- Screw the Wifi Antenna onto the connector on the back.
- Connect the 12V power supply into the mains and 12V input and switch on
- Push the knob to start the menu system. The back button takes you back.
- When playing music (and not in a menu) the back, next and play/stop buttons operate as you would expect. The knob behaves as a volume control.
- The eject button will open or close the CD tray.
The menu system is very simple - have a look around.
Setting up Wifi
Helix needs to be attached to your local Wifi network to play to Sonos speakers. It also needs an internet connection for it to display track names and find album art.
- Push the knob to start the menu. Select Setup Wifi
- Wait while it scans for Wifi networks
- Pick your network
- Enter the password for your network. Turn the knob and push to add a character. Press back to delete the last character. Press next when done.
- The display will show “Connecting” and then “Success” if all OK
- If it shows “Failed” retry and double check the password.
After it has connected Helix will remember the settings and will automatically connect.
When Helix is connected it displays an IP address at the top left of the TFT
Once Helix is attached to your Wifi network we recommend that you do a software upgrade. It takes about a minute and you will find it in the extra menu.
New functions and bug fixes may well have been added since your Helix was manufactured.
You can find the version date of the software in your Helix on the web UI or the mobile app - in the settings tab.
|Pick Track||Lets you look at the tracks on the CD. Only shows if there is a CD|
|Browse SD card||Lets you navigate the contents of the SD card. Only shows if there is an SD card inserted|
|Pick Zone||Pick a Sonos speaker or Wired (Optical and 3.5mm jack) output|
|Rip CD||Copies the whole CD to SD card. This will play the CD as it rips|
|Setup Wifi||Pick a wifi network and set the password.|
|Extra||Seldom used functions like Software upgrade.|
This function displays the tracks on the CD. If you press Play then Helix will play that track. If you push the knob Helix will rip that track.
When a track is ripped - Helix creates folders on the SD card so you can find the music more easily later. A track is written to a wav file with this path
Where artist, album and track are the names for that CD found during the album lookup when the CD is first inserted.
You can stop a rip by pressing stop and confirming.
Browse SD card
- This function displays all the files and folders on the SD card.
- The current folder is displayed on the top right.
- You can scroll through the files by turning the knob.
- Push the knob on a folder and it will descend into that folder
- Press back to go back a level. Press back at the top to exit.
- Press play and Helix will play the selected file or any music files in the selected folder
- This will display all the Sonos speakers found on your Wifi network plus a “Wired” option.
- Your choice will dictate which Sonos speaker to play through.
- If you pick Wired the music will be sent to the Helix optical and electrical outputs.
- The chosen Zone is displayed at the top right of the idle screen.
This function lets you rip an entire CD. Remember it plays as it rips so it will take a while. You can stop by pressing stop and confirming. (Partially ripped tracks are deleted).
This is for seldom used functions like software upgrade.
The Software Upgrade function will be the most important to you. This installs the latest software from the Brennan server so you will need an internet connection.
|Software Upgrade||Installs the latest software into Helix|
|Free Space||Shows how much space is on the SD card|
|Reset Zones||Clears the Sonos Zones - useful if you rename a speaker or permanently remove a speaker.|
|Sonos Zone Scan||Initiates a Sonos Scan - not necessary unless you just want to hurry things up after a change.|
|Wifi Signal Strength||Maybe useful to know if you have connection problems|
|Fuzzy Lookup||Tries to find the current CD at Musicbrainz using a broader search. Try this if Helix does not recognised your CD.|
|SD Speed Test||Measure the speed of your SD card|
|Format SD Card||Helix needs the SD card to be formatted FAT32. If your SD card shows as red icon it has the wrong format. This function will reformat to FAT32 - WARNING it will delete anything on the SD card. Can take a minute or so for high capacity cards.|
|Restart||Restarts Helix without having to turn off and on|
|Factory Reset||Clears all Settings - like Wifi and Sonos Zones - and restarts.|
The Web UI
If you type the IP address (top left of the TFT) into a web Browser you will see the web UI. This is fairly self explanatory and lets you do most of what you can do from the front panel on a laptop or mobile phone.
There are mobile apps for iPhone and Android - search for "Brennan Helix" on the app store.
Or use this link to find on the Google Play Store.
When you first install the app you should enter the Helix IP address - its in the settings tab. Just replace the placeholder IP address with the IP address displayed on the Helix display.
When you insert a CD Helix will attempt to find it in the Musicbrainz database. Until it is found Helix simply calls the tracks Track 1, Track 2. Once found you will see proper artist, album and track names. If Helix can find compatible album art then it will also display that.
If Helix does not indentify your CD try fuzzy match in the extra menu.
The SD card.
You can insert and remove the micro SD card while powered on - though you shouldn’t remove it while playing music from SD.
You can add or re-arrange files on the SD card using a PC. Helix will only play wav files to the wired output but can play wav and mp3 to Sonos speakers
Helix will display an SD card icon at the bottom left if a compatible SD card is inserted.
SD Card capacities and formats
Helix uses micro SD cards - also known as TF cards. We recommend using cards capacities up to 256G.
Helix uses a card format known as FAT. Cards up to 32G are generally already formatted using FAT.
Larger capacity cards may be formatted using a different format - like exFAT. The SD card icon on the Helix display will be red if the SD card has the wrong format.
You can reformat the SD card to use FAT using the format command in the extra menu - it takes about a minute - depending on the size of the SD card.
Format deletes all the previous contents of the SD card. So make sure its empty or you don't need whats on there.
NB Some Helix owners have used 512G cards with their Helix by formatting the SD card on a PC using a program like IM-Magic Partition Re-Sizer
We have have included a small 8Gb card in the run up to Christmas - in case someone receives a Helix as a Christmas present - but doesn't have an SD card.
CD / SD source selection
Helix will play from CD or SD and the current source is displayed at the top right of the TFT. You do not select the source it changes automatically when you play a track from CD or SD.
Connectors and Cables
Helix has optical and electrical Audio outputs.
The optical output uses a Toslink connector - so search for "Toslink" to find a suitable cable for connection to your amplifier or DAC.
The electrical audio output uses a 3.5mm stereo jack - for compatibility with headphones. Search for "3.5mm stereo jack" to find suitable cables. The level of the signal is adjusted by the volume control. You should set the volume to maximum if you are using Helix as a source for an audio system with its own volume control.
You can use the Brennan EZB to control Helix remotely.
- Helix has no support for non ascii (utf8) characters so these may not display on the TFT (although the web UI may display them).
- When tracks are ripped any non ascii characters may be removed or made safe so the names may differ. Please let us know of any problems in this area.
- The back and next buttons have limitations - back will only work within the current folder when playing from the SD card
- When playing from SD Helix can play wav and mp3 files to Sonos speakers but can only play wav (ie ripped CDs) files to Wired.
- You can reset to factory settings by holding the back button when you turn on. This will clear the Wifi credentials any any Sonos zones.
New features and feedback
Let us know if you would like to see a new feature or if you encounter a bug. You can email firstname.lastname@example.org or use the forum