iTunes replacement

Brookyflix

Novice Member
Hi All, New user here. Hope you can help here......

I currently run an Apple TV at each TV, via iTunes on a laptop with media served via a MyCloud NAS.

I am getting sick and tired of opening an album and finding iTunes has decided to delete songs from albums and change or remove album covers. Sometimes if a song has been used on a playlist, that disappears from the source album. Drives me crazy.

Almost all media has been ripped from CD's or DVD's

My question is this:
Is there a viable, reliable replacement for iTunes that wont cost me a fortune, ideally needs no subscription and has a slick easy to use interface.
We all have iPhones, so need to work with IOS across the family.

I have read about Plex but have no idea whether it would be ideal, or if I try it, it might mess up my iTunes setup?

Any other ideas pleas????
 

larkone

Distinguished Member
Learnt my lesson with itunes years ago and now its banned in our house.
Try these lists as a starting point
 

jamieu

Active Member
You should be able to install Plex on your MyCloud and then use the PlexAmp mobile app to stream to the Plex app on each Apple TV. That would keep everything centralised on the NAS with your phones controlling playback. You would ideally pay out for the PlexPass to use PlexAmp which will give you the best user experience. But you can test it out for free just using Plex web interface. Why not give it a go, Plex won't alter your iTunes library, you just need to point Plex to the root of your iTunes library on the NAS.

Logitech Media Server (with the Material Skin and AirPlay bridge plugins enabled) is another completely free option if you want to keep everything centralised. But it will require a bit more configuration than Plex to get it up and running nicely. It looks like getting it run on the MyCloud NAS is a bit of a pain, so that's probably a non starter unless your technical minded and fancy a challenge. But you could install it on your laptop and point it to your iTunes library on your NAS to get a feel for how it works. Much like Plex. You would then control LMS via a web browser or app on your phone or laptop. It's free and won't alter your our existing library. It also has the advantage that it can stream to DLNA/AirPlay/Chomecast devices natively without the need for a Plex app/client to be installed on those devices.

If you're laptop is always on (while you're playing music) then Audirvana might be a fairly drop in replacement. You just point it at your existing iTunes library and control it via the desktop or the mobile app. It doesn't however support multi-room synced playback.

Plex in combination with PlexAmp is the only option from the above that will allow you to keep offline/downloaded copies of your music on individual mobile devices, so if that's an important feature then I expect Plex + PlexAmp is your best option for your setup.

None of the above options include CD ripping so if you need that feature you'd need to use some 3rd party software like dBpoweramp's CD Ripper or XLD to rip your CDs.

To be honest given your main playback devices are Apple TV which can all have the Plex app installed on them and the WD comes with a Plex server, I'd say Plex is probably the way to go.

The downside is Plex will only playback to Plex clients, so if you later wanted to incorporate/playback to a device (like an AVR/Amp/SmartSpeaker directly via AirPlay or DLNA) that wasn't running a Plex client then you will hit problems.
 
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Brookyflix

Novice Member
Learnt my lesson with itunes years ago and now its banned in our house.
Try these lists as a starting point
cheerz
You should be able to install Plex on your MyCloud and then use the PlexAmp mobile app to stream to the Plex app on each Apple TV. That would keep everything centralised on the NAS with your phones controlling playback. You would ideally pay out for the PlexPass to use PlexAmp which will give you the best user experience. But you can test it out for free just using Plex web interface. Why not give it a go, Plex won't alter your iTunes library, you just need to point Plex to the root of your iTunes library on the NAS.

Logitech Media Server (with the Material Skin and AirPlay bridge plugins enabled) is another completely free option if you want to keep everything centralised. But it will require a bit more configuration than Plex to get it up and running nicely. It looks like getting it run on the MyCloud NAS is a bit of a pain, so that's probably a non starter unless your technical minded and fancy a challenge. But you could install it on your laptop and point it to your iTunes library on your NAS to get a feel for how it works. Much like Plex. You would then control LMS via a web browser or app on your phone or laptop. It's free and won't alter your our existing library. It also has the advantage that it can stream to DLNA/AirPlay/Chomecast devices natively without the need for a Plex app/client to be installed on those devices.

If you're laptop is always on (while you're playing music) then Audirvana might be a fairly drop in replacement. You just point it at your existing iTunes library and control it via the desktop or the mobile app. It doesn't however support multi-room synced playback.

Plex in combination with PlexAmp is the only option from the above that will allow you to keep offline/downloaded copies of your music on individual mobile devices, so if that's an important feature then I expect Plex + PlexAmp is your best option for your setup.

None of the above options include CD ripping so if you need that feature you'd need to use some 3rd party software like dBpoweramp's CD Ripper or XLD to rip your CDs.

To be honest given your main playback devices are Apple TV which can all have the Plex app installed on them and the WD comes with a Plex server, I'd say Plex is probably the way to go.

The downside is Plex will only playback to Plex clients, so if you later wanted to incorporate/playback to a device (like an AVR/Amp/SmartSpeaker directly via AirPlay or DLNA) that wasn't running a Plex client then you will hit problems.
wow. Great reply thanks. I will probably download Plex and have a look. It must definitely be a slick easy to use interface for the family.

Don't mind paying for a service as long as it is reliable.

I have LG SUHD TV's so can probably run the client via the LG smart facility like any other app, that would probably do away with the Apple TV boxes also !
 

robotron

Active Member
The downside is Plex will only playback to Plex clients, so if you later wanted to incorporate/playback to a device (like an AVR/Amp/SmartSpeaker directly via AirPlay or DLNA) that wasn't running a Plex client then you will hit problems.
You don't need a Plex client, I've used it with my Yamaha amp.

Plex has a DLNA server built in, it's just not switched on by default.
Settings > DLNA > Tick "Enable the DLNA Server"
 

Brookyflix

Novice Member
You don't need a Plex client, I've used it with my Yamaha amp.

Plex has a DLNA server built in, it's just not switched on by default.
Settings > DLNA > Tick "Enable the DLNA Server"
The last time I even looked at DLNA (many years ago), the picture size and all sorts of things were awful, I guess that has changed now??
 
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Cebolla

Well-known Member
What's picture size got to do with network steaming iTunes ripped from CD audio files (AAC or ALAC encoded presumably) via UPnP/DLNA?
 
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robotron

Active Member
DLNA works fine with compatible kit, it did always seem to be an unfinished standard though and not all kit is created equal. When it works it works, if it doesn't it can be a pain to diagnose and fix.

I do prefer the Plex interface if a native app is available. As @Brookyflix said, try that first.

If the OP is on supported devices (iOS, PC, Mac, FireTV, Android etc.) and only planning on watching films and listening to music whilst connected to their home network, the free version of Plex server with the free client should do what they want at zero cost (other than a bit of time).
 

Cebolla

Well-known Member
Ah, those old UPnP/DLNA supporting DVD Players - not very good for streaming video files over the network, never mind audio ones!
 

jamieu

Active Member
You don't need a Plex client, I've used it with my Yamaha amp.

Plex has a DLNA server built in, it's just not switched on by default.
Settings > DLNA > Tick "Enable the DLNA Server"

You're correct, that you can enable Plex to act as a DLNA server. But that will then require you to use your devices own controller app or a 3rd party DLNA controller (like mConnect Player or BubbleUPnP) to browse and retrieve audio from the Plex DNLA server.

You can't use the native Plex web/mobile client to stream to a DLNA renderer.

By comparison, LMS will allow you to stream audio to any DLNA/AirPlay/Chromecast/Squeezebox supporting device in the house via the same control interface. It a shame Plex doesn't support a similar architecture as it would make it a far more powerful platform for audio.

Roon also promotes their own proprietary RAAT protocol, but at least has the advantage that RAAT is integrated in more dedicated audio devices than Plex. Roon also allows direct streaming to Airplay/Chomecast/Sonos devices as a fallback. I expect Plex will move in a similar direction in time, but up till now their focus seems to have been getting their Plex client built into video supporting devices (like Roku/Apple TV etc.) rather pure audio/hi-fi devices.

The key thing I was pointing out was to bear in mind that you won't be able to use Plex client/app with the same ease/simplicity once you're no longer streaming to Plex supporting devices.
 
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davisa

Active Member
After years of iTunes I’ve finally made the jump....to Plex.

I moved over audiobooks a while ago after Apple ruined them in iTunes/Books. Having to have all my books local was a show stopper. Plex works great with them plus the Prologue app adds brilliant iOS support (better than audible) and CarPlay support.

I’ve just moved all music over after discovering I couldn’t use FLAC with iTunes, which I wanted for Chromecast support. Plex + Plexamp does this brilliantly, cast to chromecast audio then in to my Anthem MRX.

Obviously great for TV/Movies too. It’s surprising just how much better it is than the substandard Netflix/Amazon etc UI’s people seem content to suffer with.

Far the most flexible, fully featured and easiest to use setup I’ve had. Binned Sonos too, which was great 5-10 years ago but has got progressively worse.
 

JayCee

Distinguished Member
I have around 60GB of flac and mp3 music stored on an SD card on my 2013 MacBook Pro running macOS Catalina 10.15.7 which I'd like to stream to my iPhone 12 Pro Max rather than store the music on the iPhone.
I know almost nothing about Streaming. I only need to do it via my home WiFi and I only want to stream music, no movies or TV.
As said earlier in this thread iTunes Music sucks and I've had a look at the Plex interface and I like the look of it but I'm unsure of what Plex programs I need to install on my MacBook and my iPhone.
What's the difference between Plex, Plex Media Server, and Plex Amp.
What do I install on my MacBook and which app (Plex or Plex amp?) do I install on my iPhone and do I need to buy a Plex Pass to do what I want.
Any info appreciated.
 

davisa

Active Member
Plex is the generic term for the whole ecosystem. It is a server/client topology where you are expected to have one (or more) servers where your media is and one (or more) clients to play that media. Server and client can be on the same machine, but I’m not sure how common this is.

Plex Media Server is the server element. It generally runs on a machine dedicated to your media, be it NAS, Pc or whatever.

Clients can be your smart TV, ios, android, computers etc. There are different clients focussed on playback of different media. Plex Media Player is a generic “catch all” player. Plexamp is dedicated to music playback. Prologue is dedicated to audiobooks, for example.

This is a pretty simplistic explanation as it’s all pretty flexible, but hopefully gives you an idea.

My setup is Plex Media Server running on an Unraid server. I use Kodi/Plex Connect on a mac mini for my main viewing of tv/films. I use Plex Media Player on iOS devices. I use Prologue for audiobooks and PlexAmp for music, which I cast to my main AV setup or play on my office Mac.
 

Cebolla

Well-known Member
I have around 60GB of flac and mp3 music stored on an SD card on my 2013 MacBook Pro running macOS Catalina 10.15.7 which I'd like to stream to my iPhone 12 Pro Max rather than store the music on the iPhone.
I know almost nothing about Streaming. I only need to do it via my home WiFi and I only want to stream music, no movies or TV.
Given that you'll be streaming only music files you can't really go wrong by installing a music file dedicated, decent, slimline, efficient UPnP/DLNA media server on the MacBook to provide the music files for streaming over the network, such as the free version of MinimServer or Asset UPnP.

This would allow you to use any UPnP/DLNA client music player on the iPhone for streaming from the UPnP/DLNA media server on the MacBook, eg: foobar2000, Flacbox, Evermusic, mconnect Player (free Lite version available), etc.
 
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Flashy

Well-known Member
I have around 60GB of flac and mp3 music stored on an SD card on my 2013 MacBook Pro running macOS Catalina 10.15.7 which I'd like to stream to my iPhone 12 Pro Max rather than store the music on the iPhone.
I know almost nothing about Streaming. I only need to do it via my home WiFi and I only want to stream music, no movies or TV.
As said earlier in this thread iTunes Music sucks and I've had a look at the Plex interface and I like the look of it but I'm unsure of what Plex programs I need to install on my MacBook and my iPhone.
What's the difference between Plex, Plex Media Server, and Plex Amp.
What do I install on my MacBook and which app (Plex or Plex amp?) do I install on my iPhone and do I need to buy a Plex Pass to do what I want.
Any info appreciated.
If you can get past the dislike of iTunes you can do it without downloading anything. Make sure Home Sharing is switched on on the MacBook, open the Music app on your phone and press ‘Home Sharing’ under Library and your music will appear for playing on your iPhone without being downloaded to it.

Can I ask why the dislike of iTunes, or presumably Apple’s Music app given you’re running Catalina? Using it both as a music player and to make my library available throughout the house I’ve always found it absolutely fine, over many years. Just curious.
 

davisa

Active Member
iTunes doesn’t support Flac.

I prefer PlexAmp to the usual upnp players as it has loads of ways of exploring your music, album reviews etc that make exploration enjoyable and surprising.
 

DT79

Well-known Member
If you can get past the dislike of iTunes you can do it without downloading anything. Make sure Home Sharing is switched on on the MacBook, open the Music app on your phone and press ‘Home Sharing’ under Library and your music will appear for playing on your iPhone without being downloaded to it.

Can I ask why the dislike of iTunes, or presumably Apple’s Music app given you’re running Catalina? Using it both as a music player and to make my library available throughout the house I’ve always found it absolutely fine, over many years. Just curious.
Also as the OP said at the start, iTunes has messed up their library, deleting tracks even. It did the same thing to me. I stuck with it because I wanted to keep with the apple ecosystem at home and on multiple mobile devices, but I’ve had enough now and will be ditching it too.
 

Flashy

Well-known Member
Also as the OP said at the start, iTunes has messed up their library, deleting tracks even. It did the same thing to me. I stuck with it because I wanted to keep with the apple ecosystem at home and on multiple mobile devices, but I’ve had enough now and will be ditching it too.
The OP said that, yes, but I was asking about @JayCee specifically, given what he wants to achieve can be done with what he’s got – albeit with the exception of the FLAC files, an issue I overlooked before.
 

JayCee

Distinguished Member
Yeah, the lack of flac support and the way it often messes up/doesn't display or displays the wrong artwork.
 

John7

Well-known Member
You can convert your FLAC's to ALAC easily and quickly using DBpoweramp with no quality loss. You can also convert them back again if required.
 

davisa

Active Member
You can convert your FLAC's to ALAC easily and quickly using DBpoweramp with no quality loss. You can also convert them back again if required.
I had all my music in ALAC but unfortunately Apple Music doesn’t support casting (from iOS) so I had to convert it all to FLAC. Wish I had done so ages ago as Plex is just so much better in exploration, organisation and flexibility.
 

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