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?

Oct 012012

On October 1, 1982, the first commercial compact disc, Billy Joel’s “52nd Street,” was released in Japan. Since then billions of shiny discs have filled shelves, littered the floors of cars, spun blindingly from rear view mirrors, and spun countless hours inside CD players.

Happy Birthday!

Anyone who reads this blog knows how I feel about CD; I hate it but also accept that for the moment it is almost always the best option from a quality standpoint. That isn’t because it sounds perfect, it just sounds so much better than MP3. DVD-A is pretty much dead, SACD and Hi-Res FLAC see far too few releases, and the format that should be champion, Blu-ray refuses to become a serious player.

So let’s raise a glass to the CD, not because we should celebrate it but simply because I need a reason to drink today… To my frenemy the CD, I hope you live long enough for the public to finally see just how much they miss when listening to MP3.

How many CD’s do you own? I stopped counting when I hit 1k.