Non-Music file support - what should I expect?

As I move from using iTunes to Roon, I decided to split files into groups, broadly by type; FLAC, MP3 and Speech.

The first two are self-evident I think, but the latter contains recordings (almost all mp3, but I don’t believe that is material) of e.g. comedy shows, plays, etc, etc. There are multi-thousands of these. Most are organized as S0nE0n where it is a series. For others, say a play, or a book reading, it is either a single appropriately named file or a series numbered 1, 2, 3, etc.

I dumped a majority of the data into the speech folder on the NAS and set Roon to watch the folder.

I am surprised to see - almost nothing! Fewer than 30 folders show up (see attached image).

What should I expect? It will be a big deal if I can’t manage my whole audio collection.

Cheers

If indeed you simply “dumped” thousands of files into the Speech folder, then it’s hardly surprising that Roon is struggling to make sense of it.

I have quite a few Podcast recordings. I’ve put them into a folder structure: \Podcast\Series Title\Episode title\ that seems to work quite well. Of course, I’ve also ensured that there is metadata in all of the files to help Roon make sense of them.

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An inappropriate choice of words.

They are each in a separate, named folder, named for the artist, or the show, or in the case of many artists, Various Artists.

And do you have full metadata embedded in each file? Because without it, Roon has nothing to work on…

Sufficient that it worked well in iTunes!

I’m not expecting Roon to deliver chapter and verse about obscure audio files, but I would expect to be able to see, and play, what are clearly audio files. I would hope that Roon would, as a fallback, display the file name which is descriptive.

Cheers

I don’t use iTunes, so I don’t know how much iTunes relies on its own database, rather than using file metadata. Metadata will help to group files together and provide album art. That’s what I’ve done with my own collection of audio files. If your audio files are not listed in Roon’s “Skipped files” (see Settings/Library/Skipped Files), then they should be in your collection somewhere, and Roon should be able to play them.

I use a lot of Audio books in FLAC and MP3 recorded from cassette. I also have DAB radio grabs (MP2 that I convert to FLAC) I record these 0ff air to an SD card via my ‘Pure’ DAB radio (Currently collecting Paul Temple and The Gregory Affair)
I update the file data before importing and it all works a treat. I tag the ‘Audiobooks’ and can quickly focus on them or exclude them. I add my own cover art as I go and have some standard cover art for one off plays.
I also put them under Audiobooks in my main folder.

Thanks both for the input. It’s clear I should be able to do what I want. I’ll try more/better tagging and see if that improves things.

Understand the need to find my own art.

Cheers

A lot of the features in Roon are based on matching up the music in your collection to our rich metadata model.

Once everything is identified, the music in your collection is linked in ways that highlight the actual context of the music (the person who wrote the song; the label it was recorded for; who produced it; which musicians played on the recording, and who influenced them, etc).

This can seem like a subtle difference from other applications that tend to be built around browsing whatever is readily available – the name of the folder the music is stored in, the text listed in the file tags for Artist, Song Title, etc, but it can have an affect in cases like this, where we’re not likely to get a lot of successful identifications. You can read more about our approach here.

We do fall back to file and folder names when identification fails and file tags aren’t available, but these cases are a less central part of the product than you might find in other apps that treat folder browsing or file tags as first class – ultimately, much of what makes Roon special depends on the identification process.

It’s up to you whether you want these speech files to be imported into Roon. If you have them in a separate folder from your music, you can decide whether you want to watch only the music, or bring in the other content as well. You’re not likely to get very good identifications, but if you import it you’ll want to make sure your files have reasonable clean tags, particularly the album tag if you want any speech files grouped together into “albums”.

I believe we have some files tags we look for that indicate something is an audiobook or podcast, and these tags prevent us from attempting to identify non-music content. I’m looking into what that is – me or @Ivan will follow up and let you know.

Hope that helps!

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Mike, thanks for stepping in and for that information, very useful.

My challenge here is that I want a single solution to audio - of all kinds. I understand that Roon is not designed to handle the diversity of stuff that I have in my collection. It does seem reasonable however that there is a mechanism whereby a user can say to Roon ‘Step aside Buddy, I get that you can’t add value here, but just show me the folder by folder list of files.’

Is there a way to do that? I have literally thousands of non-music files, and whilst I’m anal enough to plow through them, I’d like to enjoy them - in a simple way - in the meantime.

Thoughts @mike, @Ivan?

Cheers

We want that too but we’re not quite there yet, and generally speaking it’s not something that comes up too often.

It’s really going to come down to how these files are organized and tagged, so I would recommend giving it a shot and seeing how it goes. Please let us know how it’s looking @Graham_Bird!

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Hi,
I too have lots of classic BBC Radio comedy files, but they are so badly organised (and I haven’t looked at the tags yet) that they have not been exposed to Roon so far. However, I have pointed Roon at an Audiobooks watched folder and it seems to do OK. Before doing so I went through the folder ensuring everything was in author/bookname/filenumber order and had appropriate tags plus an ‘audiobook’ genre tag and artwork.

One issue that initially stopped me is Roon Radio mode. I did not want an audiobook or BBC Radio play (or a classical piece for that matter) to start playing as part of a random music selection in Roon Radio mode. Given the way it works at the moment, that is unlikely to happen, but any development in this area needs to ensure this can’t happen - unless by choice.

Whilst Roon is rightly designed around identifying music, one of the main reasons I invested in it is that I could throw my whole audio collection at it, so any advice on the correct way to proceed with tagging will be much appreciated.

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I tag them Audio books so as I can quickly focus on them or exclude them.

Well, reasonable progress here. it seems that a bit of metadata does indeed fo a long way. I have played a little and things are starting to appear.

As with @Anthony_Bates, I have a ton of files and it would be great to be able to see and use all these files whilst I slowly slog through them. Interestingly, Roon reports 6442 tracks imported from the watched Speech folder, but I’m buggered if I can see them all. Any thoughts?

Cheers