This isn’t actually a feature request. It’s a request for Roon Type 2.
I am here on a trial, so am faced with a decision about spending $120 a year to play music that I own.
Here’s what I LOVE about Roon: the reliability of the RAAT connection, the ability to use DSP in playback, the glory of the upsampled file sound quality with my streamers and DACs, the instantaneous addition of songs to the database, and the speedy updating of the index when I have used another player app to modify metadata already entered.
What I don’t like at all: pretty much everything else.
I am willing to go into detail about my reasons for disliking the application, but I don’t think that’s helpful to the basic point I am making. My view is a minority one, I am well aware. Further, the people using this community nearly universally already have decided they like Roon enough to subscribe. What I am asking about would be of greater interest to people who aren’t subscribers.
The RAAT backbone, to my mind, is terrific and I can’t imagine that it only can work when coupled to the current Roon interface. I do imagine that there could well be a market for a second-tier product with the RAAT infrastructure and a simple library manager interface, that relied entirely on user-supplied metadata, and that did not include data that requires a licensing fee. There are other products in the market now that define the likely pricing range, which should be below what Roon costs now. Depending on the amounts demanded, the model could be either a per-version permanent license or a subscription. I suspect it wouldn’t cost a fortune to leverage the existing technology.
Is this type of less-featured, SQ-focused application a possibility for users who don’t care for the interface or are more price-sensitive?
Been in the software business for a long time. The cost of supporting a reduced-functionality version of one’s main product, while undercutting it, is almost always greater than any potential increase in sales. A small specialty developer like Roon Labs would be very foolish doing such a thing. Sorry, but’s that’s the harsh reality.
Or, $120 per year to play music you own, enhanced with extensive externally curated metadata, using RAAT and optional DSP, to multiple (possibly inexpensive) endpoints, while maintaining SQ (including hi-def), from a comprehensive remote?
@mikeb I have to decide if the SQ is sufficiently enough better than what I already have (which does the same DSP and plays to the same devices) as to justify the annual payment. The “meticulously curated” metadata I am finding not to be a value add, obviously, or I wouldn’t suggest that Roon consider what I proposed. As you value that part of the experience, I am happy that you found something that is such a worthwhile proposition for you.
I started using Roon for RAAT but soon discovered I enjoyed reading about the artist and albums. Since I don’t have any music of my own, I stream from Tidal and Qobuz and have 1700 linked albums. I am adding additional albums everyday because Roon helps me discover new artist and rediscover artist I had long ago forgotten about.
I suggest you invest in a one year subscription for $119 and give yourself time to really get into Roon. I didn’t think I would care about the metadata either, but that greatly enhances the whole experience. So, much so, I bought a lifetime subscription in November.
It is an intriguing idea, but so are the two responses above, each with their own logic. I would not be surprised if Roon has chewed over options like this one and done some modelling.
I would think that if Roon was looking to get its user base to a nex level of magnitude (low millions?) it would already need to attract a significantly more price sensitive audience, that is even for the ‘full’ product. A product as envisioned here might need yet another order of magnitude more users (10s of millions?), which makes me wonder what level of one-off or subscription pricing would be able to attract a customer base of that size, and if that would get anywhere close to a viable business proposition.
In my reading you are essentially describing a product designed for an audiophile, curating and non-streaming audience, it would mean fishing for users in a not so big pool. Some sort of chromecast for audiophiles? Plus a simple media browser?
Funny enough I would probably be in the market for something like it. But in the same way as I have bought, over time, a whole bunch of inexpensive metadata editors, audio convertors and players and related audio software tools, many of them gathering dust. Some still get used, but none contribute much to any companies cashflow.
I would be very happy if my concerns were unwarranted though!
I really didn’t want this to turn into a discussion of how I am missing the boat with respect to Roon’s charms, which is why I didn’t go to great lengths about what I don’t appreciate with Roon. I don’t expect any of you, except perhaps @bbrip, to share any of my views about metadata adequacy, interface anomalies, and library management.
To @ToneDeaf, I wasn’t assuming that streaming couldn’t work with the slimmed down version of Roon. To the contrary, I believe that audiophiles - like both Roon and Audirvana users - are rapidly shifting to “renting” their music, so any player software going forward by necessity will have to have streamer playback capability. Audirvana, which has elements of what I envision including its pricing, can link to Tidal, Qobuz, and HRA. I don’t use any of them, but the screenshots I’ve seen suggest they have roughly the same threadbare, businesslike presentation in Audirvana as does local music and that’s what I would expect from Roon Type 2.
If @Fernando_Pereira is correct, this all is moot. On the other hand, if the support costs are largely sunk costs when support is limited to email and forum, I don’t assume that audiophiles who stream couldn’t be accommodated and are too small a demographic to woo.
Paying so much money simply to listen to my own music was my long-time gripe on buying into Roon. If that’s all you want, there are much cheaper options out there…
…but; add Qobuz or Tidal and Roon becomes a superior proposition. Think of Roon’s competitors as a ‘flat file’ database application. Even if you are able to add Qobuz or Tidal to those applications, you can only enjoy one track at a time, which is completely divorced from any other track. Your choice is about ‘what can I search for next’ when in reality you don’t really know what you’re searching for.
By comparison, think of Roon as a ‘relational’ database application. With a Qobuz or Tidal subscription, on looking at your own music, you can visually unearth external links to a given track. This can relate to different versions of the track, or it will reveal which musicians, producers, conductors etc have been associated with different musicians, producers or conductors. Plus, Roon will reveal similar music or bands that you might be interested in and related to the track that you are listening to/already own.
No more searching in the dark for something you didn’t even know existed. Roon will reveal everything that had previously been hidden from your eyes and ears.
@Fernando_Pereira is correct. Why in the world would Roon introduce a cost reduced product when it would most likely lead to the business failing? The first problem is that it would add confusion and increase both pre-sales and post-sales questions which would increase sales and support costs. Then, it would at at least partially cannibalize sales of the higher tier product. Finally, it would dramatically increase engineering costs as they would have two products to architect, develop, release, and maintain.
@spinaltap, I agree with you. As I don’t use streaming services, I don’t get much value from metadata that I already have or can get with a couple of clicks on the internet to which I necessarily am connected anyway when I play digital music. As I pointed out in my first post, what I love about Roon are sound quality and infrastructure. Otherwise, the cheaper alternatives are superior, for my purposes.
@Speed_Racer and @CrystalGipsy, I was just floating an idea. It sounds as though it’s not a very good one, so, as @CrystalGipsy suggests, case closed. I knew before I commented that my view of Roon’s failings would get the discussion off track and they largely did.
Thanks to all for explaining why Roon wouldn’t think this a good option for its brand.
To the OP. I’m glad you posted this idea.
It is always so easy to think of ways where something won’t work, rather than envision the opportunities it brings. This virtually universal behavior is a big reason why we humans tend to lose creativity as we get older.
I posted some of my thoughts in another thread, that I think is relevant to this topic as well… since I don’t know how to link to that post, I’ll quote the section below.
As Hi Res and CD quality streaming becomes more prevalent there is absolutely no need to hold onto and prioritize a local library centric view, that is ultimately limited in scope.
I use Roon primarily to get my Tidal/Qobuz tracks to my network streamer, with a semi decent user interface.
The streaming app already have 95% coverage of my local collection in cd or better quality, and I pay for them anyway. As soon as I can get from streaming service to my hardware streamer in a lossless manner with a decent remote interface, there is absolutely no need for Roon anymore.
Right now, the competition meets some but not all those goals (lossless hardware integration, streaming service integration, Remote Control with a decent interface) - but it is coming… and fast
Plex plans to introduce a “companion” app to Plexamp - similar to Roon’s controller/renderer model.
Sonos already allows you to “Cast” from Tidal’s native mobile app at lossless Flac quality. With their new hardware breaking free from legacy compatibility, they can easily increase to hi res quality
BluOS is already there - functionally. It just needs a slightly better user interface to the music.
Amazon (or Tidal) may come up with their own renderer protocol (Similar to Spotify Connect)
Spotify may respond to Amazon and finally offer their promised Hi Res plan - it already has Spotify Connect for hardware integration.
All of these apps already offer much tighter streaming integration - Edit Tidal playlists, on the go usage etc. The streaming services themselves provides access to the metadata and allows you to curate your library in the cloud - accessible “anywhere”
With Roon pushing the subscription model (away from lifetime), they might actually be shooting themselves in the foot. As soon as one of the events above materializes, Roon becomes obsolete. If I were a decision maker at Roon I would be “very” concerned…
I’ve never really understood the attraction of two subscriptions, but streaming Lossless to BYO (bring your own) endpoints is why, thanks for that. As soon as the native apps can do that, then yes, I agree with you, no need for Roon anymore.
I think I would, because I might be willing to pay $120 for the current service, as I said above.
For ten reasons, some but not nearly all of which relate to my peculiar library management techniques, Roon’s look, feel, metadata management, spotty and otherwise readily-available allmusic.com-derived commentary, and insistence on doing some things its way are of negative value to me. To get Roon sound quality, to be unchained from its interface, and save $20 in the process? I am good with that.
Then as I said use something else. Roon is a whole ecosystem not bits that are sold separately. The majority are very happy in the way it manages stuff, and don’t have to think or care about folder structure or browsing and let it get on with it. I can use my metadata if I wish or not the choice is mine. If this side matters than use AudiVarna or JRiver that offer these things and still have bit perfect playback. I pay for Roon for what it is not what I might want it to be or what they will make it. If none of the others float your boat either than I guess your stuck and will have to choose the lesser of evils.
A Rolls Royce is a Rolls Royce not a Bentley after all. A Ferrari is a Ferrari not a Lamborghini. Etc etc. Each have their own flavour and place.