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

Hello Sallah,

you may be right, I was not pointing directly to the mindset of some people who sadden me.
But I didn’t do that because of trying to be polite :wink:

One example:

"I would be a member if the pricing would be lower!
=> I saw this more than once

On the other hand we are talking about 100€/year?
All these people, wo are interested in a roon environment spend 10 or 30x or 50x more a year on equipment!
But this is software and nothing to get a grip on… so it feels too expensive as our world is consisting of free things…
Hm when I think of it, nothing is free…

“The company would get more users if the pricing would be lower”
=> also more than once

And this saddens me, because it’s the wrong direction and will not lead to a healthy business. Maybe on a later state, when the critical mass is reached and they decide to make the next step.

Can also be, that I was in a sad mood while writing this :wink:

Best regards



Aha, Rene, so nothing in this thread, per se, but generally comments you’ve seen in the Roon Community?

Yeah, I do agree with you. I mention it to friends who love music and they can’t get their heads round it. 100usd a year for a music player??eh?!

I try to tell them it’s more than just music player, and they love messing around with it, but would they pay for it? No. Like you say, we have things like Wikipedia… free, Foobar…Free. Itunes… Free… Allmusic… Free.

I am more than happy to pay for Roon’s asking price. But I can understand also that it’s a niche product aimed squarely at the obsessive virtual music collector.

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One of the most interesting things about Roon is that it is difficult to assess its real value until you’ve lived with it for some time and have had a chance to fully explore and use it. I bought a lifetime sub about a year ago, and was uncertain about what was a considerable expenditure for a subscription service. Today, I consider it a bargain. It has made listening (I’m primarily a DAC and headphone user) far more rewarding. And it keeps getting better, with additional features. I suspect that few regret the expenditure once they’ve had a chance to fully enjoy what they’ve purchased. This might be worth considering by anyone sitting on the fence.


I like the old saying ‘You will remember the Quality long after you have forgotten the price’.


I just consider it as part of the overall cost of home connectivity and entertainment, which makes life simpler and more enjoyable: Internet service, TV channels, music streaming… We pay for some of these services much more than the monthly price of a Roon subscription, yet we don’t think about it twice. Sure, we can go back to times where all we had was a cd player and public television with a few channels, but why bother?


Robert, let me illustrate by reiterating a few stories I have told before. (And contra @Sallah_48, it is not about the obsessive virtual music collector. In fact, I strongly disavow that: I do not want to be a librarian or curator, I do not spend time polishing my metadata.)

It is not about the metadata but about what the metadata allows you to do, and what it allows you to do easily, casually, following whims.

In 2011, I read that Paul Motian had died. Motian was a bad-ass, he broke new ground. I looked at my albums with him. But of course, being a drummer, most of Motian’s albums are not published under his name, even though being a celebrated drummer and bandleader and composer, some where. But in Roon (yes, in 2011 I had Sooloos, Roon’s precursor), when I looked at Motian, I could see all the seminal albums that he played on in the 50s and 60s, like Bill Evans’s Waltz for Debby. But I also had Live at Birdland with Lee Konitz, an album that was released a few months before Motian’s death – ooh, this one also has Brad Mehldau, didn’t use to be fond of him but this is great stuff, let’s see what else Mehldau has done. And Motian had played with the Italians like Enrico Pieranunzi, and with Scandinavians like Bobo Stenson, and on and on. Most interestingly, he had very recently played with young musicians I love, like Anat Fort and Samuel Blaser. But looking at the library, I noticed very few recordings with Keith Jarrett, which is odd because I have lots of Jarrett. Click, looking at Keith Jarrett – of course, now I remember that they played a bit together in the early days but didn’t get along, and Jarrett mostly played with Jack DeJohnette, in fact I recently heard them play in Seattle. Click on DeJohnette – the same profile, he played on seminal albums in the old days but also recently with Esperanza Spalding and Rudresh Mahantappa (and Sting). And look what Mahantappa did…

Of course, this exploration took the entire weekend, listening to all kinds of great music. And with Roon today, it would involve discovering and playing stuff I didn’t have on Tidal.

The point is, very few of these albums would be discoverable on a conventional system because they would be listed under Bill Evans or Keith Jarrett or Enrico Rava or…

Any system can play an album when you know what you want – your phone or car can do that. But if you are going to explore and enjoy the music in a richer way, as above, this requires that you have the database of relationships in your head. And unless you are a combination of Einstein, Gallup and Webster, you miss a lot.

And this kind of exploration does not involve any kind of sophisticated metadata traversal, it’s just clicks on names.

The Motian story was about a jazz classic, but I did a similar exploration of Hélène Grimaud after the cadenza kerfuffle that lead to the break with longstanding collaborator Claudio Abbado. And the April, 2017 album of Bach Trios with Yo-yo Ma and Chris Thile and Edgar Meyer – Thile is a MacArthur award recipient who has played folk and bluegrass music, also did an album with Brad Mehldau and took over NPR’s Prairie Home Companion after Garrison Keillor (yes, even this info is in Roon!).

The stories go on and on. This is what I call “serendipitous discovery”. It adds immeasurably to the enjoyment of the library, both my own and the world’s.

I hope i have made it clear that Roon does not compare with iTunes or JRiver. Lots of systems can play music, but not help with discovery.

(In fact, the difficulty of exploring is probably the reason people rely on Spotify’s public playlists – “I can’t discover music so I will rely on others to tell me what to listen to”. That’s not me.)


Nice post Anders.

I love the discovery too, but what hooked me in when I first saw Roon was the fact that it was the first ‘audiophile’ player that looked nice (on the eye I mean). The competition all looked pretty horrible IMO and I was surprised it had taken so long for a decent looking one to materialise. The Tidal and local files under one roof was the icing.

But in fact what I probably benefit most from now and what has become Roons greatest asset is its multi-room. I didn even have multi-room previously, but RAAT and one Pi lead to another and now the baby sleeps listening to his music, while I have music on dowbstairs and in the kitchen. More are planned. This functionality (RAAT on a Pi) wasn’t even there at the start, it just appeared and made my setup way better. Ok Sonos can do this too, but with constraints I wouldn’t be happy with, and I never really thought about buying any of it - it just didn’t seem ‘me’.

I haven’t touched iTunes for ages but had to use it on my iPhone while travelling recently. I used to think it was fine, but now I’ve become accustomed to Roon I hated it. If I’m honest I couldn’t even work out how to loop a track. So the ecosystem isn’t complete - it only works at home and I hate going back to a non-Roon environment - but I know it will evolve and cover that in the future.

The evolution has real value to me. Not least since it’s not just ‘for the sake of it’ new features, it’s well thought out pieces that make Roon better as a whole - I dont use all the features but I know others are benefiting. For a lifetime member, it was one of the best value purchases I made. It’s hard to see how this pace of evolution can be sustained - but I’m excited to find out!

I used this type of analysis when I decided to buy a lifetime Roon license. It wasn’t done at a system level though, I got there over time as I bought each component.

Short version:

I had headphones, amp, and DAC; tried Roon and found that it would beat any incremental benefit I would get investing $500 on a new pair of headphones, amp, or DAC (I already had Tidal subscription). I could see using this for at least four years so going lifetime made a lot of sense.

Long version:

I’ve always enjoyed listening to music and getting good sound quality. The transition from CD’s to digital distribution (mp3’s, streaming, etc.) was all about the convenience for me and I forgot how much I appreciated a good sounding system. My first foray into this hobby was getting a better pair of headphones than my iPhone’s earbuds: Got the Philips SHP-9500–nice pair of open headphones with wide soundstage so-so imaging and good tonality for only $60. Hmm, I see amps can give more life to headphones, so I get a cheapy FiiO E6 for $25. Nice, I’m liking this. I travel a lot so I now want a pair of portable closed headphones. I get the Onkyo H500-BT for $199–they sound great, have Bluetooth, and pair well with my iPhone (no amp needed). I’m rolling. Hmm, let me try DSD stuff…wait I need a special player for that…ah, Foobar is free and works well enough. Yeah, I like it but I see my desktop Realtek DAC doesn’t natively support DSD and I’m just getting a PCM stream instead. Hmmm, maybe it’s time for a nice DAC. OK, I get Oppo HA-2SE for $299; works great with iPhone, desktop, etc. has DSD and other features. Sounds awesome. At this point I’m thinking if I want to elevate the sound quality I’m going to need to upgrade headphones. I have to go closed back because my wife can hear a pindrop from two floors up so open-back is a no-go. I want something that sounds like the Onkyo but fuller/bigger with over-ear. Hmm, Thanksgiving sale on Sennheiser HD-598 Cs for $99. Why not? Well, it’s a decent headphone…much better after burn-in. Not quite what I was after but decent. Wait, another deal…Meze 99 Classics for $225; they look sexy, great reviews, ok pull the trigger. Now these sound amazing. I’m set for home. Let’s take another look at the amp, hmmm. Wait, powerful hybrid tube amp for $50 (Nobsound NS-08E). Nice pairing with Meze and I can geek out rolling tubes! Ok, I’m liking the sound through HA-2SE, Nobsound (with some NOS Amperex tubes–$20) to Meze…quite awesome. OK, at this point getting better sound will require some serious bucks. Hmmm, I see the promise of the “LP experience” with this Roon software. Try it out, disappointed it doesn’t live up to the expectation on the “LP experience” (really would like the actual liner notes/booklets to be digitally available in Roon) but everything else? Wow. Great looking UI, nice sound, love RAAT, I can stream my library around the house easily, great Tidal integration, great search and discovery. $500 lifetime…that won’t get me much more in a headphone, amp, DAC than what I already have. OK I’m in!!



And it applies to a lot of things in life besides music. (Music remains near the top of the list, however!)

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Hi Anders,

been thinking more about your post and specifically what you wrote above, and finding I’m gravitating to a more fluid, organic approach to listening (or trying to at least). More “stream of conciousness” than structured, predetermined. It’s hard, after 35 years of listening in a certain way, to break the habit.

I’ve been fanatical about logging all albums by a numbering system in order of acquisition, and I think I really badly need to break that habit/ritual as it’s mentally crippling me to really enjoying music, I’ve become, over the years, a slave to the data processing. Time for a paradigm shift in collecting/listening to music and Roon is certainly helping.

Sorry for off topic :slight_smile:


That’s exactly on topic.
And we know such shifts are not easy.
Especially because there are many variants, many scenarios. My anecdote is just one of them.

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well, it certainly highlighted one of the really important ways in which Roon has a value over and above any other music player out there!

to all involved, what an awesome post!


Anders and Chris… Thanks for the perspective on the use of Roon. Very helpful to us all.

I consider Roon and the Bluesound Node 2 to be my new “transport mechanism”, it contains 40 million songs, glorious metadata, and room correction. Compared to the high end CD transports on the market, it is cheap!

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Roon is, without a doubt, worth the price. I had tried pretty much every free option for managing my music and, for better or worse, there was nothing better than iTunes. I run Roon server on Linux and remote on Android (and on legacy Mac OS and Windoze, but they’re going away). That gets me out from under m$oft licensing and the exorbitant cost of Macs. I can run Linux on $500 commodity laptops, unlimited VMs, and, when necessary, on Pi-s or $200 desktops. Roon finally freed me.


I was one of your early adopters having made the decision to purchase a lifetime membership and taking the chance that Roon would be around for a minimum of five years which if so, would have beat the yearly subscription price of 120.00. Thus far it has proven to be a wise decision. From all accounts, Roon has been integrated into a variety of hardware products helping to insure its usefullness to the community of music lovers for which this software is intended. Listen to my tracks through the roon ready Bluesound Vault being driven by Yamaha 's 2100 Amplifier driving Klipsh Cornwall III speakers makes the investment worthwhile.

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Yes, how much is Roon worth ?
What are the improvements to the sound quality I get using Roon ? please compare with JRiver Media Center or Foobar.
What about metadata ? have a look to the metadata (and the booklets) provided by Qobuz.
Qobuz now has Hi-Res @ €349.99/year, that is €29.16/month. This is €10/month more than with TIDAL, but Qobuz has many, many more Hi-Res albums. 60-70% of the new releases for classical and jazz.
So, why should I spend those €120/year for Roon ?
“Roon will solicit an ‘oh-my-god-that’s-awesome’ response from anyone that uses it…”.
This didn’t happen to me …

Then you need to go and use it because time spent talking about it here is time wasted!

Why do you think I have not tried Roon ?