Tips & Advice

This page contains a collection of advice, ideas and fixes mainly from Brennan owners on the forum.

Wifi problems - try USB Ethernet
In my house there is a WiFi jungle (not to overlook the coexisting BT jungle). Addressing the WiFi problems of single devices is seemingly confounded by what is happening with everything else even with 1000mb/s fiber optic service to the gateway. With every conversion to Ethernet connections, I gain a higher level of satisfaction with those previously WiFi connected devices. I understand this is not an option for everyone, but if your B2 or B3 is close to a gateway/router or available Ethernet switch, I recommend using a USB-Ethernet connector to end the WiFi wild goose chases.
Edgar – the Forum.

Eero mesh:
Just added an eero mesh system to my home wifi. And like the OP here, my Brennan (B2) is not available via the UI or the phone app where before it worked flawlessly. The B2 connected but via the mesh network, only communicates one way.
SOLUTION. Put the eero system into bridge mode and the problem is solved. Hope this solution helps someone else.

Audiolab & Cambridge Audio Optical issues
When using a USB-Optical adapter (Cubilux, etc) with an Audiolab and Cambridge Audio amplifier – use ‘Wide’ setting for Audio Lab. Link

B3 – Not booting up - SD Card:
When you switch the B3 on, the normal start up sequence is 'brennan' in black on a white background for a second or two, then 'brennan' in white on black background and shortly after that the clock (if the B3 is connected to WiFi) or 'brennan' with either '480G' or '2000G' (if it's not connected to WiFi)?

You will also see 'waiting for disc' at the top of the screen which should go off after 3 or 4 seconds.

Is this happening? Is the B3 getting stuck at the 'waiting for disc' stage? Or it gets past that stage but is not responding to the front panel controls?

It sounds like the B3 is having problems loading it’s operating software, which it does each time you power it on. The software is stored on an SD Card (separately from your music which is stored on the hard drive) inside the B3 and was probably corrupted by an unexpected power off or the card may have gone faulty.

The quickest and easiest way to get your B3 up and running again is for us to send a new (pre-programmed) SD Card for you to fit. This will involve opening the B3 to access the SD Card - there are instructions on our Forum - B3 How to change the SD card - doing this will not affect your warranty (if you are careful).

If it is something you would be happy doing, let us know - we will need an address for delivery. Alternatively you can send the B3 to our service centre to have the card changed. Please let us know which you would prefer.
Brennan Support.

Scan Disk:
The B3 generates it's own database of the music stored on the hard drive which it uses to locate, display and play your music. The database may be out of sync with the contents of the hard drive (or SSD), so try running 'Scan Disk' which is in the Maintenance menu - Main menu > Settings & Tools > Maintenance > Scan Disk - takes a minute or three to run.
Scan Disk is the go to command for any playback or missing music issue.

Using NAS mode:
the servername is the IP address of the B3
the sharename is music
the username is root
the password is brennan
On MS-Windows the syntax is \\servername\sharename
On macOS the syntax is smb://servername/sharename

Formatting the B3 hard drive:
Purpose of this Article
Sometimes the B3 function ‘Format HDD’ does not work correctly but does not show a warning. The result is that the HDD reformat has failed and you will continue to get ‘HDD Read only’ messages after you believe that you have reformatted the HDD.
The procedure below will help to ensure that the reformat function will work correctly.

Pre Backup Preparation
1.  Select 'Main Menu' > 'Settings & Tools' > 'Stats' and check the Artist, Album and Track counts and write these down for further reference.
2. Plug a suitable USB device (formatted to FAT32) into the USB A port. If the USB device is not FAT32 formatted, then select 'Main Menu' > ‘Settings & Tools’ > ‘Maintenance’ > ‘Format USB A’.

Backing up (Export) Your Music Collection
3. Select  'Main Menu' > 'USB Functions > 'Export to USB A'
4. When the Export has completed, use a PC/Mac to check that the ‘Folders’ count in the‘\b2Export\music’ folder in the Export equals the number of artists + number of albums.

Formatting the HDD
Ensure that the WebUI or Web App is closed down otherwise the format procedure may fail.
5. Select 'Main Menu' > 'Settings & Tools' > 'Maintenance' > 'Stop NAS'
6. Power the B3 down, wait 1 minute and power up. (This step is important)
7. Leave the B3 idle for 10 minutes. (This step is also important)
8. Select 'Main Menu' > 'Settings & Tools' > 'Maintenance' > 'Advanced' > 'Format HDD'

If at this point you see an error message on the front panel display, then it is probable that the internal HDD has failed with a hardware fault and will need to be replaced.
Watch the front panel display closely.  You should see a message ‘Partitioning’ briefly followed by another message ‘Formatting’ which should show for a time between approximately 1 and 3 minutes, depending on the capacity of the HDD.  This means that the HDD is formatting and you should continue to step 9.
If the ‘Formatting’ message disappears after a few seconds, then the format has failed, and you should go back to step 5 and repeat from there. If the problem persists then the HDD is probably faulty and should be replaced.

9. Select 'Main Menu' > 'Settings & Tools' > 'Maintenance' > 'Start NAS' (if you are using NAS)
10.  Select 'Main Menu' > 'Settings & Tools' > 'Stats' & check that the Artist, Album and Tracks counts are all 0.  If these are not 0 then the 'Format HDD' process has failed.

Restore your music collection
11. Plug the USB backup device back into the B3's USB A port
14. Select 'Main Menu' > 'USB Functions > 'Browse USB A'  & select the folder 'b2Export'  & click on this to start the restore.

The music collection will restore back to the B3 and you should be back in action.

If the format fails after a couple of attempts then it is likely that the HDD has suffered a hardware failure. In this case, contact Brennan through this Forum and request further assistance.

Download b2db:
1. Run a Scan Disk
2. In your web browser go the the url https://<ipaddress>/hdd1/b2db
This will download a copy of the b2db file into your download directory or where ever your browser puts it.

Adding B3 as library to Sonos app:
You can use the Sonos app to select what's played from the B3 and will be able to select which Sonos the music is sent to using the Sonos app.
Turn on NAS mode on the B3 - using the front control knob to go to Main menu >> Settings & Tools >> Maintenance > 'Start NAS'.
On the Sonos app select Manage >> Music Library Settings >> Add >> NAS drive >> type this in     //   replace with the IP Address shown on your B3. Sonos will now add the contents of the B3 hard drive.
When completed (takes a while to load) you can use the Sonos app to select what's played from the B3 and where it is sent to.
If you load any more music to the B3 you will need to run Manage >> 'Update Music Library Now' on the Sonos app to add the newly added music.

Mark F’s adventures with Sonos:

See this forum post

Tagging and Sonos:
B2/B3/B3+ use the folder and file names for information about your music. Sonos uses embedded tags for the same purpose.
B2/B3/B3+ embed the tags ONLY DURING compression.
If you are going to rearrange ripped music so that some tracks have different album and artist names from other tracks, do it before compression so the information you WANT is embedded when compression occurs.

Checking the WiFi signal on Sonos:

Activating the B3+ DAC:
B3 SPDIF out - you need to activate the internal DAC - open the Main menu on the B3 >> scroll down to and select 'Turn USB Audio On' >> the display will show 'switching' and then return to the clock >> the headphones icon (lower left of the screen) will now be red, indicating that the Line Out and SPDIF are ready to play.

Ray’s YouTube about the web UI:

Security message on Web UI:
The "security" message is probably not from the B3, but from your web browser. Let's assume that your mp3s were in a directory structure like this:
If you point at the Music directory or the Artist directory for the bulk upload, the B3 looks down the directory structure for Tracks, and then uses the Album and Artist directory names for album and artist info.
BUT if you point at the Album directory or Tracks directory for the bulk upload, the B3 finds the tracks and then tries to get the album and artist info by looking UPWARD in the directory structure,  and the web browser blocks the B3 from looking above the level it was pointed at. So you end up with Unknown for either Artist or Album or both.
The simple fix is to use Import instead of Upload. Copy the files onto a FAT32 USB drive in the Music/Artist/Album/Tracks structure and plug the drive into your B3. Then use Import.

Backing up – more files and verifying:
The Export count includes files that are not tracks, as well as the tracks.
When you rip a CD on the B3, it creates two files that are used in the calculation of the disc "fingerprint", a value needed to look up the disc in the MusicBrainz database. Those two files are the toc (Table of Contents) and discid (the computed value). If there is album art available or added later, there's a file called coverart.jpg, or folder.jpg, or someothername.jpg.
So each album could have as many as three additional files included in the Export that are not tracks, but are in addition to tracks.
I forget whether creating the Artist and Album directories themselves on the Export disk also adds to the item count. But the key point here is that you NEVER want the Export count to be less than the track count, and most of the time it will be higher by AT LEAST the number of albums, usually by several times the number of albums.

The 'Export' function counts the tracks AND also other non music files such as 'coverart.jpg' files.  Therefore the final 'Export' count can be (and usually is) greater than the tracks count. 
The difference in the final count can be as much as 25%, so the count could go to 3000.

I've done two full backups on my B2 this weekend. It reminded me that a good way to check that the finished backup is complete is, firstly, to add the total number of artists plus albums showing on the B2  (in Grouchy's case that would be 279=148=427).
I then compare that figure to the number of folders showing in "properties" after I plug the finished backup disk into my laptop. The folders count is always two more than the B2 total of artists plus albums. So, in this case, it ought to be 429. I've always assumed the extra two folders are the "music" and "playlist" folders which are part of the B2 export.

Playing to a Bluetooth Speaker or Headphones:
Make sure you have the Bluetooth dongle – it’s marked V5.0, CSR4.0 or V4 – plugged into USB A on the front of the B3. Switch the B3 off before plugging it in.

Put your Bluetooth speaker or Headphones into ‘Discoverable’ mode – usually an LED flashes to indicate this is active.

Click (press briefly and release) the front control knob to open the Main menu.

Turn the control to ‘Bluetooth Out’ – it’s off the bottom of the screen, so keep turning the control to get to it – and click to select it.

After ‘Scanning’ the B3 will list any Bluetooth devices it has found.

Highlight the device name and click the control to ‘pair’ with the B3.

Press the ‘Back’ button to exit the Bluetooth menu

Try playing something from the B3.

If the B3 fails to find your Bluetooth speaker/headphones or does not ‘Pair’, try ‘Reset Bluetooth’, which is found in the Maintenance menu and then try ‘Bluetooth Out’ again.

Please note:
The music sent from the B3 is at a fixed level and you need to adjust the playback volume using the volume controls on the speaker or headphones.

’Pick Speaker’ – Main menu - must be be set to ‘Wired’ for the B3 to play to Bluetooth.

If you switch the Bluetooth speaker/headphones off the B3 will revert to it’s previous output (Wired and/or DAC).

The B3 will only work with V5.0 or CSR4.0 Bluetooth dongles (as supplied).