PS Audio no longer promoting Roon Ready in DSJ

I just got my summer #2 2017 edition of the Audio Advisor catalogue. Not long ago they started carrying some PS Audio products, including the DirectStream Junior. This edition has a full page add on the DSJ, something on the order of 500+ words. It’s a full breakdown about everything great about the DSJ. Except for Roon Readiness, for which there is not one word.

Two whole paragraphs dedicated to the its network connectivity, and how music can be delivered over it, mentioning iTunes, Bit Perfect, Pure Music and Ammara. But no Roon.

This appears to be an embodiment of a direction that has been openly discussed by PSA, now made manifest in their market facing language.

Thought it was worth mentioning…

The PSA web page for the DSJ still clearly states Roon support. Could the omission be a Audio Advisor thing and not a PSA thing?

Good question John.

As I understand it, he “copy” for products in catalogues generally comes from the manufacturer, not the catalogue company. Catalogue companies sell product, and anything that can be done to make producing a catalogue easier, they do. And that includes getting the manufacturers to write the copy.

But I guess I could be wrong. Or this could be an exception, and this whole thread is a red herring. So, for the sake of argument, let’s assume it’s a mistake by Audio Advisor, because they wrote the copy themselves.

If so, they made a pretty aggregious error, because - I suspect - Roon Ready is a big selling point. There are plenty of other products in the same catalogue touted as Roon Ready. So that means in the one two of the 5 or 6 paragraphs of DSJ copy is dedicated to the DSJ’s network connectedness. To spend that much time on such, and omit Roon Readiness is a pretty big miss.

But I’ll grant, it could happen.

Or they got the copy from PSA and edited it to fit on the page and the “hack” that did the editing did not realize how important the section he was cutting was. I like to think I see conspiracies out there but I just don’t see the smoking gun here. I think it was an omission on AA. I see errors all the time in that catalog.

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You may be right John. I personally don’t think so. I suspect it to be quite deliberate. However, I cannot prove it.

So I guess it could be an indicator, but not necessarily a reliable one. :slight_smile:

There’s a thread on PS Audio community site where Paul (CEO of PSA) says “Roon support as promised…” Aug. 11, 2017
I wont quote the any more of it as I am not sure it is allowed here or not??

Thanks Bob. I’m not trying to imply that PSA won’t continue to support Roon Readiness is the products that are already Roon Ready. I’m sure they will honor their commitments.

What I do believe is that the catalogue description demonstrates that it is a feature they no longer want to talk about. To that end…

I’m pretty close to a marketing expert, who confirmed my understanding - with modification. Per said expert, brick and mortar free vendors like Audio Advisor, who offer other vendors’ products (unlike many clothes catalogues that sell only their branded products) generally follow the standard practice of having featured manufacturers to pay them to include their products in the catalogue. As a part of the deal, the manufacturer is generally responsible for providing both the copy (aka words describing product) and the product photos/imagery.

The exception to this is when a manufacturer- for whatever reason - pays the catalogue company to write the copy and/or take product photos. But even then the copy and/or photos aren’t published without the approval of the paying manufacturer.

So in either of these scenarios, PS Audio approved of the description on the Audio Advisor catalogue. So any omission of Roon Ready language is on PS Audio.

Mistake? Deliberate new product direction? You decide.

I get what you are saying.

It might boil down to focusing their marketing on their offerings. Maybe trying not to dilute/divert their potential market space.

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Exactly Bob.

For myself, I’ll not speculate on the “why”, other than to state my belief that the omission of Roon Ready language is a deliberate, marketing decision. I’ll leave it to others to speculate “why”. Though I suspect I know… :wink:

But Octave (hardware and software) is no secret, no?

That would be the obvious reason? Paul has openly said Roon is the gold standard that they are trying to out-do with Octave, coming next year.

They’ve been very open about their plans publicly here for a while now, so I don’t think it’s hush hush:

Sean - I’m not implying anything is hush hush. Nor have I stated that PSA is not being in the open in their plans for Octave. What is not clear is why Roon Ready language is being dropped from customer facing materials now, long before Octive is out the door, when - for now - it’s a big selling point.

Octave might be a while away from main release but the beta phase is starting very soon. So it makes sense (at least to me) for them to start prioritizing that, in different ways, if that’s going to be their future.

Perhaps I look at things a little too simply. Apologies in advance.

Agreed. Except this is not “prioritizing” this is “exclusion”.

So if they universally write Roon Ready out from their customer facing materials (because they have a competing product), it just requires an even higher level of trust that they will honor their commitment to continue Roon Ready support in those products where it is already a feature. IMO we are waiting quite a while for any word on when the updates to the Bridge II firmware allowing Roon to pass MQA to the DSJ.

I’m not making accusations. But I am nervous to see how this all plays out.

It is basic marketing. If you are going to be bringing out a competing product, don’t introduce your clients to that product. People who invest in Roon now are more likely not to invest in Octave later. Especially, if the price of Octave will be higher.

A few assumptions based on Paul McGowan’s comments on the PSA board:

  1. Bridge II will continue to support Roon and be updated.
  2. The plan is that the as-yet-unreleased “Bridge III” will not support Roon; rather it will be designed around Octave.
  3. Octave will apparently include integration with both Tidal and other streaming services.

My take is that this approach will undergo a lot of changes in the months to come, as PSA prepares Octave for general availability. While Octave is certainly in the works, these recent controversies have been unfortunate and (I would guess) unplanned by PSA, as they figure out their approach. It’s clear that the goal is to create a competing product, while maintaining support for their Roon-based customers (like me).

Bottom line: PSA has an excellent record of customer service and ongoing support - better than virtually any other audio company. For that reason I’ll stick with my DSJ (which I bought to support Roon), and remain a loyal customer of both PSA and Roon. I think we’ll see a lot of this in the years to come, as Roon continues to succeed/improve: Competitors will continue to emerge. In the case of companies like PSA, their track record of ongoing support speaks for itself. Like many other modern business relationships, they’ll end up in a “co-op-etition” relationship with Roon.

Just my 2 cents.

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Great summary Michael. I am a huge supprter of PSA. That said I just can’t see myself plunking down money for Octave and for Bridge III. We are probably talking $3000 - $5000. I love the functionality of Roon. I really don’t need a hardware streamer.

Just my 2 cents.

Guess it’s platform vs. product. On the web platform (amazon, google, facebook…) is winning. Lot’s of those oldschool audio guys still believe in product, though there is no way they build up the same expertise as the platform guys in the area of UX, connectivity etc. Sonos is going to learn that lesson as well as all consumer electronic companies promoting their own networked home audio stuff.

Did I mention Roon is platform? Vs Sooloos = product.

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I agree, Joachim. I’m definitely of the old school; Roon was really my first “platform” approach. I’m nowhere near the level of most of the contributors to this forum in terms of DIY stuff. A lot of people of my age/background are the same way. But, Roon has been a self-educating process for me, and I’m much further along than I was to begin with. When I started with Roon, I barely understood how to make Roon work through my Apple TV. Now I have four systems using Roon: A DSJ, An Auralic Altair, A SonicOrbiter and one with the original AppleTV. The Roon platform has essentially restructured my whole audio experience, and will continue to do so. I still listen to vinyl, but I have mostly abandoned CDs. The only silver discs I still use are multichannel and SACDs.

This evolution, and the propensity of Roon to stimulate new hardware purchases, is why PSA would be crazy to abandon it - speaking strictly from a business perspective. And they aren’t abandoning it. Having said that, Octave will appeal to a different segment: Product guys. In the most basic terms, Octave sounds like a marriage of Roon-like functionality with the self-contained ease of the Sony HAP unit. But, as I’m sure Paul M. knows, Roon will be constantly evolving…and the Nucleus project will go after the same demographic as Octave. I understand Paul’s interest in a “closed system” approach a la Apple, but like Apple he will discover that some integration with third parties is necessary.

But it’s the PSA service, customer interaction, and commitment to sound that will keep me using my DSJr (and my other PSA stuff). I’ve visited their factory in Boulder and find them all to be entirely sincere. Worst-case scenario we can use our DSDs and DSJr’s with something like a MicroRendu. But I don’t think it will ever come to that.

Of course, all this assumes that Roon will continue to be willing to work with PSA…

Hey guys. DSJ fully supports Roon.

Paul McGowan
CEO

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