Describe the Roon 'product' -- who is your target demographic?

I was made aware of Roon by a Meridian dealer & friend of mine; the topic came up during a discussion of Sonos alternatives.

Nowhere can I find an actual description of the Roon “product.” Not a criticism – just an observation. How would you describe Roon (as a sku, not as a concept), keeping the length to a max of maybe a long paragraph? Just curious…

In a related observation, I see this as a potential Sonos killer. I certainly don’t mean you’re really competing with them, or that you’ll steal measurable share from them, etc – just that it appears to overcome the 3 main weaknesses of Sonos:

  1. not an audiophile product. No need to quibble about the coax-dig out into a 568 (let’s say) – if it doesn’t pass 96/24 then it can’t be considered an audiophile digital platform.

  2. The ~65K track limit in Sonos. Long a problem, and Sonos has made it painfully clear they don’t care.

  3. You can’t trust Sonos. They may sell the company. They change GUI’s from something elegant & functional to something horribly misbegotten, then have to ‘revise’ it, all without significant Q&A w/dealer base or end users. They started with lower ‘mid-fi’ products, then offered cheaper variants rather than enhanced versions over time, racing to the bottom with everyone else. Sure – it’s pretty sweet now, but we’re (NAS users) at the point where every rev is a potential time bomb. In short, the bean-counters won (as if it was ever in doubt).

So, if Roon can solve the Big 3 listed above, and also support what Sonos currently does well (see Specific metadata & text-list GUI questions), it’s going to be a fabulous upgrade.

As a Sonos dealer (and Focal, Cambridge Audio, ex-Meridian, etc), I think there’s a definite sliver of Sonos users (or potential users) who would be highly attracted to Roon. This is an insignificant percentage of Sonos users, from their p.o.v. (maybe ~0.5% ?), but it might be reasonably significant from Roon’s pov.

For instance, I literally hadn’t even heard of Tidal before I read these threads. Yeah – I know, that’s weird – but most of my clients are > 50 years old, and most of them have a NAS-based music library. Go figure. Obviously, I’m not disinterested in the rest of the Roon package – it looks way cool. But the entry point for me is as a Sonos-slayer.

I wonder if you guys had already targeted this sliver, or is it just a fortuitous accident?

Looking forward to giving Roon a spin…

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We haven’t launched or announced anything. Which is why you haven’t seen an actual description of our product.

Besides the teasers on, and the screenshots in the post in which I replied to you, no one outside a very small group of alpha users have even seen the product. Almost all the hype is based on our previous releases of Sooloos back in 2007-2008, and then in the year or two after at Meridian. We’ve been out of the public eye for quite some time.

Since Meridian announced our team leaving Meridian, we’ve been active on the forums, while we are wrapping up the product for a launch (3 months earlier than planned!), building up our marketing materials, and solidifying our sales channels.

Roon is the next evolutionary step of our original vision, which was Sooloos for 1999-2008, and then Meridian Sooloos from 2009 to now. @enno’s first blog post pretty much covered what it is we wanted to do and how we got here.

I don’t write marketing copy, but here is the paragraph you asked for:

The product itself is a “media server” product, built as software, that supports very large libraries of extremely rich metadata, in a standalone or mutli-remote/server topology, and can play audio at high quality to a multitude of connected and networked audio rendering devices separately or in unison, paying close attention to how the renderer can most accurately depict the material being played.

As for your analysis of the weaknesses of Sonos, we agree. Sonos does 2 things better than anyone: Audio Distribution and a Unified Experience to a Multitude of Media Sources (unfortunately providing the lowest common UX).

We tried going down that road while at Meridian with a product for HP called HP Connected Music. Although there were big fans of what we did there, we felt that the product was not what we wanted to build for us to use, the fanatical music listeners. We had to compromise for the mass markets often and it led to a product I personally would never use. It’s the same with Sonos for me. I’ve had 2 Sonos boxes over the years, and they both collect dust.

So, to address your concerns. Sonos is not an audiophile company, they are a mass market audio plumbing. Our history has been always in HiFi and it wouldn’t make sense for us to release a crap audio product. Every time someone sends us gear, or someone on the team gets something new, we always push it to the max, and sometimes even harder. At the same time, we cry when we see someone using Twonky.

I didn’t know about the 65k track limit in Sonos. @mike just loaded up a big library 2 days ago with Roon, testing import performance. That screenshot of Knockin’ on Heaven’s Door was from that library. It was over 350k tracks. Our largest Sooloos customer library was owned by the CEO of a major music label, and that was in 2010. It was around 40k albums. Roon does 10-100x the data that Sonos (or others) do, per track, and we have no real limits if your hardware has enough RAM.

As much as I’d like to think we are “trustworthy”, I’m not sure you can trust a young company like us to not sell out any more than Sonos. That said, we’ve not even launched a product and we’ve had 2 offers for acquisition. We refused both. We know we have something awesome on our hands, and we are eager to see it loved as much as we love it. This is only the start for us.

One thing we hated at Meridian was that many homes came equipped with Sooloos + Sonos. Sooloos w/ the Meridian gear in the listening room, the den, etc… and the Sonos in the rest of the house due to cost. This fragmentation is lame. Roon wants price to never be a subject with the media library. That’s why we support those top speakers and DACs as well as the AppleTV2.

I have no desire to displace or compete with Sonos. I wish they didn’t use proprietary protocol extensions to do their streaming, otherwise Roon would support streaming to Sonos too!

All that said, if you think that you’d like to remove Sonos from your life, I’m pretty sure we can help make that happen. We didn’t target that sliver. We targeted the high-end, and we wanted to give that same experience to our not-so-high-end friends. I guess our buddies do buy Sonos, so yeah, maybe we do compete. But to me, they are Ford, and I’d like to be an Aston Martin.

It’s OK not knowing Tidal. 6 months ago, I hadn’t hear about Tidal either :smile: I still have boxes and boxes of CDs, and a giant NAS full of flacs. I use a lot of Tidal nowadays, but they still don’t have one of my favorites albums of all time.

Once you try us out, please do give us feedback on what we can do to help you get out of your not-so-great situation with Sonos. I’d love to solve the fragmentation between the high and low end, and we have a lot of hardware partners and maybe even our own hardware coming out later. No promises here, but if the demand is there, we would love to fill the need.


That’s a sweet sounding paragraph – looking forward to it.

As we get closer, I think we know that Roon is not limited to 65K tracks, Can play more than 16bit/44kKhz PCM ( Generally CDs) files, and will cost less than having to install a Meridian Multi-room System.

I would say the target Demographic is everyone- if you’ve ever sat anyone in front of a Meridian Sooloos you know how fun it is. Roon is better.

It would be perfect if Meridian devices could run the Roon core. We will have to wait and see.

A look at the Processor and Graphics Processor requirements that are listed here for Roon, confirms that the Meridian Core hardware is a long way short of those requirements

Even if Roon can be shoehorned into that limited hardware, then the experience is likely to be a limited one IMHO

The MC600 is a beast! More than capable of running a huge library with Roon. Also, the specs you saw were for a Roon with a graphical display. The headless version requires less resources.

The biggest issue with the Meridian gear is the C15, but I really want to make that one work! So many people out there with C15s – and that was always my baby.

Really wanting Meridian to step up and do the right thing here…

I moved a post to a new topic: Roon on Meridian Hardware

For clarity’s sake, I also think it would be helpful if you were to specify the Hardware Requirements for the following possible Roon components

Roon Headless Server
Graphics Processor (GPU)
OS and Roon Database stored on SSD or Spinning Drive??..[SSD desirable but not essential would be my guidance, but your comments will supercede]
Ethernet Cable or Wifi??..[Gigabit Ethernet Cable CatX almost essential here IMHO, but I’ll let you have the final say]

Roon ‘Remote’… connected to Roon Server
Graphics Processor (GPU)
OS and Roon Database stored on SSD or Spinning Drive??
Ethernet Cable or Wifi??

Roon Standalone 'Client"…connected to USB DAC or possibly Network audio device
Graphics Processor (GPU)
OS and Roon Database stored on SSD or Spinning Drive??
Ethernet Cable or Wifi??

While some here will be more than capable of making educated “guesses” as to what’s required in each instance…definitive answers will I think help people plan for what equipment they might need to invest in Roon sooner rather than later

This fragmented situation is exactly where I am. Devialet 250 in the bigrig which I mostly drive via AIR-ETH (PLC, wiring the apartment with Cat 5 would be a major project) from a Mac Mini in the next room. Currently 90% ripped CDs, 5% hi res downloads and 5% TIDAL (growing fast). I’ve recently bought a Devialet Phantom to experiment with and have been seriously considering an Aurilac Aries to drive the bigrig as neither AIR-ETH nor AIR-WIFI are anything like as stable as the Sonos mesh which is irritating to say the least.

The the rest of the apartment (kitchen and bedrooms) is Sonos - I also have a Sonos Connect connected to the Devialet so I can group the kitchen and living room zones which we usually do when we have guests. However the younger generation now pretty much exclusively plays music from Spotify on iPhones/iPads via Apple TVs in their respective rooms. Clearly they don’t need Roon to do this but Spotify support would be a prerequisite to get them even to try it.

The only remaining Sonos constituent is THE BOSS. Her main usage is listening to internet radio in the kitchen so that would be a must-have for replacing the Sonos. Aside that I think general ease-of-use is the only other requirement she would have. Need to see how your iOS app turns out to judge that!

Very interesting. When I first read about and downloaded Roon it never occurred to me that it would be something anyone else in the family would ever use. But now you have me thinking. Hmmm…

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