Alternatives to Roon on the go

Hello there

As we all know, we have no idea and no timeline on whether we will have the possibility to listen to our library outside of home. I can’t still understand why that use-case has not been planned by Roon: who only listen to music at home, frankly.

Anyway I’m looking for a good solution to listen to my library outside. I use an iPhone 6S which I will replace by a iPhone 11 Pro with 256 GB. Right now, I use the music app and I have 1000 songs in mp3. With the extra space, I’d like to use FLAC files and I have identied 80 GB of music, ready to be transferred.

I listen to music when I go to the park with my iPhone 6S and cheap Jay-z in-ear earphone and when I am flying I use a Sennheiser PXC 550. Good sound but the noise canceling not great.

Among these alternatives, which one would you recommend:

  1. Do nothing
  2. Buy new gear, although I’d like to keep my iPhone for listening to music
  3. Get an iOS app to read FLAC files (which one)

Laptop with Roon, DAC, and headphones.

Do nothing. I bought some stuff for on the road but in the end convenience is more important (to me) than soundquality.

I do use the bought stuff (AQ Cobalt, some more expensive IEM’s, Sony WH1000XM3 noisecancelling headphones) when I’m from home longer than a day.

If you fly a lot I would buy a better noisecancelling headphone like the Sony.

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I prefer to use a separate portable player for music, keeping my phone (and it’s battery life) free for other purposes, and use a Sony player to store music, play from Tidal, iRadio etc.
Having said that, now that I have an iPhone with no headphone socket, I also use it for some listening, with a Dragonfly Red, which sounds pretty decent. If you have FLAC and/or HiRes files, I’d recommend Onkyo HF Player or VLC apps.

I converted my flacs to alacs and kept using Apple Music app. It’s the path of least resistance. Easy syncing of playlist from my phone to Roon was the primary benefit of going this route (Roon watches the iTunes folder).

An alternative I have is Plex, which also looks at the same folder. Useful for streaming if you run out of space on your phone. But while you can download music in Plex for offline use, the process is awkward and it converts files to lower quality.

I use foobar2000 mobile on my iphone/ipad. Plays FLAC files among other things.

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A mobile solution has been mentioned to be in the works since 2016. I’d be surprised it it doesn’t come out this year. When I mention roon to other people, the lack of a mobile solution is a deal breaker.

I tried Plex and find the interface too hard to use and long to load up.

For now I just use Qobuz’s own app with my iPhone, camera connector and Chord Hugo while at work. This can output up to 192k. I lose my local music but most of its already on Qobuz. This solution would work with Tidal as well but don’t get true hires output.

When using my iPhone data plan, I use the Tidal and Qobuz apps to stream to my Dell laptop, Dragonfly Cobalt, and Sony headphones. I assume that would use much less data than streaming via Roon.

Thanks. But please bear in mind my 2 use cases are plane & walking in the park.

In that situation, I stream Tidal or Qobuz to iPhone with Dragonfly Cobalt and Sony headphones.

I would suggest using a streaming music, such as Tidal or QoBuz but neither one of those would work while on a plane. So therefore I would suggest picking up a Sony player like the NW-A45 and a large (400GB or bigger) micro SD card. You will have plenty of storage and the Sony even has a headphone jack (surprise!). And the Sony handles multiple formats and resolutions.

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My travel usually involves planes. I’ve loved my Astell&Kern AK120, which I use with IEMs. Plenty of power that way. You either love IEMs or hate them. I love them, especially on planes.
The AK120 handles 24bit files and has tons of storage via SD cards. I can attest to enough battery life to get to Shanghai and back on a single charge. Since it has been out quite a while and superseded by increasingly fancy models, you can probably get one of these used.

Actually Qobuz and Tidal both allow you to offload albums. So while at home select all the albums you’d want to listen to offline ahead of time. Will also allow you offload in full quality. Just be aware of hard drive space.

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iPhone or iPad with Tidal and Quobuz, got a 30GB to divide over our 4 devices.
256GB USB stick with AAC 320kbps VBR that plugs right into my car. The software in the dash can read the metadata just as fine as it does with the iPod Classic I had before.
I could link the folder on the stick to the new Apple Music App so I have it on my devices as well.

I’m sure this has been mentioned elsewhere but for out-of-the-home streaming of your personal library I just use JRiver and JRemote. JRiver runs as a service when my computer starts up and shares my files to my remote location using credentials I have established. JRemote queries my home server and there is all my stuff. It runs alongside my Roon core with no issues. iPeng can also be set up to access remotely.

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I travel a lot. I have large stored FLAC collection at home. I tag the albums I’d like for travel with a “Travel” Roon tag. Now and then, I use Roon track export to create a spreadsheet listing all the tracks with the “Travel.” I convert the spreadsheet to CSV, and then use through a custom workflow (Python script and rsync) to update an ExFAT-formatted 400GB microSD card for my DAP (currently A&ultima SP1000M), which I use with IEMs (InEar Prophile 8). It goes almost without saying that this can be done more cheaply and maybe more conveniently, but you asked :wink:

I have a couple of hundred 16/44 albums downloaded from Tidal, plus an 800 track playlist, also 16/44, on my iPhone. No need to stream. I listen through Campfire Andromedas and a Cobalt. Hard to imagine anything much better.

I use Plex as well. I’m able to listen to my collection in the car, at the office, and when I’m traveling. I generally download a bunch of albums to my iPhone when I’m flying, this works well but they’ve recently changed the offline mode on their app to make it hard to see your downloads. I’d love to get rid of it and stick to Roon, fingers crossed that they actually release this.

I agree—do nothing (which is probably good advice for most upgrades). Cram your phone full of FLAC/ALAC or v0 mp3s and enjoy listening to anything you want in less-than-ideal environments.