Media Player Q&A: Q7 Are there any special considerations people with large music libraries need to address?

Media Player Q&A: Q7 Are there any special considerations people with large music libraries need to address?

7. Are there any special considerations people with large music libraries need to address?

Jonathan Reichbach, President, Sonic Studio (Amarra)

For large libraries we would recommend using the latest version of iTunes. We have found the current version of iTunes capable of supporting larger libraries, with several reports from users with over 100,000 songs. For larger collections we would defer to the forums for information on managing multiple audio libraries.
Damien Plisson, Founder, Audirvana, (Audirvana Plus)
Nothing special other than paying attention to the metadata of their audio files to find them quickly using iTunes.

Note that Audirvana Plus provides a "proxy files" feature to get all its playable files (including FLAC, APE, all DSD formats incl. SACD ISO, …) catalogued by iTunes.

Tim Murison, Co-Founder & CTO, BitPerfect Sound Inc., (BitPerfect)
Not with BitPerfect since it uses iTunes as the music library. I'm sure Apple have the resources to handle people with large libraries :)
Stephen F. Booth, Founder and Developer, sbooth.org, (Decibel)
Yes, file management is a concern with large music libraries. Actual playback is really no different, but with a multi-terabyte collection just finding tracks to play can be a challenge! Editing tags and organizing music into folders also become a chore, particularly if one doesn't like the default structure imposed by players like iTunes. In fact, extremely large libraries can bring some players to a screeching halt due their sheer size. I'm not aware of any software on the Mac that can elegantly handle enormous libraries, but I'm working hard to fill the gap.
Jussi Laako, Owner, Signalyst, (HQ Player)
Having consistent and correct metadata becomes essential. This should be taken into account already when ripping CDs, since internet databases tend to contain inconsistent information, especially for classical music.
Josef Piri & Marcin Ostapowicz, JPlay (JPlay)
They should back up their libraries from time to time as hard drives fail once in a while.
Jim Hillegass, Founder and CEO, JRiver (JRiver Media Center)
Speed. JRiver has the fastest database available for media files. With large libraries, JRiver Media Center is 5x to 100x faster than iTunes or Windows Media Player.
Dr. Rob Robinson, Director of Engineering, Channel D, (Pure Music)
High resolution (192 / 24 or DSD format) audio comes in at about 2 to 3 gigabytes or more per album. So you can see that a collection of only a few thousand albums will consume the largest single drive mechanisms. The solution is a multi-bay NAS drive, connected by wired Ethernet. This allows placing the music storage outside the listening room, and can be shared by more than one computer. Most NAS drives are computers themselves, specially configured and designed for low power consumption and optimized for file storage. Our reference system has a 12 terabyte NAS, to allow for expandability, with a separate 24 terabyte NAS for backup at another physical location (because data mirroring schemes used in a single NAS drive are not a substitute for backup).

COMMENTS
Vincent Kars's picture

A nice example: http://yabb.jriver.com/interact/index.php?topic=73918.0

High resolution (192 / 24 or DSD format) audio comes in at about 2 to 3 gigabytes or more per album

A common misunderstanding: the library is the database containing the tags, not to be mistaken for the amount of data.

Robinson makes a good point, RAID is not a backup as indeed RAID stores all your cockpit errors like deleting the wrong files redundantly!

Michael Lavorgna's picture

A common misunderstanding: the library is the database containing the tags, not to be mistaken for the amount of data.

I was using 'library' liberally to include the actual files as well as the db. From a certain perspective, such as the one this question addresses, this is the case since a "Library" of tags without the associated music files would be kinda...quiet and small. ;-)

Mike Rubin's picture

 I find Stephen Booth's comments encouraging.  Out of all the third-party music playback/database apps I've ever used, Decibel is the least capable of handling large playlists.  I haven't encountered problems once my collection playlist loads and am very pleased with the sound of Decibel, but it routinely takes 15-20 minutes just to get Decibel up and running on an early 2008 MacBook Pro with 2 gb RAM and a playlist consisting of about 1 TB of FLAC, mp3, and mp4 files.  I do hope that Mr. Booth is "working hard" to make his product more large-collection friendly. 

labjr's picture

For me magnetic discs(hard drives) have more problems with reliability than CD's or DVD discs. I have many files I've ripped from CDs and DVD-A discs that become corrupted over time. I have FLAC files that won't decompress. I imagine when I have several terabyes of music ripped and downloaded, managing all of this will become a huge task.