A comment on the price

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.

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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”.

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Your post above (119) is some serious speculation.

Crystal Ball stuff? I really need to get one of those…:sunglasses:

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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?


Not any other music software has allowed me to stream so effortlessy around my house and to all manor of hardware and prices. Others tried but failed at the first hurdle everytime. This for me is worth price of entry alone, it has the best multiroom functionality out there.


I came here to get a handle on my music library. Now that I’m learning that ripping is an art unto itself, I could see Roon not ripping and using metadata, just get that from dbPoweramp or whatever.

But really, a $10 a month subscription is just two cups of coffee (from Starbucks). That’s not too steep.

And remember, subscriptions create an ongoing revenue stream for the company. That’s important if we want Roon Labs LLC to be around for a long time. I come from the automotive aftermarket. There was a German tuner company (MTH) that did tunes for Mini Coopers. They gave a lifetime ability to retune. After a while, the whole work load was just servicing customers for no money. Hard to keep a business running that way!

This thread was started 4 years ago, now, $10 a month is nothing. I’ll run it for a year, and if it’s going well, I’ll go lifetime. Then I’ll cross my fingers that they don’t go belly up!




I get it. And it isn’t cheap, really. Or is it? I bought in for life two years ago. It was a chunk of change. But the consistent hard work on upgrades and patches, the growing partnership program, and what I have found to be an incredibly available and energetic support staff, make me feel like I got a bargain. I mean, if you’re into DSP, the engine alone is worth it (I’m not really but it definitely comes in handy). I also subscribe to Tidal. At $20 a month I will soon have spent far more on that than I will for a lifetime (hopefully a long one) of Roon. And frankly speaking, Roon is a luxury item. As is any of the gear that can run Roon. If you are inclined to spend your extra dollars on musical enjoyment, and are fortunate enough to have it within your budget, Roon seems like a downright bargain to me.


I wonder how Roon views the high price in terms limiting growth vs a lower price? There must be some higher math involved to reach the pricing they have.

I also wonder why they don’t offer a $10 per month price, like all the music services do?

It would also be nice if with a Lifetime subscription you received a guarantee that if Roon went under, that you could then own Roon and still use it, even though updates would stop. If HQPlayer folds, I can use the software for as long as my Mac is compatible.

I’m also curious how much Roon has to pay per customer for the metadata subscription, what the margins are. I understand why these questions may never be answered, but curious nonetheless.

Roon management has clarified that the above is true for Roon as well.

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Im a new user and bought into the lifetime sub after two 1 month trial periods, generously extended by the Roon team.

I’m still discovering new functionality but Im most impressed by the DSP capability. It seems underrated on this forum, but its capabilities to improve the sound quality of literally every possible end point is quite impressive.

I’ve used REW to create convolution filters for every zone in my house and even garden and used them in Roon to improve the sound from my existing speakers quite a lot. With this capability you can match the frequency response of any speaker to your preferred room curve and correct impairments in speakers and reflections. Even headphones can be used with their correct convolution filter.

The alternative would have been using a dedicated DSP for every zone. Priced at 200$ and up (per zone) those would easily exceed the price for a lifetime subscription.

So the way I see it; yes its very high compared to alternatives, but the multi- zone implementation and per zone DSP capability in addition to the library and streaming integration makes it a purchase I could quite easily justify.


I couldn’t agree more :+1:

This thread makes one wonder whether the average hi-fi enthusiast goes to therapy after dropping some cash on kit. The cost of Roon is paltry when compared with just about any hi-fi component whether it be CDP, DAC, preamp, amplification or speakers, let alone cables for those so inclined :rofl:. Roon is probably the cheapest component of your hi-fi and drives the entire listening experience. Get over it, otherwise there’s always foobar or itunes.


Really, $500 is paltry compared to anything?

Yes, compared to our hardware, Roon is inexpensive. That’s a reasonable rationale.

Compared to consumer audio playback software, Roon is really expensive. HQP is $250, and everything else goes less expensive from there with perhaps BitPerfect ($10) and iTunes (free) being the least expensive audiophile option.

Roon does way way more than any other software product when it comes to the library experience. Sound quality is more mediocre with to my ears, HQP, Amarra, and Audirvana all sounding better than Roon.

Within the software universe, its not black and white that Roon is worth $500. It depends on how much you value the Roon library experience, along with the great remote.

In that light, I totally understand why many are willing to pay $500. I can equally understand why others would decide they don’t need the slick library experience and forego Roon in favor of better sounding and less expensive options.

Which is to say, the only correct conclusion about Roon’s price is one’s own. There is no universal right answer.

I will soon, reluctantly, buy a lifetime subscription and use Roon with HQPlayer. I still feel like I’m overpaying. That said, no other combo comes close to providing both sound quality and library functionality, at least to me.

I also in no way feel for sorry for Roon in regards to the flak they receive about their price and subscription model.

In your subjective opinion. I know a few folk that preferred vana at some point but they all feel there’s no difference since their cognitive dissonance has settled.

Don’t recall they asked for sympathy. They asked for $499 once off or $119 per annum. Take it or leave it.

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The main point being, all of this is subjective. All of it. And no one is wrong for reaching whatever particular conclusion they have reached, even if those conclusions are complete opposites :call_me_hand:

Forums such as this often fail to understand that point. Instead, one person expressed their opinion, for example, “Roon is too expensive”. Then other folks chime in to tell them why they are wrong to conclude that. And that person defends themselves, makes various points, and others respond, and sometimes the process all gets wonky.

Yet the overriding truth is that everyone is correct! It’s their opinion. Its like arguing about why someone ought to like tomatoes. If one person thinks Roon is fairly priced, they are correct. If another thinks its too expensive, they are correct. If one feels Roon SQ is subpar, they are correct. If another thinks Roon’s SQ is excellent, they are correct. Its all personal, subjective opinion, no one can be wrong.

The only factual part of this discussion is what the literal prices of the various software are. Roon costs $120/ year, or $499 lifetime. That’s a fact. With the rest, everyone is correct no matter what they conclude!