1.It’s not as if there are one or two tracks missing - it has failed to find approx 11,000 of
the 33711 files that are reported by JRiver Media Center 21.
2. Despite running the installer 3 times now, the program does not yet appear on Windows 10’s start menu.
3. I’d want to use it for classical music most of the time, but it gets hopelessly confused by different works - some symphonies appear one movement at a time, some appear as entire works, but quite a few don’t appear at all.
4. It doesn’t differentiate between file types - I’ve got two copies of several albums, and I’d like to choose the flac files over the mp3 before playing.
5. It would also be useful if it would show sample rate/bit-depth.
Overall, this program is disappointing, and does not merit the ratings that it has been given in Stereophile.
I can’t be a lot of direct help to you, as my issues were on a Mac with iTunes and PureMusic. However, I will say the following. Mike and the guys at Roon are really helpful. You have to give them as much info as you can. OS, directory details for storage, etc. You will get resolution but it can definitely be frustrating on the way there.
I think you and I are among the unlucky few who have something or things just different enough about our libraries and how we store them to not have the easygoing transition to Roon. I think if you stick with it and work with the staff you will ultimately enjoy what is an incredibly powerful music library management and playback system.
It’s Gigabyte H97M-HD3 motherboard with an i3-4360T and 8 GB of memory, running Windows 10 build 10240 passively cooled in a Streacom case. The OS is installed on a 1.5 TB drive which reports 191 GB free; the music library is on a dedicated 2TB hard drive with 242 GB free. The program seems to be installing itself under c:\Users\Administrator\AppData\Local\Roon, but which is not accessible to me as an ‘ordinary’ user logged in as ‘John’. It does not appear on the ‘start’ menu. For playback, I use the JRiver WDM driver which performs digital filtering and passes the resultant 4 channels out of an RME AES sound card. Access to this playback software and hardware through Roon seems to work fine. Music files are grouped according to genre, with classical further sub-grouped by composer and album. As an example, I’ve got three complete sets of Beethoven symphonies, none of which were found by Roon.
I only use Windows because the RME soundcard does not work fully under Linux; I’ll probably install a multichannel USB card from miniDSP and move back to Ubuntu or Fedora IDC. I noticed that you are developing for Linux, and would consider support for Linux to be an essential.
I’m a user/moderator, not a developer but Linux is coming shortly, quite possibly before Christmas. You referred to four channels. Is it possible that the missing files are multichannel format ? Roon does not currently support multi-channel but there is interest in it doing so.
No, all my files are stereo, and my system is stereo. The 4 channels arise because I use JRiver’s DSP as a digital crossover for my stereo speakers. JRiver splits each L/R channel into 2 HF/LF feeds. (There are 2 offboard stereo DACS and 4 channels of power amp).
I think my issue is that the music collection is already carefully organised, and I’ve never let anything like iTunes do it for me: at the top level, there are separate directories for different genres of music. At the next level down, we have a single folder for each composer in classical, or band/artist in other genres. When I download new music, I don’t mind spending a minute or two putting it into the right place. Having developed this over the past 10 years, I don’t see that Roon is going to be able to do a better job than I have done myself, but it was worth a try.
I’ve attached a Windows screenshot that illustrates the issue. On the left side is part of JRiver’s file view, opened up at Classical - Beethoven, Ludwig van; on the right is what Roon shows if I navigate to ‘Beethoven’, and filter using the term ‘Symph’.
Did that - thanks for the suggestion. Some of the files that Roon has not recognised are there in the database, but they lack any ‘External Id’ label - that field is blank for many files. Other files are missing altogether - there are 22977 lines in the spreadsheet vs JRiver’s report of 33711 tracks.
Let’s focus on the files that do not have an external label using the Beethoven symphony examples. I’m not surprised that Roon did not find vinyl rips of the Klemperer set, but it should be able to find info about the Rattle/VPO set: http://www.prestoclassical.co.uk/r/EMI/9156242 from 2002. It certainly should find info on the Vanska/Minnesota Symph no 9 from 2006: http://www.prestoclassical.co.uk/r/BIS/BISSACD1616. (My copy is a studio quality download rather than a CD rip, however).
One feature that JRiver MC21 has which Roon (surprisingly) lacks is the ability to read track information from a .cue file. This is handy for vinyl rips where one has just saved the whole LP as a single audio file.
I use Audacity too, when I have the time to do a proper job or I can’t find a cue file. There are no exotic file formats - I listen to .flac or .dsf files. That’s it.
I suspect that the first category of non-compliance is where I’ve used easyTag or a bulk rename utility to improve on manufacturers’ metadata and/or filenames. That would account for eg the Rattle collection of CDs - but what about the recent Vanska download? I bet I changed the top level file path for that one - doesn’t Roon have a ‘closest match’ algorithm?
I’ve had to manually point Roon at the right descriptors at, for example, a set of Bruckner Symphonies ripped from SACD using a PS3. In searching for ‘Bruckner’, it finds files matched to 3 separate persons: artists called Anton Bruckner and Bruckner, Anton, and a composer called Anton Bruckner. Some of the works are missing, and I cannot see anything other than a random pattern for the files that do match something.
Anyway, I just went to play the 4th Symphony from my SACD set. First movement played fine, after which Roon chose a random movement from a disc of the Bach Goldberg variations. WTF? Is default behaviour just to hurtle randomly from file to file across the collection? It’s just done that leap a second time, even after I manually updated the metadata for the Bruckner album, and I cannot find any setting that tells it to play sequential tracks from an album.
Spent 15 painful minutes matching three separate CDs up to the tracks for a 3-SACD set (Brahms Symphonies by Manze and the Helsingborg Symphony). The track times matched, but Roon did not try any match other than 1-1, 2-2, 3-3 etc. The manual edit process - repeated downkey presses, one track at a time - quickly becomes tedious. What about some form of group select, cut and paste? Or a ‘find matches’ button?
I’m now getting a feel for Roon’s actual value to me as a music lover. Tthe single source (allmusic.com) of reviews is the biggest weakness. Allmusic content is licensed by Rovi/AllMediaNetwork What guarantee is there of its impartiality? For classical, Allmusic.com certainly lacks authority when compared to eg Gramophone.co.uk. Is there enough commercial impetus for allmusic to cover all the classical releases that could be reviewed? To illustrate my point I’ve just looked at a recent release (Dukas orchestral works conducted by Tingaud on Naxos). Allmusic.com has the album logged, but no reviews. Presto Classical offers extracts from 4 different reviews all from decent sources.
This one I can answer. Yes, it is default behaviour to continue playing after selections in the playback queue have finished. The feature is termed “Radio” and can be toggled on or off for each queue. Click on the stave/quaver icon in the footer bar to bring up the queue and you will see the option to Start Radio on the right hand side.
The Roon devs will check into this thread shortly and investigate other issues. Hopefully they can be resolved swiftly.
I understand what the radio thing is supposed to do. But why didn’t it first play the remaining three movements of the piece that I had already selected? They were all stored together as the same album!
There aren’t enough manual controls for my liking - pause but no stop?
Hi @John_Walker – thanks for all the feedback here, and sorry for the confusion.
Roon differs from pretty much all other players out there in a number of ways, but everything is carefully designed to focus on presenting your music in the appropriate context, as opposed to focusing on simply taking your files and dumping the data embedded in them into a sortable spreadsheet.
All of this is done automatically, and while Roon provides a variety of tools for pushing the automatically retrieved data in the right direction, the learning curve can be sometimes be a bit discouraging for people who’ve already spent a good deal of time manually organizing their music in other applications. And of course, that’s doubly true if you’re having problems with the initial import
Most people find that Roon opens up their collection in all kinds of new ways, so I’d encourage you to keep an open mind. I’m going to go through this thread and try to answer as many of these questions as I can, but before we move forward, I’d like to make sure we get your collection fully imported. I assume the little spinner in the top-right (near Bookmarks and Search) has disappeared? Do you have a file or two that failed to import you can send us, so we can get a quick look at what’s not importing?
If you have dropbox or similar, feel free to PM me a link – otherwise, I can provide you a way to upload a file or two directly to us.
Looking forward to getting these questions answered for you soon @John_Walker!
andybob - please read my posts fully before replying. It would make life easier if it was obvious how to stop playback, and/or edit the current playlist. BTW several of the ‘buttons at top left’ disappear once I’ve started playback. Is this a feature?
Mike: the little spinner is no longer visible. I’ll try Dropboxing some files to you, but I think I’ve got the answer already, summarised below.
Problem 1: The program has not installed as an application - I cannot access it from the ‘Start’ menu. I’ve had to navigate into Adminstrator’s directory and extract a shortcut to roon.exe which I’ve put on the desktop for now. Problem 2: missing entries resulting from:
LP transcriptions where timings and/or filenames don’t match database entries for the corresponding CD.
CD/SACD box sets where the algorithm can only match to a single CD from the set (and where the manual process to re-link entries is painful.)
CD/SACD rips where I’ve either edited metadata or changed filenames
Inability to read .cue files
Problem 3: The right hand ‘sorted by’ option does not let one sort by Composer. You claimed to have made special efforts for Classical! With a big collection like mine, the cover view is too low resolution. Swipe, swipe, swipe. One should be able to reduce the size of each cover image to speed up navigation. Nevertheless, an alphabetically sorted text list actually works better when you’ve a lot of files. But until the database is fully populated, then none of the other navigation functions are much use.
Problem 4: You are sourcing the metadata from a single company whose commercial model, independence, and ability to provide quality reviews seems questionable.
Finally, thanks for your helpful approach, but some of your statements don’t make sense. Why should it be worth my while climbing a learning curve with your software (and paying for it) if I’ve already done a better job myself? And my first ever experience of dumping music file metadata into a sortable spreadsheet was as a direct experience of advice received on this forum, and I did it to debug your program. I’ve never felt like I was doing that before with MediaCenter…
Yes, this is by design, similar to how programs like Google Chrome have installed in recent years. It affords us a number of advantages, not the least of which is a smoother update process, as anyone who’s upgraded Roon on multiple computers with a single click can tell you.
I am, however, surprised the Roon installer didn’t create a shortcut for you – I just did a fresh install on Windows 10 and a shortcut was created for me. I’m going to talk with the team and see if we can reproduce that behavior on Windows 10, but can you confirm where you looked? All Programs? Did you search? You definitely shouldn’t have needed to create a shortcut manually.
We use a pretty complex algorithm to match your files to our database, and while track timings and file names are part of that process, there’s more to it than that. Classical collections do sometimes get a lower hit rate than popular music, often because people have developed their own system for overcoming the limitations of file tags when it comes to handling the complexities of classical music.
I don’t know the specifics of your collection, but I can tell you that Roon’s metadata is almost certainly going to be deeper and more expressive than what’s possible with simple file tags, not to mention that it’s constantly updated on the fly, as we add new data sources and refine our metadata based on the feedback we hear from members like you!
Keep in mind that while it’s possible to find albums under his name, Beethoven never actually released any albums of course. In Roon you can browse his actual output – his works! You can even filter down to only the period or form you’re in the mood for, and then browse the different performances of the work that are in your collection or available on Tidal. Would it be possible to type all that data, or find all those links, by hand? I suppose, but I don’t think anyone should have to.
I would give this a read – we’re working on some changes for the re-link process that should make it easier to use, but in general, sensible folder structure and tags should help Roon identify the box set properly with no manual editing needed. Interested to hear more about what’s gone wrong here for you.
Unfortunately Roon doesn’t support single files and .CUE sheets right now, so my recommendation would be to split those up or make a split copy for Roon (@danny talked a little bit about the reasons for this here).
Well, you’re right that a lot of Roon’s browsing functionality (including those features specifically targeted at classical music) depends on your library being identified. That said, this another area where Roon is subtly trying to improve on what other players are doing.
Composers can absolutely release albums, but in those cases they’re often functioning more like a performer (as the album is documenting a performance), and their name would likely appear in both places. Generally speaking, composers release works, which have very different properties than albums, and which we think deserve the same kind of first class treatment that popular music affords artists, albums, and tracks.
That said, In Roon you can use Focus to see albums in your collection on which a composer’s works were performed, but beyond that, I’m not sure sorting albums by composer makes sense in Roon – where would albums with multiple composers go? Or albums with no composer credits, or where a composer is credited on a single song? By using Focus to see the albums to which a composer contributed, you’re still free to add additional context by sorting them according to the year they were released, or the number of times you’ve listened to them for example. You could also use Focus to further refine your selection, to a particular label or conductor, for example.
With more of your collection matched up to Roon metadata, I think you’ll find the Composer and Works browsers to be incredibly powerful, and I can tell you we have some significant improvements to our classical product planned as well, which should make both our identification and browsing functionality even more powerful for classical fans soon.
We source data from a number of places, but the data you see in Roon is generated by our proprietary service, which is constantly being refined and updated as new albums are released, biographies are updated, existing data is improved, and errors are corrected.
Well, I appreciate the feedback here. Like I mentioned, Roon depends on getting good identifications, and generally speaking we do very well, although our hit rate can go down when people have spent significant time developing their own metadata systems to tag their files. I don’t know how well we did in your collection or how you groom your files – all I can tell you is that if we didn’t identify a significant portion of your collection, you may not be getting the full experience yet.
My point is, I think it takes time to fully appreciate the depth of Roon’s metadata and browsing functionality. Based on what I know about your feedback here, I think you’ll find significant value in how Roon allows you to interact with your library, and I would love to have your feedback as we finalize the upcoming classical work.
Finally, to answer your question about Radio: when we’ve identified a work in Roon, we get the benefit of no longer having to treat it like a couple of loose files or a few rows in a spreadsheet – we can take the 4 files that make up the work, and consider it the way the composer did. The movements can be played individually, but in most cases, you’ll want to hear the work as a whole.
Radio is designed to simply pick similar music anytime your selections have run out, so if you’ve played a complete work that is identified by Roon, Radio should kick in and start selecting similar works – you can see this is the case in this screen shot, as Roon has picked a 4 part work for me, denoted by the 4 numbered boxes on the right.
Firstly, please do not apologise for a thorough and careful assessment of the issues I’ve raised. I’m very impressed. There are other calls on my time, so I’ll respond to each point one at a time.
Installation: You did something non-standard and so did I, but for a good reason. Whenever installing to Windows, I deliberately uncheck the box saying ‘create a shortcut on the desktop’. I’ve done this for years because I don’t like randomly located, hard-to-see desktop icons, and its fine anyway because the program normally appears in the ‘Start’ menu so I can access it when I need it. Familiar? It’s a bit like how I organise my music files. I can’t be the only PC user who does this, can I?
Security Your own question, though raises a significant concern. There is nothing with the name Roon available to me from ‘Start’->‘All apps’. The reason for this is I practice basic security measures, one of which is I only allow Administrator to install software. I installed Roon with a right-click and ‘Run as Adminstrator’, so Roon.exe ended up hidden away in Administrator’s directory, not in any of those belonging to the actual users. I can confirm that Roon IS visible from Adminstrator’s account, but not mine. This one is really worrying - it gives the impression that Roon plc does not practice basic PC security. I’m not going to listen to music while logged in as the Administrator!!! If it’s any consolation, you aren’t the only software developer who has done this, but this is really basic.
(Footnote: Ubuntu/Unity allows one to place frequently accessed program icons in a strip down the LH side of the screen where they are easy to see and access, whereas every Tom Dick or Harriet Windows developer sticks his or her unrecognisable icon for a graphics card driver update or once-in-a-lifetime download manager onto my desktop. After six months, you can’t find anything.)