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what is the best sounding media center software


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hi all this is my first post on here im looking for the best media center to use on my system i want to turn my pc into a htpc the rest of my system consists of cyrus av master 8 connected to x2 cyrus 8 power amps in mono and x2 cyrus psxr power supplies although the sound is very good i cant help thinking there is better than windows media player out there but not hurd of any any advice would be great thanks all steve


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for Windows, the most commonly recommended software is ...


Media Monkey - Chris' favourite

Foobar 2k - very configurable but very plain "out of the box"

J.River Media Centre - controls everything.


Best thing is ... all are available as free (at least trial) editions so you can try for yourself.






...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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  • 3 weeks later...

Totally agree Eloise. I've been a Media Monkey user for a while now, and enjoy it. Easy to use interface and really helped me clean up my MP3 files. I don't consider WMP an audiophile level application, although it's fine for the general public and will work if you don't really want to dive deeper into playing, creating/archiving your music. Obviously Cyrus you do, or you wouldn't be on this site. :)


Have a great day...


AudioWav[br]Custom built AMD Quad Core >> 5 GB RAM >> Creative XFI >> built around Adobe Audition 3.01 and several other software titles for archiving/editing/cleaning/creating music.

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  • 3 weeks later...

but im putting a lot of time into research, and there's definitely a lot of people out there raving about foobar with the wasapi plugin, or at least something that supports wasapi, which windows media and itunes do not to my knowledge, but boy is that debatable... (i use foobar and think it sounds the best, i also prefer the ultra simple interface out of the box and found it very easy to set up for "guaranteed" bit perfect output.) what OS do you have? are you using lossless or WAV files? either win viststa or 7 are recommend so that you get wasapi support, and of course using wav or lossless files is best in case you dont already know that. There are many people doing all kinds of rocket science to prove that lossless is bit perfect and wav is pointless.. I use itunes to rip all my files to apple lossless so that i get the best out of my ipod too. Foobar will play alac with a codec. Thats all i can think of. Audiophiling is fun!


good luck



Custom Computer, WIN764Bit, Foobar, WASAPI, elictri-q balanced, ALAC, ipod touch 64GB[br]Dac -no dac yet, Keces 151 MK2 on its way WOOH![br]Cables - Radio Shack baby![br]Amp - Decware Zen Head, plug-in battery replacer[br]Headphones - Denon AH-D2000, Sennheiser PX100

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  • 2 weeks later...



I have been playing with this issue lately as I am building my music server. For now I have the most of the music in FLAC files residing on my home office computer an AMD quad core with 8GB RAM running Vista 64. I installed the Asus Xonar Essence STX lately and the playbeck through my computer speakers improved nicely. I use the Harman Kardon SoundSticks Computer Speakers and they sound pretty good


The plan is to build a small unit in each room and connect it through a DAC to the sound system in that room [have not figure out that part yet and am considering MacMini Vs. small PC]


I have been playing with different MP and was surprised by how different they sound. I tried to run the files through Itune WMP and MediaMonkey I had to do some format conversions.


Itune sounded an inspiring Mediamonkey sounded kind of harsh with pushing the highs. Windows Media Player sounded better then the two to my reluctant surprise. WMP sounded better also in my other home computers through my network.


Best though was the KMPlayer


It sounded the best so far and it plays FLAC files directly. The user interface is not as good as the MediaMonkey but the sound is better then all the others I have tried


Wish there was a way to use the MediaMonkey interface while playing through the KMPlayer I also have not figured out how to load a folder with sub folders into its library




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ReClock is a must...together KMPlayer is hard to beat in terms of an all around media 'center' player, in that it can do everything audio and video.


Very soon however XBMC will take over and become KING, make that Cross-Platform KING. The WASAPI playback is almost there in XBMC and the ability to use TV cards is right around the corner. WIth the addition of these two, it will be able to do everything under the sun in spades....on every operating system.








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thewelltemp....says this about XBMC



XBMC is an open source player with stunning graphics allowing you to browse your collection by artist only.



Totally WRONG.....You can browse by artist, album, genre, cover flow like iTunes and everything else. Not to mention display cover art, make playlists, use a ton a scripts that allows XBMC to utilize every form of media the internet has to offer from YouTube to TV, Movies, Photo Albums and so so much more.


Not only that it only shows these as choices for media players



* Windows Media Player 12

* Windows Media Player 11

* J River Media Center 14

* J River Media Jukebox

* Foobar


* XBMC Media center


Chris's favorite MM is not even on the list.....




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"Chris's favorite MM is not even on the list....."


Totally WRONG..... I just couldn't resist using your language Dynobot :~)


MM is no longer my app of choice. I'll be writing an article on J river MC 14 in the next few days. I visited the J River office for my research and am very impressed with the application and the company.




Founder of Audiophile Style | My Audio Systems AudiophileStyleStickerWhite2.0.png AudiophileStyleStickerWhite7.1.4.png

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JRiver is good, no make that great....I used to advocate all the time which is why I pushed for them to make a WASAPI output for us people who love audio. They are doing a good job now thinking of more about hardware. However on the software side, one open source software is coming up fast....XBMC.


So I take it you too got that Monkey off your back....


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Interesting comments.....


I wonder why XXHighEnd has not been mentioned? As far as I can tell, this appears to be the most specifically-for-high-quality-audio software. Songbird has not been mentioned either - an open-source music player. Check the wikipedia page for a more comprehensive (though far from exhaustive) list:




Mediamonkey has been mentioned in terms of sound quality. What has not been mentioned is that Mediamonkey accepts different output plugins, which can affect sound quality, e.g. ASIO, kernel streaming, etc.


I looked at the XBMC website. The screenshot of the default skin shows a menu on the left with the options "weather, pictures, movies, tvshows, music, system". Any software which has "weather" above "music" is in my book not going to be well tailored to music playback. I cannot see any screenshots either showing the way it handles a music library, apart from one showing a tiny coverflow at the bottom of the screen. I'm downloading it to test anyway but am not hopeful.


I am sceptical that KMplayer sounds better than a properly-configured Mediamonkey, but maybe I will test this one out also.


J river may be good, but it's not purely a music player. It's "all media - one interface" approach introduces un-necessary bloat in my opinion. I don't want my music playback software to be able to organise my videos, images or ebook collection. I just want it to organise/play music and do this well.


My 2c



There are 2 types of people in this world - those who understand binary and those who don't.

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Any software which has "weather" above "music" is in my book not going to be well tailored to music playback.




So the ORDER of the menus affects audio????


Then you ought to find a software that has only a HUge Music button....Must sound fantastic!





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  • 3 weeks later...

I use to tout JRMC and I still think it is great. I use a laptop and M2Tech Hi-face BNC, Stereovox XV2 into my Audio note DACs SPDIF input. My laptop uses Win XP SP3 so I have to bypass the Kmixer, ASIO, unmap, stop services, etc. When using the USB via the ridge Street Audio Enopias cable, I find JRMC to sound to best.


Since the software for the Hi-face will not work with ASIO I have switched to using MediaMonkey 3.2 and Steve Monk's Kernel streaming plug in.


This combination seems to sound the best to me. I did bring my Hi-Face and SPDIF cable to a club members system and he uses windows 7. We try Foobar with ASIO, kernel streaming, etc. We also tried MM yet the Kernel streaming plugin would not work. JRMC 14 with WASAPI sounding the best so I am still a fan of this app. I use it on my Desktop with have nice speakers.


Some of you may recall my old posts about bashing Itunes and making fun of the mac. I am now getting my mac repaired and plan to use it in my system with Play and the front end app playing FLAC files. The Mac OSx with Core Audio (no damn Kmixer) along with Leopard 10.5.8 and esp, Play in theory should give me great playback.


I use a laptop and why should i buy a new one just for audio. Since I have a great Powerbook G4 1.67 GHZ Model A1138, i feel i should dedicate it to my tunes. My external drive is loading with FLAC files and i can play them. I may use Paragon NTFS sop I can write to the partition. I will only use play, no way I will even look at Itunes as is is not a audiophile app.


I am open to try other combinations so I look forward to reading replies.




Powerbook G4 15 inch Aluminum, \"Fidela,\" M2tech EVO (BNC)with RF attenuator,dedicated PSU, Stereovox XV Ultra (BNC) Audio Note Dac Kit 2.1 Level B Signature Upgraded to 12AU7 tubes, ARC SP-16L Tube preamp , VAC PA100/100 Tube Amp), Vintage Tubes, Furutech ETP-80, (Alon 2 Mk2, (upgraded tweeters, Usher Woofers), Pangea Power cords, Omega Micro Active Planar PC. Signal Cable Silver Resolution ICs.

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