Toy 2 Story

[Ed: what is that, a pun? Anyway, I hope it isn’t lost on anyone.]

Computer technology can be very useful. From years of bitter experience, though, I well know that one of the biggest drags in going from an “old technology” solution to a computer technology solution is getting the original data into the  the new computer system. There is hardly ever any getting away from a nasty manual effort entering the existing data.

In the case of our new Brennan JB7, data entry equates to laboriously “ripping” in one’s entire collection of CDs. This is not unusual for a computer solution: one has to go through the same process with iTunes unless, of course, one just purchases mp3 files from the iTunes store. Each CD takes about 3 minutes to rip. We have a relatively modest collection of between 300 and 400 CDs to load. Let’s face it, there aren’t that many people making music worth listening to, far less buying. You can do the maths yourselves. Over the space of about four days of intermittent ripping, we had ripped about 30%. of our collection.

One nice feature of the Brennan JB7 is that you can listen to previously loaded music while ripping more. Each day we had used it on playback, at some point a track had suffered what I can best describe as interference: noise over the top of the music. Stopping playback and restarting cleared the noise. One day it took over two hours to occur, another day it happened on the second track. Stopping and starting cleared it. The noise was controllable but irritating – I ended up waiting for it to happen.

I phoned Brennan, firstly for a receipt (for insurance purposes) which their “system does not provide for” (curious for a computer specialist) and secondly to mention the occasional noise on playback. Apparently, Martin (Brennan) had written a software update to “address some playback issues”. Sounded promising. They immediately emailed me both a receipt and a software update file.

I filed the receipt. The email said the software update “could take a few hours”. Strewth, the file is only 228Kb! I was to load it onto an otherwise empty USB stick, plug the otherwise empty USB stick into the front of the Brennan JB7, select “Update S/W” from the menu system and follow instructions. This I did.

  1. “No jb1.hex”, said the menu system.
  2. “True, it was called jb1hex”, I thought.
  3. I unplugged the USB, renamed the file to “jb1.hex” and tried again.
  4. This time the USB light flashed as the now correctly named file was read in to the Brennan JB7.
  5. “Turn off & on”, said the menu system.
  6. I dutifully turned the Brennan JB7 off and back on.
  7. Nothing happened – as in the menu panel was completely devoid of life.
  8. Nothing continued to happen for half an hour or so.

Mindful of the warning that the update “could take several hours”, I nonetheless called Brennan back. They didn’t think a completely blank display panel/menu system was right.

“Are you sure the unit has power?”

“Certainly, I can hear the disk spinning up but the display panel is blank.”

We left it on overnight. Continuing large amounts of blankness greeted us in the morning.

I told Brenan. Brennan told Parcel Force to collect the recalcitrant Brennan JB7 which I was to repackage. It is now back at the repair centre.

There are times when making a piece of carbon isotope vibrate in a profiled groove carved in plastic seems like a good idea, especially if a horn instead of an amplifier is involved. All that can go wrong with that “music solution” is that the rubber band spinning the turntable snaps.

2 comments on “Toy 2 Story
  1. Bill Ritchie says:

    Hi there, I was intrigued to hear about your Brennan noise problem. My jb7 arrived yesterday, and having put a few cd’s on it thought I’d listen to dark side of the moon. The quiet opening heartbeat is spoilt by a background noise like a breeze blowing through trees. I listened to a piece of John Williams classical guitar, and there it was again. Spoke to Brennan who ran me through some maintenance, and I also re recorded Pink Floyd at a higher bit rate, no difference. I’m now awaiting my software download. I’m a bit surprised, this isn’t a cheap item and I’m very lo tech and wasn’t expecting trouble so soon! Has yours now been fixed? I’m not overly demanding with the quality of my music system, but when you hear a noise which shouldn’t be there even if it is only on the quieter passages, it does niggle!
    Thanks, I look forward to hearing how you get on with it.


    • JC says:

      Thanks for your input to my blog posting about the Brennan JB7. We’ve clearly got different noise because our intermittent noise was more like a loud, rhythmic clicking above the music when it happened. To be honest, I hadn’t made it through to my classical collection (started with Led Zep. and Bruce Springsteen) and hadn’t listened to any quiet passages so it could be that I have your “wind in the willows” as well. I can’t tell because my unit is still at the Brennan repair shop where it should have been delivered on Friday. It’s getting near time I chased them to see what’s what.

      Frankly, there are aspects of it that I don’t care for. “Random” with a mixed collection and no “genre” intelligence seems a little pointless: I don’t think anyone would really want to bounce about between Led Zep. and Beethoven. In classical mode at least you can play just one album but there is no way to play just one track – it just keeps going. I may be getting close to the “don’t bother, just give me my money back” position.

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