The Brennan JB7

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Micos69
Micos69's picture
The Brennan JB7

A relative has acquired a top of the range Brennan JB7 with the enhanced hard disc capacity which he feels has been a great success and I am thinking of making a similar purchase to relieve the pressure on space created by my very large CD collection. What do others think of the idea from a purely technical point of view (I could dispose of other things like books to make space, I suppose...).

David G
David G's picture
RE: The Brennan JB7

I bought a 500gb JB7 a little over a week ago and it's going back as soon as I can get to a post office.  I have loaded around 60 CDs mainly of choral music and I am underwhelmed by almost every aspect of the experience.  The instructions which come with it are brief to the point of uselessness.  The database is a joke if you want consistently to search by composer.  Unless you create a playlist there seems to be no way to set the machine up to play a selection of tracks from an album which I can do on my elderly but still capable Denon CD player with the press of a couple of buttons.  Another poster rightly mentions the lack of any sort of fast forward.  The killer, however, is the intrusive and deeply irritating background rumble which affects every track and is clearly endemic in the machine.  I'm not an audiophile by any means but when I played the same recording (Durufle's Requiem by the Corydon Singers) back to back on the Brennan and the Denon I realised just how unacceptable the former's sound quality was.  It appears from other posts that this is a regular problem and Brennan aren't interested in trying to fix it so I'm not going to waste any more of my time.  Frankly I wish I'd never set eyes on the thing. I can get far better results both for sound quality and ease of management by ripping CDs into iTunes and plugging my Macbook straight into my amplifier.

David G
David G's picture
RE: The Brennan JB7

I bought a 500gb JB7 a little over a week ago and it's going back as soon as I can get to a post office.  I have loaded around 60 CDs mainly of choral music and I am underwhelmed by almost every aspect of the experience.  The instructions which come with it are brief to the point of uselessness.  The database is a joke if you want consistently to search by composer.  Unless you create a playlist there seems to be no way to set the machine up to play a selection of tracks from an album which I can do on my elderly but still capable Denon CD player with the press of a couple of buttons.  Another poster rightly mentions the lack of any sort of fast forward.  The killer, however, is the intrusive and deeply irritating background rumble which affects every track and is clearly endemic in the machine.  I'm not an audiophile by any means but when I played the same recording (Durufle's Requiem by the Corydon Singers) back to back on the Brennan and the Denon I realised just how unacceptable the former's sound quality was.  It appears from other posts that this is a regular problem and Brennan aren't interested in trying to fix it so I'm not going to waste any more of my time.  Frankly I wish I'd never set eyes on the thing.  I can get far better results both for sound quality and ease of management by ripping CDs into iTunes and plugging my Macbook straight into my amplifier.

David G
David G's picture
RE: The Brennan JB7

Apologies for accidentally posting my previous message twice (the forum doesn't seem to have a delete facility) but for the sake of completeness here is the text of the letter I sent to Martin Brennan when I returned the machine.  While my money was refunded reasonably promptly, it won't come as a surprise when I say I haven't had a reply to my letter.

 

Dear Mr
Brennan

Brennan
JB7 500GB

As
discussed by telephone with a member of your staff I am returning the
above item and I would ask that the cost is refunded to my Paypal
account (using the above e-mail) as soon as possible.

I really
wanted to like the JB7 but I'm afraid it has fallen a long way short
of my expectations.

Firstly
the database is completely inadequate for me as a serious collector
of classical music who tends to search by composer rather than
artist. I have around 1500 classical CDs and by the time I had
loaded about 40 of them I had renamed so many that the magnitude of
the task was beginning to concern me. (While I appreciate that it is
internet based, iTunes rarely seems to have difficulty identifying
even fairly obscure recordings and presents the tracks in a uniform
format which is easy and intuitive to search and manage). On several
occasions I had problems with boxed sets where loading the second
disc seemed to cause the JB7 to overwrite the first one. Even if the
database had correctly identified the recording I ended up having to
rename both discs to prevent this happening, a complete waste of time
and something which just should not happen.

The
biggest problem, however, is the sound quality. All the music I have
loaded is affected by an intrusive and deeply irritating low
frequency rumble. I'm not a hifi fanatic by any means but it is
totally unacceptable, particularly for things like unaccompanied
choral music. I have left the music I uploaded on the machine and if
you want a particularly awful example of what I'm talking about I
suggest you listen to Album 33 track 10. If that is your idea of
good sound quality it certainly isn't mine. It is also grossly
inferior to what I can achieve by ripping the same CD into iTunes and
simply plugging my Macbook into my amplifier.

The
concept of the JB7 is brilliant. As far as I can see there is
nothing else on the market like it. As somebody whose CD
collection long ago outgrew its accommodation I thought it would be
the answer to a whole raft of problems and, as I said earlier, I
really wanted to like it. Unfortunately the reality is deeply
disappointing and I have a strong impression that the product is
actually underdeveloped, particularly for the classical market. I
once heard a management consultant use the phrase “green banana
marketing” (meaning using the customer as a guinea pig for a
product still being developed) and I can't help wondering if that is
what has happened here. Whatever the reason I'm afraid you have lost
a potentially enthusiastic and supportive customer.

Yours
sincerely

 

(Dr) David B Griffiths

 

 

 

 

 

 

peter13
peter13's picture
RE: Computer Review

iYogi Complaints Forum - Forum gives you an opportunity to discuss your experience about services and products.

ishepherd
ishepherd's picture
RE: The Brennan JB7

I haven't read this topic for a while so was interested in all the comments made about the Brennan. I have had mine for nearly a year now and it displays all the faults mentioned by various people. The worst one is distortion - you load a CD on to it and when it has compressed it it sounds absolutely terrible (pops, clicks, squeaks and the 'underwater' sound that someone has mentioned). This happens quite frequently now. I was sent a fix which did nothing. I now cannot use the standard compression rate. Compressing at a higher rate is better but it is very 'hit and miss'. Also I have had a problem with loaded albums just disappearing! The numbering system is terrible - all you have to do is start deleting a few albums and the whole thing goes to pot. You also have to get used to a background sound all the time - especially irksome in quiet music e.g. solo piano.

The Brennan as an idea is brilliant. However, it is just not reliable enough. DO NOT GET RID OF YOUR CDs WHEN YOU HAVE LOADED THEM! You will need them again when the thing eventually breaks down. Given that most electrical equipment these days has an average life of 4-5 years (and prices are generally cheap enough for us to not worry too much about it) I cannot see my Brennan lasting for ever!

I wouldn't say don't buy one - but just be aware that it's not all that it is cracked up to be.

Phileas
Phileas's picture
RE: The Brennan JB7

ishepherd wrote:
I have had mine for nearly a year now and it displays all the faults mentioned by various people....

...I wouldn't say don't buy one - but just be aware that it's not all that it is cracked up to be.

I'm surprised you haven't asked for your money back! (Or have you?)

Robin

Wesley Haydock
Wesley Haydock's picture
RE: The Brennan JB7

I purchased the Brennan JB7 last summer and immediately had problems.  It started burning! Brennan took 3 weeks to repair it during which time they did not contact me once to explain what was happening. Recently I noticed a distortion on a new CD which I had added.  At first I assumed it was a poorly recorded CD but when I play in on my CD player it is perfectly OK.  Overall the JB7 is convenient but I've great reservations about the quality and the after sales service is very poor.

wyjchen
wyjchen's picture
RE: The Brennan JB7 RE: The Brennan JB7

Wesley Haydock wrote:

I purchased the Brennan JB7 last summer and immediately had problems.  It started burning!

RJD wrote:

I bought a JB7 last July, the first unit exploded.

Looks to me these are serious electrical faults and safety issues, and the similarity of them may point to something fundamental in design and manufacturing that the company needs to look into, if they haven't done so already.

Wesley Haydock
Wesley Haydock's picture
RE: The Brennan JB7 RE: The Brennan JB7

Yes, I agree although it wasn't just the fault that was the problem.  I was more irritated by their attitude and their complete disregard to try to communicate with me. I had purchased an expensive new machine, which caught fire, and they thought that it was ok to take weeks to repair it. When it was returned to me there was no note or explanation. 

Rooster coburn
Rooster coburn's picture
RE: The Brennan JB7 RE: The Brennan JB7

Very interesting reading all the comments regarding this machine, for those who have had what would seem to me to be totally unacceptable faults, returning them without hesitation seems the wisest choice.       I would also agree it seems to have been placed into the market before it was ready                  What i find strange is that there has been no discernible improvements made to the specification of the unit since its inception, for example the remote appears to be all but useless and the hard drives are a little behind the times in terms of size, it seems a lot of research & development is needed to ensure the machine really fits the idea/requirement.                                                      Your comments have stopped me spending a great deal of money, thank you.                                                                                                              A question for those of you looking to store large numbers of discs, has anybody purchased the Cocktail 10? A Korean unit which stores music in most formats, streams radio and has hard drives up to 2TB, i would be interested in comments from anybody who has one .

Wesley Haydock
Wesley Haydock's picture
RE: The Brennan JB7 RE: The Brennan JB7

I'd like to clarify my previous comment on the issue of the JB7 catching fire. It did not catch fire but it did burn. I had just spent a month loading my CDs, the display went blank and I smelt burning.   Sorry if anyone has interpreted what I wrote literally.  

GeorgeC
GeorgeC's picture
RE: The Brennan JB7

Does anyone else subscribe to or buy Private Eye.

The Brennan ads in there are truly cringeing.

The latest: "MP3 player or a Brennan? I'll have both thanks" says Jools Holland.

This heading is followed by two columns of misleading, innacurate nonsense promoting the 'virtues' of the Brennan.

Very sad that a musician with the talents of Jools Holland needs to endorse a very poor, overpriced product.

With other new products on the market with far more flexibility and functionality on the market, I predict the Brennan will be dead and forgotten within a year.

Regards,

GeorgeC

caballe
caballe's picture
RE: The Brennan JB7

He's probably being paid a considerable fee to endorse the product. What he thinks of it privately will be another thing altogether I expect.

plaxy
plaxy's picture
RE: The Brennan JB7 RE: The Brennan JB7

DolphinCourt wrote:
Their latest ad in the Sunday Times Magazine 24/06/12 refers to glowing recommendations from Hi-Fi Choice, The Gramophone and the Sunday Times.

The first two are from 2008 and the third does not exist. I have emailed Brennan for a link to the article but needless to say no reply.

The Sunday Times article was dated 4 October 2009.

http://www.thesundaytimes.co.uk/sto/ingear/tech_and_net/article186416.ece

I haven't read it but it's referred to on the Naim website, which says:

The Sunday Times featured a Test Bench article in its 4th October edition about Hard Disk Players. Of the five devices tested – from Meridian, Sony, RipNas/Linn, Naim and Brennan – the Naim HDX was judged the Best for Sound Quality, with the writer, Hi-Fi World editor, David Price saying: "Sonically, the Naim is the most gripping and powerful on test, with blistering bass."

I doubt if reviewers can stop manufacturers from citing past reviews, nor do I think it's necessarily desirable to try to stop it.  It's up to prospective buyers to follow up and read the review, and not just take the manufacturers' word for it.  I have to hold up my hand to falling for the advertising -- and I'm old enough to know better!

The Brennan operation seems to me very slick, despite the folksy tone of the website.  Their product may be rather amateurish, but there's nothing amateurish about their service.  A high rate of returns, and a generous advertising budget, are obviously built into their business plan.  That's why the machines cost so much.  They expect the players to break down.  The returns form on their website lays it all out very clearly: if the unit fails in the first six months, the customer can choose a refund, replacement, or repair.  Over six months, it's repair only.  Over a year, and the customer has to pay for the repair.  So Brennan probably only have to pay for (at most) one repair per unit sold, and most of those repairs are no doubt very cheap for Brennan. 

Ah well.  Chalk it up to experience.  I'm now enjoying looking for a replacement.  I must say, there are some very impressive products available these days.  Most, sadly, way beyond my budget, but it's a pleasure to window-shop.

georag
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RE: The Brennan JB7

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