Q&A - Ripping & Compression

If you are new to the B2 watch the CD Ripping video in the video guides tab at the left.

Martin has written this brief explanation of compression


New album database for JB7 and B2


21 September 2021

We have compiled an updated JB7 album database for the JB7. Follow instructions below.

16 February 2021

Back in 2020 the CD database freedb.org was closed. B2 and BB1 are internet connected so we switched them to an alternative database at Musicbrainz.

JB7 is not internet connected but instead used an internal database derived from freedb and loaded on a CDROM. When freedb closed it was no longer possible to update the JB7 album database with recent releases.

Now thanks to help from Brennan owner Andrew S we have found a way to combine the old freedb database with new releases from Musicbrainz.

JB7 owners can either download the database and burn their own CD or buy a CDROM from our shop.

B2 doesn’t need an internal database - but it can help finding track names for CDs not in the Musicbrainz database. The downside is that it may offer more irrelevant “matches” when ripping.


Download this file from Google Drive unzip it and burn to CD. [Instructions for burning with CDBurnerXP and InfraRecorder]


Download this file from Google Drive and copy it to a USB stick. Plug it into a USB port and then use USB Functions-> Load Database.

Alternatively, you can directly download 'mydb' - see below.

Album databases and track labeling

News 25th March 2020

On 31st March 2020 the Freedb website - used by B2 to assign track names to CDs - will shut down. All B2 and BB1 software since 2nd February has used an alternative website - Musicbrainz.

B2 can also use an offline copy of the entire Freedb database - as it stood on 31st March - to provide candidate track names if Musicbrainz does not have a match - so you get the best of both worlds.

You can load the Freedb database using Settings->Maintenance->Get Mydb. You only need to do this once as it will not change - and its a big file 1.5G so will take many minutes (20 with my broadband) to download and unzip.


Cover Art

News 11th May 2018

There is now a simpler way to load cover art after music is loaded. Just click on the dots next to an album name and you can get B2 to search Musicbrainz and Amazon for an image and load one you like.

You can add an image to an album so it will be displayed when a track from that album is played. 

You can use the "official" cover art but there is nothing to stop you using your own images - an old friend or photo from a holiday or special occasion.

You can load the image when your rip the CD.

These images come from indirectly from MusicBrainz so its not 100%.

If it finds an image then it will be saved with the music. Remember to click on Art first.

You can load an image after ripping. Either drag and drop an image file from your desktop or copy and paste an image - could be from another website - like the Amazon shop page for the CD.

I'm not a Mac expert but I found that on a Macbook I could drag an image from the Amazon website to the desktop. I then dragged this file to the B2 web UI - though it might have been sensible to rename it to coverart.jpg first - it had a weird name.

You will see a thumbnail of the cover art in the album panel to confirm.


You can't delete album art at the moment but if you drag an image called coverart.jpg to the album - this name will take priority so will be displayed in preference to any you loaded before. [Cut and paste images automatically take this name].

Using an External CD Drive

You can rip CDs using an external USB CD/DVD drive. You just need to plug an external USB drive into USB C and use it as you would the internal drive.

There are a couple of reasons why you might do this.

1) You can rip more quickly with an external drive
2) If you plan to rip a lot of CDs it will save wear and tear on the internal drive

The LG GP57EB £21.99 rips at about three times faster than the B2 internal drive.

The LG GE24NU40 at £43 is a bit of a monster - it's bigger than the B2 - but it does rip six times faster than the B2 and is quiet - so probably fairer to describe it as a Rolls Royce.

I also tested a handful of cheap (£10) USB drives and they all worked. Tray loaders generally work faster than the B2 internal slot load drive.

To ensure the B2 detects the CD Drive, power off the B2 before plugging in the CD Drive and then power on again.

Questions and Answers


What's the MP3 Bitrate?


Load CD that is already compressed.

When you rip a CD (or import from USB) it replaces any existing tracks with the same name - whether they are compressed or not.
However if the name is not not exactly the same as the CDDB entry - then B2 will create a new copy of the music with the different name- so you will have to manually delete the old compressed music.

Why does ripping speed vary from CD to CD?

Some CDs will start ripping at about 12x and get faster and faster up to about 24x (actually thats because the disk is spinning at the same number of revolutions per second but as the laser works its way out from the middle the circumference increases so the data rate increases). Other CDs start at 4x. The speed is down to the CD mechanism and we have seen this behaviour in both JB7 and B2 using CD mechanisms from a variety of manufacturers. My hunch is that CD mech measures the quality of the signal coming back from the CD and slows down if its not a good signal. Sometimes a CD will slow down mid rip - but then get faster again. But I tend to find that if it starts slow - it stays slow. I have found in the past that cleaning a CD has helped.

Rename unofficial CD?

You can rename the artist, album and tracks any time. An unrecognised CD will be filed under artist "Unknown" initially. 

Can you rip single tracks? 

Sorry you have to load the entire CD and delete what you don't want.

Can I turn compression off?

Yes... Settings->Compression->None

Is the CD Database Included?

The B2 has the latest album database installed at the factory. Though you won't need it if you connect the B2 to the internet.
The B2 does not update its "offline" database with a CD like the JB7. You need to download this file. Copy it to a USB memory stick and plug it into B2 USB C. Then Select USB Functions -> Load Database.

What does Rip Incomplete mean? 

This usually means there is a video track on the CD - sometimes not mentioned on the CD cover. In this case it is the last track that fails to load. Can also happen if the CD is damaged. Try washing gently with Fairy liquid, rinse and dab dry. Then retry. Sometimes you will find that a larger desktop CD mechanism will read a difficult CD - so try ripping on a PC as a last resort. Then transfer the music using a USB memory stick.

Double compressed?

B2 only compresses wav files - the original uncompressed files created when you ripped your CDs. It displays compressing xyz just before it goes into standby as it checks the disk to see if there is anything to do. B2 will not compress flac or mp3s again.

Compression Slow - 21 hours 450 tracks.

Mp3 encoding is slower than JB7 for instance because JB7 used my own handwritten assembly language MP3 encoder. B2 uses the Raspberry Pi running Linux so I use an MP3 library which is not tuned in the same way. MP3 encoders on PCs have the triple advantage that they have hand coded software on a faster processor with dedicated (accelerated) instructions for this sort of job.

It encodes MP3 in about real time - which is a nuisance but you only do it once and its typically done overnight. Flac is faster to compress.

Multi CD Set - second overwrites the first.

You need to be careful with multi CD sets. Sometimes the album names in the database are the same for several CDs - although the tracks are different.
The way to deal with multi CD sets is to load the first CD then rename the album so it is likely to be unique "Aida - CD1" would be a good choice. Then load the second and repeat the process.

The web interface makes finding and renaming clearer - but you can always find the last album loaded on the front panel by using Browse Albums and turning the knob anticlockwise - it wraps from the first to the last if you see what I mean.
If you do get a mixed up album like that you can just delete it and start again.

Can B2 load MP3 CDs?

The short answer is no. You need to use a PC or Mac to transfer the music from CD to USB and then import. 

Can B2 load FLAC files on DVD?

Sorry no. Again you need to use a PC or Mac to transfer the music from CD to USB and then import. 


Offline Database

If your B2 is connected to the internet you don't need this.

The B2 does not update its "offline" or internal album database with a CD like the JB7.

You need to download 
this file. Copy it to a USB memory stick and plug it into B2 USB C. Then Select

USB Functions -> Load Database.