Import music to B3 from USB

This document describes how to use a USB storage device i.e. a memory stick (thumb drive), an HDD (hard disc drive) or SSD (solid state drive) to transfer music to the B3.

Please note that any USB storage device must be FAT32 formatted to work with the B3 – see the Formatting section later in the document.

The music you want to transfer to the B3 must be in one of the following digital formats

  • WAV - as found on an audio CD
  • FLAC – a lossless compression format – the B3 uses this format by default
  • MP3 – very common
  • M4A – Apple formats including AAC and ALAC

The B3 will not play -

  • WMA (Windows Media Audio)
  • AIFF (Apple – audio interchange file format)
  • *OGG Vorbis
  • *Opus

*You can import OGG and Opus files but the B3 will not recognise them. However if you change the extension from .ogg or .opus to .mp3, for example, and run Scan Disk the B3 will find and play them.

So a typical music file (Track) will look like this -

  • Here Comes The Sun.flac
  • Here Comes The Sun.mp3
  • Here Comes The Sun.m4a

You can transfer and store a mix of formats on the B3 which will play across them seamlessly.

This is how music is stored in the B3 -

Where "Music", "Artist1",  "Album1" etc. are folders on the hard drive.

So the music to be imported should be arranged by Artist then Album then Tracks, in order to import, display and play as expected on the B3 (also applies to the web UI and apps).

Artist – a folder e.g. "The Beatles"

Album – a folder e.g. "Abbey Road"

               01 Track – a file e.g. "01 Here Comes The Sun.flac"

               02 Track – a file e.g. "02 Something.flac"


Numbering the Tracks keeps them in the correct playing order – otherwise the B3 will arrange and play them in alphabetical order.

Use 01, 02, 03 …….. 9, 10, 11, etc to prevent 10 getting put between 1 and 2.

You can have multiple Albums within an Artist folder -

The Beatles

                 Abbey Road

                                   01 Come Together.flac

                                   02 Something.flac


                Rubber Soul

                                   01 Drive My Car.flac

                                   02 Norwegian Wood.flac


If you want to import multiple Artists-Albums-Tracks, add a ‘music’ folder at the top level.


        The Beatles

                         Abbey Road

                                           01 Come Together.flac


        Fleetwood Mac


                                      01 Second Hand News.mp3




  • The Music folder – must only contain Artist folders. No Album folders or individual Tracks or other files.
  • The Artist folder – must only contain Album folders. No individual Tracks or other files.
  • The Album folder – can contain Tracks, Album artwork (a .jpg file, when available) and things like TOC (table of contents) and disc ID files.

Copying the music to the B3:

Make sure the B3 is powered off, plug the USB device into USB A (on the front of the B3) and switch the power on.

If using a memory stick (thumb drive) there is no need to power the B3 off before inserting.

After booting up fully, a USB icon will appear on the B3’s display – this indicates the B3 has recognised the USB device, meaning that it must have been FAT32 formatted – so all good.

Click (press briefly and release) the control knob to open the Main menu. Scroll down to ‘USB Functions’ and click to open.

The ‘USB Functions’ option will only be visible when a FAT32 formatted USB device is plugged in.

‘Browse USB A’ is the first option, click to select..


 In the example the USB device has one Artist listed - Alan Parsons Project.

Ignore the ‘System Volume Information’ folder – that’s only used by Microsoft Windows.

With ‘Alan Parsons Project’ highlighted, you have the following options -

    • Press the Next button to import everything in the ‘Alan Parsons Project’ folder – which will then be stored on the B3 with ‘Alan Parsons Project’ as the Artist or will be added to ‘Alan Parsons Project’ if that Artist already exists.
    • Push the knob to open the ‘Alan Parsons Project’ folder to see the associated Album/s –  there are two Albums in the following example.

      • Push the knob to open the Album folder and view the Tracks.or
      • Press the Back button briefly to go back to ‘Alan Parsons Project’. Press Back again to go to ‘Browse USB A’ and again to go to ‘USB Functions’, etc.

      Pressing and holding the Back button at any level will exit the menus completely.

      If you have a ‘music’ folder, containing multiple Artists-Albums-Tracks, you can import everything in the ‘music’ folder by highlighting it and pressing the Next button. Or push the knob to drill down through the Artist and Album folders.

      Long titles – a warning:

      Any Artist, Album or Track name, including any spaces, should not exceed 175 characters, including the extension. So for Track names this would be -

      a name consisting 170 characters.flac
      a name consisting 171 characters.mp3

      Names exceeding this limit can give unpredictable results such as an Artist, Album and/or Tracks not being displayed.


      The B3 generates a database (index) of the music on the hard drive, called ‘b2db’, which it uses to locate and play your music.

      ‘b2db’ is a text file (see the Katie Melua example below) that can be exported – Maintenance menu > ‘Save b2db to USB A’ - viewed and edited using a text editor such as Notepad++ or imported into a spreadsheet. Also useful if you want a print-out of your music.

      Katie Melua/In Winter
      10 tracks
      01 The Little Swallow.flac
      02 River.flac
      03 Perfect World.flac
      04 Cradle Song.flac
      05 A Time To Buy.flac
      06 Plane Song.flac
      07 If You Are So Beautiful.flac
      08 Dreams On Fire.flac
      09 All-Night Vigil - Nunc Dimittis.flac
      10 O Holy Night.flac

      ‘Scan Disk’ – Maintenance menu – rebuilds the ‘b2db’ file and should be run after doing any editing such as renaming or deleting.

      Formatting the USB device:
      Memory sticks (thumb drives), 512GB and below, are usually FAT32 formatted and will work ‘out of the box’. HDDs and SSDs will normally need to be FAT32 formatted before they can work with the B3. This can be done by the B3.

      Please note that formatting a USB storage device will erase all data stored on it, so make sure you do not want anything it contains before formatting.
      With the B3 powered off, plug the USB storage device into USB A and switch the B3 on. Click the control knob to open the Main menu > go to Settings & Tools > Maintenance > Advanced > ‘Format USB A’.

      Make sure you select ‘Format USB A’ not ‘Format HDD’ – the latter will erase all of your music – if unsure, press the Back button to go back one step and check what you have selected.

      ‘Unmounting’ and ‘Partitioning’ are displayed briefly and then ‘Formatting’, which will stay on screen for a while, depending on the memory capacity of the drive. The display shows the clock when completed.

      Before unplugging any USB storage device, press and hold the Play/Stop button until ‘OK to turn off’ is shown, release the button, wait for the clock to be displayed again and then switch off.

      When you plug the drive into your computer you may see a warning message. If you have followed the safe to remove procedure described above, you can ignore this and continue without fixing or scanning.

      The largest capacity USB storage device that can be FAT32 formatted and work with the B3 is 2TB.

      If you are having problems ‘formatting’ a particular HDD or SSD or the formatting appears to have worked but the B3 still doesn’t recognise the drive, it may be due to the ‘Partitioning’ type – the way the memory space on the drive is divided up.

      The B3 will only work with MBR (Master Boot Record) partitioned drives and some newer HDDs and SSDs are supplied with GPT (GUID Partition Table). You can check the drive for GPT or MBR by plugging it into your computer (Windows version)

      Select File Explorer > ‘This PC’ > right click on the drive name > Properties > Hardware > select the drive from the list > Properties > Volumes > Populate. 

      You can convert a GPT partitioned drive to MBR, see this article from EaseUS – MBR vs GPT – What’s the difference