Lyrics in version 1.6 is a step backwards

The new version of Lyrics works, but only when streaming lyrics are available. And streaming lyrics are often not available. Based on randomly picking albums, it appears that streaming lyrics aren’t available at least half of the time. I have listed examples below where streaming lyrics fail, and the list of failures includes songs where that feature should work. (It fails on songs by Frank Sinatra, Bruce Springsteen, Wilco, Loretta Lynn, and many others.)

The problem is that when it fails to work, we are now stuck with huge letters that we must constantly scroll through – line by line.

In the previous release, the lyrics appeared in a text box, so you could read along, and only had to scroll down one or twice at most.

Now, when the streaming feature fails, you are forced to constantly scroll down – scrolling line by laborious line.

One option would be to automatically use the large letters when lyrics will stream, and the old box of lyrics when streaming is not available. My guess is that this level of precision is not possible.

Therefore, please restore the ability to select the text size for lyrics, as it existed in the prior release, and have the streaming function work within that box, scrolling down through each line of text by using bold or highlighting.

Then, when streaming fails, we at least have one large box of text, and we do not have to constantly and manually scroll down line by line.

IMHO this is another step backwards, and it is a feature that was not well tested prior to the roll out of the software. Streaming fails often enough that the big lines of text makes it cumbersome, and nearly impossible, to use the lyrics feature.

Examples of where lyrics are available, but fail to stream and we are left with having to manually scroll down, one laborious line after another. I found these in less than 5 minutes of testing the feature:

Rebecca Pidgeon - Spanish Harlem
Benjamin Clementine - At Least for Now
Sheppard - Bombs Away
Oklahoma (broadway version)
Frank Sinatra - Sinatra’s Sinatra - I’ve Got You Under My Skin
Bruce Springstreen - Darkness on the Edge of Town
Wilco - Yankee Hotel Foxtrot
Loretta Lynn - I’m a Honky Tonk Girl

And I found those in only 5 minutes. It is a lot of laborious scrolling, line by line.

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I’m going to make sure we discuss this next time the product team meets.

Many thanks for the quick response and for your attention to this issue.

As I said, a simple solution it to combine the old approach, the box of text, with the ability to highlight one streaming line after another within that block of text.

Then when streaming fails, you have at least defaulted to the block of text, which a user only has to scroll down one or twice.

This is even more important when using a Roon in a home theater setting, where it is basically impossible to sit there and scroll down one line after another when looking at a 60" or 70" TV from a distance, and using a wireless keyboard.

It would be laborious to scroll down through each line on an iPad. It is, as a practical matter, completely impractical on a large TV monitor in a home theater.

We know up front whether the lyrics are going to show in real-time or not, and could pick a different treatment for the two cases. I don’t mind the way the real-time case works. I see the usability issue in the non-real-time case.

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Brian, I completely agree. The way it works in the real-time cases is excellent, and the large lettering is fabulous** when streaming. It works really well in a home theater. I have no doubt that many of the visitors to my home theater will consider signing up for Roon after watching the large lines of lyrics automatically scroll down the screen. Leave that precisely as your team designed it!

As you said, it is only a serious problem in the non-real-time cases, and there appear to be many of those – and those are leading artists like Sinatra, Springsteen, Wilco, etc.

It is great news that you can differentiate between those two types of lyrics, and then design two different ways to address those two scenarios. And do so instantly for each song. That would be a perfect solution.

**Yes, Roon is still fabulous, to coin a phrase from one of my previous threads that I started. It will be even more fabulous once a few of these glitches (treatment of cover art in the Now Playing window and lyrics) are addressed.

The integration of Qobuz (once it is available in the US) and the new Radio feature moves Roon beyond fabulous. It is, to use a description that a group of ten year old boys applied to my home theater, Emosewa!

Awesome, spelled backwards.

Quoting from Geoff from another thread, but responding here, to try to have lyrics covered in the same thread. I’m sure the moderators will appreciate that. :grin:

Just to provide additional clarification as to the problem and a possible solution:

(1) The issue are the automatic scrolling lyrics versus the static lyrics that do not scroll and how they appear in the Now Playing window. Brian, the CTO, explained that

Therefore, these two scenarios can be handled differently and in real time.

(2) Brian thought that the current approach for lyrics with timing that can be scrolled automatically is not the issue. It works OK when automatically scrolling, as on most songs it is rapidly scrolling down. In a home theater while watching the lyrics on a 70" screen from a distance of 12’ the fonts are rather large. Almost comically large, and Roon might consider downsizing the font size a little bit. However, in other settings, with a smaller TV at a similar or greater distance, the current size of the font might be an advantage.

(3) However, the automatic scrolling (Geoff calls it the “lyrics tech”) appears to fail well over half of the time with songs on Roon. As noted above, it fails on major songs from Sinatra to Springsteen where it should work.

That suggests that the technology that Roon has licensed is not up to the job. It is significant step forward as compared with static lyrics, but Roon should find another vendor or source in the future. I believe that other streaming services that do something similar do not have such a high failure rate, and work more consistently on all songs, but I can’t document my impression at this time.

Roon should investigate why the automatic scrolling of lyrics fails so often, and whether it can be improved. Do other applications use a different technology or vendor that works more consistently?

(4) The immediate and pressing problem, as explained above, is when lyrics don’t scroll. The font is so large that you must then scroll line by line. This is not only laborious. It is nearly impossible using a wireless keyboard in a home theater to scroll down fast enough and keep up with the song.

(5) So in that setting, Roon should automatically shift – in the Now Playing window – and call up lyrics in the smaller format in a box, as it previously did, and as explained below, still does. If a user can select the font size, that would be ideal for adjusting between iPads versus different set ups in a home theater. Even if that is not possible, and the result is a box with the lyrics in a smaller font, it means that we would only have to scroll down once or twice while the song is playing, and can read the text and follow along while the song is playing.

(6) Geoff has pointed out that the static box still exists. But it would be cumbersome to have to close the Now Playing window, and return to the track list, and then click on the 3 dots, just to get to the lyrics. That defeats the entire purpose of having lyrics in the Now Playing window.

(7) The static lyrics have another problem. I’ve noticed that in some cases, as with a jazz instrumental version of a song that was originally composed with lyrics, the lyrics come up anyway, if lyrics have been invoked in the Now Playing window. Roon thinks the song is a vocal rendition when it is not. This is not that big an issue, but want to point it out.

Many thanks for Roon for the major step forward on lyrics, and for resolving this issue in the near future.

I second that Roon should look into the above comments.

@brian Regarding that, may I ask if there is any setting to turn off streamed/timed lyrics even if they are available and show normal text version?


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I second this question/request.


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