Native music playback management software for macOS

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As a macOS user, local music management has always been a headache for me. Although I spend most of my time on macOS, my current music library is organized on Windows using Musicbee, with a folder structure of: artist/album/single, and custom playlists of various types (m3u format), all of which are synced across devices via the Synology NAS.

Most of the library is imported from CDs, which has the advantage that it is easy to grab the correct song title, track information and album art. Music downloaded from the internet can be a bit confusing, but I do organize it manually when importing, so more than 90% of the music in the library is organized and has album art.

Neither iTunes nor Apple Music support direct import of Flac format files in macOS, but need to convert to ALAC or WAV format to use, which is very tedious. This planted the seed in my mind that I needed to find a new application.

Before looking for native music software, I used Audio Station, the official music suite provided by Synology. There is also a corresponding app on iOS to access the library for online playback. However, Audio Station does not have a desktop software, so it can only be accessed through a browser, which is not very convenient, and remote access to music inevitably encounters network problems, which is not as convenient as direct local storage.

So I wanted to find a good music software to solve these problems, and in summary, I had these ideas for it.

- The ability to import music files in a given location and not have to copy them to another location or disrupt the order of the original files.
- Compatibility with most common music formats.
- The ability to import m3u format playlists and correctly associate music files.
an elegant interface display with the possibility of showing album covers
- Reasonable price and long-term upgradeability with the latest systems.
- If it works with HomePod is a plus.
With these needs in mind, I set out to find the right software for me. But to my surprise, although these requirements seem very simple, but really can perfectly solve these problems does not really seem to have, I tried some of the software recommended by users, but as of now have not been able to make a decision, so I can say that it is not a successful exploration, but I still want to record the process, share to everyone, this content is not for each software in-depth review, but The first impressions of light use, interested partners are welcome to continue reading.


One-time buyout, with support for subsequent permanent upgrades. Can be used on multiple computers, default single device activation, need to email official free upgrade the number of authorized devices.

Software Introduction
Doppler was first launched for iOS, and the macOS version was just launched in July this year. It was also introduced in Minority’s previous article “Pie Review | Recent Apps to Watch – August 2 Date”. The official press release says: Doppler is a smart, beautiful and easy-to-use software for users who like to buy and manage music locally. Doppler also supports integration and the ability to transfer music and playlists between devices.

Trial Experience
Doppler is very “light”, with no complicated functions except for playback and organization, resulting in a simple and refreshing interface and a smooth and lag-free operating experience. It’s a great way to support the Apple ecosystem. This is something that no other software has.

For example, after selecting the library folder, the software can automatically search and import music files, but it can’t automatically import playlists, and there is no manual import option in the menu.

The second one is that when viewing music under single song view, I can’t quickly locate to “Artist” or “Album” by single song, I have to go to the related view to re-locate. This is very inconvenient for me, because it’s very common to want to browse the album a song belongs to while listening to it, or to see other music by the same artist. This operation is supported in the other two applications in this article

In the view of all single songs, only sorting by artist name is currently supported by default, no sorting method is supported.
During playback, Doppler only provides time tracks and cannot switch between different display modes. Officially, we recommend the compatible third-party plug-in “Sleeve” to solve this problem.

Sleeve (buyout price: $5) supports Apple Music, Spotify, and Doppler, providing them with a deeply customizable playback and control interface. The Doppler buyout price is very reasonable and easy for me to get started, and as long as the developers keep it updated, it’s worth a try.

JRiver MediaCenter

Master license buyout price: $79.98 – for full platform activation on Windows, Mac and Linux. Single platform buyout license price: $59.98 – select one of Windows or Mac or Linux platforms. Can be used on multiple computers, quantity limit unknown. Licenses are limited to updates within the same major version, with the ability to upgrade to subsequent major versions at a discounted price, usually one major version per year.

Software Introduction
Jriver MediaCenter, first released in 1999, is an old media management software. It is called “media management” because the software supports not only all kinds of music formats, but also video and image management. In the official description, MediaCenter is described as “the most comprehensive media player, the solution for the entire family of music, movies, TV and photos. , it offers.

More file format compatibility than any other player.
Support for connections to, Netflix, Hulu and Youtube, and the ability to post content to Flickr, Facebook and Twitter.
more devices for cell phones, MP3 players, DLNA, etc. than any other player.
Powerful management tools as well as a database.

Trial Experience
I downloaded the latest version of Media Center 30 recently released by the developer team in the forum to try it out. I feel that it is full of “old school” style, which is reflected in the design (which can also be felt from the style of their website) and the function settings of the software. Although MediaCenter has powerful features, the multi-level menus and settings are very unfriendly to newcomers, and when I first started, I found everything very uncomfortable.

The main window of the software can open multiple tabs to browse different contents, which also reflects the complexity of using this software.

In terms of design, the interface looks like a modern patch to the Windows 95 software, from the proportions to the fonts, which always feel a bit incongruous, and in macOS the whole window is only “maximized” and not “full screen” mode. The image and movie management are redundant for me, but these modules can’t be removed from the interface (at least I haven’t found a way yet), so they don’t feel clean and intuitive.

The software can recognize other devices in the unified network environment and put the content on them. In order to test the actual effect of casting, I imported a few videos that I found on the fly, and they can be played on my TV box normally.

Media Center is not cheap, but you can get a genuine license for about $200 from a domestic software licensee, which is quite friendly. Considering the subsequent upgrades, the average annual cost of a few hundred is affordable, but it is basically at the limit of my expectations.

Audirvana Origin

At least 2 years of macOS compatibility upgrades and at least 1 annual feature upgrade per year until 2025.

Software Introduction
Audirvna is a software company founded in Paris in 2011. Its sole purpose is to create a high quality digital music playback experience. Over time, our team has carefully developed and improved a unique technology to craft the ultimate technical solution for all music professionals and enthusiasts.

Trial Experience
In terms of software design style Audirvna I think is the most sophisticated among several software. The black, white and purple color scheme is very nice, and the dark color as the background also highlights the visual effect of the album cover (forgive me for being visual), but for some reason when scrolling up and down, the album cover lags a bit and takes time to load out.

The right side of the play bar, as well as the settings screen can choose to switch output devices, but again, HomePod is not supported, only my host as well as the monitor can be recognized.

Audirvna Origin has some negative comments on the Internet, mainly focusing on two points, one is that many users think that replacing the previous digital version series with the Origin version (which is no longer updated, the last version is: Audirvana 3.5.50) is an act of charging twice for the same software, which is not very generous.

Another thing is that Audirvna Origin has all sorts of little bugs, one example I encountered during my use: in the playlist view, double-clicking the mouse does not play the song I selected, but plays a random song of something else. I don’t know if this is a logical error (double-clicking doesn’t play a single song but the list, which is currently in random play mode, so a single song is randomly selected) or just a bug that makes people confused. For example, in the screenshot below, two songs appear in the purple selected state, the top one is double clicked and the bottom one is actually played.

But what I found most unacceptable was the not-so-cheap buyout price of the software, and the clear message that subsequent support updates are very limited. After all, computer systems are still upgraded every year, so the “lifetime use but no continuous updates” of the software has no real value to me. The price of the subscription version is not in my consideration.


Player software available for free download and use. Premium membership: $4.99/month Provides cloud storage space and other services.

VOX Music Player is a digital audio player developed by Coppertino for macOS and iOS. First released in 2013, it focuses on lightness and support for a wide range of lossless music.

support for almost all common formats and playback of high resolution audio up to 24bit/192kHz.
The ability to import personal and itunes music libraries.
Support for 30,000+ Internet radio stations.
VOX is very clearly positioned as a “player”, so it doesn’t have too many “display” and “management” features. Simplicity and usability are its biggest selling points. But it basically doesn’t meet my needs. So after downloading and installing it, I gave up after a brief trial.


Subscription price: $9.99/month (annual), $12.99/month (monthly). Buyout price: $699.99.

The Roon team is committed to creating the best possible experience for people who love music and sound. Since creating and releasing its first music product in 2004, Roon has been pursuing new technologies to bring more music into people’s lives. After working with Sooloos, Meridian Audio and HP to develop music software, Roon Lab was founded in 2015. Roon is much more than just playback software; it is a complete music system in its own right, with three main components: Roon Core, Roon Remote and Roon Arc. Roon is far more than just playback software.

Roon Core is the brain of the system and can be understood as music server software. It manages music files, streaming services, and audio devices, and Roon Core can be installed on Mac, Windows, Linux, and devices such as QNAP and Syology NAS.
Roon Remote is a server reading and management software for browsing and playing music from your library on your home LAN, and can be installed on iPad, iPhone, Android tablets and phones, Mac and Windows devices.
Roon Arc is the software that allows access to the server over the network, so you can browse and play music from anywhere, regardless of geographic location. It is available on iOS and Android.

Through the official website and other user reviews can see that Roon is a powerful and highly playable system, and with $700 to solve their own music system once and for all this solution makes me a little tempted, but in the end reason still stopped me from chopping, I know that my current needs and equipment can not play the real strength of Roon.

After a round of understanding, I was most impressed by Doppler and Roon, the two cheapest and lightest and expensive but can be a one-step idea. Although I still haven’t made a decision on which software to use so far, I still want to share the information I gathered and the problems I encountered during the process. I hope it can be helpful to the partners who have the same problem.



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