J River Media Center 12 is a new version of my favorite music software. Try it! A thirty-day trial is free, and the program is well worth its modest cost.
Many people use iTunes to get started, and it’s – well, it’s okay, as long as its most intrusive features are turned off and the default file format is changed to mp3 instead of Apple’s DRM-ridden format and low audio quality default settings. Windows Media Player 11 is similar – attractive but designed for DRM and inefficient for large libraries.
When you begin to accumulate a library of music on the computer, nothing is better than J River Media Center for playing the songs, organizing the files, and creating playlists and CDs.
The new version has more improvements to the interface to simplify everyday tasks, and support for handheld devices is improved. If you get an iPod, you don’t have to install iTunes! Plug the new iPod into the computer; Windows XP & Vista will recognize it right away. Then start J River Media Center, which will ask permission to initialize the iPod. A few seconds later the iPod will be thoroughly integrated into J River Media Center, ready for drag-and-drop syncing, playlist & cover art support, Audible support, and more. Be aware that this is a marriage for your iPod; it will not easily go back and forth between iTunes and JRMC.
Worth noting – Apple advised today that iTunes is not ready to be installed on Vista computers. As always, it’s those pesky “compatibility issues” – a phrase that here means the program may run slowly, it may crash, it may not sync with the iPod, and in fact it might corrupt the database on the iPod, making it unplayable.
Apple suggests waiting a few weeks for a new version of iTunes. For what it’s worth, J River Media Center is ready to be installed on Vista and work with your iPod today – no fuss, no delay.