Brennan JB7

Launched way back in 2008, the metal-cased Brennan hard disk music server comprised a hard drive, slot loading CD player and 60W per channel amplifier designed to partner the optional BSB50 loudspeakers (£59) – although it could also be used as a hi-fi source component. The 320GB hard disk was generous for its time but feels less so now; it can rip CDs to uncompressed files for optimum sound, along with MP3 (at a lowly 192 and 320kbps). Considering its dinky dimensions, the display was easy to read across a room and the supplied card remote worked well, but it was nowhere near as slick as the iDevices that soon followed…

With no wireless connectivity, the JB7 wasn’t a flexible product even when launched, but did include a handy built-in CD database and you could back up the HDD to an external drive via the USB interface. CD ripping was swift and glitch-free, and the unit proved impressively quiet in operation. Although not the equal of high end products, its sonics were a league above rivals from Sony, for example. Ideal for well produced rock and pop, to this day it sounds clean and crisp in a way that many other small systems can only dream of. The optional speakers are decent get-you-going designs, but it’s better to invest in a pair of Q Acoustics 2010i standmounters for a punchier and more expansive sound.

A great little no-frills music box in its day, Brennan’s JB7 is still available today in basic form for £429. It keeps on delivering the musical goods compared to its rivals and remains easy to use, but by today’s standards it feels something of an anachronism – albeit no less enjoyable for it.

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