Am I missing something? (Discovery, interface etc)

So, I just signed up for an annual roon subscription with the hope of learning more about “my” music and discovering similar music. So far, this has not worked out as hoped. I am primarily a Tidal user (recently switched from Spotify), my normal library of high-res files is just a couple dozen albums. Now, when I look at albums inside Roon, on the right side I get a “Recommended for you”… so far so good, but when I instead click on the tag for the genre, I only get albums / artists listed that are already part of my library. How can I discover new music based on a special genre, for example “experimental ambient” (which is a genre tag displayed in some of my albums)? Same thing applies when I click on the “Discover” feature… it looks great, but it only lists music from my (smallish) library, what’s the point of that? … Same story, when I look at an album from my library and scroll way down, I get a “Similar to” section, which is awesome, except that it only displays artists from my library instead of the entire Tidal catalogue, which renders it useless. So, how am I supposed to easily discover new music?

Also, some more interface annoyances:

  • Why do some album lists show the release year / date while others don’t? This is essential info and this inconsistency is driving me mad.
  • Why aren’t MQA recordings indicated in albums lists as little icons, like Audirvana does?
  • What’s up with the horizontal scrolling in the desktop app? Doesn’t make any sense and is annoying.

Also, I am using an external DAC / headphone amp to listen via my MacBook Pro, and whenever I start roon, I have to go to the preferences and select the DAC as the output, this is extremely annoying, why doesn’t roon remember the setting? It also doesn’t remember the name of the zone that I have to type in every time I choose the DAC.

Any help? I hope I am missing some obvious settings, otherwise I feel I have just wasted $120 :frowning:

Did you not do the 14 day trial?

I did the trial a loooong time ago and thought roon would have evolved by now, and frankly I forgot about what exactly bothered me back then. And since (as a fellow software designer) I like to support companies like roon, I paid the $120, which unfortunately does not feel like a wise decision now. Unless of course I missed something obvious :slight_smile:

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Click on the genre tag to navigate to the genre page (or use search) and then click Roon Radio.

I don’t think you’ve set up your DAC correctly and suspect you’re using System Output rather than Core Audio. What DAC are you using? Can you post a screenshot of Settings > Audio.

There is still a 30 day money back I think if you can’t make it work for you.

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OK, did that. It now plays some random songs, but I do not get a list of albums / artists / top tracks from the Tidal catalogue, which is what I would expect. Is there a way to get this? I mean, roon keeps track of the Tidal catalogue in their own database, so this sounds like a simple database query to me.

I have tried again, and this time it saved correctly. I imagine the problem is that I occasionally had Audirvana running prior to starting roon, that may have confused the system.

Personally, my main ways of discovering new music with Roon is either via related works (ie music the artists has been involved with or other music by collaborators/producers etc) links embedded in descriptions/reviews/credits etc, or via the Roon radio feature which attempts to continually play similar music and usually does a good job.

I listen to a lot of EDM (among others) which tends to include a lot of crossover stuff into genres or production styles that I am really not a fan of at all, so finding the gems among that can often be a pain and to be fair to Roon, it has delivered well in terms of finding those gems for me including some producers that I know I would probably never have found, but can now honestly rate is some of my favourite producers.

At this point, I would say at least 50% of my library is music that Roon has found for me and I would probably never had found or paid attention to otherwise. Of music added in the past year, this figure is closer to 100% (there are small handful of albums from some artists I have added that I would have found and added regardless of Roon finding them or not).

I personally find the obvious recommended lists presented (including those in tidal and qobuz sections) have never been my main route for discovery, but that is probably just me and a consequence of the music I tend to listen to when finding genuine interesting and great talent and production in a sea of mediocre and/or overly commercial pop/dance etc can often be a challenge :slight_smile:

I would say give it a chance, particularly the radio feature and do some active clicking around related music. Sure it will come up with some stuff that is just plain wrong - I think sometimes that the metadata that Roon consumes from it various sources can be questionable leading to some really odd and out of place selections that have you diving for the ‘next’ button, but on the whole I find this to be a very effective way of discovering new music. Just remember to dig in when something comes up that grabs you.

When you first start using it, I can understand the hope to be presented immediately with a load of new music you have been looking for, but I found that wasn’t so much the case to start with. Sure there was a bunch of albums and tracks that I quickly found and added (some because Tidal suggested them, some from a scan through tidal rising etc), but day to day, it was when Roon radio got it big update that I think really changed things to more of listening and less of poking around collaborator links.

I find a great way to get the most out of the radio is to play a track that you know and in some way represents a middle of the road in the style of music you want to listen to at the time and let it take over after that track has played out. As I understand it, it will initially use the preferences expressed by many other users along with metadata to choose related music, but in time through your own feedback it will refine choices more towards the feedback you specifically have given - just skipping to the next track is feedback in itself as far as I can tell.

Just remember to go through whatever you liked with the radio history and go back over any new artists/albums that grabbed you and stick the whole album on and add the album/track that you like. Its easy to just forget and passively just listen, but in doing so you are not giving Roon any feedback on what you like, so it cant refine. There is some machine learning going on behind the scenes and like any hired help, it needs to understand you (and the rest of us) as much as you need to understand how it works best :slight_smile:

Having paid for year, then I suggest you give it that year. After nearly a year was up, I switched to lifetime having has some similar thoughts to yourself initially, though I always thought the UI and general presentation and the way in which it was architected was great anyway, so I always wanted to give it the best chance, and now way down the line, I am glad I did as nothing else comes close to my mind.


From the Tidal section (hamburger menu) you can select Genres but I think this is no different to the Tidal app. I agree it would be a useful feature to browse the Tidal catalogue by Genre using Roon’s metadata and the Valence ‘smarts’ to identify items of interest. The recommended for you section is going in this direction but there’s no genre filtering…yet.


@Adam_Goodfellow: Thanks for the detailed feedback. I guess it comes down to a) personal expectations and b) how you perceive the GUI. In terms of b) I am unfortunately terribly biased, working as a software & GUI designer in the games industry for over 20 years. So from my point of view, the GUI is right now a bit inconsistent and cluttered, and some things are simply not where I would expect them. Obviously, what is true for me may be the opposite for somebody else, that’s the dilemma of interface design, in a complex application it is not easy to please the vast majority of users and be innovative / interesting at the same time.

Having said that, I think roon could indeed make better use of their vast database and present new / undiscovered music in a better and more intuitive way. Don’t force it on the user, but rather have dedicated sections / tabs at the obvious places (eg. “Similar Artists” near the bottom of an artist’s page, or “Similar Albums” when looking at a single album) which can be toggled (or switched via tabs) to either display entries from my own library or from the entire Tidal / Qubuz catalogue, instead of kind of mixed with different colored backgrounds as it is now.

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The great thing with Roon is that it’s not finished and the devs are always looking at feedback to improve things.
The best thing is to present them with what’s missing, a use case and solution to work on.


I would look at using Roon radio for discovery, found more new music this way than anything else over the last year. New releases for you is fairly new feature and it takes some time to start producing results as it needs to get info about what your music likes are then cross referencing to other users and what they may have listened to that’s related some how. Also if your using Tidal if you not adding favourites to your library it will have little to go on if your local library is small. Remember Roons library is made up of local, your Tidal and Qobuz. If you only play from Tidal and don’t add them to your library then it’s likely got less to work with.

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Maybe I didn’t understand the question. When I browse by artist and pick one, I see all the albums in my library by that artist, followed by a section showing all the albums at Qobuz by that artist, followed by a list of similar/related artists. Picking one of those shows all that stuff for that artist. You can go on for hours through it all. Browsing by genre, not so much unless you pick an artist from that genre.

Yes, and that list of similar artists consist of only artists from your library, not Tidal/Qobuz in general. That is the problem, roon does not scan the streaming service’s catalogue for recommendations of artists that you do not know about yet.

That’s not how it works for me, I get a mix of artists already in my library and artists from Tidal not in my library, some suggestions have been good, some not.

It would be nice if the focus feature works on the entire Tidal/Qobuz catalog. That would add an enormous value to Roon compared to the native Tidal/Qobuz app. It would also be very very nice if Roon would show genre tags and release dates underneath all Tidal/Qobuz/own library albums and let us browse the entire Tidal/Qobuzz catalog by subgenre or whatever other data. I know this sounds on the edge of possibility but it is exactly this kind of data we pay for.


In other words, the customer is always right.

Erm, no. Life’s more complicated.

So I checked out the link and those customers are just crazy. :astonished:

What @Nyquist is asking for is not crazy but instead is a very good suggestion on how to improve and expand Roon’s worth. Very often the response from the Roon development team is to just say something along the lines of “it’s the other end that’s the problem and not Roon”, here in the US that’s called punting or passing the buck. As paying customers and end users we aren’t asking for Roon to work miracles but rather for Roon take what the other end, be it a streaming service or metadata provider or manufacturer, is providing and improve upon it. Do these requests/suggestions take work? Absolutely and that is what the Roon subscriber is paying for.

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What your paying for is what roon does now surely?

Yes I am and I am not displeased with Roon but only asking that Roon work harder on improvements.

Since I’m not a computer programmer/coder I am often confused about the hows and whys of the way things work. For example Tidal works with Amazon Echo devices and Tidal works with Roon but Roon does not work with Amazon Echo devices. Or Roon recommends using Ethernet (aka wired) rather than WiFi (aka wireless) yet so many video streaming devices, e.g. Amazon Fire Stick and Google ChromeCast, use WiFi and video streaming uses much more data than simple music streaming, even high definition music streaming. Why is Roon so needy?

There are many more areas where I am more than just bit confused or frustrated and the Roon development team indicating that they are working on many of the user feature requests and suggestions would go a long way to easing the Roon community’s concerns. However as I stated earlier, punting is not the right answer.