I just got started with Roon about two weeks ago and I wanted to share how it’s going.
A bit of background if anyone is interested: I’ve loved music since I was a kid. When I was younger, I liked to collect records, cassettes, and CDs. I started collecting digital music when it become mainstream in the late 90s. Hoarding huge collections music was common, but in those early days I could see that few people cared about keeping things clean. Albums were missing tracks, names were inconsistent, and everything was generally very clumsy. But I figured out how tagging worked, and then in the mid 2000s I learned about FLAC and proper ripping techniques for my CDs. I started my collection over from scratch, which wasn’t so bad since all those old MP3s used terrible encoding anyway. This time I would actually try to curate my collection, taking meticulous care to properly tag, catalog, and sort my files.
I did it this way for years, using Winamp, foobar2000, and MusicBee for playback, until recently, when streaming became too difficult to ignore. Everyone has their own story with how they got into streaming, but at the end of the day, here I am with Qobuz and Roon to happily merge a high quality streaming service with my own personal collection in a single application.
The merged concept is way better in practice than it sounded when I first got started. I’m positively delighted at how easy and seamless it is to have Qobuz albums side by side with my personal collection. I particularly like that I can easily manage different versions of albums and edit metadata preferences. It’s clear that the team cares about this stuff.
Exploring artists and album information is truly excellent, and I’m happy to see the talented writing staff from Allmusic appears extensively. I am a novice with classical music, but it’s such an amazing thing to be able to hop around to learn about performers, arrangers, and composers while listening.
The recommendation engine is fantastic. I’m discovering great new things every day. Now I know what the fuss is all about, and I’m looking forward to years of discovery.
Obviously I’m new, and I realize that 1.8 is also new. Nevertheless, I wanted to share a few things I would love to see in the app.
More artist photos. Being able to scroll through great pictures of artists is such a satisfying experience, and makes listening so much more engaging. Maybe even include an option to add our own artist pictures.
Add a “stop after current track” option. It’s hard to overstate how often I used this feature in foobar and MusicBee. I really miss it. I frequently listen to music while I’m doing other things. It’s nice to be able to say, “after this track ends, I’ll take a break”, and get an auditory clue (silence) that it’s time to take the break. While yes, I can continually check the progress of the current track, but that takes away my attention from what I’m trying to do. It becomes tedious when the track is long, and then when it’s getting close to the end of the track, I basically have to stop what I’m doing and watch it so I can stop it at the precise time. The feature was also great for separating very long tracks during focused listening (for example, an album with two 30-minute drones). Maybe I’m being too meticulous about this, but I feel like Roon was made for meticulous people.
Add a scrollbar to the album view window. Using the mousewheel to scroll through the album page is fine for short releases, but for larger releases and boxed sets, a scrollbar is absolutely a requirement.
Browsing record labels (outside of my library) would be awesome. This was one of the first things that struck me about the Qobuz app, and it’s something I’ve always wanted.
Add taskbar playback controls for Windows 10. This is where you hover over the taskbar icon and the preview window has prev, pause, and next buttons. Roon is the first player I’ve used in modern Windows that doesn’t have this feature. It’s not the end of the world to bring the entire app to the front, but I wanted to point this out.
The app crashes a fair bit. I’m sure you’re aware of this and are hard at work fixing it. It seems to happen to me most often when I’m toying with the library. There’s also some general library weirdness, where often I’ll be looking at an album that is in my library, but it shows as if it is not in my library.
I’m also very curious about how the genres and subgenres are built. I love the recommendations I’m getting by exploring subgenres, but I have noticed that on lesser-known releases, they can be pretty extremely generic. I have a fair amount of experimental music in my library (things like musique concrète, tape loops, field recordings, etc.) and a lot of it is simply labeled Pop/Rock. If there’s a database I can contribute to, or if there’s some way I can use my own tags as subgenres, please let me know.
Anyway, that’s it for now. If you’ve made it this far, thanks for reading! I’m looking forward to exploring more, and everything that’s to come in Roon’s future