What Owners think about B3
Here are some initial customer reviews on AmazonRaven Z
This does exactly what I need it to do!
I needed an all-in-one solution for ripping my large CD collection and making it available to me and my household to listen to. This is a great all-in-one solution for converting your CD library into digital files and making the music available digitally. I'm listening to music I haven't heard in decades because the CDs have been in storage boxes in my basement waiting for a solution like this.Boop
I went looking for a solution to storing and listening to almost 200 music CD's I've collected over the years.
After an internet search, I found several that would potentially do the job but found most of those were cost prohibitive. Some were in the thousands of dollars. Then I discovered the Brennan B3.
My requirements of ripping, storing, playing, custom playlists, and interfacing with my existing receiver/amp were on the top on my list. The first being interface to my existing system.
So, this is how it went...
I connected with the Brennan website to investigate connection options. Not being a network geek, I needed to be sure that if I bought the B3, I could be assured of a successful setup. The Brennan website didn't immediately offer up much more than what the unit itself was capable of. I found some info of a "Forum" on the website for Q and A. To me a "forum" is merely a platform for discussions purposes, but it turns out, this one is also the venue to tech support.
I posted my concern and in less that 24 hours I was conversing with a tech. To make a short story, the tech in turn investigated my hardware and then reported possible solutions. Together, I became comfortable on a selected scheme. Yes, I did have to purchase additional 3rd party hardware...2 cables for a total of $40.
Setup was fairly easy, and I was able to rip about200 cd's in a matter of hours.
For some reason unknow to me, some album titles and/or track names, and/or album cover art would not be found. This was minimal and the text portion can be added/modified on the UI. The tech also supported me in finding and replacing album cover art, also on the UI.
Cabling and setup were complete quickly and I was up and running!
Likes and dislikes...
- Documentation is somewhat lacking but in the internet age almost anything can be found. The Brennan website is the best for information beyond the quick start guide. Don't be misled by the title "Forum". It's the best place to get help from a real live person who knows his product.
- Great package! Compact with a color display and minimal buttons.
- UI is great! See everything, create playlist, change data, or art, delete tracks. Very nice.
- Phone app is a little cumbersome but works. Some buttons are not intuitive, and you will find a little time exploring will help.
- Sound quality is great! I actually felt the sound quality coming from my existing speakers was noticeably better.
- The unit got confused over the IP address when my local ISP shut down for a while. Again, contacted the "forum" and got a solution. (I later found a hint of a solution on the web page.) I would have liked to have seen the unit reboot its network connection automatically.
So, I've given it a 5-star rating with only a slight downgrade in the area of documentation.
My family and I are now enjoying any music cd we have with ease!
Well made bit of kit that works.
I thought long and hard about buying this, but now I've done it i wish I'd got one earlier. I've ripped about 800 CDs on to it in two weeks in the process rediscovering lots of stuff that I'd forgotten I had. Okay, you can listen to anything on demand online these days, so "owning" music is a bit passe, but if you have a load of CDs that you never listen to because you can't be are*d digging them out or can't find what you are looking for amongst the heap, then this is great. The sound quality is excellent (I have it hard wired into a couple of old speakers) and it recognises and instantly tracklists about 98% of the stuff I've put in it (Even when it doesnecognise the album it rips the Cd and it is very simple to rename the album on the app).Obviously pointless unless you have loads of CDs, but if you do I'd recommend it.Tom in Virginia
A great CD Jukebox for your entire collection
This is a great CD storage and playback audio system. It stores a couple thousand (depending upon format) CDs. There is a built-in amplifier so it can drive speakers directly. If you want to use it with headphones or to drive an amplifier, you need an external DAC that will connect to a USB port. These are available anywhere and are not expensive, some are less than $ 20. They say it can also find and use Sonos speakers, although I can not confirm that.
I have been very happy with the unit so far. It connects to my Home Network using WiFi or Ethernet (with an external adapter). There is a nice Web interface and an app I have on my Android phone. This unit is not inexpensive but the only similar one I have ever seen was twice the cost and did NOT have good reviews.
The Brennan B3 is very well made and the support is good online. It is obvious that they care about improving the product with feedback directly from users. There is great support on the Brennan forums. highly recommend this CD Jukebox
Getting tired of sorting your CD collection to find your music?
Well, first off, let's get over the price factor. When you consider the CDs you have in racks or worse, thrown into a box or cupboard, just think of the expense and investment you made in buying, storing, and shipping your favorite music, then consider the lost value of not being able to listen to that music easily and quickly. Enter the Brennan.
As my dad used to say, "If you can't hold it, you don't own it." Our household CD collection was built over decades and languished in boxes in the entertainment center until someone got industrious and desperate enough to hear an album from the past that wasn't on YT. With the B3 in place and ready to play, CD ripping is done in about a minute or so, and the web interface makes artist and playlist management easy. Plus, guests can type the LAN IP into their phone or tablet and see the Brennan interface, sort through our music, and pick songs to play - just the thing for parties and backyard BBQ to engage guests. The front display works well for notifying you of what's playing, with album cover art. While small, it's unobtrusive and shows enough info to be useful, but the web or phone apps are what make this media center powerful.
It's a decent but somewhat limited piece of gear that performs its primary function fairly well.
I mean a solid four stars for this product at this point. I think five star ratings should be reserved for only those products which truly are remarkably outstanding and stellar. If not quite at that level, I find the B3 to be very good. Perhaps future software enhancements will make it even better. The Brennan company does seem to be innovative and responsive. I do find myself wishing now that a B4 existed which amounted to more of a robust and complete receiver/amplifier, one that featured more inputs and outputs, amplifier power and Bass/Treble/EQ/balance controls (which the B3 currently does not). The B3 does drive my modest Sony bookshelf speakers nicely enough, but at present there are no such balance/tone controls, only volume. More sound controls would be nice. To my mind adding any necessary size and weight to the product in order to achieve that would be worth the added functionality and completeness. In any case I'd advise potential buyers to review their website and the B3 forum to more fully understand the product as it is. I myself am fairly happy with it right now. It fulfills my main purpose for it which is/was to finally rip my entire CD collection (some 1400 CDs at this point) for use with my existing Sonos system. Ripping so many CDs is a lengthy process, but I'm finding the B3 makes it fairly easy and efficient at a reasonable price. It is thankfully quite fast at loading each CD, looking up the database, and then executing the rip. Each CD takes a couple of key presses to commence this, but then it generally completes the rip to WAV files in a couple of minutes. The database is pretty good, though it has failed to recognize a few of my discs out of around 500 CDs ripped thus far. The software lets you edit artist, album, track names, and cover art to correct such instances. Later you can have the B3 compress the WAV files to FLAC or MP3. That process takes a while as well (compresses about 1500 WAV files to FLAC per day is the rate I'm seeing). It's also not too difficult to backup/export what's on the B3 hard drive to a PC, but it could certainly be made easier. I've found the best way is to activate the NAS function of the B3 and then copy the files to my PC via the network. I've also found that process to be somewhat slow however using the included wi-fi dongle. I'm going to try the next iteration of my backup using a wired USB to Ethernet dongle to see if that speeds things up. I tried copying to an external 1TB hard-drive via USB but the gotcha is that the drive must be formatted in FAT32 for the B3 to recognize it, and Windows11 makes it very difficult to successfully achieve that formatting for such a large drive. I wasn't able to get it to work. The B3 really should be able to recognize and work with NTFS-formatted external drives. At present it will not. Anyway, all that said, the B3 is a useful product which is doing what I need it to do. The quality of rips seems to be fine. The sound driving modest bookshelf speakers is quite decent. The unit itself is handsome and feels well made. The software, while basic and functional, has been reasonably solid. There have been a couple of updates to it in the month I've had the B3. Powering down and then re-starting the unit has cleared the few glitches I've experienced after processing many discs in a sitting. It's a new product though, and is already pretty good, if somewhat hardware limited. I'm hoping further software enhancements take it to the point of being even more polished.