Cambridge-based 3ga has launched an innovative ‘digital jukebox’ hi-fi component that’s designed to make shifting through piles of untidy CDs a thing of the past.
Available in 40GB or 80GB versions, the JB7 is part CD-ripper, part MP3 player and part amplifier. Speaker out terminals at the back of the unit enable it to be used as a standalone hi-fi component capable of generating 60W – enough to fill most rooms.
CDs are ripped at a speed of 8x, and can be encoded as 128, 192, or 320kbps MP3 files. It’s a fairly simple ‘one-touch’ process, although the lack of an Ethernet connection means users have to rely on a supplied FreeDB database disc to get track names.
That’s fine if your music collection consists of fairly popular and not all that up-to-date material. But it's far from cutting-edge if you have a taste for obscure independent music. If that’s the case, album and track names can be manually inputted. To make up for the lack of internet connectivity, 3ga says it will provide updated FreeDB discs four times a year to its customers.
Adding to the JB7s versatility is a USB connection on the front. This can be used to play or transfer MP3 files stored on an iPod, other MP3 player, or even a USB memory stick. Anything formatted in FAT16 or FAT32, basically. The USB connection can also be used to back-up your JB7 library to an external hard-drive
Sadly, tracks stored on the JB7 cannot be loaded directly onto an iPod, and the JB7 doesn’t support Apple AAC or Windows-flavoured WMA files either.
In addition to direct speaker connections, the back of the JB7 also sports line-in and line-out options, as well as a headphone socket and a socket for the 24V power supply. The unit comes with a credit-card remote as well.
Prices are £299 for the 40GB version and £319 for the 80GB model.