Please help me move from iTunes + Apple Music to Roon + Tidal

TL;DR: Can I create saved, focus-based playlists in Roon that will update dynamically based on when a track was last played? If not, is that a feature request that anyone else would be interested in? If not, does anyone know of any library and playback system that will do that reliably across multiple PCs and mobile phones?

Long Version
I have invested many hours, days and years constructing an iTunes library made up of purchased 256 kbps AAC files, CDs ripped to lossless FLAC and ALAC (so 2 copies of each album), and new Apple Music DRM tracks. I have created about 20 smart playlists in iTunes that I listen to on a regular, rotating, mood-centered basis. They refresh dynamically based on when a track was last played (more on that below). I also have hi-rez 24/96 FLAC and single-rate DSD .dsf files (both stereo and multi-channel) that are separate from my iTunes library. I recently subscribed to Tidal and even more recently to the trial version of Roon.

Why the new subscriptions? Well, I travel a lot for my job. I care about sound quality, even for casual listening, and after years and years of trying, I can’t get iTunes and Apple Music to update my smart playlists reliably across all my devices: Home PC, notebook PC, iPhone. The last-played date does not get updated consistently or sometimes at all. The frustration has reached the point where I’m ready to try something different – either the way I listen to music or the library and playback system I use. Or maybe both. I am not pleased at the time and money investment that may be required to change, but I’m already not pleased with the current situation, so there you go.

I listen to the hi-rez multi-channel stuff in my home theater through the Asset UPnP DLNA server software, but not very often. I use Korg’s iAudioGate to listen to some of my favorite hi-rez stereo stuff that I’ve stored on my 128 GB iPhone 6S. I play the tracks on my iPhone connected to an Oppo HA-2 DAC/Amp and listen through Oppo PM-3 headphones. It is album-based playback only – no playlists. :frowning: That makes up about 10% of my listening time. I use iTunes and Apple Music to play my iTunes library using my smart playlists for the other 90%, listening at home on my Airplay- capable whole-house audio system or mobile on Sennheiser IE80s and Sony XBA-H1s.

I am trying to get Roon + Tidal into a usable state for my listening habits, and I created a convoluted, manually-updated playlist system that uses iTunes, Soundiiz, Tidal, STAMP and Roon to get information to and from my devices. It’s a kludge and it’s complicated, and I am the weak link. I added a new, cheap Android tablet that runs Roon Remote perfectly and works with my Oppo DAC. If I can get TunnelBear to work as a VPN, I can take Roon on the road with me and access all of my music on my Home PC (which acts as a server and an endpoint). That opens up more possibilities – I just wish I knew what they were!

I figure I can work everything except the Apple DRM stuff into Roon and eventually get a good, usable experience out of it. I’m just not sure how yet, nor do I think I can get it figured out in just the 14 days of the trial. The thought of having to duplicate every single Apple DRM track into Tidal’s My Music to make them available in Roon is not a happy one. And that’s just the start.

If anyone has any ideas or can offer any help, I’d really appreciate it. And if you’ve got a system in place that does what I want my system to do and are willing to share, I’ll fly to where you are and buy you dinner. :slight_smile:

Thanks for reading this far,

Perhaps addressing part of your concerns, re. Apple/Tidal… In this forum I was pointed to soundiiz for copying playlists between music services. I have used this with reasonable success from Spotify to Tidal (some missing music but overall the playlists have been migrated from Spotify to Tidal/Roon).

Have a look at:

There is a section that looks like Apple stuff, but have not had a reason to try it out…

Hope this helps

Hey @Jeff_Bellune – thanks for the questions!

Give this a read:

We’ve had people get this working in the past, but running over a VPN isn’t officially supported right now.

I can tell you that we absolutely intend to support this kind of “on the go” scenario in a first class way in the future, but for now you be better off using Roon at home for management of your local files and TIDAL library, and using TIDAL’s app and offline feature on the road.

In Roon, any time we match a local file to corresponding content on TIDAL, you’ll see a little blue “Other Versions” button, which makes it easy to upgrade lossy files to their lossless TIDAL counterparts. This will also star the album in the TIDAL app, making it easy to build a streaming library for the road.

Hope that helps!

Thank you. Soundiiz is a great tool – it converts iTunes playlist tracks to Tidal at about a 90% success rate, and of the successful conversions, about 80% have the correct metadata. So a little tweaking is required in Tidal, but getting me 80% - 90% of the way there with the first attempt is outstanding. Your recommendation is spot-on!


Hi Mike – thank you for the link. When I first read it a few days ago, and when I first took a look at the Focus search dialog, it didn’t seem to include the ability to search for tracks based on when the track was last played. I will look again carefully as soon as I finish typing this. If I can specify search criteria based on when I last played stuff, I will be a very happy camper!

[audio nerd alert] When I read about how far Roon has come in a year, and about how responsive you guys have been to your customers, I’m even more impressed with the version of Roon that I’m evaluating now. So when you say you’re going to do something “first class”, I get a little buzz on.[/audio nerd alert]

Depending where I am on any given day, I will always have to juggle offline content vs. HQ streaming over wifi vs. lower-quality streaming over cellular. I think that Tidal’s 320 kbps AAC will be a good trade-off between SQ and cellular data usage. If and when I can get something like Roon to centrally manage that whole juggling circus no matter where I am, my musical life will be so much more pleasant and relaxing, with a lot less work involved than what I have to do now. And since my laziness governs this stage of my life, that’s really something to look forward to! :slight_smile:


Hi Mike,

The Focus Search window certainly does what I want wrt to the date searches, so thank you very much for pointing me back in that direction. I missed seeing that capability the first time around.


NB: I was able to set up a VPN for my home network and access it from both my iPhone and my Android tablet, which allows me to use Roon Remote from those devices to control my Roon library while I am away from home. And I did it with native Windows 10, native iOS9 and native Lollipop – no third-party apps or services required!

I spent a few hours researching and found a couple of really good tutorials on VPN and mobile devices. I could not have done it without that information. The Interweb can be a wonderful place, sometimes!