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.
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.
- From Roon direct to the Formation. (Best Quality)
- From Tidal to the Formation via aptx HD Bluetooth (Very Good Quality)
- From Roon to V40 then to Formation via Bluetooth (Good for when there are internet issues)
- From Tidal or Roon to V40 to PX7 via Bluetooth
- 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.