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back to article Brennan JB7 Micro Jukebox

Ever wanted to combine the convenience of digital music with decent sound and build quality? Then say hello to your new best friend, the JB7 Micro Jukebox. This tactile and user-friendly bit of kit delivers both with aplomb. Right from the start, we could feel this was a class piece of kit: well built, reassuringly heavy and …

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Network support

Nice, but at that price and with those features, it's crying out for network support of some kind. Bizarrely, the manufacturer's site even spins "no network" into a selling point!

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Anonymous Coward

Car

With that form factor this thing's just crying out to be a car radio/media player. I'd be sorely tempted...

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21st century machine?

True, very bad of them not to add RJ45 or wifi to the thing. Don't want to have to synchronise the music collection in two different places.

And on top of that it would have been nice to have the ability to record CDs too.

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And boy, is it uuuuuuglyyyy!

No, really. It would look dreadful anywhere in my house.

And yes - no network? What's the point?

Too expensive, too.

It's not going to be replacing my squeezebox.

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Boffin

Compression?

I thought ripping music and *not* compressing it is fairly quick so to me 4 minutes is surprising. Isn't the compression part the most CPU intensive? If I remember correctly I can rip a single track in a matter of seconds but then compressing it to 192kbps takes significantly longer. It would have been nice to have some figures quoted for the same album at high compression rates (i.e. low bitrate - 128kbps).

I await being corrected!

For me this device looks really good but has limited usefulness. I already access my entire MP3/Film archieve from my NAS on the media center, PC's and Laptops as well as via an old xbox via XBMC.

MS

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oxo

I'd buy one if..

.. it had network support. Not just for tracks from my PC, but for internet radio.

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Heart

I want one!

That's all

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Utterly pointless

I would guess that most people who use digital music have already got their music in digital format sitting on a hard drive somewhere. For them, this machine is pointless.

For those who have a PC but have not ripped their CD's or those who have no PC, why would they want to bother ripping their albums onto this machine? If you can be bothered to do it, surely you get more flexibility by storing your digital music on a network drive where it can be accessed simultaneously from multiple locations?

I really can't see the point.

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Looks good, but could be better

I agree with David that network support would be good. Would avoid the need for quarterly CDs of album information for a start.

If someone could take the JB7 and give it wi-fi and a cover flow type interface they would sell 'em by the lorryload.

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Alert

"There are ten folders named after the colours of the rainbow"

Ok then name them!

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Coat

The Decimal Rainbow.

"There are ten folders named after the colours of the rainbow - nice touch, that..."

1 Red, 2 Orange, 3 Yellow, 4 Green, 5 Blue, 6 Indigo, 7 Violet.

Ok, so folders 8 to 10 are called what, exactly?

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Anonymous Coward

A bit specialised

Broadly agree with a lot of the comments but apart from the lack of a network connection I could use it if it sounds as good as the review says.

I find having to turn on a PC just to play music is a real pain (noise, power consumption etc), as it is I have a media PC linked to an amp and distributed around the house (actually separate amps on 3 floors to give individual volume control).

So I don't even really need a network connection, but it would be nice for album labeling etc.

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Re: Utterly Pointless

For a start, some of us are more interested in performance that gimmickery.

Also, I'd rather have a nice simple box that plugs directly into my HiFi. If I want to listen to music I switch it on and hit play. I don't want to have to pop upstairs, turn the PC on, wait five minutes whilst windows boots/logs in, start up a media server, run back downstairs.....

Yes, you could use a NAS but again, those of us with lives/families etc don't want a box running away 24 hours a days with either the associatd cabling or the constant WiFi dropouts, reconnections etc. etc. (And yes, I'm over exagerating the problems with media streaming etc)

It's music, it's supposed to be relaxing. Turn it on. Sit down. Use remote to select track. Hit play. Bliss.

In the same way a Windows Mobile Phone makes more sense than an iPod. You pay less, because you get it on contract. There are lots of different player apps. It's also a phone, a GPS, you have internet, you can stream music from your home server etc. etc. But everyone still goes out and buys an iPod.

Just because some people like to have a can opener that's also a food blender, a cordless drill and a juicer doesn't make something that's JUST a can opener useless. Guess what? It still opens cans!

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Utterly useless

So, it's an MP3 player and ripper for people without a computer, MP3 player or hifi?

Where do I stop with the pointlessness of this?

It's not as large or stylish as a squeezebox or similar, and obviously shouldn't be stuck in an equipment rack because the display will be obscured and the extremely cheap remote control has no display.

No proper external connectivity : No LAN, no digital (Coax, optical, HDMI - what are they thinking?).

No lossless compression - why not encode it as FLAC?

For what it is, it seems terribly overpriced.

It'd be ok in a study, but it's not something you'd use for having friends round or critical listening!

The telling quote about lossless compression on the website : 'We decided against using it in this product because it wouldn't deliver any real benefit to the majority of our customers' reveals the true market - the technically inept who don't care about audio quality.

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Playlists

There's a picture of the controls on the remote here:

http://www.3ga.org.uk/features/specifications/

It's clear from this that everyone else's review which says there are seven playlists is correct (for the not-so-curious-as-to-cut-and-paste, the numeric keys are in phone layout, with numbers 1-3 not involved in playlist selection and 4-9+0 selecting red to violet respectively).

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Also, very disappointing audio I/O

Line out on a crappy jack socket? No digital?

As a turnkey solution, it's OK - i.e. plug into their recommended speakers and off you go - but for integration into an existing system, oops.

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Heart

Re. want one...

me too!

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Bronze badge

wrong colour

on it's own it's not not too bad looking, but it is a weird colour and it doesn't match the speakers. If it had network support it would be tons better, especially for syncing remotely from your PC. But, can it play AAC or Ogg vorbis?

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@J Basset

If you haven't tried a NAS media server then you're not really in a position to knock them are you.

I have to agree with most of the reviews, with network support and digital output this might have been useful to me, as it is, I'll stick with the devices I have and the media server running in the cellar. (James, I just turn them on and hit play, it doesn't drop out, it doesn't require any running and it doesn't cost £350 per device to play the music).

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Anonymous Coward

Perhaps it's the resistor rainbow?

0-black 1-brown 2-red 3-orange 4-yellow 5-green 6-blue 7-purple 8-grey 9-white

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Bronze badge

colours

don't forget octarine, the colour of magic

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Am I missing something here?

It all sounds great until you realise that if you have a full-blown iPod or similar high-capacity player you might just as well plug that into your existing hi-fi either directly or through a dock to get the same effect. Especially if the dock has a remote and your stuff is encoded with some form of lossless compression. And you can cart the portable player about between rooms much more easily, possibly with other docking speakers elsewhere. And still take it with you when you go out, and no syncing problems between different units... Just a thought.

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Happy

Why not go for a soundbridge

As an owner of 3 Roku M1001B units and 2 Soundbridge radios And 2 XBox 360's I can tell you this is the only way to go for streaming.

Server is a Dell 8 core Poweredge 1900 running 64bit Vista ultimate plus a few virtual machines including Server 2003, Server 2008 and XP pro!!

anyway the Roku/Pinnacle units are great and I can not recommend them enough - I can have different music playing in 7 rooms from the same source!

Welcome to the 21st centuary.

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Dom

Spare us the hifi mag bollocks.

I assume someone on the Reg staff will be able to explain in what ways the data differs if it's transferred to hard drive first rather than being read off disc as it's played.

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Ian
Jobs Horns

And this differs from an AppleTV how, exactly?

With an AppleTV I can compress the music using the muscle processors on my main computer, and then sync it to a disk in the living room to use with my hifi. And I can do that with SPDIF output and 802.11n networking. And it's cheaper. And it does video.

Yes, if I hadn't got a computer, the reviewed box would work. But then, I'd be better off spending 300 quid on a computer.

Steve, playing Devil's Advocate.

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@Dom

I'll bet that what they're alluding to is that if you want to play discs, you should get a proper disc player. They don't need to incorporate an audiophile transport and DAC (and they haven't - the price tag proves that) as the act of transcoding turns it into audio catshit anyway and polishing turds is a wasteful exercise.

I've evaluated a shedload of kit like this and I've yet to make a purchase as none come anywhere near my ancient Arcam CD for output quality.

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Dom

@TeeCee

Well, the review suggests that the DAC is quite good; and it says the deck "doesn't excel as a playback device, so users are much better getting the tracks off the CDs and onto the HDD", which to me implies that it somehow sounds better if the digits are read off disk rather than CD.

And what exactly does an audiophile transport do to the bits? My bog-standard USB-connected CD-burner is capable of writing about 6 billion bits to disc without error, and then reading them all back without error.

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Alert

I have something similar...

...it's called a "PS3". Plays games too. And Blu-Ray discs. And music and video from my NAS. And it was cheaper.

I'm not a Sony fanboi in particular, but to me the PS3 just makes more sense.

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Re: I assume someone on the Reg staff ...

Re: I assume someone on the Reg staff will be able to explain in what ways the data differs if it's transferred to hard drive first rather than being read off disc as it's played. If by this you mean that the sound can’t be better from the hard drive as opposed to the CD playback because the information is the same, then I would say that on any CD player there is some interference to the sound caused by the internal workings of the unit. The hard drive has less of this and so it sounds better when played back in that way on this machine because there is less interference. The information itself is of course the same, but the way it is delivered is different, therefore there is a difference in quality. The people at Arcam when designing your CD player will of course have put much thought into combating this very problem. Incidentally there is new software version available for the machine (on all new models and available to existing users) which does improve the CD playback. Lewis.

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Err

What a rip off, buy a ps3 instead.

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On the take?

I assume someone at el reg is benefiting from a back-hander?

That's the only explanation I can think of.

So when I but my newly released album I have to wait for a CDDB update before I can rip it properly???

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Really just seems pointless

A solution to what problem exactly?

Another vote here for soundbridge. Once set up, almost totally painless way of delivering your music from PC/NAS box. And it looks cool. And it plays internet radio (which I didn't buy it for and now is what it plays 75% of the time - long live Radio Paradise)

So, really, what's the point of this unit?

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Unhappy

+1 for the missing opportunity

1. no wireless network

2. no wired network

3. very limited ripping function

4. even that's without proper recognition because no online CDDB access

5. no lossless (FLAC!) format support, only lossy-crappy mp3

6. local HDD without any fault tolerancy

7. no integrated speaker - even a very crappy one could make this good for the bedroom

8. slow operation - slow/cheap CPU?

I predict a complete flop, sorry.

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E

@The Decimal Rainbow

Black

Brown

Red

Orange

Yellow

Green

Blue

Violet

Grey

White

Color code from resistors.

Also, why not Ubuntu, hahahahahahahahahahahahah, it's more friendly!

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Happy

PS3 is a jack of all trades, but only master of one

Its audio streaming is annoying. For one, it plays album tracks in alphabetical order rather than their proper order; meaning you have to create a playlist for everything. Secondly, there's around a 5 sec delay between tracks, which is very annoying if you're listening to something where the tracks are supposed to blend into one another. It's fine if you're cloth-eared and just want some background music, but if you actually appreciate music, you want something made for the task.

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Happy

Niche product?

Very nice design, but maybe a couple of years too late?

I have a Macbook, Airport Express and iPod.

So with the Airport Express connected via SP/DIF to my TEAC reference system, and the iPod in my car on my JVC head unit, I have 80Gb of music with me wherever I go, with simple sync and even last.fm so my buddies can see what I've been listening to.

And I would say I'm not alone in this setup?

Shame, cos I bet it sounds top.

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Pirate

On a different note...

Has anyone else noticed that the photo looks like Nicko McBrain, Iron Maiden's drummer?

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