roon - what am I missing?

I have 4000+ albums in a QNAP NAS plus subscriptions to QoBuz and Tidal, and I am running Audirvana plus with UPnP on a dedicated MM. So I can play Tidal masters and Qobuz sublime+ with Audirvana plus streaming from my MM regardless whether my source is from files stored in my NAS or Tidal masters or Qobuz 192/24.

So my question is, what am I missing? What does ROON give me what MM + Audirvana plus UPnP does not? Should I pay $500 for all the things that I do not need?

Original Post

No not really, it shows you some stuff about artists etc. Plex does this for 3.99 a month (for instance), google does this for free.

Any audiophile stuff it claims is offered for free by many many platforms.

They should offer a monthly sub, but they don't, this is very telling to me. 

In your scenario if you can find what you want and happily find new artists and artist info then no, you do not need Roon. I find uses for it in non-Naim multi room scenarios and the family told me how much better is was than the Naim app but they also hardly ever use it now. My own use may well change once the new Network Player arrives in the lounge system. (NDX-2)

If you have streamers from different brands, Roon can control all of them, individually or in multiroom mode. It has a whole bunch of function allowing you to digitally tweak your sound, such as parametric eq. I’d say it does what it dies very well. Do you need it? Probably not!

garyi posted:

No not really, it shows you some stuff about artists etc. Plex does this for 3.99 a month (for instance), google does this for free.

Any audiophile stuff it claims is offered for free by many many platforms.

They should offer a monthly sub, but they don't, this is very telling to me. 

I tend to agree, there are other products that are free and more flexible on the platforms and protocols  they run  that control multiroom and multiple vendor streamers... BubbleUPnP Server is a good example. Further Bubble is integrated with your home media, Tidal as well as Qobuz, where as Roon doesn’t support Qobuz as far as I can see.

Roon appears to offer digital filtering, but most know if filtering audio you want to do at the highest sample rate and word size coupled with the DAC, so only really suitable for high quality use, in my opinion,  with appropriately Roon enabled DACs. 

So yes I can see there are some user interface advantages, and a popular integrated meta data and information manager, but my over riding view is that it is software product  that although giving some use case benefit  is adding certain complications and certain limitations between you and your music replay equipment in many setups for a not inconsiderable annual fee... and there are other perhaps less polished looking, but ultimately more flexible and free alternatives for many of the Roon functions out there

ChrisSU posted:

If you have streamers from different brands, Roon can control all of them, individually or in multiroom mode. It has a whole bunch of function allowing you to digitally tweak your sound, such as parametric eq. I’d say it does what it dies very well. Do you need it? Probably not!

Audirvana does all these, up sampling, parametric eq, integer mode on MacOS, etc.  

I know my way around my system as I am a software developer, however for me one of the most important considerations is the SQ. If Roon does not give me a better SQ than Audirvana then my money is not on it.

Frank Yang posted:
ChrisSU posted:

If you have streamers from different brands, Roon can control all of them, individually or in multiroom mode. It has a whole bunch of function allowing you to digitally tweak your sound, such as parametric eq. I’d say it does what it dies very well. Do you need it? Probably not!

Audirvana does all these, up sampling, parametric eq, integer mode on MacOS, etc.  

I know my way around my system as I am a software developer, however for me one of the most important considerations is the SQ. If Roon does not give me a better SQ than Audirvana then my money is not on it.

I think Roon is very neat in that it pulls together a lot of different functions into a single software product which seems to be stable and well designed. That will appeal to some, but I don’t think it does anything that other products can’t do. Personally, I’m happy using the Naim app and UPnP for most of my listening, and don’t really feel the need for Roon, but we are all different. I might give Bubble a try when I get the time though, just to see what all the fuss is about. 

I think the consensus (with quite a few still in disagreement) is you need HQ Player and Roon to better Audirvana’s SQ. 

Roon do a free trial, why not just try it. It provides listening sessions that I would never have without it’s metadata leading me places I’d never find myself. 

.sjb

You're missing the best way to discover your own music library. You're also missing market's best metadata integration. Roon also integrates Tidal seamlessly to its user interface, which works much better than Tidal's own UI. To me, Roon also sounds better than JRiver. Not a night and day difference but still there. I use Roon in a single machine setup and am not even using many of its main features like Zones, Tidal integration or great DSP functions but I just love the UI and the metadata integration. It makes you rediscover your music library in a way you couldn't with regular media players.

Yes, it's costly when compared to many other media players but going for a lifetime subscription only hurts once. If you reflect the pricing to Naim prices, Roon costs nothing. You can't even get one Naim Powerline for the price. But yeah, we tend to think differently when paying for software rather than something physical. Just go for the free trial and decide yourself. They're happy to extend the trial period if you have difficulties to decide. 

I had a go with Roon last year. I was coming from Audirvana, trying to find a solution to my one gripe, its handling of files with imperfect metadata which I find very poor and live with purely because of the sound quality. 

This is my assessment - but as it is a constantly developing product some things may well have changed. They do do a free trial, so you can see for yourself.

Pros:-

  • Good if you use Tidal, because it integrates seemlessly with your own collection, to the point where I think it could end up being uncertain whether you're browsing your own collection or Tidal.
  • It provides links to explore what else the artists on a recording have done, if you want to explore that*
  • it offers hints as to possibly similar music (loosely similar to my recollection of Rovi when I had an ND5XS)*
  • It may suit if you want to be told what is currently popular - in fact when you first go on that is in your face, however you can minimise it..

         *subject to good enough metadata for Roon to recognise your music.

Cons:-

  • It didn’t do any better with poor metadata than Audirvana.
  • I felt the links to other things, suggestions of other music I would like, what other people are listening to etc that some people may regard as desirabke were too ‘in my face’, and to me the whole interface felt too reminiscent of Facebook, which I detest. Having those things available when/if I want to ask is another matter, but they were distracting and annoying - but maybe they and the social media feel appeal to the Facebook generation.
  • Whilst a strong positive for some people, to me the Tidal integration and hence omnipresence was negative because I have no interest in it whatsoever. 
  • It seems costly for a library service, albeit a fancy one.
  • Although of no relevance to me, I noted there was no integration of online streaming services other than Tidal.

On balance, I concluded that it didn’t provide anything that I value so is not value for money, so I rejected it. 

I didn’t compare sound quality as a renderer - what I had read at the time by people using on decent systems suggested that it wasn’t as good as some other renderers like Audirvana, so I thought that if I went for it that might be in conjunction with a Rendu making that aspect  irrelevant. However there were also suggestions that that sound quality was improving.

Patu posted:

You're missing the best way to discover your own music library. You're also missing market's best metadata integration. Roon also integrates Tidal seamlessly to its user interface, which works much better than Tidal's own UI. To me, Roon also sounds better than JRiver. Not a night and day difference but still there. I use Roon in a single machine setup and am not even using many of its main features like Zones, Tidal integration or great DSP functions but I just love the UI and the metadata integration. It makes you rediscover your music library in a way you couldn't with regular media players.

Yes, it's costly when compared to many other media players but going for a lifetime subscription only hurts once. If you reflect the pricing to Naim prices, Roon costs nothing. You can't even get one Naim Powerline for the price. But yeah, we tend to think differently when paying for software rather than something physical. Just go for the free trial and decide yourself. They're happy to extend the trial period if you have difficulties to decide. 

I fully agree with you Patu. It is the rediscovery of your library which makes it shine. I also love the availability of words for many tracks and the little touches such as the source indicator on the album icons ('CD', Tidal, '24/96').

My personal opinion. I find Roon to be best in class. It manages library beautifully and I have engaged more with my library since using it due to its ease of use and presentation. I find new music with it effortlessly through its recommendations from Tidal and tracks and albums i had forgotten about in my own collection.  The fact it ties in streaming from Tidal and my own library seamlessly so they are essentially one is  its USP no other library software does this to my knowledge so searching is from one place. Other services are on the cards. You cannot underestimate how much this brings to the experience.

Add in all the DSP and MQA, it has very wide support from major hifi brands is way more stable than using upnp, support all airplay, Chromecast and Sonos devices  and I can build DIY endpoints for next to nothing great support network and forum and it will keep growing.

Try it out and see.

garyi posted:

No not really, it shows you some stuff about artists etc. Plex does this for 3.99 a month (for instance), google does this for free.

Any audiophile stuff it claims is offered for free by many many platforms.

They should offer a monthly sub, but they don't, this is very telling to me. 

I have Plex to and find  its awful for music. It's usdd purely to use my library away from home. But as soon as Roon add the mobile functionality it will be back to purely video. 

 

Sloop John B posted:

I think the consensus (with quite a few still in disagreement) is you need HQ Player and Roon to better Audirvana’s SQ. 

One reads often about HQ Player. So I got curious and googled it a while ago. I don’t mind an amateurish website — I am a social scientist...  But I thought it was strange not to provide any pricing information online — bizarre... But I kept wondering how much one needed to cough up in addition to Roon to make it sound marvellous...

We are currently in temporary (rented) accommodation — sadly my regular speakers are boxed up. But once we move to new, permanent accommodation with hifi properly set up I will experiment properly with Roon and HQ Player... 

SimonPeterArnold posted:
garyi posted:

No not really, it shows you some stuff about artists etc. Plex does this for 3.99 a month (for instance), google does this for free.

Any audiophile stuff it claims is offered for free by many many platforms.

They should offer a monthly sub, but they don't, this is very telling to me. 

I have Plex to and find  its awful for music. It's usdd purely to use my library away from home. But as soon as Roon add the mobile functionality it will be back to purely video. 

 

Same here its only used for when out and about. 

If roon offered a monthly sub like just about every other thing on earth now I would probably give it a go. 

Patu posted:

Yes, it's costly when compared to many other media players but going for a lifetime subscription only hurts once. If you reflect the pricing to Naim prices, Roon costs nothing. You can't even get one Naim Powerline for the price. But yeah, we tend to think differently when paying for software rather than something physical. Just go for the free trial and decide yourself. They're happy to extend the trial period if you have difficulties to decide. 

Patu, it is not about cost, it is about justification. If it is really worth $$$, I am prepared to pay for it, if it does not improve anything then I would not pay for it even it is 1 cent for a lifetime subscription.

Having said that, probably I will give it a try for a few weeks.

Timo posted:
Sloop John B posted:

I think the consensus (with quite a few still in disagreement) is you need HQ Player and Roon to better Audirvana’s SQ. 

One reads often about HQ Player. So I got curious and googled it a while ago. I don’t mind an amateurish website — I am a social scientist...  But I thought it was strange not to provide any pricing information online — bizarre... But I kept wondering how much one needed to cough up in addition to Roon to make it sound marvellous...

We are currently in temporary (rented) accommodation — sadly my regular speakers are boxed up. But once we move to new, permanent accommodation with hifi properly set up I will experiment properly with Roon and HQ Player... 

Remember that with any computer source if connecting electrically to a DAC you may need an isolator between the computer and DAC to stop RF degrading the audio - that is one of the key causes in asychronous DACs, and even those with ground plane isolation can be susceptible . I don’t know how HQ Player compares with Audirvana, but one strength of the latter is that when using USB output it can be optimised to bypass all of the Mac’s sound card circuitry and inbuilt drivers - I don’t know if HQ does anything similar. But then, Audirvana can’t be used with Roon, so if the latter is more important the choice is different.

SimonPeterArnold posted:

Add in all the DSP and MQA, it has very wide support from major hifi brands is way more stable than using upnp, support all airplay, Chromecast and Sonos devices  and I can build DIY endpoints for next to nothing great support network and forum and it will keep growing.

I’m sure Roon brings benefits to you and you appear to enjoy it and it is worth it to you. absolutely fine. However you or anybody needs to qualify your curious assertion ‘..way more stable than UPnP’.  With respect unless you can demonstrate otherwise, this is nonsense.

Having used UPnP for audio over many years, and even coded for it, one thing I can say it isn’t is unstable..  organisations like Sonos use a UPnP implementation in their products to provide a very stable, robust consumer implementation of distributed controllable audio. UPnP is simply a set of low level de facto standardised web service functions. Perhaps you are thinking of particular vendor implementations of UPnP? Well I’m sure these of course vary in quality, but this has nothing to do with UPnP itself.... They key thing of UPnP is its relative low level simplicity... that can be a mixed blessing, such that many vendors build software on top of it ... but in terms of stability and basic integration it really is a plus.

Perhaps my choice of unstable was out of place  It's more  the fact that upnp has too many different implementations for each manufacturer/ software and I could never get all my kit that was upnp to work together nicely or work in the same way. That's why I went the Logitech route in the end and now moved to Roon.

 Indeed,  it is great when you plug in any Roon ready product   and straightaway the Roon  app finds it, whether it be a Naim, Auralic, Brinkman or any Pi device. 

This is part of Roon’s   USP  and their developers are adamant that they will not attempt to have Roon work through UPnP because of all the different implementations  of it out there in the wild. 

There is also an issue of what controls the clock between Roon’s RAAT and UPnP but that’s beyond my comprehension.

.sjb

 

Having been trying roon for 14 days, all I say is that roon is an excellent music player, its user interface is very user friendly, immersive, setup is easy, discover is a great feature, and the transparency of what happens in the playing chain is excellent.

However, I've decided that it is not for me because:

  1. A price tag of $119 / month is not justified
  2. It does not sound better than Audirvana, which I already own
  3. Qobuz is not supported
  4. I do not understand why I need HQPlayer to make it sound better

I would definitely be interested and even put up with the HQPlayer, and the missing support for  Qobuz if its pricing model is more competitive.

Solid Air posted:

Recognising others may disagree, I think Roon is some weird joke being payed on audiophiles. For me, $119 per year is utterly ridiculous. 

I'm not keen on subscription software, but I must admit I like Roon and have a subscription.

It's not only the cost of the software but the work involved in curating information about the media and one of the more intelligent ways I've found of getting recommendations of similar material.

The cost is perhaps higher than I'd like, but most of us using Naim streamers which are Roon capable will have paid a substantial amount for the streamer and if the software ticks the boxes for someone then in that context it's probably a small expense compared to the overall outlay on our systems.

I've not used it for a few weeks as I had the software on my Mac Mini's internal HD but have been booting from a USB 3.0 attached SSD more recently.

I just installed the software on the SSD and deauthorised the other copy, pointed it at a folder on another external drive containing my Qobuz downloads and virtually instantly I can control playback of this stuff from the Mac as I type or on my iPhone/iPad.

Qobuz metadata is challenging and I've spent far too much time fiddling changing that (generally for classical works) on my NAS in order that I get a single entry for a given work which can play in track order.  With Roon it just seems to work as I'd expect it to without any of this metadata editing, and as a time saver alone it's probably worth the cost.

The Roon RAAT engine in the Nova is the only way I can reliably play back hi-res gapless audio currently  - I could use Airplay which works, but that is limited to CD quality and I mainly buy hi-res audio.  Chromecast works ok for on  streaming purchases via my iPhone to the Nova but gapless is a non-starter 

If Roon support Qobuz in the future (which I think would be mutually beneficial) I will hopefully be able to stream gapless non-purchased on demand from Qobuz too which may push me to upgrade to their Sublime+ product.

Appreciate I'm repeating myself but the fact 'it just works' the majority of the time is what I love about it - I'm not fighting the poor metadata in downloads, or the way the NAS handles this and presents it to the Nova.

Streaming digital media the way you want to can be challenging - playing a CD or vinyl LP is simple and works as you expect it to.  Playing digital media via Roon is the same and works as you expect it to.

If you've never tried it give it a whirl via a trial - if you've trialled it then it's probably not for you irrespective of the cost.

 

Interesting topic.

Do I understand the following correctly:

1) Roon must be installed on my PC.

2) I tell Roon then where my local music on my PC is stored.

3) Roon can access my music stored internally in my Core.

4) I can control my music on the PC and on the Core with Roon either via Desktop or iPad Roon app?

5) To do this, my PC with Roon must be switched on and online.

Thank you.

 

Thorsten_L posted:

1) Roon must be installed on my PC.

2) I tell Roon then where my local music on my PC is stored.

3) Roon can access my music stored internally in my Core.

4) I can control my music on the PC and on the Core with Roon either via Desktop or iPad Roon app?

5) To do this, my PC with Roon must be switched on and online. 

1) Yes, or you can run it on a NAS. 

2) Yes, Roon will search your network for music folders, not just the computer it runs on. 

3) Yes

4) Yes

5) Yes

Thorsten_L posted:

Cool. Many thanks.

Roon will search for music stored on my PC, but can I also manually tell it which folder it needs to have? 

Like if I don't want to use a folder for example with temporary music on it...

You have to tell roon where to find your music regardless whether it is on your PC or on a network drive, or in a folder on an internal/external drive, and you can tell it to ignore any folder.

Basically, there is no black magic.

Thorsten_L posted:

Cool. Many thanks.

Roon will search for music stored on my PC, but can I also manually tell it which folder it needs to have? 

Like if I don't want to use a folder for example with temporary music on it...

As Frank says, you have to tell Roon which of your music folders you want it to access. This may involve a small amount if head scratching, but you only have to do it once. 

@Thorsten_L.

Hi Thorsten,

If you want to run Roon with your current system (as in your profile), you'll need to add a Roon-ready bridge in front of your nDAC. An alternative is to use the USB output of the computer on which Roon Core is installed, and a USB to S/PDIF converter (e.g., HiFace 2) to connect to the nDAC. If you stay with the latter route, addition of a USB isolator / regenerator (e.g., Intona USB high-speed isolator) into the signal path is worth doing.

Hope this helps,

Jan

Thorsten_L posted:

Interesting topic.

Do I understand the following correctly:

3) Roon can access my music stored internally in my Core.

4) I can control my music on the PC and on the Core with Roon either via Desktop or iPad Roon app?

5) To do this, my PC with Roon must be switched on and online.

Thank you.

 

While Roon may be able to access the media on the Core I don't think it could use the Core as an output device - as far as I'm aware the Core is not a Roon endpoint and does not have the RAAT 'engine' that the other Unitis have - just in case you were considering trying Roon to output via the Core's SPDIF output.

 

Jan-Erik Nordoen posted:

@Thorsten_L.

Hi Thorsten,

If you want to run Roon with your current system (as in your profile), you'll need to add a Roon-ready bridge in front of your nDAC. An alternative is to use the USB output of the computer on which Roon Core is installed, and a USB to S/PDIF converter (e.g., HiFace 2) to connect to the nDAC. If you stay with the latter route, addition of a USB isolator / regenerator (e.g., Intona USB high-speed isolator) into the signal path is worth doing.

Hope this helps,

Jan

Oh. Thank you... I apologise. I updated my profile.

Alley Cat posted:
Thorsten_L posted:

Interesting topic.

Do I understand the following correctly:

3) Roon can access my music stored internally in my Core.

4) I can control my music on the PC and on the Core with Roon either via Desktop or iPad Roon app?

5) To do this, my PC with Roon must be switched on and online.

Thank you.

 

While Roon may be able to access the media on the Core I don't think it could use the Core as an output device - as far as I'm aware the Core is not a Roon endpoint and does not have the RAAT 'engine' that the other Unitis have - just in case you were considering trying Roon to output via the Core's SPDIF output.

 

Thanks. That means I can't choose my Core in the Roon software so that the Core sends it through the nDAC to my ears?

Deal breaker then. Ok.

Thorsten_L posted:
Alley Cat posted:
Thorsten_L posted:

Interesting topic.

Do I understand the following correctly:

3) Roon can access my music stored internally in my Core.

4) I can control my music on the PC and on the Core with Roon either via Desktop or iPad Roon app?

5) To do this, my PC with Roon must be switched on and online.

Thank you.

 

While Roon may be able to access the media on the Core I don't think it could use the Core as an output device - as far as I'm aware the Core is not a Roon endpoint and does not have the RAAT 'engine' that the other Unitis have - just in case you were considering trying Roon to output via the Core's SPDIF output.

 

Thanks. That means I can't choose my Core in the Roon software so that the Core sends it through the nDAC to my ears?

Deal breaker then. Ok.

I don't believe so, but I hope I'm wrong.

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