Opera and Classical Music on Roon

I’m a little freaked at the moment. I don’t see a category or genre for classical music or opera in Roon! My entire cd collection is 90% opera and classical.

I’ve been hot to try Roon for months now. I’ve just bought my first Roon Ready Endpoint and I am planning to buy a Sonic Transporter for the Core as soon as I’ve had a chance to trial Roon. I was planning to be Roon Ready on all four of my audio systems.

Now, like I said, I am really freaked. Am I on the wrong path going to Roon? How well does Roon present classical and opera??

Hi Janet,

Many here find challenges with roon and classical. But your case seems extreme. Others will jump in, and support will need a bit more information but may be you could start with a few simple examples from the standard repertoire. Beethoven, Mozart, Verdi. That sort of thing. Things that roon will have identified in others libraries.

  1. What file types do you have (are these FLAC, ALAC? etc.)
  2. How are they tagged (do you have Classical, Symphony, Chamber, Lieder etc. tagged in GENRE?)
  3. Do you have a few roon screen shots, so we can see if roon identified your albums and how roon tagged them?

Janet - remember the wise words on the cover of the Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy: “Don’t Panic”.

There’s a few things you should know about how Roon handles Genres.

  1. By default, Roon uses the genre definitions defined by the classification used by AllMusic
  2. This is a hierarchal classification with genres and subgenres (and sub-subgenres in some cases). So, for example, Classical is a toplevel genre, and Opera is a subgenre of Classical.
  3. You can tell Roon to ignore the AllMusic scheme. and instead use the GENRE ID3 tags that you define, or indeed have a mixture. These settings are found in Settings/Library/Import Settings.
  4. You can also edit the genre hierarchy to move things around as you see fit for your personal library. So, for example, I’ve defined “Operetta” as a subgenre of “Opera” (which I’ve left as a subgenre of Classical).

I’m not sure why you used the word extreme? Is it the percentage of my collection that is classical and opera? Or that I used the word freaked… :blush:. I used the word freaked because I was dutifully reading the Roon documentation and when it came to genre there was no mention of classical. Perhaps I should have used the word shocked instead, but putting it in context, I have been looking to do Roon for many months and would be very disappointed if it didn’t support my interests in classical and opera.
I suspect now that the documentation I was reading was just using a small cross section of genres and I don’t have to “freak”. But I do hope that Roon won’t mess with my carefully constructed metadata when I do sign up.

I’m now mainly concerned that Roon won’t change any data on my SSD of WAV Music. I was super meticulous with the metadata during ripping so my files are in very good shape. If Roon wants to keep its own file of my data, that’s okay, but I don’t want any writes on my file.

Roon does NOT change ANY data on your SSD of WAV Music. The only exception to this rule is if you tell Roon to delete an album or tracks from your local library. Then it will ask you three times if you are sure that you want to do this before it will delete the selected files.

See here.

I use genres to map to what some might consider “periods” (eg, 12th C, 18th C - Haydn, or 21st C), to group albums together for easier browsing and discovery. When I started using Roon, it wasn’t clear to me at all to adjust the genre hierarchy to move these custom genres under Classical. Once I did, after a lot of frustration with radio I made the hierarchy changes, and all of a sudden the radio feature worked much, much better, as Roon now understood similar albums (for my particular collection).

I wish Roon’s genre editing interface were better, and it were more clear in the documentation how Roon uses genre for things like radio.

I think there is a misunderstanding. I assumed you were saying that your classical tags had not been migrated when you installed roon. But I can see in your follow up posts your concern was that “classical” is not a particular feature of the documentation. Roon not migrating 90% of your library is what I meant by “extreme”, not that for historical reasons roon documentation does not focus on classical use cases.

Having said that, several here with large classical libraries routinely experience challenges with roon. For example, I would say that I get failure rates of auto-identification of classical albums and compositions of about 50%. This can normally be fixed manually but it is nevertheless a lot of manual intervention I would rather not do. But I think that it is a very personal thing whether roon meets your expectations with classical (and also more specialist jazz and pop repertoire). Good luck with your trial.

Not my experience at all (with 400 classical albums in a collection of 1600), but clearly YMMV.

I seem to get around 50% error recognising Classical too, usually covers (like my Living Stereo SACD rips) but also other things. Jazz also highly inaccurate for album covers. I had Miles Davis Sketches of Spain show up with a non-original cover. I’ve resisted using computer audio for years due to the perceived hassle and complexity, but at least with Roon it’s fairly straight forward to edit these things.

Sometimes it’s weird, like Roon will recognise 2 of my 3 Bartok String Quartets CDs on the Praga Digitals label, but the other one is unrecognised and unknown even when I search the Album finder, even though it’s clearly in the same series. Wish I could get the data for that lost Bartok album.

It’s obvious from the posts on this site that there are very different roon experiences. The main issues I find, all of which are regularly posted by others are:

  1. Unusable box set handling
  2. Equivalence mismatches on composers/artists
  3. Unidentified albums with no composition identifications
  4. Identified albums with no composition identifications
  5. Mismatches on opus and catalog numbers
  6. Mismatches on track timings
  7. Mismatches on track orderings
  8. Overly broad and/or inclusive genre classifications
  9. Poor ratio album art and/or version choice mismatches
  10. Generally dreadful artist/composer art

In the vast majority of cases all these issues can be solved by manual intervention. But that can be a considerable effort. Tracking down label catalog numbers, versions and or recording and publishing dates. Tracking down canonical composition names and or editing multi-part composition hierarchies. Editing artist/composition equivalents to match roon preferences. Grouping compositions. Artwork editing. I also deliberately exclude vinyl rips from this estimate where the identification failures do approach 90%.

I’ve got a largeish Classical library (9214 albums) of which 1662 remain unidentified. I’m continuing to get identifications, but I’m not a natural groomer so I go about it pretty slowly. Likewise dealing with Composer equivalence issues and adding Composer credits.

The issues mentioned by Tony above are real, although I have less of a problem with box set handling. I would, however, like a way of seeing what is in the box set without clicking on every disc. Providing a Compositions view of just the box set might be appealing.

The Compositions browser is powerful, but needs better filtering into manageable chunks for more prolific and popular Composers. Being able to select only Beethoven’s lieder for example.

When judging Roon’s performance with Classical, I think it is important to distinguish areas where Roon itself could improve from areas where Roon is (currently) at the mercy of the lamentably sad metadata practices of the Classical music industry.

The devs are actively working on ways of making Roon smarter when dealing with messy metadata, but you will appreciate that incremental steps and careful testing are appropriate when it comes to such large scale changes.

I think it is fair to say that Roon works better with Pop/Rock and Jazz than Classical at the moment, but I would not say that Classical is so broken as to be unworthwhile.

I would encourage any mainly Classical users to try Roon out before making expensive hardware commitments. Inexpensive endpoints are a good enough way to hear things while considering the other aspects of the software. Remember that you can always ask for an extension to your trial if you need more time to judge if Roon is the right fit for your library.

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Yes. I would not want my criticism to come across as somehow implying that roon is not worthwhile as a Classical library manager. But a small minority with largish more specialist libraries are clearly having issues so it makes sense for new users to dip their feet slowly to see if roon works for them. If you have invested a lot of effort in the past in grooming a largish library to suit a different player you may be surprised at the manual effort involved in recreating parts of that previous experience that may still be important to you. You may also be surprised that the library you thought you had tagged so meticulously has many gaps when it comes to taking advantage of the new features that the other players you were using did not have.

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A recent purchase has meant the use of my JRiver dlna source, I forgot how customizable it was especially for classical views

My moans are real, I am sorely tempted to go back to JRiver for classical

Rock, jazz etc are good in Roon, classical is definitely wanting, I am sure mostly down to dodgy metadata BUT …

Mike

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Ps the integration of Tidal stays my hand, JRiver have stated they have no intention of going real time streaming services like Tidal, just pseudo Radio Station streaming

Mike

I can’t comment on Opera specifically but for Classic in general: yes Roon leaves some things to be wanted but at the same time I don’t know of any other multi-room/multi-system platform that comes even close to what Roon offers.
I’ve made the swich from a Squeezebox based setup with a pretty meticulously edited library (60% classical). And I’m mostly very happy with the move. It is at least as rock solid on the hardware side (3x RPi based endpoints, two Macs, a PC, ipad, iphone, android phone and a Chord Mojo) and is much more responsive on the network side.

But like I said, there is room for improvement. My main issues are with;

  • album recognition
  • album art (I often manually find the original while Roon can’t find it)
  • managing box-sets

My current solution for box-sets works reasonably well: I tag the separate albums with the name ‘box [name]’ which allows me to locate/list them easily.

Now if I could just find an easy way to label all my BWV/KV/HWV or Op. references properly without having to resort to full manual editing of every individual track… but this might just be a bit too much my OCD playing up.

Again: in general I think Roon is a great piece of software. It has really enhanced my music listening experience in a way that I did not expect to be possible.

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I’m almost all Classical and Opera. Just signed up for a Roon trial with my approx 600 CDs. Not happy! My CDs were ripped with a Naim Uniti Core and music played by means of a Naim iOS app. Ripping went very quickly. I edited as I went. I would guess that Naim got 90% of my album covers and titles right, but I quickly fixed that last 10% with editing. Artists were more of a problem, but editing fixed that, too.

The conversion route that Roon chose is particularly onerous and erroneous. I was quite surprised to see so many album covers overridden by Roon when I have proofed every one that was input. It also seems to be unable to decide the proper title and/or the proper artist in many cases, but not all. I can’t presently access my app to describe the problems in more detail, but what stands out is the inconsistency. I wish there was a way to flag Roon to tell it that my content was well edited, don’t mess with it.

If you have invested a lot of effort in the past in grooming a largish library to suit a different player you may be surprised at the manual effort involved in recreating parts of that previous experience that may still be important to you. You may also be surprised that the library you thought you had tagged so meticulously has many gaps when it comes to taking advantage of the new features that the other players you were using did not have.

Amen to this comment. My library was ripped and metadata produced by Naim and thoroughly edited by me. 99.5% of my collection is 100% accurate in terms of album cover art, title and artist. Roon got 10-20% cover art wrong, messed up title and artist frequently, and in a few cases, failed to identify what was already identified. Roon needs a flag to indicate it shouldn’t mess with what’s been established.

I’m on a brief 14 day trial and have had access only briefly due to problems, but enough to suggest that I don’t think Roon has that much on Naim as to presentation. And it’s worse for classical and opera.

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Sorry to hear it hasn’t gone so well. But you are in good company. It is a very small minority, a handful really, but several here find roon and classical quite an uphill battle.

In my experience roon does confer advantages over other players but I also get why the manual effort involved is not going to be worth it to everyone. There have been hints recently that there are major improvements coming soon in forthcoming releases. I hope so.

PS. there are a lot of switches in roon where you can specify that it will prefer your file data, including album art and composition titles. The problem is that roon documentation is not great and that may not be obvious to new users.

Having said that roon just works in a different way to the other players and it can really take some getting used to. A big difference is that the other players tend to be label oriented in terms of album art choices and spelling conventions and formatting of artists, composers and titles. A common sense view on what is 100% accurate is what the label thinks it is. But for roon 100% accurate is what rovi thinks it is and with classical they can be markedly different. At best this can be quite disorienting. Titles can bear little relationship to the CD cover art making things difficult to correlate and follow. At worse, roon must bridge the gap using a lot of “equivalence” logic which it often gets wrong as you have experienced. A big bugbear is that when something does go wrong roon does not provide much in the way of comprehensive editing tools as its mission is to automate as much as possible. A bit of a catch-22 whilst 100% accurate automation is such a long way off.