Itunes is without doubt the worse piece of software. Why they have not split the sync functions of phone away from it (at the very least) is beyond me, what a horrid bit of code.
Its been a few years since I really tried roon, back then it would not install on windows server, which as a piece of software supposed to serve music I was not impressed, but this past few weeks I have tried again.
I planned to build a dedicated server, I have a lot of PC bits around here, including excessive amounts of 512g ssds, 6th gen i5 and mobo, ddr4 ram, power supplies etc. So set about and built a PC with an NVMi SSd for boot and 4 ssds for storage. Not necessarily enough for my needs but a good start.
I first tried the bare bones Roon Rock, this was the master plan, minimum server running on the network. It installed great and the web interface offered the basics. The first major hurdle here was Rock would only see the boot drive and one spare drive. Its built for Nucs but I still found this a major failing as I could not conceive on anyone looking for a one box solution settling for one 2.5in drive, at max what 2tb?
Not to be outdone I stuck in a raid card and creates a raid 0, alas whilst it was shown in Bios, roon did not see it.
However moving from that disappointment I installed on a linux build, Fedora as this was listed as compatible. Alas it did not work. Much hair pulling later I went for ubuntu and thankfully it worked just fine here. But just as with all desktop Linuxes out there, it was a shit experience. SAMBA just would not work, mac could see it but when attempting to connect would bum out saying it no longer existed and windows did not even try. Much forum searching and everyone else having the same issue type posts, I questioned why I bothered with this.
In the end it occurred to me that my main server OpenMediaVault is linux and sure enough I was able to ssh and install roon here. Boom and we were in!
I have been playing for a week or more by installing roopie onto a Pi with Highberry dac and too various squeezeboxes and with airplay.
Its management of devices it finds on the network is refreshing, great to see everything it can play to and setting these up is intuitive
Because it can play to local devices such as macs and phones, this is the first piece of software other than plex that can achieve this easily
Lots of settings for the geek in each of these audio device setups
So far the server has been rock solid
It has internet radio
The tidal seems nice
The forum is super active and helpful
Whilst the interface looks nice its a total mare on any device you use it. They have chosen that scrolling should be sideways and there is no way to just list your artists you know, as a list. If you have a lot you are going to be scrolling a hell of a lot or you will have to search. Having to search makes general thumbing through your collection a no go.
Whilst this can be changed, by default it uses its own meta data searching. So where as for instance I have Dark side of the Moon, then Dark side of the Moon 2011 remaster listed as such, it will just list both as Dark Side Of The Moon, there are a fair amount of weird metadata decisions made and its a bit frustrating. For instance on a double album if meta data has them listed by disk which mine do then with roons handling you will get disk 1/2 as a pop up, nice. But if you turn off the roon handling album meta, then even though tagged correctly for disk, your album will now be split with no indication of which disk is which, boo.
I have had some queer sound issues which thankfully seemed to have gone now. When playing some tracks they would slow down like a tape player walkman slowly running out of battery. restarting the song fixed it. I have never experienced this before and have no explanation as to why it would or could occur.
Where it pulls artist details with pictures, many times the pics are the wrong orientation so all you see is the top of the artists head
Many many artists, common ones as well do not have pictures, I cannot be arsed to go finding them.
Sound quality wise, I don't hear any difference compared to Volumio. And in terms of artist info, they are pulling precisely the same information from the same sources as everyone else, this so called curated information is an algorithm, nothing more, nothing less.
But, but I have to say handling of my devices and playing to them is a total joy, is it worth the admission fee? Well I still have 3 days to decide, but I do like the fact the essentially I am controlling the server, which is powerful and therefore accessing music is very quick, compared to say volumio where I am controlling the player on a pi, which is therefore woefully under powered so picking music is slow.
In short, I like it. But I wish it was a monthly, or at least not so dammed expensive. Its good, but not that good.