon.
I have deleted the unknown from each file, but the B2 restores it each time I import.
Any ideas? Steve.

Hi Steve when you do a Restore from a backup disk to the B2 the software looks at the names of tracks on the backup disk and the names of the tracks on the B2 and if it does not find the track on the B2 it copies that track from the backup disk to the B2.

If you rename a track (or its album or artist) on the B2 then the restore will make a second copy because it appears that there is no track by that name on the B2.

Keeping your B2 and JB7 "in sync" will require care. If you do a lot of renaming on the B2 like adding artists - then you may want to consider creating a fresh backup disk from the B2 (you will need to delete the old backup by deleting the hardfi directory on the backup disk using a PC) and then delete all the music on the JB7 and restore from this new backup disk.

Some owners decide just to freeze the collection on their JB7.

Alphabetical Ordering

"Hi Having just backed up my Brennan b2 to a Toshiba external HDD I notice that it has backed my music up in alphabetical order. If I delete the music currently on the Brennan HDD; which is in input order; and use the backup to reinstall - will it then list in alphabetical order??

I saw that software to list alphabetically is in progress but am wondering if this would work right now. 

Thanks Caroline"

Hi Caroline - good thinking but it won't work. The backup on the Toshiba just looks to be in alphabetical order because the PC you used to view the disk does this. The order of the files on the Toshiba is the same input order. Martin

Folders for USB Import

Q: If there are more than 3 folder levels will the B2 still take the album as the bottom folder (ie parent of the tracks) and the artist as its grandparent (ignoring the higher levels)?

Hi Eric yes thats exactly right. 

Artist called USB A?

Hi Martin, Having some difficulties importing external files to the SD version from a usb 2 disk plugged into port A.

The import routine imports the majority of the folders to a parent folder called 'usba' which is obviously not in the original disk.

This is consistent behaviour even if you wipe and start again.

Wonder whats going on? cheers Bill

Hi Bill. Its behaving as it should. The import function expects the music on your USB hard disk or memory stick to be organised hierarchically in folders like this


B2 scans your USB device and whenever it finds a music track - it uses the parent folder as the album name and the grandparent folder as the artist. This is the convention used by software like iTunes and others.

If your music is only nested in albums - then there is no artist folder to get a name from. So B2 uses the name of the USB port - to remind you that it was an import from USB.

The thing to do would be rename the artist "USB A" to something helpful like "Music from PC".


Backup JB7 and B2

I already have a JB7 with CDs stored as WAV files. I'm thinking of buying a B2 as well. From the Q & A I understand that the two machines could share a backup drive, provided I turn off compression on the B2.

What happens if in the future I want to change to FLAC on the B2 for space reasons? If I turn compression back on will it compress all the existing tracks it's holding stored as WAV to FLAC , or only new CDs?

Are there any other benefits to FLAC apart from size?

Thanks Roger

Hi Roger

If you turn compression on - B2 will compress everything to FLAC. No benefit apart from space. Two possible solutions - buy a second USB backup disk - simple. Or keep renaming the hardfi directory on the backup using a PC - if you keep your wits about you you can have two backups on the USB hard drive - say you had jb7hardfi and b2hardfi - you would have to rename the one you want to use to just hardfi prior to use on the brennan - messy but cheap



Restore Overwrite?

I want to load my JB7 backup onto my B2. Will MP3s from the JB7 replace FLAC files I have already loaded onto the B2 - I'd like it if the B2 kept the FLAC files.

Hi Good Question - The restore function does not overwrite files. So if you have Jailhouse Rock as a FLAC file on the B2 and as an MP3 on the JB7 backup - it will skip that file during the restore. Which is what you want. Martin


Hi Martin, I have many albums in FLAC format saved to many DVD discs. Would it be possible for me to transfer these to the B2 using the CD slot on the B2, or would I have to transfer them all to a PC first, please? Regards Michael

Hi Michael. theoretically it would be possible for the B2 to read the disks but the B2 software does not have provision to do it. So yes you need to transfer the music to a USB hard disk using a PC. Martin

B2 to JB7

I have a B2 and a JB7. Great machines, but 2 Questions
Can I backup my B2 (all uncompressed files) and restore it into a JB7 in instalments with the JB7 compression at, say, 192 so it all fits? If so:
a. will the data look the same on the JB7, &
b. will the backup disc get compressed in the process?
Many thanks Alistair

Hi Alistair - very crafty - yes I believe that will work. The uncompressed (wav) files on the B2 backup should be compatible with the JB7.
If there are too many for the JB7 then yes you could manually divide the B2 backup into bite sized chunks by dragging some albums out of the hardfi folder on the backup using File Explorer or similar PC tool. And no the backup disk won't get compressed - the compression will happen in the JB7 after the copy. Martin

Update 6th March 2017

Alistair tells me JB7 has problems playing WAV files from B2. Under investigation.


I've been a JB7 owner for a few years, and delighted with it. I have now recently purchased a B2 64G and even more pleased with, thank you!
The connections information states ""NB USB B is only functional on B2 models without internal hard disks"" Sadly I can't get mine to recognise any FAT USB Flash drives although USB C does and has transferred lots of PC music in various formats - listening to it right now.
Have I missed something?
Thank you for your valuable time, JM

Hello Jack
You are quite right I need to be clearer about it. USB B is not even connected on hard disk models but…
The software is written to work on all B2 models so the USB hard disk mounting software only looks at USB A and USB C.
I haven’t used/tested USB B much in the last 18 months – but I would expect it to work with Wifi and Bluetooth dongles and USB keyboards. Martin