J River - My first impressions and your help please....

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Hi guys.

I am in the process of sorting myself out... I have been in a state of flux for year or two and had no-where permanent to live (long story!!) but as of recently have settled into a nice place with the new lady of my life. Enough boring details, I was just trying to explain why I'm so out of touch with everything geek and HiFi! (basically apologising for listening to music through a Sony laptop hooked up to Creative PC speakers - It pains me to admit it!!)


Following recommendations on this forum I downloaded the J River Media Centre 15 software last night and am slowly getting to grips with it.

My first impression when I loaded it was: Oh, god. Another iTunes clone (I HATED iTunes last time I had to endure it). Determined to perservere I imported my library and fiddled about with the cinema mode and a few of the plug-ins and it began to grow on me. It wasn't till I went to the options and plug-ins that I realised the power of it, all dressed up in (a reasonably) easy to use front end!

OK - So I'm hooked. Gapless playback of any file I throw at it; Options such as upsampling, Last FM integration, the excellent tag editting process, cover art download section and the really nice cinema interface (for when I finally buy a TV for this place!) have made me even more determined to make it my number one player. This is important to me as I intend to build a completely solid state and fanless PC to sit as a component on my HiFi rack. The only thing that would make it utterly perfect would be to have it start over a cut-down version of windows that boots very quickly and lets me play Blu-Ray discs. I wonder if anyone will make plug-ins that do that? Recently I have been looking at Boxee and XBMC to do most of this, but I think this software may be useful enough to replace those options (though I will have to experiment from my chair when I have a tele and a remote).

My problem with it is unfortunately my fault. After importing my Library, to my horror I realised that all of the tags, filenames, album art etc etc were in a terrible state of dis-array. I found an option that tried to get the artist and album name from the file structure but this has created as many problems as it has solved.

My question is: How should I go about structuring my files, and what process should I use to tag them all? What have you guys done?

My preference is to have a folder for the artist > folder per album > folder for sub albums (ie disc 1, disc 2) where needed. I am also quite anally retentive so I want ALL files to have accurate tag information. One thing that irks me is artist, album, track names in the file name. I have recently realised that this has saved me a lot of work though, so perhaps at the very least my files should have the track number - 01, 02 etc - at the start.

Can anyone give me guidance on where to go next? I have begun the arduous task of sorting them out from the J River interface, but will this update all of the tags in my files, or is it creating a library file that wont affect my music files??

Many thanks in advance...

For tagging Flac file, I use Abander Tag Control, have to pay for it (extremely fast , ~100 files /sec )
Using "masks" for tagging from files name
Then import to Jriver, nothing more to do , selecting "Panes", I have a 3 columns screen , Type, Author,Volume
The lower part is the detail from each file (location, track N°, duration..etc)
When you go for the passively cooled HTPC see if you can try it out on a similar set-up first.
I'm in the middle of it myself. I've read people having difficulties with theater view depending on their machines. (No so fast pc's) So. try before you buy if possible.
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