Notes to B&W Roon 60 Day Trial Users

I am on day 7 of my trial. I have found a few things that might be helpful to new Roon users with Formation equipment. This is not meant to be definitive in any way. It is just my impressions based on my current setup.

I purchased a Formation Wedge and an LG V40 a month ago. I have been largely a Spotify user for the last four years. Several videos on John Darko’s channel confirmed my phone upgrade to the V40. My living quarters and budget made the Formation Wedge a good choice.

Next came the upgrade to Tidal triggered by the Formation remote integration. That was the first time I heard of Roon. Which is somewhat odd since I work as a digital asset management developer. What followed was a deep dive into Quad DACs, aptx HD, HiFi and MQA streaming…Save yourself some trouble and look at these videos, unless you just enjoy traversing a rat’s nest of hyper opinionated audiophile opinions.

General approach to HiFi streaming: 8 things to ignore
Rooning to the extreme:

So, now I have the Wedge working with Tidal but am still a bit unclear on why I really need Roon. At this point I think all I want is Tidal Connect for the Wedge. An opinion that changes once I start using Roon a little later.

I have pretty broad tastes as reflected in this playlist

But there is one particular recording that is my ultimate test. To be considered anywhere near perfect for my listening the system has to be able to reproduce the Telarc recording of Saint Saens #3 Organ. The Wedge got it all but the lowest notes. Adding a Formation Bass with the gain upped a couple notches did the trick for me.

Because I’m not using Roon at this point I’m streaming over aptx HD to the Formation. This feels wrong despite the fact that at my age my ears no longer pick up on the full MQA experience. I’ve gotten comfortable with aptx HD since purchasing a pair of PX7ss for morning listening before the entire household is up.

This is turning out to be a very nice studio apartment audio system. But that signal path from Tidal to the Formation is bugging me. Enter the 60 day trial. It is extremely difficult designing media management software that provides an exceptional user experience. Roon Labs has done an excellent job. Once you add your local library to Roon, going back to switching between Tidal, Double Twist, and Foobar for playback is just not tenable.

Running a hard internet line into the room with a solid little router, keeps everything connected. I now have a number of ways to stream HiFi audio.

  1. From Roon direct to the Formation. (Best Quality)
  2. From Tidal to the Formation via aptx HD Bluetooth (Very Good Quality)
  3. From Roon to V40 then to Formation via Bluetooth (Good for when there are internet issues)
  4. From Tidal or Roon to V40 to PX7 via Bluetooth
  5. From Roon or Tidal to V40 to PX7 via Quad DAC wired connection

I’m going to be testing these five paths over the next 60 days and will post a quick subjective summary in a month or two. If you’re new to HiFi streaming and Roon I hope these notes help. There are a lot of ways to use the combination. So far I am really pleased with the entire experience (especially using a tablet as a remote). If you haven’t tried Roon and are here looking for impressions, give it a try.

The only limitation is that despite being an always-on application it is strictly home based. You have to be in the same network as the Roon Core, so no roaming mobile access at all. On the road you’re back to mobile steaming applications exclusively. The only thing you really lose is any playlists combining local and subscribed tracks.

The only issue I have seen to date is related to albums in Tidal that do not appear in Roon when your account is connected. Another user explained that it happens sporadically and a workaround is making the album a favorite in Tidal. It still won’t appear in the Tidal section of the interface, but it will display in your Roon library.


A few updates. Some of the things I stated initially aren’t true and I have a much better understanding of how Roon integrates with Tidal.


  1. Signal path #3 above is not possible. Depending on how you initially setup Roon you may see your phone as an available zone. But you can’t play to it. (at least to the best of my knowledge. If that’s not true, someone please add info on how to stream to a mobile audio device.)
  2. Signal path #4 is only valid for Tidal.
    3 Signal path #5 is only valid for Tidal.

I have found a nice way, for me at least, to work with how Roon integrates with Tidal source assets. It seems that if you have a album in your local library it doesn’t show i the Tidal section of Roon. Even though it is available. If you “like” it in Tidal it then becomes available in Roon. The original instance is updated with a small banner marking it as a new source and Tidal icon appears. It still doesn’t appear in the Tidal section. It remains in your library with Tidal marked as the source.

If you don’t see the update from Tidal, follow this sequence in your Roon core Services>Tidal>edit>Update Now. All your updates will appear in Roon.
Note: If you prefer your encoded source to the Tidal source you may not be able to navigate back to it if you override the local with a Tidal source as noted above. Maybe it’s possible but for now I only “like” in Tidal if I specifically want that source.

Roon and Tidal Playlists
Due to my need to stream locally and when mobile it makes the most sense for me to still use Tidal as my primary playlist creation tool. Even at home I like to stream to my phone to my PX7s in the early hours before everyone is awake.

Since I can create more extended playlists in Roon that include local tracks not available n Tidal, I use the following playlist naming convention.

+++Playlist_Name (Rooon playlists with local tracks)
++Playlist_Name (Tidal only playlist)
Playlist_Name (Imported playlists from legacy streaming apps)
X-Playlist_Name (imported curated playlist from Spotify/Amazon for review)
Y-Playlist_Name (imported curated playlist from Spotify/Amazon partially reviewed)
Z-Playlist_Name (imported curated playlist from Spotify/Amazon post review)

I realize this may seem a little over the top organizationally. But it works quite well with Alphabetical sorting of playlists both in Tidal and Roon.

This thread really is much better suited to new Roon users. Here is my sudiophile roadmap.

  1. Purchase a pair of Formation Duos when I move to a larger place.
  2. Purchase a pair of Meze Empyreans
    3 Purchase a Monolith THX DAC headphone amp.
  3. Connect the DAC to the laptop running Roon core for playback as device to the Empyreans. If I’m correct this will give me a lossless signal path to the headphones.


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Day 60 has come and gone. I subscribed to Roon and really think for a music lover it is great software. I’m also very satisfied with the Formation Wedge and Bass in the studio apartment I have now. The neighbors even tolerate high volumes on weekends. If I move to a bigger more private location I still intend to get a pair of Duos.

The reasons I decided to get Roon are Roon Radio, local and streaming in common playlists, and the signal path to the Formation zone. Since the pandemic hit and I started working remotely music is a bigger part of every day.

For mobile listening I’ve started using PlexAmp. With a $5 a month Plex Pass you can integrate Tidal and I point the Plex server at the same local library Roon is watching. The PlexAmp mobile app lets you do some cool things with your local library. You can select tracks to load on the phone and the interface makes swapping them really simple if you run out of memory. Darko Audio has a great video on the app.

I think I’m pretty close to a good working system. I just purchased a Monolith DAC/Amp, a nice Periapt balanced cable and Massdrop HD6xx and HIFIMAN Sundara headphones for listening at home. I have always enjoyed the HD6 series sound and am interested in what the Sundara can do with some classical music favorites. This will be the first pair of planar headphones I have owned. Everyone seems to think they are great.

Although Roon isn’t directly responsible for my audio upgrades this year, their software definitely was an influence. I don’t think I would be as ardent a semi-audiophile if their software didn’t do such a beautiful job of making listening a complete experience.


I am currently using the 60-day trial. I have a Formation Wedge and the standalone Formation Box connected to my main system. Everything has been working flawlessly for the last 45 days or so, only to find today that playing from Roon to either Formation system fails. The song plays for a second then stops, Roon displays “An audio file is loading slowly. This may indicate a performance or hardware problem”

I am not sure how to fix it. Have you come across this issue?

The only time I see that sort of message is when the internet connection to Tidal is too slow to stream. Roon then givers me a little popup message that Tidal is running slowly. It will try the current track for a few seconds then start skipping to later tracks to see if they will [play. (Which BTW is a lot better than what Amazon HD does. That app just locks into buffering mode and has to be force quit.)

Are you streaming from a service or playing locally stored files? If it works fine for local files but errors out on Tidal or Qobuz then the issue is probably internet latency. If if errors on local files then your wi-fi network may be slowing down too much. Otherwise it’s something odd happening in your environment and might require a tech support ticket.

The only issue I have had with the Formation setup I have is, once the Bass wasn’t connecting to the Wedge. A total reboot of both fixed it. Other than that smooth sailing on my end.

I have a very robust and fast internet service as I work from home, with an enterprise level wireless router. It was never any issue before, so I doubt it is network bandwidth related either internet or wireless. The issue happens on both Tidal and local file playback.

Sounds like I will have to open a tech ticket.

Thanks your your quick reply.