Advice for friend thinking of moving to streaming

Tomorrow evening a very good friend and his wife are calling over and one of the things he wants to see is Roon as I have mentioned it to him several times at gigs we’ve attended.

He is very into music but not Hifi. He has the same Arcam kit for about 10 years whereas I have none still in my main rig in the same timespan.

He has his music ripped for iTunes (low bit rate) and is now considering ripping to flac.

I want to show him Roon, which I’m pretty sure he’ll love. But what’s best to recommend from the point of view of

  1. ripping a large collection maybe 3000 CDs
  2. getting these to his amplifier via Roon

I think he would like some level of automation in ripping, both physically and from a meta data point of view.

Connection to amplifier will have to be analogue, he doesn’t have a DAC.

Gentlemen you have 24 hours to provide solutions…


I suggest a DAC anyway. One connected to the computer he is playing from or a Raspberry Pi with a IQAudio DAC. Both can be found for < $100 and have a great improvement of the sound quality coming out of the amp.

For the ripping itself I suggest some nice hardware to help him: Acronova Nimbae USB NB21
Capacity of 100 cd’s… More specs on their offial website…

See the “Compatible Software” tab for a lot of free software that can do the trick.
I like XLD, but that’s just me.

If you are more concerned about the design, check out this one. Your friend still have to put in 1 disc at a time, but it looks amazing: Astell & Kern PEM14

Needed 8 min :wink:


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As regards Ripping, there are a few choices…

  1. Seeing as ye both attend gigs together, there is a reasonable likelihood that there is quite a crossover between his Library and yours…and assuming your Library is Lossless, then he can simply copy those same CD’s from your Library…thereby cutting down the 3,000 CD’s to a lower number

  2. There are a few Automatic Cd Loaders out there…but none of them are cheap…unless he can rent one

  3. dbPowerAmp is found by most people to offer the best ripping quality [Accurip checks]…and the best choice of Metadata sources

  4. IMHO there’s simply no getting around the fact that Ripping 2,000 to 3,000 CD’s is a VERY manual and time consuming process…one that requires a lot of conviction that Lossless is a very worthwhile advancement over 128 to 256kbps AAC that already exist in his library

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Another alternative might be as follows

Using your own Roon to demonstrate, try the following steps

  1. Browse to an Album that you know he likes and click to open to the Album Detail screen with the Track Listing etc.

  2. Click on the “Other Versions” button in the centre of the screen about half way down

  3. Click on the “View Album in Tidal” option that appears in the dialog box

  4. Then Click on the “Add Album to Library” option

  5. This will add the Lossless CD 16/44 version of this Album to your Library within Roon

[Later on, you can Delete this version from your own Library…above is for Demo only]

In the past, metadata editing has been a huge chore. But Roon does a very good job automatically, for most music. Depends on the type of music: I find that most of my music (mostly modern jazz) is detected automatically, really new stuff is not in the metadata catalogs yet, really old or weird stuff is not there at all. And I know that classical music lovers complain. So it depends on how mainstream he is.

In my mind, this is a bigger issue than the physical insertion of the CD in the drive. And Roon does a good job.

Following on from the above…if your friend considers this Tidal approach a viable alternative to Ripping his entire collection, then he could proceed as follows

  1. Open Tidal in an internet Browser screen or the Tidal app itself

  2. Search within Tidal for one of his Favourite Artists…this will allow him to list All the Albums of this Artist

  3. Simply click on “Star” icon for the Albums he wants to add to his Tidal Favourites

  4. Repeat the above for all his favourite artists and other artists that he can easily recall

  5. The above should allow him to add about 50 to 75% of his existing iTunes Library to Tidal favourites…and syncing his Roon app with his Tidal favourites will allow them to also be added to Roon

  6. The balance of his Library can then be added by pointing Roon at his iTunes folder…

  7. and then go thru the Steps outlined in my post above in order to add the Tidal versions of the Albums to Roon

Upon further reflection, the steps below would also work…and likely would be the quickest way to achieve what you’re looking for

  1. Have 2 Screens open side by side…this can be an iPad next to a Laptop…or 2 iPads or 2 PC’s etc., etc

  2. Open Tidal on one screen and his iTunes Library in another…in iTunes, I’d advise to list Alphabetically by Artist

  3. Browse Alphabetically thru his iTunes Library…and search within Tidal for that Artist

  4. Click on on the “Star” Icon to Favourite this Artist’s Albums within Tidal

  5. Repeat the above steps over a week or two [to do the whole 3,000 Albums]

  6. at any point, he can sync his Roon app with Tidal to “import” his Tidal favourites into Roon

After a week or two he should have his entire 3,000 CD’s imported…which I think most here will agree is a LOT shorter than it would take to Rip and properly Tag 3,000 CD’s

As regards a DAC, why not suggest the £200 Meridian Explorer 2 DAC as a starting point??

This will him to stream from his PC across the ASync USB that is the Explorer…and provide an Analog input into his DAC…this will provide a much higher sound quality that taking the line out of the PC itself

In addition, the Explorer 2 will allow him to replay the MQA versions of the Albums which are due to appear on Tidal ‘soon’

Hey SJB,

This is a perfect application for one of those all in one devices that rips/plays cds, stores it in a drive, has an onboard DAC for playback, and that can be accessed by Roon - better still, runs Roon and Tidal.

Is there anything like this available yet? (Yeah, soon, I know.)

If I were restarting a rip project on 3000 albums, I would definitely go this route. I would let the Tidal ommissions dictate what my ripping priorities were.

Since I’ve been reripping out of alphabetical order, I had to get these little dot stickers to put on my CD cases to indicate it’s been ripped. (Yeah, I have mistakenly ripped a CD more than once.)

One thing to add to all of the above, assuming that he says…“I can’t be bothered Re-Ripping my entire 3,000 CD’s…and I don’t want to pay for Tidal as I already own this music”

You say he is “very into music”…and he obviously already plays music from iTunes on his PC out to his Arcam Amp…[I assume thru the Line Out / Headphone out on his PC]

So you could still sell him on the benefits of Roon by saying that he could simply replace iTunes with Roon [simply point Roon at his iTunes Rips Folder]…and benefit from all the Rich Metadata that Roon offers on each of his Artists, Albums and Composers

This would provide the quickest way to get him up and running, especially with a Trial version of Roon…and we know that even if he changes nothing about his connection out to his Amp, that Roon will still sound better, as it will bypass the Windows / Mac OSX gubbins that can damage sound quality

Over time, he can then add e.g. an Explorer 2 DAC to improve sound quality and access to MQA versions…consider Ripping some or all of his CD’s…consider a Tidal subscription to add Lossless versions of his 3,000 CD’s…consider Tidal, as it will effectively increase his ‘available Library’ from 3,000 Albums to 3,000,000 Albums!! [or whatever Tidal claims these days]


A di combination with this, I would use a different approach to bringing in Music through Tidal. Instead of using the Tidal app, I use Roon itself.

  1. Let Roon recognize all his iTunes music, and enjoy the metadata benefits. No loss of content or sound quality, no manual labor, only benefit.
  2. For music that is especially important, click on Other versions, find the same album in Tidal and Add To Library. Then maybe find a few related albums at the same time.
  3. About paying for Tidal: assuming your friend isn’t minimum wage, one month of tidal subscription is equivalent to about an hour of his time ripping.
  4. Then he can improve sound quality over time if he wants.