How much is Roon worth? What investments should it displace?

People sometimes bring up the issue of Roon’s price, some complaining it is high, some (including me) defending it as a bargain. I have been thinking of a more constructive way to think about this. On the occasion of the two-year anniversary, I thought I should share it.

It’s centered on what you would spend your money on. I first had this insight a long time ago when I was moving across the country: I was looking at one neighborhood, closer to the city but expensive, and another neighborhood further away that was less expensive. How much is city proximity worth? Very difficult valuation problem. But I realized that’s the wrong way to think about it: I was not going to spend more money for a house close to the city. I was going to spend what I could afford. The money was fixed. So the tradeoff became between attributes: proximity to the city vs. a bigger house, more land, more modern house. That’s a comparison I could make.

So the analogy here is, don’t think about whether Roon is worth $500, think about whether you would choose Roon or a $500 better DAC, or speakers, or CDs.

It is not about whether Roon is “worth” $500, it is about what other investments Roon would displace. Investment displacement analysis.

Of course that depends on how good your system already is: if you have already achieved sonic Nirvana and have a huge music library, Roon becomes easy to justify. So another way of asking the question is, at what system budget is Roon justified?

I found myself thinking that I would not recommend Roon to somebody with a $2,000 total system budget, but somewhere above that.

But the point of this investment-displacement approach is that it becomes a practical discussion, something we can get our arms around, instead of an abstract discussion of value. Is my statement about $2,000 correct?

Let’s put speakers aside for a moment, and think about a headphone system.

And let’s recognize that technology has become very, very good and inexpensive, due to the digital revolution. You can get a remarkably good DAC and headphone amp for a few hundred dollars. And good headphones for a few hundred. Yes, I know some of us spend thousands chasing the elusive magical DAC, because we can and it is fun, but honestly the Dragonfly meets very high demands, and so do Grados. And I assume you already have a computer to do homework and the web and Facebook - a computer is a modern necessity like electricity, and getting a dedicated, stripped down, isolated hifi computer is an unnecessary luxury. So I can see electronics plus cans well under $1,000, and a few years of Tidal, and Roon fits comfortably in that budget.

And I would make that recommendation: Roon gives me so much value in exploring the library, tracing influences of musicians and composers, and my favorite concept of “serendipitous discovery”, that it comes well before upgrading the headphones or electronics or content.

Ok, what about a $1,000 budget? At this level, it makes sense to move Tidal to the annual budget, so we would look at one year of Tidal, plus Dragonfly/Grado, plus Roon - yeah, probably.

But of course we could move Roon to the annual budget too, so we might say that Roon fits in a budget of $500 plus $200 per year. And again, I would make that recommendation.

If we want to include speakers, it becomes more complex: small speakers can be very good at what they do but there are real limits imposed by physics. But my point is, we can make this kind of displacement analysis: get the speakers you need, add a couple of hundred for an ok DAC, plus $200 per year for Roon and Tidal.

Interesting, isn’t it? More actionable than abstract thought of value. You may adjust the tradeoffs as you see fit, the framework helps.

So go forth and make your recommendations to friends and family.


And you were asking us to question your intelligence yesterday? This is a really good way of looking at things; spot on for the apartment dwelling headphone listener.

1 Like

I sold my £1000 streamer and replaced it with a £100 pi and hat to pay for lifetime roon and a couple of years of Tidal. My trade off was, slightly, worse sound for the small percentage of time that I concentrate solely on quality for a massively increased music base, discovery and control system.
And two years later, as I signed up in the first week, it was the right decision for me. Hundreds of new albums, artists and tracks added - artists new to me discovered through following links and hanging out on the roon community forum - marvellous.
I had jriver for years but it got more complicated and upnp proved to be anything but universal. Sooloos was always out of my reach and roon looked like it was the answer and so it proved to be.
However, unless you are rolling in cash all the things you,buy are a trade off so I wouldn’t presume to say who can or can’t afford roon.

That was a great OP, well thought out.

I would consider Roon and Tidal the Core of any audio system and the first serious investment to make.
With this I include not only a lifetime subscription but the core and networking hardware.
Play it through a DIY endpoint and some computer speakers if you have to.

This will immediately give you access the music you already own once you have ripped it, and anything else that’s out there. Certainly enough to keep you busy for a lifetime. (I know there are things not available on Tidal but I am considering the typical new user).
Then over time, as you recover you can build the Hi Fi system you want in the usual way.
There are many great pre owned bargains to be had if money is tight and that’s what I have always done. The trick is to enjoy the journey and enjoy the music.

Thoughts. Chris

1 Like

I’m very tempted to buy a lifetime membership. Do you guys think that my library is big enough for Roon? I have 4000 albums, so far.

Does anyone know where i could find a 10% discount code?


That is a huge library.

Some Roon members have libraries sized 30,000+ albums, but the vast majority are under 1000 albums.

Those are very old and most are redeemed or lost… we don’t plan on doing discounts again, especially for lifetimes.

The second anniversary of my purchase of a lifetime membership is in a couple of weeks. Two years ago, that purchase was a bit more speculative than it is today, and I have no regrets whatsoever. I say just go for it.

(No slacking off, though, Roon guys. :wink:)


Well, you almost sold me…so i will do it s®oon.
I have an N2930 Intel Celeron mini pc with 4gb ram and an SSD. Do you think that could be sufficient for a 5000 (future growth) albums library?
So far i didn’t experienced any issue during the 14days trial…But who knows with future updates/more albums…

Is it possible to pay with Paypal?

email and ask… we will send you a paypal invoice.


The OP is well thought out and fits for many situations. I live in Southern California, and know several people who commute 3 plus hours a day roundtrip stuck in traffic to have that big house away from their job (the city). What’s your time worth?

Roon simplifies your music life. No regrets purchasing my lifetime membership.

Funny you should ask this Anders. When I became aware of Roon a few months ago, I was pondering over investing in some new IEMs as a replacement “go-to” set. As soon as I read about Roon, after a bit of research and trying out the 14 days free, the decision was made. Roon it was.

And I am doing without Tidal at the moment, because of cash flow at the moment. Not missing it too much, and it’s a bit of a non-sequitur as I’m tied to Roon for the next 10 months or so, having paid for the year, but if it were a monthly thing, I’d forego Tidal over Roon for sure. But that’s only because I have far too much music on HDD to listen to anyway.

Toying with the idea of going lifetime when finances improve. Take the plunge and all that… :slight_smile:

A lifetime Roon license is less than the cost of four or five dinners out. A no brainer for me! :wink:

Eating out? What’s that?

1 Like

Hello together,

I’m reading this thread now for days and I feel a bit sad about some points of view which were expressed here and happy about the others, who seem to have no problem to pay that small amount every month!
We are all in a special manner geeks, who buy stuff every month for even more money that may just end in the trashbin or at eBay.

Of course everybody wants to spare money, that’s human.
But first of all
this is a great piece of software and it can only get better through our community and … Money!

Without that, no bills will be paid, nobody is attracted to work in the future for the Company, because they all need to eat, they all have their houses or cars to pay or bring their children to school and support them while they are studying.

So sparing money is a good thing for everybody, but you can only spare money with things which are sold in a huge ammount like Apple, Samsúng or coming back to Software Microsoft, without risking the product disappear from the market.
Sparing money and supporting a “Startup” like Roonlabs at the same time will not work. As I understood the idea of the Company I was even astonished or surprised how cheap a lifetime subscription is!

So please consider supporting a great idea and a growing community with some Money and even better with additional ideas.

For me it’s clear, I will never make a lifetime subscription.
Because this will not lead to a healthy Company I want to rely on in the future.

As I’m feeling so “at home” now with the environment that Roon is giving me, I hope they will last as long as I can hear :wink: and I hope this will stay like that for a long time.

So please Roonlabs keep on the hard work and keep your Spirit, even when the company is hopefully growing in the future.

I’ll support you with no regrets with my subscription and enjoy the music.

Best regards



Back a few years ago I bought a music server/streamer for $4250, sync my iTunes library from my Windows laptop, use the “just OK” app for the server to control.
For $10/month Roon is (to me) an incredible bargain! If it had been around when I was shopping for the music server, I would not have purchased it, instead would have done what I do now, install it on my Windows laptop, use the excellent app on it and my iPad to control.
To me, Roon is just the best bargain I could find!


Monthly fee (like $12-13) would be a dream. For me at least.

1 Like

Hi Rene, curious to know what saddens you reading this thread? I can’t see anyone saying they feel Roon is expensive or disrespecting the work being done. I agree with what you are saying however, don’t get me wrong, just not getting negative feeling in this thread.

Roon is great. A truly unique value. That said, I’m either missing something or just don’t use Roon correctly. First, I don’t rip CDs, if I want to play something from mt 2 to 300 Cd collection, I just play it. Roon’s player sounds nice but I like Audrivana’s better. I’m not really into meta data and have read few of my own album covers. Tidal and Qobuz are my main sources of music these days so need few of my hard copies. Due to Tidal and Qobuz I seldom buy downloads any more. My system is pushing six figures so the Roon expense in not a big deal… so I’ll likely renew. But I just don’t use it. That often.
What am I missing?

Hi Robert, it seems to me your not getting the whole point of Roon which is the Album and Artist data, all the cross links between artists. The use of PD`f files and extra pictures to peruse.
The ability to fav albums and tracks for easy quick access. The overview section that can allow a random leap into music not at the forefront of your mind.
The ability to sort music into tag sections for any purpose you can imagine. The use of internet radio, all the Music on Tidal integrated into your library. Playlists for any occasion if you don’t have a personal one to hand.
MQA albums via Tidal if that of interest too.
Then we have this community which can be infuriating at times but really we have a great group of helpful people to support with any issues.

Personally I would make a plan to get an eager youth to RIP those CD’s for me if I didn’t want to do it myself but I tend to do a few at a time and when it’s done, it’s done. Back up Back up Back up files and Roon database.
The sound of Roon for me is the sound of my playback system. I don’t feel Roon changes anything unless if I chose to use the Eq facilities. (Which I don’t).
In the end we all do what suits us best, there is no right or wrong here.

Thoughts, Chris


About the development. Do we really want Roon to grow and grow? I am happy to pay my subscription for what I have. The ongoing development is a bonus. Should there be an expectation that the product is forever being developed? I don’t see this on such a regular basis with other subscription based services.(Netflix, Tidal, Spotify, etc)