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Need to choose software for music server


Geo

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I just received my Dell Studio Hybrid today that I will be using as a dedicated music server. I have no plans to use this machine for any other media.

 

I need to select software pretty quickly as I intend to set this machine up this weekend and then start loading my CDs. My plan is to copy my CD collection to the HD. I pretty much don't download music from the web and have very few mp3s. I'll most likely save them uncompressed or in FLAC.

 

So, I've done some looking around and am having a very hard time selecting software to manage my music. I know iTunes is very popular, but I'm not a big fan of it for a variety of reasons.

 

Some of the possibilities I've come across are:

 

Songbird (don't think it can rip in the latest config IIRC)

Media Monkey

EAC (for ripping)

J. River

Win Amp

Foobar 2k

 

My head is swimming a bit and I'm looking for help/opinions on these or other selections. I've tried to look through this forum, but haven't found enough helpful info to make a decision. So far Media Monkey and J River seem to be choices I'm leaning towards, but again, I'm a bit over whelmed at this point. When I first started looking into this some months ago I thought I had a decent handle on software, but am more confused now.

 

So, anyone care to offer some opinions here? I'm not a serious techie who wants to tweak things.

 

George Roffe

Kingwood, TX (Houston)

 

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You don't like iTunes - fine so I won't mention that...

 

First up, you'll need dbPowerAmp or EAC to rip your music. Both do good job and it's down to personal choice really between them (though some claim one is better / higher SQ than the other there is no real evidence to support / explain such claims)

 

SongBird: unless it's changed from early versions, it's not bit-perfect under Vista, so I'd pass on SongBird.

 

FooBar: my experience with FooBar is that it's very powerful and very customisable, but that customisation means you need to do a lot to get it to do what you want and look how you want it (happy for others to correct me).

 

Media Monkey and J.River ted to be most recommended. Both support ASIO to enable you to bypass the Windows audio subsystems for higher sound quality. Media Monkey reportedly works well with the WaveOut plugin which I also think bypasses the Windows audio subsystems. Best to download both and see which GUI you prefer.

 

Eloise

 

Eloise

---

...in my opinion / experience...

While I agree "Everything may matter" working out what actually affects the sound is a trickier thing.

And I agree "Trust your ears" but equally don't allow them to fool you - trust them with a bit of skepticism.

keep your mind open... But mind your brain doesn't fall out.

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Go with MediaMonkey for a Windows computer. Use dBpoweramp for ripping which is just as good or better than EAC and will get your album artwork, which EAC doesn't do.

 

I chose to rip to WAV since it is universally supported on Windows and Mac computers (I have both), but my MediaMonkey music server plays all my AIFF, FLAC and WAV files just fine.

 

After you get comfortable with this initial setup you may want to try some other software players such as cMP/cPlay or XXHighEnd. But for right now I suggest that you go with the CASH recommendation for MediaMonkey, build your music library and have some fun.

 

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Outstanding!

 

Thanks so much for the comments. It helps a lot. I'll get dBpoweramp and MediaMonkey.

 

I'm looking forward to getting this set up. I don't have time tonight or tomorrow night, but I'll definitely start on this Friday night. I hope to get the computer up and running, strip the unnecessary software, and load dBpoweramp and MediaMonkey Friday night. If that is successful, I'll start ripping my collection Saturday afternoon.

 

Thanks so much for the help. Looking forward to reporting results.

 

George Roffe

 

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Eloise,

 

I'm surprised you say "you'll need dbPowerAmp or EAC to rip your music". Jriver Media Center 13 when set to 'secure' in 'Advanced CD Ripping Settings' will do as good and as fast of rips as the other SW, according to many. Sorry I can't source the "Many", but believe I have read it in several forums by people I tend to trust. I have been using it for awhile and have been pleased. It's interesting to watch how many reads it will do on some cd's to try to get correct data.

 

Cheers,

Rod

 

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Sorry, my error. I didn't realise there was ripping capability in J.River Media Center (is it also in the J.River Media Player, or is this on of the differences between free and paid for versions?)

 

I think you do need separate ripping software for Media Monkey, FooBar 2k and some other playback / media library software though.

 

Eloise

 

Eloise

---

...in my opinion / experience...

While I agree "Everything may matter" working out what actually affects the sound is a trickier thing.

And I agree "Trust your ears" but equally don't allow them to fool you - trust them with a bit of skepticism.

keep your mind open... But mind your brain doesn't fall out.

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Eloise - didn't mean to jump on you - sorry if it came across that way.

 

I just tried to find out if Media Jukebox, the free version, has ripping capability. Not sure, but it would be easy - and free - to download and find out, if one were interested. I believe that Jukebox is based on Media Center 12. The present version 13 is reputed to have better audio quality FWIW.

 

Rod

 

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Just confirmed that J River Jukebox does Rip. It's basically the full audio only portion of Media Center 12.

 

Also want to pass on that MC14 (presently in Beta) now has 'Memory Playback'. As best I can tell this is similar to what CICS does in his CPlay. If you buy Jriver 13 ( the current version) for either $45 or $49 (their website is confusing!) you will get a license for free upgrade to Version 14 when it comes out.

 

Rod

 

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I tried iTunes and MediaMonkey but settled on J. River. It's simply the best (for me) and its' sound quality is extremely good! They do offer a 30-day free trial if anyone want to try it first.

 

Randall

 

Sources: iPad Air 3, iPhone 8+, Asus Chromebook C201-PA

DAC/AMP: Hidisz S8, Astell & Kern XB10 Bluetooth module

IEM's: Fiio FA1, Hidisz Seeds, Fiio FH1S, Shouer H27, BGVP KC2, KZ ZS10 Pro's, (and several lesser iem's and earbuds)

Accesories: Various MMCX and 2-pin cables.

-----------------------------------------

Professional pianist, composer - master improvisationist.

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Once again, thanks all for your comments.

 

I've set up my Studio Hybrid and have been busy this weekend.

 

My software selections were:

 

aBpoweramp

MediaMonkey

 

So far both have been easy to install and operate. Very intuitive. I was up and running immediately.

 

I have had an annoying problem playing ripped tracks through MediaMonkey. I occasionally get a "pssttt" noise (sometimes quiet and sometimes loud) between tracks and always at the end of a ripped CD. I'm not sure if it's the software or the fact I'm ripping at the same time or if it's the hardware.

 

As for the hardware, this is what I'm using:

 

Dell Studio Hybrid (320GB internal drive)

Optical digital cable from the server to the receiver

Denon AVR-1700

HDMI for video out to my Samsung 52" 1080p LCD.

 

Any ideas?

 

Other than the "pssttt" noise I've been fairly pleased so far. I've ripped about 1/4 of my collection so far. Having fun. Going to really love this.

 

George Roffe

Kingwood, TX (Houston)

 

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I not sure if this is gospel, but if you are ripping as WAV files, I have read that Media Monkey appends extra data to the end for tags (Artist, Album, etc) - this can cause the "pssst" noise you hear. It should be fixed soon in Media Monkey.

 

Eloise

 

PS. Everyone else please feel free to correct me if this is incorrect - it maybe an internet myth I've read.

 

 

Eloise

---

...in my opinion / experience...

While I agree "Everything may matter" working out what actually affects the sound is a trickier thing.

And I agree "Trust your ears" but equally don't allow them to fool you - trust them with a bit of skepticism.

keep your mind open... But mind your brain doesn't fall out.

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  • 1 month later...

I just downloaded and began exploring MediaMonkey's newest version (never looked at an older one). It provides ripping capability. Is anyone familiar with this feature and any comments on either its quality or its database for tagging?

Thanks

 

MBP13-128gb ssd using VoiceOver to hear the screen, iTunes, Ayre QB-9, McIntosh mx119 & mc207, Thiel CS2.4

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