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Brennan - anyone got one?

(8 Posts)
fishflange Sun 18-Oct-09 16:38:23


sorely tempted but not read any reviews apart from their literature.

MP3 players are just not for me and I want to play my CDs digitally.

WebDude Sun 18-Oct-09 19:55:59

Well, this is pretty much an MP3 player that is static, with built-in CD player so it can record off the CD onto the hard drive (and seems to allow you to plug in another hard drive too, though I've not finished reading their user guide PDF), and with a power amp to put the audio into big speakers compared with headphones / earplugs.

It does say that the CD drive is the type used for a PC, so spins faster (for ripping tracks onto the HD) and is a bit noisier than a standard CD. You can set it to record "lossless" which I think is a copy of the audio track off the CD.

Anyway, looks rather nice and I'm even tempted myself

Out of interest, do you have an iPhone ? I ask, because there's a system called Sonos which (I think) is comparable. The iPhone can be used as a remote control for Sonos instead of buying their own. Sonos allows for multiple rooms to play music (add another box, links using its own built-in wi-fi link and can play off existing PC library too)

fishflange Mon 19-Oct-09 10:03:26

thanks for that!
Yes it's the fact you can put 'proper' speakers on and not tinny docking station one, and the fact you can slot your cds in without waiting for the PC to do conversions and then put them onto another player. Plus I don't want to buy downloads - much rather have a disk with tangible nice paper sleeve notes and pictures...
No, not got an iphone. Since I escaped to the frozen North a few years ago all this new fangled technology has passed me by....

BadgersPaws Mon 19-Oct-09 10:10:06

Can I ask what's wrong with MP3 players? As WebDude says the Brennan is really just an MP3 player.

One immediate thing I would check with it is does it connect to the internet? If not then you're going to have to enter all the CD titles and tracks by hand using what appears to be a very limited dial and button interface, no fun at all basically.

Lossless isn't quite a straightforward copy of a CD. What it is is a compressed copy of your CD that is perfect. Therefore it takes up less space than a simply copy but nothing is lost in the process.

It's a bit like zipping up a file on your computer, when you unzip it it comes out exactly as it was before.

MP3, and other such formats as WMA, usually use lossy compression (but not always, the Apple AAC format can be set to lossless for example and I'm sure it's not unique). That means that what comes out after the song is compressed isn't quite the same as what goes in. It's very close, and on headphones you may very well not notice the difference. However when played through a decent stereo keen hears can apparently hear the difference.

The JPG format that most people use to store their photos is also another example of a lossy compression. The photo isn't quite the same as the one that was taken.

So basically Lossless Compression gives you a perfect digital copy of a CD that will sound the same as if the CD itself is being player. The downside is that the files are quite big.

Lossy Compression gives you a near perfect copy but will take up a lot less space.

Most MP3 recorders (iTunes etc.) give you options when making an MP3 file that allow you to give extra quality in exchange for the file taking up more space. The quality will then approach Lossless but will never quite reach it (in all honesty I can't hear the difference, but maybe my ears are just broken).

Lossy vs. Lossless Audio discussions are very similar in tone to Vinyl vs. CD discussions amongst audiophiles.

We're thinking about it -- or thinking about just getting a Media Centre PC and using that for all our media. But the Brennan is tempting...

WebDude Mon 19-Oct-09 14:23:54

There's a database, BP, and they do mention on the Brennan site, that you can plug in a keyboard (the one they link to is a miniature one, presumably chosen to be small, but a 5 quid PS/2 style seems all that is needed, so even if the installed database isn't aware of the latest CDs the labour of adding tracks after that shouldn't be too onerous.

The downloadable PDF user guide (or the website itself) goes into some detail about lossless, and various levels of compression (320k, 192k, and 128k are other options, and they show the numbers of albums expected to be stored).

Thanks for the info on lossless. I have not been an audio "buff" so can happily cope with 192 kbps and not find fault with the audio, though know that DAB falls down for those who do have sensitive ears!

I mentioned the Sonos as that integrates with existing media storage, creates its own wi-fi net, and Sonos r/c costs near 300 quid but there's an iPhone application to control the Sonos kit available free or for a few quid. They also provide Mac and Windows control software to link with the Sonos, but I've only seen the boxes and don't have that at home (yet).

Seems to me the Brennan is a rather neat unit, but get in fast if that's what you want as the queue for new units seems to be growing, so leave it too long and you won't get one before Christmas...

I'd have gone for the 80 GB unit except that on further reading I couldn't easily find "albums" of music off the 100+ GB I already have, if they are kept on an external drive (drat, was thinking about copying them onto a 320 GB drive, to allow for more to be stored in one drive). So I'd have to dig out the originals (and not all are in my possession nowadays, as I lent an Australian girl all my classical CDs and she skipped off with them!)

BadgersPaws Mon 19-Oct-09 15:03:33

Through headphones and my iPod dock 256k sounds fine to me.

However through a "proper" stereo the situation might well be different. I know when I got my first MP3 player I did spend a bit of time listening to the various qualities and decided that I could hear a very slight different when upping from the default of 128k.

So if I were to get a "proper" stereo unit I'd do the same thing, give it a go and see what I think of the sound.

I'd suspect I'd feel somewhat driven to go lossless though, given as how it's a perfect reproduction. So I'd worry that my CD collection would need more than 80gb of space given that at 256k I'm taking up about 60gb right now.

So do look at the user guide and see how many CDs you can fit when your record them lossless. 80gb does seem a bit stingy these days and I don't consider myself to have a large collection...

WebDude Mon 19-Oct-09 16:29:31

They had none of the 80 GB models in stock when I glanced at the site (or none of one colour 80 GB) but they do 160 GB and 320 GB models.

With the 80 at 339 and the 320 at 399 I think spending the extra 60 is probably worthwhile!

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