Feb 262013
 

I am taking a few college courses right now and it dawned on my recently that many of the people I go to school with have never known a time when you didn’t listen to music in a digital, mobile format. This got me thinking back to the earliest days when I used Winamp, and then Apple released the juggernaut known as iTunes.  Winamp played hi-res files and the formats I preferred, like FLAC. iTunes had its own format and then, like now changed your music files to a sound like what Apple wanted. iTunes was super easy to use as long as you agree with the way Apple believes your files should be organized, which is kind of like using your floor as a filing cabinet.

cansI hated digital files because I could see where it was headed, the utter destruction of quality recording. Well, thus far it hasn’t gotten that bad but we have some time left. Over the last 15 years I have been methodically moving my extensive music collection to digital. It is time consuming to rip thousands for CDs and especially vinyl records. I have however gotten it done and it became imperative that whatever program I used would never, ever, make a change to the sound of a file, never change a tag, and never do anything I didn’t want it to.

Eventually I loaded Media Center from JRiver onto all of my home computers. It controls as much or as little of my home entertainment systems as I choose. This includes playing ripped DVD and Blurays across my home network or if you feel really adventurous even to your phone or tablet when you are on the move.

For someone like myself, I wanted a clean music interface without all of the clunky video, picture, and crappola in my way. Media Center makes it as easy as clicking few buttons to strip those away so I have an uncluttered interface  with a back end that keeps my HD music files sounding as close to perfect as possible. You will simply hear the best your system is capable of.

The Computer Audiophile has put together an excellent review and how to of JRiver Media Center and explains in detail why it is as good as it is and how you can make it your own.

Do you still use iTunes?

  2 Responses to “JRiver Media Center, One Program To Rule Them All”

  1. Oh, interesting. We’ve been doing a little remodeling and I want to store our CDs in the attic to reclaim that shelf space. I’ve been looking for some way to manage our tunes. My plan was just to buy an iPod 160 G. I would manage my music through iTunes and connect the iPod to my receiver amp. (FYI, ti’s a Sony Surround Sound 7.2 Entertainment Amp). If I used Media Center, I would manage the tunes through it on my computer, but I would still need to connect the iPod to the amp, right?

    I’d love to find an alternative to buying another iPod, but I don’t want to hook up my laptop to the amp. If you have any other suggestions, I am all ears!

  2. You have a number of options. I have dedicated laptops in my listening areas so I connect the laptop directly, no need for the iPod, which I keep in my car. This is a great way to use an old computer as it requires very little processor power or RAM.
    You can also use a smart TV, Bluray player, or Device, like a ROKU ($49) to stream directly to your receiver. If it is time for a new receiver, they almost all come with network connectivity now which does the same thing.
    You can also, as you suggested just connect the iPod to the receiver. iPods have notoriously bad audio quality however which may or may not be a concern for you. To get around this there are a number of products or docks that bypass the iPod and offer better sound.

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