Don't download J River, if You Do, You'll Buy It! J River Media Center Review
Need a good media player? JRiver Media Center review was one of the easiest reviews I've had the pleasure of conducting...
J River turned out to be the right player for our media playback uses because it does about anything you could possibly need to get high quality audio from the PC. Its easy to use too.
So what's the problem with the old Windows Media Center and why did we switch to J River?
Why we don't like Windows Media Center
Reviewing JRiver Media Center was necessary because...
1. Any audio processed (by Windows) gets reprocessed by the Windows Kernel streaming mixer.
This unnecessarily reconverts the digital signal depending on what you are playing back. If playing a 44.1Khz signal, that signal will be digitized into a 48Khz signal.
If you use a PC or Windows based computer you may have found the Windows Media player doesn’t quite deliver what you were hoping for.
Some of the problems with Windows media player are issues that any audiophile would consider ‘unacceptable’ for high performance playback.
2. There are no provisions on Windows Media Player for using ASIO which is the best way to get clean audio out of your computer and audio file home system theater..
These two reasons alone would be enough to justify looking at a software solution that should take care of these problems.
There are a lot of possible programs on the net.
Media Monkey and other players compared to J River Media Center
Media Monkey is one that I had tried earlier this year. But they don’t seem to have a stable system for 64 bit operating systems.
My installation of Media Monkey crashed enough times within 2 months of using it that I just decided to look for something else.
I am sure Media Monkey will figure out their issues and get them resolved. But I didn’t have time or the patience to wait for it.
I needed a music and movie playback program now.
I found the JRiver Media Center review was recommended on some of the forums I frequent. I downloaded the free ware trial and started working with it.
Dual Interface on JRiver
One thing I loved was that it could play back not just movies but music as well. I realize that Windows can do this, but not the same way...
The J River-Media-center can output the signal to two or more different outputs. And it can output in different ways too.
Let me explain...
I wanted to use ASIO to output of music. Plus, I wanted to be able to use up-sampling which the J River media center also included.
So, I can output music from 44.1 up sampled to 88.2 or 176.4Khz instead.
But if watching a movie, I need it to output the standard signal at 48Khz.
JRiver allows you to output the signal differently for movie playback or music playback. I sent the signal to the soundcard which worked the best for my system. In my case, music was output by digital coax cable. Movies were output by way of fiber optic cable (toslink) through SPDIF. Find the best CPU for your PC.
The Sound card interface
The digital signal sent from the JRiver Media Center to the ESI Julia Soundcard (ESI Juli@) which I had recently picked up. I love the ESI Juli@ sound card by the way.
For movies, I had to do things a little bit different. I used the digital output (toslink) on the motherboard because for some reason, the player liked this setting better.
I can use either but I’m still working on figuring out why my PC liked to output movie (DVD) audio in this way.
This JRiver Media center review showed me that the 'player' has many other functions that make it better (in my opinion) than iTunes or other well-known media players too...
You can use CTRL+ and function keys to get from one player interface to the next. I like to use ctrl+1 for the main music playing interface and ctrl+4 to get into the Media player interface.
When I’m playing music during a party or when guests are at the house the ‘Media Player’ tab will play a continuous loop of pictures that it finds on the web about your current album that is playing.
This is a really nice feature.
I’m not sure if other players do this or not but in my experience the J River makes it so easy to use, turn on and find that I something has to be said for the user experience.
Ease of use with JRiver Media Center
J River makes all of this bit perfect playback effortless. And there are almost limitless tweaking options available for the enthusiasts such as you and myself. I really like it.
So, long story short...
I bought the player before my trial ever got close to running out. Which is how these things are intended to work I think. You download J River Media center, use it for a bit, and if the software is excellent, you buy it.
I doubt JRiver has many customers that don’t buy the software. I think it’s a bargain. I can’t believe how long I lived without it.
Here's the link to J River's site so you can try it out for free. Enter the J-River Media Center site.