Using Plex in addition to Music

I’ve been wondering lately if a good idea might be to keep iTunes (aka Music, when I go past Mojave on my server that holds all my content!) but also copy the content to a Plex folder too, so I can use Plex when wanted as other playback solution.
As a music collector (mostly DRM free ALAC, rather than Apple’s lossy stuff), I want more options.

Reasons being…

  1. AFAIUI, Plex offers more sorting options.
  2. I like the idea of having two separate systems in place in case one goes wrong.
  3. I’m considering moving from iTunes Match to Apple Music* sub (and/or One plan) for the new surround-sound/LL/HR formats. So if things go wrong with these borrowed tracks and my owned tracks, I can revert to my owned ones from the Plex source.
  4. Often I have full CD/vinyl digitised artwork, which I’ve always added into iTunes library, but the iTunes/Music sw has a few versions ago removed the options to view more than the cover image. This has become an utterly needless pain, I no longer wish to live with, Apple!
  5. Plex would allow me to store LL versions on my large-storage iOS/iPads (next iPhone 1TB, and iPads already at 2TB!). As iTunes Match only transcodes LL to lossy before uploading (or matching) to your online library.

(*AM copies iTM functionality now: you get DRM-free lossy to download. Rather than the bug when AM was first released where it wrongly swapped many users DRM-free rips to AM DRM’d versions!)

Yes, it’s more work, but if you add new items to both at the same time, it’s little effort. Plus storage is cheap, so duplicating even my 70K song library isn’t a massive extra cost really, either.

So may options… I wonder what other FLAC buyers (the main lossless format, lossless collectors seem to like) use as their music database of choice?

I can tell you what I do, but not sure it will be much help as I have a slightly different approach. I either digitise my CDs to ALAC or buy ALAC from Qobuz (or Bandcamp or direct from the artist in the few cases that’s available). But I then encode the ALAC into 320kbps AAC and archive the ALAC ‘masters’ to an external drive (which is backed up both locally and to the cloud).

I use iTunes (still on Mojave) for managing and listening to the AACs. For all its faults, I’ve not found anything better in terms of metadata display, management, and flexibility (especially for classical music), not that I’ve looked extensively.

But I’m not really a collector, I just want to have lossless masters in case I ever need to re-encode or switch formats. So I suspect my needs are a lot less sophisticated than yours. And I don’t have equipment (digital, analogue, or biological) that will get any any difference out of listening to a lossless file over a well-encoded high bitrate AAC.

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Thanks for the response. Sure, I understand your preferences here, as they make sense to you for your needs, which is great.

(Although, Q: Does 320kbps AAC offer something more than 256kbps? I always thought that Apple et al. maintained that 265k AAC [an MP4 format] was comparable to 320k MP3?).


On the main question…

I still wonder which media database apps are the current FLAC collectors popular ones of choice on the Apple platform (Mac mainly, but maybe also iOS/iPadOS; the latter at least for consuming)?
Given LL files are typically sold/distributed in FLAC (although Qobuz/BCamp et al. do also offer other LL/PCM formats).

🤦 Sorry, I meant 256kbps. I wasn’t at my computer and it was late when I wrote that! I basically use the iTunes Plus encoder settings in iTunes. I use it for the precise reason you stated – smaller file size with supposed same/superior audio quality to 320k MP3.