Why is J River better than iTunes on PC?

I'm having a hard time finding reasons, but the general consensus I'm seeing is that J River is "better" than iTunes in every way. Now, I currently have a large amount of my albums ripped in AIFF format running through iTunes on my Dell PC (Vista Ultimate 64-bit). I downloaded JRiver (MJ) version 12 and have been playing around with it. By the looks of it, in order to simplify the tagging issues of trying to import AIFF into JRiver, I'd have to re-rip all the albums again in, what I'm assuming for best quality, FLAC.

In terms of SQ, I really hear no difference whatsoever between iTunes and JRiver...am I missing something here? Yeah, some of the DSP options are cool like the soundstage effect, but when comparing the two with all levels flat, neither sounds better or worse.

Truthfully, I seem to find the simplicity of iTunes much more appealing. Am I setting up myself for future disappointments or problems by using the AIFF codec and iTunes as my audio playback software? What are the big advantages of using FLAC/JRiver?

If you are missing something, I'd bet it isn't much.

I think sometimes we can get stressed over the aspect we might be or are missing somethin in audio performance it is scary. somehow or some where. Perhaps.... most of us enact our 'due diligence' frequently and fervently so it’s not usually the incident.

"If you like what you are getting.... keep doing what you are doing. If not change what you can...."

Sometimes that amounts only to changing one's own perspective.

I've tried numerous paths for music consolidation, acquisition, and playback performance... and used iTunes for the past several years implicitly… until I heard about JR MC.

For myself, and in my own system, as well as according to my own ears, I've been able to acquire substantial gains over the level iTunes has provided... sonically speaking. Interface wise though, itunes gets the checker flag. There is a learning curve with JR mc, no doubt but it can be ‘skinned’ to appear as iTunes…. And more can be done in JR MC to & for, the music as well.

It is my opinion as well that JR MC 12.534 (last edition of 12 BTW) doesn't do quite as good a job on AIF as it seems to do on other file formats. eg., ALAC, AAC, FLAC, WAV, & MP3.

The encoder/decoder and the way the signal is transmitted and ultimately converted to analog is key. Not all encoders (codecs) are equal either.

I've toyed with the notion to reconvert all my tracks approximately 14K into FLAC from their present ALAC (Apple lossless VBR) BUT HAVE DISSMISSED THE IDEA WHOLELY. i cnvert into FLAC with newly ripped & added CDs I buy henceforth.

Again, using JR MC 12, I find FLAC more detailed and resolving vs AIF or AL. But I'm not so nuts about the diffs to re-rip all my music for that singular improvement, as I'm not looking to burn up a couple more cd drives in the process. or spend the time doing it.

I'd suggest you try some other CODECS, personally. Direct show, CCCP, etc., which do work with JR MC.

As heavily invested into AL as I am I'll keep an iTunes issue on hand, and quite true too, it is a simpler interface to use... though my hats in the ring on JR MC as being better sonically across the board than iTunes, given the exception of AIF FILE PLAYBACK.

I've gotten the best results with MC 12 outputting at 24/192, via a Radeon HD 4870 Thru HDMI into my Onkyo rec + Odyssey Stratos SE amp… oddly enough.

It rivals so closely in terms of res and detail that of the BEL CANTO USB 16/44.1 w/ASIO, it is impressive.

It is not however my ultimate fav overall for serious music enjoyment, as then I’d opt for a 24/96 output into the Bel Canto D3 and my tube gear.

…and I might be missing something in that link too, as perhaps 24/192 output into a 24/192 DAC may be even better. But by how much, and for what price? I can easily live with what it brings me currently however so I’m not looking to change anything for a while there.

Good luck.
I use JR and have for years. For me, it comes down to user-interface and scale - JR has a really flexible, intuitive interface that allows me to easily navigate in any way I find convenient. It also handles 70K songs, which I found really strangled other players.

I'm not much on trying to compare the sound quality - I figure that a lossless compression directly output (ie, no O/S manipulation) is going to be near identical, if not identical, regardless of player.
The short answer is... Hell yes J River is better. Its impossible to output in ASIO with the PC version of iTunes. There was a workaround with an old plugin called multiplugin that allowed iTunes to act as the GUI for Foobar2000 but It is no longer supported.

If you're not into bit perfect output just stick with iTunes because the kmixer is going to make all media players sound the same anyway.
If you are itunes addict,on a PC i beleive it is easy to bypass Kmixer buy simply streaming,connecting computer to an Airport Xpress. I may be wrong but i experimented buy dissabling audio drivers on the fly with Task Manager and music kept playing, i also found no significant difference in sound quality between J River and iTunes,only player i hear a distinct diferrence was MediMonkey.Problem using Airport Express is limitation 24/44 files.
I recently converted from iTunes to J River Media Center 13 because J River offers 1) ability to play 24/96 file formats, 2) can use ASIO to bypass KMixer (not an issue on Vista), 3) has a more flexible user interface. For example, with J River I can do a full page view of album covers, zoom the view in and out and then pull up a full page view of the cover when listening. Also, I can sort the view with a lot more options than iTunes has. However, the flexibility of the user interface does come with a higher degree of complexity in set up. For me, the flexibility of J River was worth it. As to converting, I used dBpoweramp batch converter to convert files from Apple lossess to flac. The batch converter is free - you just need to download it and then download the AIFF converter. I would suggest downloading it and trying a few conversions. You may have some tagging issues after converting, but I found them pretty easy to deal with. I would not re-rip unless your AIFF files did not come from lossless sources.
The best thing that is way better about J.river of itunes is the screen format of seeing your LPs artwork infront of you. so its easier then the long lins you get in itunes . also it plays formats that itunes wont play and you can share your files with others Itunes you cant do that without really knowing what your doing and tricking it.
Jriver allows you to chose your output method asio, wasapi or kernel streaming. These are critical for PC sound optimization
iTunes has no way of bypassing the windows core audio software. Jriver does. You can do WASAPI or Kernel Streaming. iTunes was never optimized for good SQ on PC. It's even deficient on Mac IMO. Needs Pure Music, Amarra or AyreWave to sound good.

Steve N.
Empirical Audio
I've used JRiver, iTunes, FooBar and Media Monkey. They can all deliver bit-perfect digital stream to a DAC, with proper set-up (or in the case of iTunes, an add-on like Pure Music).
So it comes down to ease of use and learning curve, and what you are trying to accomplish with your music management.
For me, JRiver offers excellent flexibility for displaying your music collection in different ways. I use different "View" schemes for classical, jazz and popular music. For classical, the ability to "slice and dice" by composer, artist, soloist, orchestra, conductor, genre, period, style - is absolutely incredible (It does require lots of work to get the tagging correct in the database, but the public databases like AMG make this easier all the time). Anyway, I don't believe you can tag/display/search with that kind of flexibility with iTunes.
OTOH, if you only listen to popular music, and want to keep it simple, stick to iTunes.
I am new to J River, and am just starting to use the trial version of JRMC 18. I may not understand things yet, but am I correct that the user has to add internet radio stream links manually to J River? If so, this is a huge contrast with iTunes.
I don't know if JRIVER is better than ITUNES all my music is in ITUNES aiff 1411kbs quality and that is good enough for me and that's what matters.
JRiver is better if you have a revealing system and you care about how good your music sounds and care about retrieving the emotion from it. If you listen to music at home like you do i the car, sure, there isn't a difference.

Lots of guys out there think Sotify sounds awesome. Power to ya.
Then there are those like me who find JRiver is PC direct output focused and not as good as other SW for streaming sound quality. Pity, because I'd gladly shell out for the NxN library display capabilities of Jriver as an Android or iPad UPNP controller only, if it could match Kinsky for fidelity.
JRiver is 100% better, lot more flexibility with a software, iTunes is for main stream ei random people who listen to MP3 etc its advertised for everyone and its free, JRiver is a paid software and much more stable, reads all files too
Jriver sounds no better than iTunes on my system. The company itself states that bits are bits, so that's not surprising.

Audirvana is in a completely different league.
J River Rules. I Tunes is low end
Do I have to explain it to you Sally
What about audirvana 2.0