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J River Media Center - mind officially blown


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I realize I'm kinda late to the party with this thing (it's at v15, ffs!), but I just installed J River MC 15 last night, and it has blown my freaking mind :-)

http://www.jriver.com/index.html

I only found it thanks to an article linked here. Think of it as a faster, sound-quality-centric iTunes that you won't loathe using. It exceeds iTunes, feature by feature, and I keep finding more and more things it can do.

Among my favourite features:

- ASIO driver, and lots of resampling control. Even with no processing, it sounds better to me than iTunes.

- Multizone from each client.. all network controllable intelligently. Can select 'play in zone [blah]' from any client

- Theatre mode optimized for MCE remote control. Looks *gorgeous* on my plasma.

- Built in IR blaster control for my AVR / TV

- Room correction, crossover, live and intelligent muxing / demuxing of sources all as options

- Seems to be grabbing artist artwork in the background.. playing music in theatre mode shows all this gorgeous HQ artwork from *somewhere*

- meticulous metadata / tagging control

- browsing modes are varied, and superb. Does cover flow etc much better than iTunes (at least on pc!)

This thing has, quite simply, helped rekindle my love of my digital music library. I've done nothing for the last 24 hours or so but listen, tag, explore etc (with a couple of short naps in there somewhere).

30 day full feature trial, and US$50 to buy after that. I'm sold already.

Take a look if you're still labouring under Apple's yoke :-P I'm not easily impressed by music librarians, but this is something else!

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Quote "Seems to be grabbing artist artwork in the background".

And might be doing a few other things as well.

Well, it is grabbing metadata - that's kind of what I expect from a librarian like this (e.g. Media Browser does the same thing, which is incredibly useful).

Personally I'm more okay with trusting this app with my playlist info than I am with Apple.

Adam, I have a sneaking suspicion that I tried it years ago as well. This seems like a totally different app to me ;-) Take a look at their current version, I think you might be pleasantly surprised. The more time I spend with it (and I'm spending a LOT of time with it), the more I love it.

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I am going to jump in here as I am such a fan. I have tried every form of software available under the sun, that includes MS media center. J river wins hands down. I have been using it now for over two years and recieve updates almost every two weeks. This software just gets better and better with evey update. More features improved performance. You can customize almost anything. It has a much better tagging functionality and for fixing up a dodgy music collection. Its Library function is so fast.

Its also good for a movie collection and adding cover art. Windows media center needs addons and the performance between J river and others like WMC XMBC Boxee and others is like chalk and cheese.

I run a NAS and the media center in the bedroom and living room all stream the movies and music via wireless seamlessly running window 7 I can play both systems without any stuttering.

Also with ASIO and WASAPI support you have bit perfect sound to you receiver/amp. I have done away with the external DAC and have a modified ASUS Essence STX soundcard that sounded better then both the music fedility DAC M1 I recetly installed and the DACmagic.

I cannot see a point in trying or using anything else. I do not know why anyone would want to own a CD player, DVD player or a blue ray as this software on a HTPC with a remote is everything you need.

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Hi Encoderboy,

I agree with you entirely, I've been using J River for a while now and it works for me. Simlilar to you I have it connnected to my plasma in theatre mode controlled by MCE IR. It looks good although some of the pics that come up can be a bit crazy. When I listen to Gomez I get pictures of some young girl called Selena Gomez in a bikini :), I also get topless shots of Lily Allen (she's no Selma), but when listening to Elbow I have to look at dislocated limbs :) not so good.

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LOL. Yeah, perils of google images, I suppose :-)

I set it to auto-download missing artwork, and it's generally done an excellent job there, too. I have noticed a few that are incorrect, but they were all poorly tagged to begin with. The ones with decent tagging all seemed to pick up nice, high quality artwork perfectly.

I still haven't got Apple Lossless playback working right, but that's just given me the impetus to convert everything in AL to FLAC anyway. (Yay, dbpoweramp!).

So very impressed with how good it sounds. I'm moving house soon, so will have to buy a reference mic to try out the room treatment plugs when I do.

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There is a setting somewhere that turns off part of the auto web background picture downloads I had the same issue listening to some a track it would display pornography in the background now it only displays pictures of the artist so maybe it looks at a different database. If you are interested I will have a look for the setting?

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  • 2 weeks later...
I used it once about 7 years ago and wasn't impressed, but I can't say I've tried it since. Good to hear you're liking it!

Has definitely improved since then (not just my opinion) ... Have a look at the Computer audiophile website's review of version 14...

I have tried lots of players including Foobar, MediaMonkey, itunes (yuck), WMP etc - JR MC 15 with WASAPI out sounds better than all the others to my ears.

I rip using EAC then importing is easy. Also, does batch conversion - e.g. if you want low res MP3 for an iPod shuffle (like I do when going running etc.) - easily.

Importing album art is easy. Multiple ways to control the software - I have it running off an old laptop, streaming files from a server using Remote Desktop (from anything) to control it.

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What do you mean by that? Are you changing sound cards on the fly?

Well. I run an Audigy 2 for my main speakers, mainly used for TV and I run an ASUS Essence STX for my headphones. (AKG 701)

Now, with itunes, I close it change cards in Control Panel (Win 7) of it again and it outputs to the default card I selected.

The J River won't do that for some reason.

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Ahh okay.

I would play around with the output settings - you can specify exactly what card / set of outputs you want to use for JRiver there. It's actually going to be a lot simpler / smarter to do so there than from Win7.

Also try different output types - ASIO and WASAPI are both good options, and should make it fairly simple to switch.

IIRC there's a way to hotkey switching between setups like that also (though I couldn't point you to it now). Take a dig on the J River forums, I'm at least 90% sure that's where I was reading about it.

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Ahh okay - you can do this with Zones :-)

Go to player / Zones / Add zone.

Name it e.g. STX Headphones. Name your original zone e.g. Audigy 2.

When you click on either zone in 'playing now', it'll switch to that zone's own settings for which output settings to use. So select each, and save the appropriate output.

From there you can switch between zones with ctrl-T, I read, but I haven't tested that here myself yet.

You can link the zones, so they play the same thing. You should also be able to play playlists on each independently of one another.

It *should* work the same way as playing on a different zone on your network (which I do daily, and works beautifully).

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  • 9 months later...

Downloaded and purchased Version 16 over the weekend. Using WASAPI in Exclusive mode and my new Musical Fidelity V-Link this software is just great, everything I wanted!

Wondering why I should hold onto my Squeezebox Touch? Amasing!

Edited by Dr X
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I"ve been using j river media centre of late. I think it has a slightly fuller sound than foobar - plus is more friendly straight into a power amp. It's their 64 bit volume control apparently.

Wish they had a standalone music player though: such a large program to fire up with all the comprehensive functionality

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Try J.River with Fidelizer to shut down a bunch of Windows processes. Sounds very good.

For extreme listening, give Jplay a try. I've pretty much switched over from JRiver for my serious listening sessions. Not convenient for playlists, but for playing an album at a time in hibernation mode/kernal streaming the sound quality is a definite step up from J.River-Wasapi. Quite spectacular. XXhighend might be as good or better but since I don't have an NOS DAC I don't think I'd get the full benefit of its flitering and jplay is so friggin easy to set up.

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It certainly was not just install and play for me...took quite a bit of tweaking.

I found the auto music import feature after first installing it crashed my computer regularly. I removed it and specified specific directory locations of my media and it seems to be stable now.

Took much fiddling in the end to get everything how I wanted. Thank the developers there's a "save settings feature" that backs up everything for easy re-installation.

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  • 2 weeks later...


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