Audirvana might be an option. $75 USD.
Thank you! I will check it out!
Foobar. Free and frankly better than JRiver in terms of sound. You will have to learn some things, but, that is part of the trade off.
Should software have a sound? Anyway, JRiver sounds just like Roon in my setup. JRiver also has loads of features missing from Roon and missing from Foobar unless you cobble together a Rube Goldberg Lego kit of plugins. Yeah, JRiver UI is psychedelic and impenetrable, but it is a lot of bang for the buck once you get past that.
CJRiver UI is complex no doubt but JRemote is clean neat Control Point
Yes you have to the UI for tagging but-when you listen you use the Control Point
Don’t Exlude config ability in the debate , you can make JRiver and JRemote look how you want ! With Roon you get what you pay for
I use Both in parallel and extensively
Money no Object if it does the job it claims
I tried Foobar before I started looking at paid options for my music. Foobar sounded really “flat”; I couldn’t get the sound I wanted from it, no matter how much I tweaked the EQ. I then tried out JRiver and fell in love, but they refuse to integrate Tidal. To get the sound I wanted and integrate Tidal left me with a choice between Roon and Audirvana. Although Roon is more expensive, the metadata and music discovery has changed my music-listening habits 10-fold.
I don’t regret my first year purchase of Roon (even though it was an accident because I forgot to cancel the trial).
Perhaps its the Developer in me I don’t find JRiver so much complex as comprehensive
The two approaches are so different that they hard to compare. Roon does expand the “Random look” and “Meander” of your Library whereas JRiver allows you to customize views to allow quick access to what you have.
JRiver are softening a little on streaming in their new new release but not “On Demand Album” approach of Tidal et all , my guess is that JimH will never change his view of services like Tidal, Spotify, Qobuz . His view is that they are financially unstable and sinking Dev work into integration then will be wasted
That’s why I run 2 systems. My Samsung sound bar and wi fi speaker and MyGica video streamer both need DLNA so I am have to run a DLNA server anyway, I’m happy both ways
Its almost Roon for new stuff, JRiver for my Existing library esp Classical (The ongoing Big Box Saga, i have NO big boxes in Roon its simply to painful)
I almost Never use the Windows UI for playback, just for maintenance
Physcedelic ? can I have some of what you’re (NOT) taking/smoking
Drab would be a better description depending which Skin you choose
I don’t know if the price is right or not. I have a lifetime sub.
To start with Roon cost just an annual sub that was later extended to lifetime as I already had all the hardware needed to host of a NAS and a Raspberry PI and a dragonfly red DAC.
But since then… - lifetime sub, i7 intel NUC with SSDs and a load of memory, new DAC etc - that is actually a really high end expensive steamer kind of total spend - well into Naim princing territory. But I didn’t have to buy it all in one go. it has IMHO a way better and more flexible user experience than I can get out of any hardware streamer that I know of at any price. And, I can have set up additional cheap endpoints - with Raspberry PIs or even chromecast audio until they sadly got discontinued).
So, main zone streaming at a DAC quality on par with high end hifi streamer with a much better user experience and multi-zone without needing another mortgage to add a zone. And as a bonus, fairly well integrated with home automation (OK, so that needed some custom software, but at least it is possible).
The price seemed high for the software, but having lived with it for a while and learned to truly appreciate it, I don’t think the price is really that high. A couple of k for a really good streaming solution vs probably about 4k for something functionally similar from Naim and probably no better sounding?
If I want to improve the sound further - I get another DAC - add maybe another k, and don’t have to hunt around for a 3rd mortgage (after the 2nd mortgage that would have been needed for functional and sound quality equivalence) to upgrade to a really esoteric streamer where I would be paying way way over the odds for its DAC - ie several k.
I think the price depends on how you look at it and how you use Roon. As a desktop PC based library and player - sure its expensive - very. But as a fully utilized high end multi-zone system where you spend only what you need to on each part and no more - it seems reasonable.
Of course several people end in in the worst of spends - they bought Roon and they bought the high end Roon tested streamer and it sounds great. But then I guess Roon is a small fraction of the overall spend, so they probably don’t mind either.
Everyone’s entitle to their own opinion on what’s expensive for software, and I most definitely am not trying to start a flame war, but I personally don’t get that Roon is expensive.
I can appreciate that maybe it’s not in someone’s budget, but that doesn’t make it expensive (maybe here I should say “worth it” instead of “expensive”). I can also appreciate that people might not like subscriptions–fortunately Roon provides an alternative.
I just checked on photoshop price. ~$240 PER YEAR.
There are tons of more expensive examples. Have a look at something like SolidWorks. Yikes. Makes photoshop look like loose change. Granted it’s apples and oranges, but still.
In the realm of computer based music playback software, Roon is very, very expensive.
While not audiophile level, iTunes is free, and BitPerfect adds $10.
Amarra Luxe and JRMC are about $50 each.
Audirvana is $75.
HQPlayer 4 is $250, largely, imho, influenced by Roon’s pricing. I bought HQP3 a year ago for just over $100.
Roon is $500 to infinity depending on if you buy the lifetime license upfront. 10 years of an annual subscription puts Roon at about $1000.
So on just the point of price, Roon is super super expensive compared to other audio software in its specific neighborhood.
Whether or not Roon’s super high price is worth it, is a personal choice. No doubt, Roon, on the library front, is way more advanced than anything else in its market. SQ wise, Roon is not so advanced.
Besides iTunes, the others listed above do not have the resources or talent to take on Roon. But if Apple cared enough about Hi-Res audio to try, with their resources, they could make something as good, or better than Roon, and offer it for free. And that would be the end of Roon.
I truly believe there must be quite a few iTunes (Apple Music) developers who personally subscribe to Roon, how can they not began to bring many of Roon’s innovations to the Apple platform? If Apple Music went Hi-Res, and if iTunes offered Roon’s genius functionality for free, I’d drop Roon immediately and play iTunes using the Amarra sound engine.
It would take very little muscle flexing for Apple to replicate Roon’s functionality. And if Apple Music goes Hi-Res, Roon will be squashed like a bug. Roon is like Frodo sneaking around Smaug, hoping the dragon doesn’t awaken.
Amazon is rumored to be developing a Hi-Res platform, which unto itself is likely meaningless unless it ushers in a Hi-Res arms race with Apple Music and Spotify.
In the long run, it seems Roon’s best hope for survival is to be bought out by one of the big fish. My thought is the real reason Roon offers a Lifetime license is that they anticipate the likes of Apple (or the others) one day creating free offerings that render Roon moot. Knowing that, the Lifetime license allows Roon to grab all the cash they can now in hopes of positioning themselves for acquisition and nice payday for the Roon owners.
I love Roon. But it will one day be gobbled up by these massive companies, either via emulation or purchase. And when that happens, all that I love about Roon will be free, or bundled with a monthly music subscription at no additional charge for the software. And its this fact that gives me pause about buying a Lifetime license. Will all this happen within the next 4 years? I’m not sure.
But its not a matter if if, but rather when.
Roon is what it is because its developers are super talented and creative, not because it can’t be replicated.
Care to elaborate?
Must say, there’s very little in your post that I agree with, the spelling perhaps.
In my experience, having owned all the competition, Roon by itself simply doesn’t sound as good as HQP, Amarra Luxe, Audirvana or JRMC. I theorize that while library management geniuses, SQ is not the Roon developers forte.
PS Audio is developing Octave in part because they think Roon’s SQ is not so great, Paul McGowan has stated as much. But Octave won’t unseat Roon as Octave will be very expensive and likely not have Roon’s level of programming acumen and library functionality, and be specific to PS Audio.
I’d like to see a non-meta data version of Roon offered in the $150 range for a straight purchase, not a subscription.
It all revolves around whether or not the big fish get interested in Hi-Res audio. If they do, then they can offer Roon functionality with the software free.
But so far, they have not become interested in Hi-Res. If they continue that course, Roon will be ok. But Apple could very very easily create a free version of Roon. Its just a matter if Apple has the will to do so.
I can’t even imagine what Roon would be without it’s database? The relational database moving you from artist to artist, across genres and with all the relevant information and graphics coming along in real time is the heart of the system. (at least for me)
I’m not being critical when I ask this, what would you be interested in buying? A basic player plus all the hardware interfaces (e.g. streaming to multiple players, etc). I guess I could see that, but never thought about having that separately.
I really doubt Apple would make something that works and integrates with non-apple products. So, even if they make something similar, I would never use it.
But, your opinion does not make it so for everyone else. I completely disagree with the list you are holding up as “sounding better”.
Your post above (119) is some serious speculation.
Crystal Ball stuff? I really need to get one of those…
I have seen a few posts from people claiming the sound quality is different / inferior to some application or other without qualifying this in any way whatsoever. What I am most interested in is understand how and why that might be so.
If a user is using some kind of processing and (for example) another application has a better sounding EQ algorithm, better dither algorythms, better upsampling, then this would make sense. As an audio engineer, there are for example certain EQ plugin that I prefer the sound of. So, do you mean a better processed sound, or a better straight through sound (no EQ, upsampling, volume etc)?
If a better straight through sound, then one has to question exactly how the end DACs are being driven. Roon (https://community.roonlabs.com/t/raat-and-clock-ownership/6915/5) have described how they interact with and manage data clocking which is what I would assume to be the most likely source of subtle no-processing sound quality differences. From his description it seems to me they have taken the correct approach in effectively extending the data transfer behavior of USB over RAAT and thus Roon should not be introducing any jitter of its own making (due to forcing the PLL in a DAC to continually adjust, or by forcing async resampling) which both can introduce degredation.
If there is indeed a real sound quality issue, then those who are committed users of Roon may wish to consider passing on specific cases to Roon support to isolate specific cases of real differences.
Generic comments such as x sound better are not helpful. Comments such as X sound better when I set the same EQ settings on both are maybe starting points for further analysis if a specific track can be referenced. The ideal of course if there is an independent means of performing high quality capture of the resulting audio output to yield real analysable evidence, but few of us have such a capability (ie a high quality ADC that can operate at least 192K/24bit), but provided the information you do have may allow someone with the right equipment to reproduce a real issue at a specific point in a specific track if indeed there is an issue. If there is - then great - the right people have something specific to work with. If not, then the right people have some hard evidence to put some of these issues to bed. Win all round I think?