Normally I don’t mind critical album reviews. If they are constructive and you have a lot of versions of favorite Classical works, then they can be helpful. Even the occasional un-constructive criticism can at least be entertaining. Very roon.
But some regular reviewers on allmusic seem to want to shock and annoy, just for the sake of it. Unfortunately this is often with core Classical repertoire that you may listen to a lot. I, for one, don’t find this enhances my roon experience at all. It is particularly annoying / embarrassing if you use roon publically in a family room on a widescreen TV and you have to have your nose rubbed in it.
On this thread, for example, it was realised independently that the same reviewer was highly critical for no apparent reason, other than the shock value, of otherwise highly rated versions of the Beethoven Missa solemnis and the Mahler 3. Quite a pattern there.
We already have a radio ban using the flag ROONRADIOBAN. Would it be possible to do something similar with a reviewer ban, maybe ROONREVIEWERBAN?
I thought the same about a certain reviewer (called out in a thread here) but have since read many positive and decent reviews by him, so I don’t personally feel the need for this feature.
However, one review related feature that may be of use, particularly on a mobile phone display, is the viewing of ‘skeleton’ reviews (and artist bios). These would feature only the links featured in the review. This would maximise the benefits of most reviews and remove all the potential annoyances. I would have this as a global setting per control device, so you would be able to see the full review on PC desktops but the cut down ones on phones or small tablet screens for example. It would also save bandwidth when the day comes that Roon goes mobile and you don’t really want or need to download that massive review or biog for every album.
On a large screen being able to configure in some way whether you see the whole review or a link. Now I’m aware of a certain reviewer I am finding his positive reviews even more annoying than his negative reviews. The negative ones are at least entertaining but the positive ones seem miss-leading now.
I’m more bothered by anonymous reviews. It is normal in reading reviews to learn how the reviewer’s taste aligns (or doesn’t) with your own. The reviewer you cite is, in your view, unreliable. But none of us know what to make of anonymous reviews.
Haha, I was wondering if James Leonard’s reviews would get panned here! I totally agree, he’s awful! You know a reviewer is putting the “personal” touch (so pompous always!) to the point of being obnoxious when you don’t even need to see his name to know it’s his work. Am I correct in that the reviewer’s name does not appear in the Roon interface?
I should mention I DO admit to a bit of pre-existing bias in this case. I was a music student at the University of Michigan in the late 80s, and via the encouragement of several friends, I ended up working part time at Schoolkids Classical Records. Leonard was the manager and thank god he spent more time in the office at the pop store down the street, because he was a piece of work and a lousy person to deal with! He was also a music critic for the Ann Arbor News, and everyone hated his reviews! I saw one of the concerts of my life, Bernstein/VPO doing Mahler 5th, and even that left him unimpressed, and he was nasty in expressing his dislikes. One of his Allmusic reviews complains that Sir Thomas Beecham always sounds like Beecham and not the music he is performing. I would say his reviews always sound like Leonard, and that’s a disaster!
Is there anyway to include the reviewers names on the Roon interface? It would be nice to know and remember the GOOD critics there!
Roon is supposed to display the reviewer name if it’s given on Allmusic; however, there may be a bug when it comes to dealing with classical reviews. We’re often not seeing the reviewer name on classical reviews:
Yes. This is very odd. It’s not practical to test every Classical review. But I haven’t found one yet with an author on roon. they always seem to be there on allmusic though. Has anyone found a Classical review on roon with an author? It might help identify the pattern.
Another review related feature request: Allmusic has an ‘official’ review that gets downloaded by Roon when it scans your library. This is stored in the database to ensure a snappy response ( I presume). How about an option (selectable per album) to select the ‘User Reviews’ from Allmusic instead and have these dynamically downloaded and shown in rotation (as there are many of them for each album). This would give you different perspectives on each album and also give you the chance to see your own review pop up (which is an existing feature request in itself). The User reviews would be purely dynamic* and not stored in the database, so would have minimal footprint in the Core and therefore no impact on performance.
*EDIT: If a ‘Choose as default’ button could be added to the user reviews page, that review would be then stored in the Roon database and would be shown in preference to the Official Allmusic review. This would satisfy the ‘can I write my own reviews’ feature request, albeit done via Allmusic as a compromise.
Maybe rotating, but authored, reviews is the way to go. It’s similar to requests for rotating art work on other threads. When I started this thread I hadn’t realised the problem reviewers are probably the same guy.
If the Classical reviews were authored in roon I would have seen the pattern that all these sorts of comments are coming through from the same author much sooner. Roon has acknowledged well over a year ago that there must be a difference in the review meta data acquisition path between Classical and the other genres. If you go to the source reviews in allmusic, for example, you will see that in general the reviews are all authored regardless of genre. However, in roon Classical reviews are not authored whereas other genres are. Authoring the Classical reviews in roon would go a long way to addressing the issues here. I have been pointed to several threads where exactly this point was being made well over a year a go now.