JRiver Media Center for OSX, Alpha Release
JRiver, Inc. has released an OSX version of their well-known media player JRiver Media Center. The Windows software has been considered by many to be one of the best audio players available. When I began my computer audio journey in 2006, I turned to JRiver as a superior alternative to the Windows Media Player. The JRiver Media Center 18 for Mac is presently in an Alpha version. This means that many of the features of the program do not function. But the program does play music successfully, so I thought that a report on this new release would be of interest to our AudioStream readers.
If you are familiar with with JRiver Media Center for Windows, you will be at home with the Mac version. JRiver is using a similar layout as the Windows interface in this Alpha release. The folks at JRiver state at their forum that the interface will gradually change to a more “Mac like” look. The program is all native OSX code:
“It's a fully native application. MC is primarily C++ (more than one million lines of code).What Works
There is some SSE for some performance critical sections and also some Objective-C on OSX for Cocoa work.”
After installing the program, I was able to import my large library of approximately 5TB of AIFF files with no issues. Cover art was also imported from the audio files. If you haven’t previously used the Windows version, you will probably be overwhelmed when first opening the program. There are multiple ways to view your library; far more than available with iTunes. Also, there are a good number of options, many of which don’t function with the Alpha release. I would suggest that first time users explore the program before trying to play music. JRiver Media Center 18 for Mac primarily supports OSX 10.7 and 10.8.
What does work is Memory Playback and Exclusive Access (hog). I had no problems playing back files up to 192/24. Since JRiver for OSX does not rely on iTunes to function, the program can easily play FLAC files without utilizing the proxy import steps that Pure Music and Audirvana Plus require. JRemote for the iPad/iPhone is not yet supported by the Alpha version. I hope that JRiver will get this function operating as soon as possible!
Early Sonic Impressions
I must say that the sound of the program was not bad given that it is a first release Alpha. Overall, there was no hardness in the sound with reasonable detail and resolution. Compared to my favorite OSX programs, Pure Music and Audirvana Plus, the soundstage of Media Center is smaller, particularly in width. The bass is not as well controlled or dynamic sounding as in the other programs. Pure Music and Audirvana Plus are more open sounding with better detail retrieval. Media Center was able to successfully play gapless titles.
JRiver is offering a special price for early adopters of the program at $24.98. (Price will be $49.98). Updates will be available at their forum:
Congratulations to JRiver for releasing a new OSX music player. I will be looking forward to trying new versions as they are released.