Core-Side Transcoding

I’ve now spent several hours experimenting with Roon ARC and I am driven to question a design decision – that is to only allow the download of the full resolution file to the phone and have the on-phone ARC Playback engine perform the down sampling/transcoding, etc.

A large percentage of my library is HiRez – think 192/24, DSD 128, etc. When downloaded to my iPhone 14 Pro, the playback of these files consumes a tremendous amount of batter power such that unless plugged in, total playback time is shockingly low. Think about this in the context of where this is used. In an automobile or someplace else where plugging in is available, this is not an issue. However, going on a hike, to the gym, the beach, etc. this becomes problematic.

I understand why the design was done this way and its benefits, however, this is at the expense of a basic use case – reasonable playback time for the unplugged user. As a near-term follow-on feature, it would be great if there was an option to download files at the maximum playback resolution of the phone (not using an external device) or at a pre-defined resolution. With the option, the transcoding/down sampling work would be done on the always-on Core and the phone would be left to the less demanding task of playback only.

All-in-all however, not bad at all for a 1.0 version.

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100% agree. There are already settings in Roon ARC to select the quality for streamed content, a setting for when using mobile data and a setting for when connected via WiFi so one can set different quality levels for each. Since this demonstrates that Roon Core 2.0 already has a transcoding engine in it to transcode music being streamed from the Core if set up that way by the user it seems to me to be a fairly small change to also allow that same flexibility for downloads.

Right now as a workaround it looks as if I’m going to have to create Opus 256kbs versions of all of the FLAC files in my library so that I have 2 versions of every album in my Roon library. I can then select only the lossy ones for download to Roon ARC. I was really hoping that Roon’s mobile solution would avoid me having to do this.

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