Brennan JB7 Review

The metal-cased Brennan hard disk music server, which was released in 2008, included a hard drive, slot-loading CD player, and 60W per channel amplifier that was designed to work with the optional BSB50 loudspeakers (£59), although it could also be used as a hi-fi source component. The 320GB hard disk was large at the time, but it no longer feels so; it can rip CDs to uncompressed files for better sound, as well as MP3 files (at a lowly 192 and 320kbps). The display was easy to read across a room, and the card remote that came with it worked okay, but it was nowhere like as sleek as the iDevices that followed…

The JB7 didn’t have WiFi connectivity when it was first released, but it did include a handy built-in CD database and the ability to back up the HDD to an external drive via the USB port. CD ripping was quick and error-free, and the gadget was surprisingly quiet when in use. Although not as good as high-end devices, its sonics were far ahead of competitors like Sony. It’s perfect for well-produced rock and pop, yet it still sounds clean and sharp in a way that many other compact systems can only aspire to. The available speakers are adequate for getting started, but for a punchier and more wide sound, invest in a set of Q Acoustics 2010i standmounters.

Brennan’s JB7, a terrific little no-frills music box in its day, is still available in basic form for £429. It continues to outperform its competitors in terms of musical quality and ease of use, but it feels antiquated by today’s standards – albeit no less pleasurable as a result.