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Alternatives to iTunes (Mac)
(19-Dec-2016, 22:30)Mohmm Wrote: Apple's iTunes is getting more and more obtrusive such that I urgently need to find a replacement. I used iTunes only for keeping order on my collection of 3k+ albums. Recently however, iTunes permanently checks with the iTunes account and server and when you prevent it from connecting you get lots of warnings interrupting the flow of music. They want to loose customers? So be it.

Please, can you suggest alternatives for taking over the system of iTunes library, files and folders and being as versatile in ordering and labelling files as is iTunes? I play music by Roon, but don't trust its capacity of keeping the library in order after reading reports on disasters.


Roon won't be continuing with their 'organised' folders workflow for file organisation. I think most of the issue with 'disasters' was people not reading what it meant going that route, and having their libraries organised by Roon specs - 'destroying' their library. Without a backup it would surely have been a disaster for a few. Anyway they've decided to remove it altogether now for various reasons - no doubt that one included!

I could never use anything else now and I came from iTunes. I still leave iTunes managing any formats it can handle, and the rest I manage myself. Sounds like 1.3 will be an exciting release too.

Before Roon I used Audirvana alongside iTunes, and thought it was really nice and sounded good. But none of them are 'pretty' IMO. Roon ticks that box for me too, and brings multi-room for free. But then I'm the Roon equivalent of the Devialet super-fan!

Roon lifetime > Mac mini > ethernet > µRendu | Paul Hynes SR3 > Intona > Curious USB link > Devialet 250 Pro > PMC fact.8
- London, UK -

For clarity, I need to start by saying that I am a Windows user. However, I do use iTunes, Roon and JRiver. My first observation is that as a Windows iTunes user, I have not noticed any issues with iTunes becoming more intrusive, so this must be a Mac only issue I think. (Although I have noticed both my iPhone and iPad becoming a little more intrusive of late, trying to force me into iCloud and similar) I did an iTunes update last weekend so I am on the latest version and everything seamed to work fine to me. I am sure that once the various settings for iCloud, or whatever else Apple is trying to lure you into, are sorted, then iTunes should work OK. It is worth noting that for me, Windows iTunes does not sound as good as either JRiver or Roon.

In my case I continue to use the iTunes library as a kind of 'master' copy. With both JRiver and Roon, you can point the software at the iTunes library '.itl' file, give it some time and you library should appear in JRiver or Roon, still in reasonable form. The behaviour of Roon and JRiver are different. Roon does an excellent job of picking up any playlists that you have made in iTunes. In fact, you can have both Roon and iTunes open on one machine, you can make changes in an iTunes playlist and Roon will pick up these changes, more or less in real time. Roon does ignore some iTunes metadata, such as individual track ratings. JRiver by contrast does pick up most of the track ratings, but does not pick up the playlists. I guess the key point is that I have had no problems at all with either JRiver or Roon changing anything in my iTunes library, zero problems.

I know some folk are madly in love with Roon, but I have to say that I am not! Don't get me wrong, I can see why some people love Roon, in many respects it is superb. For me though, I do find Roon annoying. Some of the functionality is a long way from being intuitive, and for my usage there is some very basic functionality that is missing. For example Roon cannot sort playlists alphabetically (it can't sort them at all), playlists do not show the track artist (only album artist is shown). The latter is actually quite comical, as I end up with playlists with a vast variety of musical styles, all performed by that most versatile of bands the 'various artists' combo. Although as Hifi_swlon has mentioned, it looks like a major Roon update will be with us very soon, so the advice here is that if you do want to go for another Roon trial period, why not wait a week or two for the V1.3 Roon update to be live?

As things stand, I am not planning to renew Roon when my 1 year subscription expires. Roon has been good fun, but for me in my little world with my ways of using a music library, I'd rather use JRiver. In fact, I'd rather use iTunes, but it does not sound quite as good as JRiver, so that eliminates iTunes for the 'serious' listening. I am pragmatic though, my Roon sub has a few months to go, and I could easily see myself changing my view on Roon, depending on what the V1.3 update has to offer. I did here that there is a Windows version of Amarra coming out, which might be interesting option for dragging decent sound quality out of Windows iTunes. (or maybe not) When will all this end!
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