I’ve been a regular user of Audirvana on Mac but I recently added a PC running Windows on my set of regular machines. Surprisingly not a lot of options out there, only a few.
JRiver Media Center has been choosen by Pono Music to be the software that comes with their Pono Player. It has a huge community and seems to be the one that deserve a review.
I downloaded JRMC 22 on my two Macs (El Capitan), 1 PC (Windows 10). Installation went smoothly and the auto-import of the existing library was super fast.
I like a few things about this software:
- first and foremost, the sound quality – bit perfect playback come with a lot of options.
- multi-platform: with the multi-OS license for few extra bucks: $69.98 instead of $49.98 for a single OS.
- like Audirvana, you keep things organized the way you like on your storage, as well as the metadata (tags) are properly set, you’re good to go.
- it uses file system notification so any addition in your library is really fast.
- you can keep a master machine running JRiver and use other JRiver instance on “client” machines. This is working well over the local network, and potentially over the internet.
- device support is insane:
- the software detected home devices on the local network: Sonos, CEOL Piccolo, Yamaha AV Receiver.
- detected the Audio Engine D1 DAC I use at work
- if you own a portable device (DAP or smartphone) other than Apple, you can manage the storage and export your favorite tunes very easily.
Now few things I’d like to be improved:
- UI can be a bit clumsy
- Got several crashes on Windows 10
- Library over internet is limited to IPv4 (hey, we are in 2017!)
If you’re looking at something multi-platform, I really didn’t find a lot of choices:
- MusicBee – young open-source software, a lot simpler than JRiver
- Roon ($120/yr or $499 lifetime)
- Plex has some good library management and multi device support, but the audio path is not its strong suit