Music Playback Software

I'm curious what software everyone else is using for music playback. I have 3 simple requirements, you'd think this would be easy enough but I'm not finding many options that do all 3.

1 - I want bit perfect playback, I don't need fancy upsampling or anything like that, I just need perfect bits passed to my DAC and I'll let the DAC do the work.
2 - I want to be able to browse by genre > artist > album. I have just shy of 10TB of music spread across thousands of artists, I don't want to scroll for days before I get to Rush I want to hit the Prog Rock genre and then scroll through a much smaller list of artists to get there; There are also lots of times where I know the type of music I want but not a specific artist, so having the genre in the navigation is critical.
3 - I want the functionality of #2 above in a desktop solution AND a mobile app that runs on the phone and tablet.

I've tried every single piece of software that I've come across on the Mac. Amarra, Audirvana+, Pure Music, Decibel, Fidelia, BitPerfect, VOX, VLC and of course iTunes all fail to meet a combination of requirements 2 and 3. I've tried some of those more recently than others so if I'm missing an option there let me know.

The only two options I've found that meet all my requirements are JRiver and Roon, both of which piss me off for different reasons.

I like the look of the interface with Roon, but overall I find it somewhat obnoxious to use. I don't like the horizontal scrolling and I don't like the fact that generally not all things are shown by default. I'll pull up the Prog Rock genre and get a list of a few artists, but to view a full listing of the artists I have to first tap a button that says "All Artists". There are other examples of a similar design approach spread across the app and I'm not a fan. If they would just give me a list view option without all the ancillary info and pictures that would be awesome, and when I finally land on an artist and album THEN show me all the cool info you pull from the internet and lyrics and stuff. And why can't I sort the order of the genres that are displayed in the iPhone app? The interface sure is pretty but not very efficient.

That being said, the sound quality and connectivity are superb. It never crashes, it can see all the devices on my network with zero issues, and works flawlessly with AirPlay.

Which brings me to JRiver, which is pretty much the polar opposite of Roon. The interface is not fancy and looks outdated, and certainly does not have the data rich functionality that Roon lyrics, no neat info from the internet, no interaction with Tidal, no analyzing my music to make recommendations or showing me an album that I haven't listened to in a while...none of that stuff. But what it does do is allow me to get to the music I want to listen to quickly and easily...and it does that on every platform I've tried it on. Take a look at the attached screenshot, see how I can quickly drill through to my music? The JRemote app for iPhone and iPad are more or less the same. I have my music tagged according to how I want to browse it, JRiver a) is much quicker and more efficient in managing tags for a large library and b) plays better with my created tags.

The problem with JRiver is it crashes from time to time. It's MUCH less frequent than in the past, but still happens a couple times a week. JRiver sounds the same as Roon using the bit perfect playback option. I've heard people say they prefer one over the other but I think those comments are derived from using the DSP or upsampling settings in one or both of the programs. I've got all that crap turned off and using the bit perfect options I don't hear a difference.

What I'd ultimately like is a combination of the two programs, use JRiver to tag and navigate my library and use Roon to pull in all the content from the internet once I've picked something to listen to.

So what do you guys use and why? My overall preference between the two is JRiver, here's a screen grab of my UI.


  • DSkipDSkip Posts: 16,110
    I personally haven't found one I dislike though I find the HEOS platform to be a bit weird in layout. I'm not as picky as you are though. I still remember you jumping my a$$ at LSAF a few years ago about how I set up jriver.
  • marvda1marvda1 Posts: 3,622
    DSkip wrote: »
    I personally haven't found one I dislike though I find the HEOS platform to be a bit weird in layout. I'm not as picky as you are though. I still remember you jumping my a$$ at LSAF a few years ago about how I set up jriver.

    don't tell him i'm using free media monkey :D
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  • rooftop59rooftop59 Posts: 5,857
    Yes, I love roon, but I really like how it “discovers” albums and artists I forgot I had.

    I will say that if I wanted listen to something specific I just do a search. But this does mean that I can go awhile without listening to something that I forgot about. I can see how the genre list option would be useful, but it’s nowhere near a deal breaker for me...

    Sorry I don’t have any suggestions except that you are going to have to develop what you want :p >:)
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  • mdaudioguymdaudioguy Posts: 5,082
    I started deleting genres from all my tags years ago. To me, Rush is rock. I couldn't figure out where to draw the lines for many artists, so I just quit drawing lines altogether.
  • mdaudioguymdaudioguy Posts: 5,082
    My pet peeve is artist names - The or no The, last name first or last, contributing artists, etc...
  • AsSiMiLaTeDAsSiMiLaTeD Posts: 11,717
    I hear you on the genre breakdown, took me a while to get it right. With the size of my collection having one large Rock genre wasn't really workable. Initially I went too far and had so many genres that I couldn't easily establish where stuff belonged which made my music difficult to find. It took me a solid couple years of tweaking to get the right balance of genres being specific enough but not so granular that I can't remember where I put things.

    As an example, progressive rock has a very different feel for me than straightforward rock and roll and I have a TON of prog rock so it made sense to get it's own category. I have several genres for rock and jazz with each getting 4 or 5 genres, pretty much all other major categories just have 1 genre.

    I don't stress with the artist names, I leave the "A" and "The" and whatever other prefixes in front, JRiver can ignore those in the sorting but still display them. Take a look at the screenshot in my first post, The Mars Volta is sorted right there where it belongs in front of Muse. I personally display and sort first name last name since that's how I say the artist names.
  • dromundsdromunds Posts: 8,231
    The Mars Volta. There's one I haven't played in awhile, will have to pull some out (up) tonight. Carry on.
  • billbillwbillbillw Posts: 5,820
    edited March 2018
    I wish I could help with an easy suggestion, but it sounds like you have pretty high expectations. For #1 and #2, Daphile fits the bill, but that totally doesn't fit with #3.

    Perhaps you could look into doing something with Logitech Media server/Squeezebox and find a Mac compatible app that can playback along with a matching IOS app? There is somebody here who knows all about that ecosystem...maybe @msg ?
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  • I'm using JRiver 22 on a mac mini. My system runs 24 hours a day through W4S mono amps and DACDSD2e. Yes once in a while it freezes but usually once a month or less.

    I have tried pure music in the past but honestly did not hear much of a difference. JRiver handles my 1.3 terabyte collection nicely. Hope this helps.
    Living Room (2) Wyred 4 Sound SX-1000 amps, Adcom GFP-750 preamp, Wyred 4 Sound DAC2-DSDse, Polk SDS SRS 1.2tl by vr3, 2012 mac mini w/ JRivers-24, NAS via ethernet cat 5e, Home built Dreadnought.

    Office Prima Luna Dialogue Premium Integrated Amp, TEAC DAC, HP (re-purposed laptop w/ JRivers 24 for Win), Synology ds612+ NAS, Klipsch RM-150 speakers.
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