Giving Roon a break

I pretty much exclusively stream my music these days. My loft is full of old CDs - not ripped - and Vinyl. But for convenience, I have Apple Music (hey, it works with CarPlay), Tidal (only bought because of Roon) and Spotify (their metadata has been pretty good). My challenge was that with Roon, it seemed that Tidal results were treated a bit like second class assets - less functionality with them, no media with them (the gallery) and it seemed that if I had some weird esoteric albums that I had ripped, Roon might be great.

So today I decided to search for Pino Palladino. He’s a bass player who has been pretty prolific - but I knew of him through the John Mayer Trio.

So let’s fire up the Tidal desktop app and search for him. We get that he has appeared on 10 albums. None of them being the John Mayer Trio. There is 1 similar artist to him and a short bio.

Let’s try Audirvana: 10 albums (none John Mayer), short bio, no similar artists - it isn’t its thing.

On to Spotify: 17 albums (no John Mayer), no bio, 18 related artists.

Apple Music - 21 Albums (no John Mayer).

So far so good. What about Roon pointing only to Tidal? Well he appears on 9 albums with Eric Clapton, 7 with Ed Sheehan, 6 with the Who, 6 with Zucchero, 6 with Dominic Miller, 6 with Paul Young, 9 Various Artist albums, 231 tracks (appearances), 6 Production, he has 35 credits as a composer, he is similar to 1 artist (not sure about that) and has 11 collaborations. He’s a session player - so most of his appearances he isn’t directly credited for.

Searching for individuals has been an eye opener. I’ve generally searched for bands - and the results have been much as per Tidal. So I use Roon for the room correction and multiroom capabilities. I get enough value out of it. But searching for an individual - and one not often the headline - has shown what Roon is really capable of.


Exactly, and the front page puts it beautifully:

‘Forget everything you know about music players. Music is an experience, and Roon reconnects you with it.’

I see way too many ‘Roon can’t do this, Roon can’t do that…’ type complaints from users of a certain other player but I often get the impression they are trying way too hard to not like Roon or see how it differs from what they are used to.


There are parts of the UI that drive me to distraction. Not because features are missing, but because I reckon Roon can do a better job of what they already have. If feature requests are just that - requests rather than demands, that’s cool. And it is great that the Roon folks take time to read them and comment on them. My experiment today was a revelation for me - I bought a membership without really knowing what Roon would offer me in terms of return - but I can see there is potential there. I just find I have to invest the time to find out the way to do things. Today it was YouTube. So Roon isn’t perfect - but it’s a darned side closer than anything I’ve tried.

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Note that the Roon guys have mentioned that a UI redesign is in the works, e.g.,

…so they’re aware there’s room for improvement.

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Thanks for the link. I am confident they will. And I am in for the long haul with Roon - my comments aren’t criticisms. I think Roon will be the market leader - but that leads to imitation. I’m confident they will keep pushing the envelope and that the UI won’t be left as a problem for hardware vendors to sort out.