As a new trial user deciding on making the purchase, I really want to make the purchase. There’s a lot I love about Roon. But there are a few issues that instantly jump out to me that might not jump out to people that have been using Roon for a long time. Most of these are probably simple features. Or some are just “important” features.
1: Consistency in tracks list views. Currently Tidal and Qobuz tracks list pages show thumbnail album art (like the Tidal & Qobuz apps), while the Tracks page does not. This is needlessly jarring. Additionally, the Tracks page allows sophisticated sorting & filtering, while Tidal and Qobuz (favorite) tracks pages seem to allow no sorting and filtering - no additional columns like “date added” can be added unlike the Tracks page, and even the existing column’s can’t be sorted. This keeps the functionality below that of the T/Q native apps, but also below Roon’s own Tracks pages, while also presenting the Tracks page with less visual feedback than the T/Q favorite tracks pages.
This became obvious to me, as a newcomer to Roon, when my Tidal/Qobuz library is imported, but I can’t sort beyond track name alphabetization in the T/Q favorite tracks pages, yet the Tracks page has no thumbnails, and forces every track from favorited albums to appear in the tracks list unless it is favorited in Roon so I can filter. But there’s no easy way to take an existing Tidal/Qobuz library and import it into Roon with “favorite tracks” separated from whole albums. Existing Roon users would not notice this. New Roon users with existing Tidal/Qobuz libraries will notice it painfully.
2: Tidal added and improved a lot of features in their service in December, but Roon hasn’t quite caught up to it. Roon has it’s own radio, so the track/artist radio doesn’t matter (Roon Radio has the potential to be superior, as long as it can keep pulling deeper cuts than Tidal’s radio! But…it needs some improvement still.) However there are several features from Tidal that are VERY helpful that seem missing in Roon.
a) Playslists. This applies to Qobuz as well. Roon seems to force its own internal playlists. Organizing tracks into playlists is important, and since Roon can’t go mobile with you, keeping playlists up to date is important. Roon’s greatest strength to me is as a music discovery engine with it’s deeper-cut Radio and metadata linkage. But it’s limiting that adding tracks/albums/artists to my Tidal/Qobuz favorites is the only thing I can do in Roon that carries over to Tidal/Qobuz as a whole and for mobile support (or split Roon core locations.) I have existing genre playlists I maintain in T/Q and when I use Roon Radio I’d love to add tracks into those lists. But I can’t currently. And Soundiiz inherently can’t import Roon lists (local) into Tidal. We know the Tidal/Qobuz APIs support playlist manipulation (due to Soundiiz), and we know Roon can read T/Q lists. So it seems a natual extension to allow editing or at least adding tracks from T/Q into the T/Q playlists Roon already can see!
The current alternative is running Roon + Tidal + Qobuz apps, and searching for each song I add to the Roon library in the native apps and adding them manually into playlists there. As a result, I ignore Roon playlists entirely, though I realize they’re valuable for local library users.
b) (Tidal Only): Suggested new albums, Because you Listened to [artist], New Releases For You, Suggested Albums For You, Suggested Artists For You: are all extremely useful music discovery tools Tidal offers. I do not know if their API allows Roon to import these categories, but if so, this, along with My Mixes would be very very helpful to add. As it is, the Tidal app is required to be used instead of Roon if you want to take advantage of Tidal’s discovery.
c) (Tidal, maybe Qobouz as well?) - Things like My Mixes and recommendations utilize the music you play to build recommendations. Currently I do not believe Roon is providing Tidal whatever API feedback it requires to register that a track was played. “Recently played” dos not get updated (in the Tidal app) with what I listened to in Roon. SONOS does provide this feedback as whatever I play on SONOS does show up in my Tidal “recently played” list. This seems to be some sort of Roon integration issue. The net effect is it breaks Tidal’s algorithms for learning a users profile and making suggestions. I imagine Qobuz will at some point have the same issue, but I don’t know they have that capability now.
I had started a support thread with a few questions, but the more I use Roon the more these issues seem to interfere. I like what I see so far, but some holes in Tidal feature support, the inconsistency between Tracks and service/tracks pages, the playlist issue, strike me very vividly as someone just attempting to come into the ecosystem. Those that have used it for years, have a primary local library and a workflow of discovery already in Roon won’t see the issue. Anyone just entering with existing Tidal/Qobuz content more than local content will be hit by it pretty heavily and see the issue readily.
For now, the Tidal app needs to remain the primary player in order to feed their metadata properly, manage playlists and access their features, it seems. But I’d love to be able to use Roon is the main player. Still debating if it’s worth the sub/purchase of Roon given the limitations…I’m tempted, but it’s awkward.