13 of 14 people found the following review helpful
Aimed at oldies (like me),
This review is from: JB7 320G Metallic S1 (Electronics)
At first I was put off buying a Brennan. I read a lot of reviews online, mostly hostile. Why get one instead of an iPod? It was more expensive, bulkier, took minutes to load a CD and you couldn't rearrange them once you'd got them on. Also there was no obvious back-up (according to expert comment). And audiophiles seemed to loathe it saying it made rasping noises. Besides, it's marketing message was all about trying to find a long-lost track on a CD you couldn't locate. That's not me. I have about 1500 CDs and I know almost every track on every one of them. That's not the issue. The issue is I have burnt my own compilations of favourite tracks and no longer bother going back to the originals: why get a CD out if there's only one favourite track on it? Instead I waste my time (and money) trawling through second-hand CD shops and sales in HMV hoping to find an undiscovered masterpiece (there aren't any; I have them all) or a new band that is as good as the old (there are, but they sound like the old too).
Then I read a helpful review that explained that the Brennan had better sound quality than an iPod and that it had an onboard amp so you don't need a stereo (sorry, old term). Since my laptop's OS had just crashed wiping out my iTunes library, this sounded promising. Besides, I'm of an age and ilk (50-something bloke who likes pottering about) where consuming music via a laptop doesn't appeal to me nor does sporting an iPod while in the street, at the gym or on public transport. And I'm sufficiently deaf that top-of-the-range sound isn't necessary.
So I bought one. I wanted the smaller-capacity one, with the dinky blue front. But they'd sold out and wouldn't be in stock for months. Besides, the big one was only about eighty quid more which when you're spending over four hundred pounds anyway seems worth having. I'm glad I did. The extra capacity means that I can compress my CDs at a better-than-MP3 rate.
So what's it like? It's great. It sits waiting for me to get home so I can load more music into its slit of a mouth. It's tiny (the size of a hardback book) and has a dark green shell (so the grey front looks fine). It feels a bit clunky (the knob on the front sometimes seems to grind) and it is a bit idiosyncratic (it refused both copies of Led Zep 4 first time round, thought CSNY's Deja Vu was a Bo Diddley album and drew a complete blank with Black Sabbath 4).
But what it has done is force me to confront my CD collection (meticulously ordered in true High Fidelity fashion) and go back and listen to all those great albums of my youth. I spent many happy hours deciding on the load order (it is after all a jukebox so what matters ultimately is not the order the albums are in but being able to select what you want easily) and decided to recreate my first vinyl collection in the order in which I got them: so Who's Next, followed by Zep and Sabbath, Yes Album, Genesis's Foxtrot, Floyd's Meddle, etc, etc, followed by increasing batching of artists as I go.
What the Brennan has actually done through the random play function is made me go back to those old great albums. It's like having John Peel on 24/7 and the random juxtapositions of tracks it throws up are fascinating (if you don't like one you can skip to the next). So the truth is I won't be buying many more CDs. What I have is all I need as the JB7 has shown me. And I like the fact that it's a bit clunky and isn't especially brilliant at anything in particular but quite good all round. Like me, I hope. Oh, as for back-up, it's the original CDs now recatalogued in Brennan order.