SHEDNOTES 76: The Brennan JB7

Martin Brennan’s CD ripper, the JB7, was brilliant for its time and The Shed has owned and mainly loved one since 2009.
When it is working right, playing your lifetime’s choices back to you at random, it is the perfect companion.
As all the critics say, you could get the same results cheaper with a small computer and Windows Media Player or something similar. But the point is that it’s not a computer. Brennan knew that a lot of us wanted a machine which made storing tunes as simple as switching on a kettle and he built a CD scanner and a computer into tiny box with an amplifier which has driven two chunky old Wharfedales for six years without requiring anywhere near full output.
As accused, the filing system is clunky, compared to the software you can now run on your tablet or laptop, but it is more fun than sitting at a screen.
It can, however, be buggy as hell. To be fair, Brennan was very good at taking it back for fixes and ours was practically rebuilt, and updated, in the course of tracking down a problem which eventually required a new motherboard. There was never any charge and our only complaint, in the end, was lack of communication from the contractors who did the after-sales servicing. They did not explain what they had found and you were never sure they had properly taken in what you told them. They just worked through a troubleshooting programme until they replaced the right bit. However, The Shed has read a former employee saying they were working 16 hours a day on piecework and our JB7 did eventually get back to running like a top for a couple of years.
Now the bugs are back. It will not recognise a CD has been inserted or it will stop and stick on Load Incomplete. It will go into a go-slow on searching for an album or a track which might take hours to work through and cannot be stopped without jamming the machine. And Brennan has stopped production and withdrawn the free back-up service for models which are out of guarantee.
The Shed has learned to bully the JB7 more or less back into line and it will play on at random from the database while we decide what to do. Repairs can still be got at a cost. Richer Sounds has the last of the unused JB7s on offer at around £450. And The Shed has most of its tunes backed up on an external hard drive.
Martin Brennan has moved on to a new box, due out very soon, with lossless compression instead of MP3 compromise; better facilities for dealing with downloads as opposed to CDs; and brains based on a Raspberry Pi, which can be taken out and replaced if necessary. He is getting a lot of abuse from JB7 owners but The Shed reckons he delivered a fair deal and will have learnt his lessons well and we have put ourselves down for the upgrade.
Read about it at
http://www.brennan.co.uk/
And check out Martin’s recommendation for I’m New Here by Gil Scott-Heron
at

morelater …

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9 Responses to SHEDNOTES 76: The Brennan JB7

  1. hack4hire says:

    Just in case anyone else reads this, I should say the JB7 is now back to working perfectly …
    cleaned CD heads;
    cleaned all troublesome CDs;
    remapped the drive;
    kept pushing the bloody thing to straighten up and fly right until it did.

  2. Brian Barber says:

    I’m a long-time JB 7 User and have no complaints about its facilities, and (so far) hqave had very few problems of any kind….BUT : not knowing any better, when I first got the JB 7, I loaded all my CDs, all my audio cassettes, and all my vinyl in what was, in effect a random order, and have topped up since using MP3 downloads via a memory stick. So I now have a wonderful collection of MP3 music etc. which is an organisational mess ! Mea Culpa !!!! Does anyone know of a way of reorganising to albums ? I have them backed up on an external disk, and although I could just sit and re-sequence 4,000+ MP3 files on my PC, I have no idea how they would go if I tried to restore them onto the JB 7 using the built in Brennan software.

    Any help, advice, suggestions welcome …. would even consider spending some money on a software fix if there were one !!!!!

    Brian Barber

    • hack4hire says:

      Hi Brian. You might do better asking the JB7 forum on Amazon, which I’ve found helpful in the past. But in the course of sorting files, I did just come across a mention of a programme called MusicBrainz, by Picard, if I’ve got it right, which will use wave recognition to id tracks and internet info to sort them by album, date, etc. Would love to get a report if you try it. Regards, and thanks for the correspondence …

      • Brian Barber says:

        Thanks for your advice. The albums on my external backup drive show uo on my PC as being in alphabetical order – which is probably due to MS software’s vagaries. I will have a lookk aound on Amazon & see where I get to. Regards, Brian Barber

      • Mark says:

        Hi, strange request, but i have a jb7. Dont suppose you still have the most recent software update or operating system downliad do you. Will happily pay you for it if you wanted to list it on here?
        Thanks

        Mark

    • Mark says:

      Hi, strange request, but i have a jb7. Dont suppose you still have the most recent software update or operating system downliad do you. Will happily pay you for it if you wanted to list it on here?
      Thanks

      Mark

    • Mark says:

      Brian can you help me with software or operating system downloads for jb7

      Mark

    • Brian Barber says:

      Mark, This is the first time I’ve seen your various responses, so belated thanks !
      Have never bothered with updates, although when I returned the unit for repair (long, long ago !) they may have updated the software.

  3. Mark says:

    Hi, strange request, but i have a jb7. Dont suppose you still have the most recent software update or operating system downliad do you. Will happily pay you for it if you wanted to list it on here?
    Thanks

    Mark

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