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I like iTunes

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I like iTunes.


I know a lot of people here are derisive of it, but nuts - it provides bit perfect playback to my main system for CD quality sound, and does the same thing to both our remote systems in the bedroom and family room.


Further, it allows me to watch HD television and movies, right on our main system, and does so with excellent quality sound and video.


Even more, it handles our iPhones and iPads with aplomb, keeping their applications backed up, loading and unloading them with music and videos, as well as audiobooks and more.


It even allows me to organize my collection of PDF documents, all with nice playlists. For example, I have PDF copies of all the old pulp copies of the Doc Savage stories. A couple clicks on my iPhone or iPod, and I can read them in comfort from the couch with no issues at all.


It even allows library sharing, meaning that I can be in the family room, and the Mac mini up there drives the family room TV with content from the main system downstairs.


All with no muss, no fuss, wirelessly for the most part, and with consistently reliable behavior.


And of course, the cost for iTunes is $0.00. For as many copies of the application as you like, on Macs and Windows.


Now I like JRMC, but it is far more complex to setup, requires a full blown computer at each point you want to listen to music (rather than a $99 airport express, which also provides a wired connection for any local computers and a printer port...) and runs only on Windows PCs.


Further, if you are on a Mac, and feel you want a different or better sound, you can always load Pure Music or Amarra. The optical out is good - on both Macs and Airport Express units, and you can (soon) use top quality DACS with ansych USB connections.


The sole fault I have with iTunes is that it will not automatically switch the sample rate and word size. If Apple had it do that, I think it would rank right up there.


Just my $0.02. I know a lot of you disagree. :)





Anyone who considers protocol unimportant has never dealt with a cat DAC.

Robert A. Heinlein

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Hi Paul,


Very nice summary. I agree with you. My iTunes experience is similar to yours.


If I could add a few things, wish it has...


* the ability to automatically switch the sample rate on-the-fly (as you mentioned);

* better reporting when ripping CDs (like error reports available with XLD);

* a bit perfect playback indicator light (something simple to confirm the track’s playback is bit perfect at the time of playback);

* simple and easy tools to change playlist formatting globally (without the need for a third party script);

* a simple one-click option to run iTunes with the same menu and navigation as AppleTV; and,

* FLAC playback (ok, maybe I’m just asking for too much with this one).


Hope Apple is reading this...









Amarra 3.0.3/iTunes-->AQVOX USB PS-->Acromag USB Isolator-->Ayre QB-9-->Ayre K-5xeMP-->W4S SX-500-->Tyler Acoustics Linbrook Super Towers-->SVS SB12-Plus (L&R). Cables: Nordost, Transparent, LessLoss, Analysis Plus & Pangea. Dedicated line with isolated power conditioning per component: PS Audio & Furman. Late 2012 Mac Mini 2.6GHz Quad-Core i7 (16 GB, 1TB Fusion, 6TB ext via Tbolt). External drives enclosure http://www.computeraudiophile.com/f7-disk-storage-music-library-storage/silent-enclosure-external-hard-drives-7178/

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What perfectly simple and easy to implement things that Apple could do with it.


I must admit, I forgot about FLACs - I usually just use XLD to convert them to AIFF or ALAC files.


One other thing, I like the way you can use iTunes to play streaming sources, like from our local NPR stations and classical stations in in the Austin area. Streaming the stations provides better quality sound than over the air for us, and also lets me play it anywhere around the house simultaneously and in perfect synchronization. Works great with REMOTE if you put the stations you like in a Playlist.





Anyone who considers protocol unimportant has never dealt with a cat DAC.

Robert A. Heinlein

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Songbird allows me to play FLAC, so that drawback isn't a dealbreaker.


Long before I cared at all about audio playback, iTunes was one of my least favorite pieces of Apple software. I don't have a problem with the functionality per se (I agree with what is posted above), but Apple really needs to throw iTunes in the fire and start over.


iTunes, like the Finder, is a pre-OS X carbon-based application. Like Finder, it has expanded far beyond its original task it was created for in the 1990s, and has become quite bloated and clunky. It is a memory hog and crashes and freezes more than more modern applications for OS X.


Here is what they need to do, in no particular order:


1. Re-write it in Cocoa/Objective C from scratch, so that it can take full advantage of the OS X environment. They finally did this with Quicktime in 10.6, and it is VASTLY better.


2. Return iTunes to its original interface. It currently violates Apple's own User Interface Guidelines. Why the ugly non-aqua scroll-bars, for example? The counter-intuitive menus? The hidden contextual menu items?


3. De-centralize it. Rather than have one monolith that manages music, movies, TV shows, iTunes store shopping sprees, PDF files, iPhone/iPod apps, imports of iWork documents to the iPad and so forth, there should be a suite of software that can do its own thing in stand-alone mode that it alone is optimized for, but that can, at the same time, interact with the other components, as needed, via grand central dispatch or whatever it is that they call it.


4. Add support for non-proprietary codecs like FLAC. Add the other stuff people have requested above. Make the creation of plug-ins transparent, and make everything scriptable.


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Great thread. In terms of playback quality it sounds great used with my Metric Halo LIO-8 which uses an asynchronous FireWire interface. If there is a difference between iTunes with my DAC and Amarra or Pure Music, then it is subtle and if the is a difference I prefer iTunes.


Mac Mini / Pure Music > Firewire & USB > Metric Halo LIO-8 > Hypex NCORE 400 > Geddes Abbey Speakers > Rythmik Servo & Geddes Band Pass Subs // DH Labs Cables, HRS MXR Isolation Rack, PurePower 2000, Elgar 6006B

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Agreed great thread. I bought Pure Music right as it came out at the original discounted price. I wanted to hear what all the fuss was about with an alternative music engine.


I have a very nice audio system - McIntosh pre and power, B&W 703s, tube 24/96 DAC fed by my Mini. I honestly cannot say that I like PM better than iTunes. On any given day or with different music, it's a toss up.


I think iTunes is great stuff and have for years, particularly after I moved the entire household over to Macs (banishing the Vista gear to the cottage!).


Lots of small improvements to be had but very sound performance in all, especially at the price point of exactly zero dollars.






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