New to Roon. Possible move from Plex. 2 key features seem to missing?

Hi I am new to Roon. Just installed the server software on my PC this afternoon. All that went pretty well. But there seems to be a couple of features that I am not seeing. Here is my setup:

Core Machine (Operating system/System info/Roon build number)
Windows 10 Desktop
Network Details (Including networking gear model/manufacturer and if on WiFi/Ethernet)
Eero wifi. NAS holds music library - ethernet connection to router

Audio Devices (Specify what device you’re using and its connection type - USB/HDMI/etc.)
Schitt DAC from computer
Main system has chromecast audio streaming digital signal into standalone DAC (Schiit bifrost) then into my main system - Rogue audio preamp and Stereo 100 into a pair of Thiel loudspeakers

Description Of Issue

So far things work great in terms of the music playback. Pretty standard configurations for a server with files from a NAS etc.

I really am looking for 2 key features that Plex offers.

  1. The ability to stream FROM my server outside this local network. (ie - connecting to my music while away, either from a phone or an application, browser or otherwise. Can I port forward and give access to the server? I’ve seen a couple posts about VPN, but that seems a bit kludgy to me.

  2. The ability to separate my music collection into “libraries” that can be accessed independently. This second issue is because I have a very large library of live (non-commercial) recordings of shows of all sorts. Lots lf Grateful Dead, Jazz concerts, various bands to numerous to name here. I would like to be able to access that collection separately. Also, it is unclear to me how to make sure that Roon leaves the metadata as it is for that collection. I am very particular about how I tag these tracks now. Referring to “CD1 or CD2” for large sets is irrelevant and out of touch with digital files as I store them now.

Ok, I guess that is enough for my first question. Thanks in advance for any advice and info. Roon seems to be the best music server, but without the features above, it doesn’t quite work for me.

  1. This doesn’t work yet. We don’t yet know quite what form this will take but we are told it is in development.
  2. If Roon has a weakness it is that it doesn’t do well with personal tagging, non commercial recordings and classical. Having almost no personal tags or non commercial I can’t describe possible work arounds. Hopefully someone can come along and offer some insight.

Welcome. As a point of disclosure, I have been using Roon for almost 4 years and have given up on it having the ability to to be accessed outside of the local network. I’ve been using Plex since the first beta of OSXBMC and may be spoilt by its media syncing and remote access capabilities. With its recent metadata updates for music it has very close feature parity with Roon in this regard. Tidal Intergration in Roon is more seemless than Plex but I don’t expect them to stand still on that front either.
I am certainly interested in what your impression is of Roon once you’ve had a few weeks to compare, might help me see it in a different light. Roon certainly has a better way of casting to different endpoints with its RAAT protocol and client endpoint software.

  • Roon doesn’t support multiple libraries, however, there is a workaround (inelegant as it may be). It should work in your use case. When pointing Roon to your music, point it to your live (non-commercial) recordings as a separate folder tree. That way you can switch it in/out as you please by enabling/disabling that music source in settings. The music albums associated with that share will dynamically appear/disappear from your library in Roon based on what’s enabled/disabled.

  • Roon allows you to tell it how to deal with file based metadata on a per album (and possibly per track, haven’t checked) basis. Roon’s Focus function can focus on a particular folder tree that’s been selected as a music source within Roon. This means that you can go to Albums view, select Focus, hone in on the folder tree containing your live (non-commercial) recordings as a filter criteria, then select all albums (Ctrl-A) and change Roon’s settings for all those albums to only use file based metadata.

  • Roon’s CD1, CD2 construct for multi-disc sets is only there to help it recognise multi-disc commercial releases. If you want to have Roon recognise each disc by name you’re screwed unless you’re prepared to tag each disc as a separate album - Roon doesn’t do discsubtitle or different artwork per disc in a multi-disc release.

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If you use an external drive then separate it into folders, one for each library. You can use Focus to point to that directory and apply a bookmark. This worked well for me with one folder “Classcal” one “Prog” and one “DVD Audio Disc”. That gave me three libraries. Be aware this is not possible if you use the internal storage on a Rock NUC. I have requested it as a future option.

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Thanks for your comment. I am at yearly in Roon and if not price increase for lifetime i would be in roon forever. As i checked plex it can be good in the future, but as you mentioned - integration with tidal is crucial here. And it is less transparent than Roon. Still, I hope that they will devolop it further. If Roon remain in this state, Plex in 1-2 years would be a better option and I will be there. Maybe it is only my guessing but someone in Roon thinks “We are great as we are and we will give you what we want”. I wander…for who Roon really is…collectors = no, media freaks = no, purists = no; geeks with gizmos = no, smarthome users=no…etc etc.

A word of caution. Don’t read too much into phrases like “feature X is in development” or “feature Y is in development”. We end users have no real sense of timing, and I have seen “in development” features here still undone 3-4 years hence. Make your purchased decision upon what’s here.

Roon has a large and rapidly growing user base so it is doing quite a bit well. But, some folks liken it to a short order diner where they can request a feature and have it ready soon thereafter.

So again, evaluate what’s here now, and discount the screaming masses who believe their voice is the lynchpin to new feature development.

There are ways to group libraries in Roon but are probably not what you are used to. And, Roon never messes with your metadata. NO DELETIONS, NO CHANGES.

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Note that Roon can delete whole tracks and albums if you tell it to, which would also remove the attached metadata. But I guess that would be YOU messing with your data, not Roon.

And that got a whole lot more Dangerous with 1.7 , still it’s your click that does it but the multi step warnings are gone

Buyer Beware …

You’ll certainly be happy to learn Roon does support OpenHab (through a user plugin), Control4, and Crestron (for Nucleus owners). There’s a hack for Siri as well.

Libraries: I’d use to learn the "focus’ feature to create a library that you want. Then bookmark that focus and you can call it up whenever you want.

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And as soon as you’ve done that you’re limited to that view. If I’m not mistaken defining and turning on/off storage locations enables you to use the full UI whether artists, albums etc. without unrelated content bleeding into the mix.

If I understand you, you’re mistaken, evand. You can get to multiple views from a focus group. I don’t see any limitation.
All you have to do is make make multiple focus groups and bookmark them. I have about 10, that cover almost any listening mood/situation I’d want.

The OP asked specifically about a library of his non-standard live recordings. It certainly wouldn’t be an issue to make a focus group that includes them and to bring it up for play whenever he likes. If you think a bit about how to set it up, Roon wlll also automatically add new recordings of the same type to the library when you add them to Roon.

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Yip, I get what you’re saying, all I mean is that bookmarks are based on a one-dimensional focus where album, artist, genre, composer, composition etc. are based. Once you enter that focus via the defined bookmark you can’t go browse artists, composers etc and see only artists or composers related to that bookmark. Soon as you select Artists or Composers from Roon’s main menu you’re no longer in that bookmark’s focus.

By defining a separate storage area for those specific albums as shown below one can enable/disable at will and enjoy full Roon functionality centered only on that portion of the library that’s enabled.

Yes the disable flag does retain the further focus except when using Internal Storage. You are not able to use the disable flag. I guess one could add it each time to the list of places not to scan but that is quite time consuming. It would be nice if the programmers would add the functionality of scanning sub-directories to Internal Storage as well. If there is a workaround for this I would appreciate a description of how to implement it.

Thanks, I will check what is about it :slight_smile:

I have my music stored on a Qnap NAS. That allows the Roon core to be installed as an app to its operating system. Not as powerful as an i7NUC but then accessible to all devices inside the domestic WiFi.

Roon, like Plex, leaves your media be. It is not moved and its metadata is not altered. Roon simply adds the item to the Roon catalog following the cataloging options set. All of your current tools will continue to work.

Single library with material separated in the file system works well. I have a legacy iTunes library, a separate tree with Qobuz material in it, and a third tree of things I’ve ripped with XLD plus the LiveSnarky.com purchases of Snarky Puppy live concerts.

There is a configuration option to prefer Roon metadata or not when adding a track to the Roon Catalog (automatic).

Running Roon in a FreeNAS virtual machine works really well. The various directory subtrees can be mounted in the VM /media mount point and Roon configured to use /media. Slick. No need to mess with NFS or CIFS mounts in the roon host. All the complexity is localized to the VM configuration.

Your difficult to replace live recordings can be kept in FreeNAS Raid-Z2 storage and the library replicated to local media and cloned to Backblaze B2 for off-site backup. Not a bad idea given the amount of material you have from non-commercial sources.

The file system magic is a FreeNAS and FreeNAS VM thing and would work for either Plex or Roon.