Best use of large music libraries : playlists and beyond

Given the price of Roon licence versus the usage that the general public has of digital music systems - being satisfied with average sound, using free platforms, paying only for streaming, I tend to believe that it is a demanding segment of the digital audio listeners, that could represent Roon core customers.

For those especially with a large existing library, the Roon software improvement points listed below, focusing on better use of existing libraries and selecting or comparing formats, can trigger a semi-new topic and open discussion, beyond playlists and consider their interactions, especially to make a better use of large and diverse music libraries:

  1. If you would really want to design a smart Playlist interface, a neat interaction with History (being able to pick and choose by multiple selections).

  2. The most powerful move for that Playlist interface could be the integration of a “set” mathematical logic, with imbrication and making easy to compute the intersection of playlists or the union of playlist or its combination with selection criteria such as “genre” etc. Likewise, one could have a playlist of superlative recordings yet decide to play only the folk ones, or the opera ones, etc… Or extract a new playlist from that one, containing only one type of music.

  3. In my case for historical reasons - but I am not the only one - I have doublons of albums at two different places, sometimes more. Having many playlist references pointing to either locations does not make it easy for me to just “migrate”. But if one could define a favorite location in Roon, one could then:
    In the playlists:

    • replace track files in alternate locations by same tracks in favorite location when it exists
    • locate doublons and keep only one, from favorite location
      In the library, propose the same, or at least in the History.
  4. In Roon, it would also be convenient to define a “live filter” so that you would see only some formats, ticking from a list of audio formats. I have a patiently tuned system that enables me to hear many features of recordings. I have come to the conclusion, which I hope is shared with other experienced listeners that the resulting technical quality combines recording, mastering and digital transfer or encoding in such a way that:

  • it is true that the absolute best ones are outstanding in recording, mastering and encoding
  • but I found relatively few of those so far (also constrained by my artistic and musical interest) and still many HD files, because of limitations in the recording itself, are not necessarily as satisfactory as the best recordings with optimal mastering and CD-format encoding. It is hardly a surprise that nothing beats a perfect work from the sound engineer then doing the best job downstream makes full sense.
    On one side, I would typically not build “pure HD” playlists because they would not necessarily correspond to a pinnacle overall quality and interest - or be so short that it could be frustrating. On the other side, it would be very convenient and useful to have the possibility to do selective format comparisons from playlists of awesome recordings on different formats, the above live filter could be a way to do so.

Developing such functionalities, and others in the spirit of easily combining various ways to filter or gather recordings, would set Roon above products like iTunes, in helping users make optimal use of their libraries, and also help them decide on the best HD way forward, on top of having already a better sound, a high quality interface to HD audio (especially via HQplayer), and a much more informative album, song, interpret documentation system.