Brennan JB7 Music Player

This is the first I have heard of this device, but The Brennan JB7 is a music player that apparently has been available in the UK for a while. They now have a US web site at www.thebrennan.com. It’s essentially an MP3 player with a hard drive, USB port and CD slot. It comes in a 160 GB model for $539, and a 500 GB model for $699.

At the simplest level, you can load your CDs in the front slot and it rips them directly to the internal hard drive. They have a pre-loaded album database that will add the titles and artists, and seven playlists you can setup and are named by colors. There is no network connection, so to update the database you need to order a new database on CDROM ($10).

The connectors include:

  • 24V DC to power (and AC Adaptor)
  • Headphone output
  • Line out
  • Aux in (to connect tuner, turntable, ipod, etc.)
  • USB Port

You can record anything through the Aux port, you can also play files connected via USB. This can be an flash drive, hard drive, or even iPod (though they warn of odd file names).

The JB7 only supports MP3, or you can rip a CD with no compression. It also only supports FAT formatted drives.

It has its limitations, but the JB7 looks to do the job it sets to do right out of the box. What do you think? Too limited? Anyone actually have one?

Posted in: Audio, Video, TV Gear, News

{ 28 comments… add one }

  • Bob DeLoyd May 23, 2011, 3:44 pm

    Hell my laptop can do all that and it cost me less, plus I can do a whole lot more on it :P

    1
  • Ronald May 23, 2011, 5:06 pm

    I think they’re too late on the market with this thing. I have an iPhone with 32 Gb, it’s got about 3600 songs on it and isn’t full yet.
    If I attach it to my stereo I’ve got sooo many hours of music.
    I really don’t need this player.

    2
  • Andy June 22, 2011, 9:51 am

    I haven’t bought one yet, but as I have a CD collection in excess of 1500 albums, it seems the most effective and probably the quickest way of condensing it all into one small unit. Still doing my research though……

    3
  • Dave the Limey July 12, 2011, 9:13 am

    Just bought one for my Father (and to cheer up Mum who is getting concerned at all the CD clutter!). Yes, I know a Laptop with a decent soundcard or external D/A Converter fed into a ‘proper hifi’ trumps this no problem, but at the end of the day, my old man is no IT geek – so this is probably just the job for his needs.

    4
  • Richard Reese-Laird August 13, 2011, 11:04 pm

    This is actually a product for “the rest of us”. When someone says “my phone will hold all my music”, they are NOT the target market! A CD runs at 1400+ kbps- meaning a LOT of sonic info is discarded in the mp3 (et al) compression scheme. For those of us who remember music actually sounding good, but have never enjoyed digging through our media for an evening of music, this device is a perfect product! The joys of our collection (you can store your treasures uncompressed) with the convenience of the computer age! Can’t wait for the terrabyte version! (And, no, I’m not an old guy or from a third-world country. MP3s sound like doo-doo!)

    5
  • Pete September 2, 2011, 5:49 pm

    If you like the idea of this, check out the Cocktail Audio X10.
    Does what the Brennan does plus links to a PC or Mac, gives you internet radio and goes up to 2TB, for less money.

    http://www.cocktailaudio.com/

    6
  • Richard Reese-Laird September 2, 2011, 6:20 pm

    Thanks Pete! You know where I’m coming from- this is just the ticket.
    Can’t buy in U.S. yet, but I’m not in a huge hurry…
    I should probably give you a finder’s fee or something!

    7
  • Pete September 2, 2011, 6:57 pm

    Thanks.

    Just found this myself almost by chance as it has not been advertised much in the UK.

    I had been looking at the Brennan for some time but was put off by some negative reviews. I had all but given up searching when looking on a forum recently someone flagged up a few alternatives. The others were upwards of £2,000 but the X10 is under £400 for a 2TB HD version, so was within my budget.
    They are available via Amazon marketplace in UK and are apparently going like “hot cakes” in Germany. There are some bugs in the unit as it is new but they seem keen to iron out the glitches so hopefully it will be the answer.

    This link might be of interest.
    http://www.avforums.com/forums/streamers-network-music-players/1476419-cocktail-audio-x10-any-comments.html

    Sorry they are not available in the US (makes a change for us to get something before you guys). Hope they will be available soon where you are, if you decide it is for you. New supliers are popping up here each week.
    You could e-mail them, they seem very helpful and may be able to advise you.

    Best of luck.

    Pete.

    8
  • PA September 26, 2011, 6:06 am

    I have had a JB7 now for a few months. When it works as expected it is good (yet I find it overly complex). Due to ‘hiss’ issues I have had to patch the software with hex files from Brennan (which work intermittently). The unit was sent back to Brennen – and returned with no explanation or note to say any fault had been found and / or rectified. The intermittent ‘hiss’ fault still exists and is the reason why it is gathering dust…..The Brennan customer service people are outstanding, shame the product isn’t.

    9
  • Marco Leone January 13, 2012, 10:42 am

    I also recently bought the new Cocktail Audio X10, after owning a Brennan JB7,

    What I can say is that Cocktail Audio X10 is a lot better, more reliable, more features, very good sound.

    I bought it from Italy: http://www.cocktailaudio.it because I’m in Milan.

    The most important features for me are:

    – CD Ripping in FLAC;
    – Playlist creating;
    – Discography View (very useful!!);
    – IRadio: you can listen and also register tons of free high quality internet radios!

    I’m very happy with my new toy!

    Marco

    10
  • stafford April 2, 2012, 1:40 pm

    I’m sure this is a stupid question; but does anyone know if I can take a purchased CD and burn it to a flash drive without any loss of sound and be able to play it on any usb device such as car audio or the new receivers with usb inputs. I don’t want to have to use CD’s but I also don’t want to lose any quality when I demo product.
    Thanks Much!

    11
  • Mike September 16, 2012, 4:03 am

    I have owned one of these for about 3 years, and find that it works extremely well allowing access to my CD collection(after loading) without having to clear them all up off the floor the next day!!. Our Iphones(32gb) are also as good, but a pain when your having party and the phone rings!!.
    As an independent player, the unit is outstanding. although initially I found using the menu overly complex to find the simplest of tracks,
    Mike

    12
  • Rob October 31, 2012, 2:30 pm

    What I meant to say was :-
    I have had 2 Brennan jb7 in the last few days, first one kept freezing and the remote died, the second died after loading 5 CDs. Just waiting for my third….if this is faulty it will be a refund.
    It’s a pity it does not function as described….

    13
  • Carl craven November 15, 2012, 6:55 am

    I have had my Brennan for about 3 yrs now. Never had a problem with it and it continues to give me aural pleasure. Ta. Bozo.

    14
  • Arvtoon December 12, 2012, 12:34 pm

    I purchased a JB7 from Amazon.com (US) in June of 2011. It took me over a year to load 1,270 and it just quit recognizing CDs- any CDs rather on their data base or not, it just stopped. My real nightmare began though once I started contacting Brennan’s customer service. Apparently they spend all their time taking tea breaks there because getting any kind of help or reply from them is like pulling teeth, and once you get a reply it’s just run around info from their website which does no good. They have refused to take any responsibility for selling me a defective unit and want to charge me for repairs and return shipping to the UK. Fortunately, Amazon stepped up and is refunding my money for returning the JB7 to them. I am purchasing another JB7 so that I haven’t wasted a year of my life loading the first one, but if this one is defective I will tell them where to stick it. If there’s a better alternative out there I’d suggest buying that. Their product is barely functional and their customer service SUCKS OUT LOUD!!!

    15
  • Bob DeLoyd December 12, 2012, 1:54 pm

    @Arvtoon, I don’t want to come off sounding like a smart ass, but isn’t this what a computer does? From the article: “It’s essentially an MP3 player with a hard drive, USB port and CD slot.”
    Try using http://audacity.sourceforge.net/ on your computer…

    16
  • Arvtoon December 12, 2012, 3:21 pm

    Bob- As for coming off like a smart ass– too late. Does your computer burn a whole CD in three minutes? Will your computer then play your whole collection back to you in random order through your home stereo speakers, and will it do so from remote control? Does Ipod make a unit with 500GB that will hold up to 3,000 CD’s? (No!) Not everyone wants to set up their home computer next to their stereo and then configure it or buy other (2-3) components to burn tracks from LP’s, cassettes and CDs. While it’s possible to download a whole CD from I-Tunes or some such site in even less than 3 minutes, why should I pay to download all the 1,300 plus CDs I ALREADY have in my collection, and why should I use up my computer memory for this? While I’m having issues with my JB7, I will work those out, but I think the convenience and appeal of such an item for those with large CD collections are quite OBVIOUS, while your comments have nothing to do with my review of their component or their customer service. You could have asked the same silly question of anyone else who’s commented in this forum. You’ve obviously misinterpreted the advantages of the unit’s functions over a computer or Ipod’s. Besides- I’m not here to trade comments with people who just like to argue. I just wanted to relay my disappointing experiences with the Brennan company to help others make an informed decision. Please go bother someone else. You’ll get no more comments from me. Thanks.

    17
  • Bob DeLoyd December 12, 2012, 5:25 pm

    @Arvtoon, I am sorry if I worded my question to you in a wrong way… but you did answer my question, thanks.

    18
  • Jimmy Bloggs January 9, 2013, 11:05 am

    Bob – congratulations on your polite and measured response. Well done old chap!

    19
  • Arvtoon January 9, 2013, 3:15 pm

    Jimmy Bloggs- way to reply to a month old conversation that doesn’t concern you, old chap! Bob D’s comments were condescending, beside the point and obtrusive and he deserved the response he received. Now would you care to carry this further? For those still interested in sticking to the point, I eventually told Brennan to take a hike and I purchased the Cocktail Audio X10 hard drive receiver instead, which serves all the same purposes as the Brenna JB7, but actually functions properly. Otherwise I won’t be replying to any more comments on my chat forum etiquette, or the lack thereof.

    20
  • Bob DeLoyd January 11, 2013, 2:07 pm

    @Jimmy Bloggs
    Thank you, I’m glad someone noticed :)

    21
  • Rick January 14, 2013, 10:04 am

    Well- I’ve waited a year, and I’m glad I did. Looks like the Cocktail audio is the way to go! Have any of you guys heard thier little speakers? (Just wondering if it’s just a high-proffit add-on for them, or if they’ve really developed a nice little speaker) I had plans to by-pass the amp, but if it works as a good little table-top system…
    (I’m thinking stand-alone in the Florida room, the patch it in to the big hi-fi for those more “listening-intensive” evenings)

    22
  • Big Nige January 14, 2013, 5:15 pm

    Hi folks.

    I’m in the UK and had a Cocktail Audio X10 now for about 18 months. Its far superior to the Brennan in every way. Sound, capabilities, ease of use, connectivity, the lot. Two USB sockets, optical digital out, line out, headphones out and phono out – so connect it to just around anything. Network compatible with your PC, laptop, pad, phone blah blah. Operate all those songs from your phone if you like. Holds ALL your music in wav, flac, ogg – and even bad ol’ mp3 (and quite a few other formats too now).

    Recognises most CDs you throw at it, tags all the tracks for you via the net with no having to purchase an updated database disc. Firmware updates itself too.

    Stores your whole collection, which can be played in any way you like, albums, tracks, genres, random, playlist………. all with album art attached – which the X10 now fetches from the net itself!!! User interface on a PC acts like a graphic database too, streaming your music anywhere thats connected via your network.

    I wouldn’t personally go with the CA speakers, just connect some decent hi-fi speakers straight to it – or go one better and connect the unit to your hifi amp/speaker set up.

    I have the 2TB version and have around 3000 CDs loaded, mainly in wav & flac, so NO loss of quality! I have around 700Gb free too (and its all neatly backed up on an external HDD sat next to it, that sequentially backs up all those additions in around 2 hours). Its great to let it loose on 35,000 songs at random, those long lost gems just spring up every day!

    Oh and internet radio too! Recordable! Glad you guys can get your hands on one now!!!

    23
  • Colin Crichton March 1, 2013, 1:54 pm

    Just got my new JB7. Plugged it in, 3seconds after heard a pop and the whole thing died. (i am an electrician) I checked the plugtop fuse which had blown, changed the fuse but nothing. Called the company, rep did not seem at all concerned, said he is going to send a new power pack. Does not fill you full of confidence. After deliberating for a long time before buying, I am gutted at this. Now trying to get the unit collected and a full refund, would not recommend this unit to anyone else

    24
  • Jnedby October 25, 2013, 11:00 pm

    Two of three CDs I loaded into the JB7 came out scuffed. (One almost didn’t come out at all. I had to use Troubleshoot instructions to eject it.) So if you have the idea of loading CDs in it and sell them after, well try finding customers for scuffed CDs.

    I also found it a pain in a neck to navigate. But that could be just me.

    25
  • terry February 10, 2014, 11:09 am

    brennan r/c suddenly stopped working! tried several batteries, any ideas?

    26
  • Oscar Bravo April 7, 2014, 4:16 am

    I bought a JB7 recently and have been having great fun so far… I have it connecting it via line out to a Bose Soundlink speaker, which makes a really compact unit for my small apartment.

    However, this speaker is actually Bluetooth wireless so it would be even better if I could dispense with the cable and run it like that. Then I could take the speaker with me into other rooms for example. So, does anybody know of a solution that would allow me to get a Bluetooth signal out of the JB7?

    I was thinking about a bluetooth USB dongle, but I don’t think the USB socket on the JB7 has an output capability. Any ideas?

    27
  • Bryan Sherman April 7, 2014, 9:48 am

    That’s an intriguing idea Oscar.

    I wonder if this would work: http://the-gadgeteer.com/2014/04/04/turn-your-favorite-speakers-into-a-wireless-bluetooth-system/ It’s for adding bluetooth to speakers, but I wonder if it would work in reverse. Pairing it to the speakers could be the problem.

    Keep in mind the drop in quality as well as the limit of distance. Bluetooth does not have the range of Wi-Fi.

    28

Leave a Comment