Remote iTunes integration

I’m posting this as a feature request because if it can already be done, I can’t figure out how to do it. Here’s the scenario: I am running Roon on a MacMini. I’m currently running it in standard mode, but I will be switching to RoonServer shortly. Although iTunes exists on the Mini, there are no files there at all. I use my laptop as a remote connection to Roon. I have an extensive iTunes library on my laptop. All files in iTunes on my laptop are in MP3 and were once exported from my Sooloos system. There is a full resolution version of every track in my iTunes library in the roon server.

So here are the things I’d like to be able to do with this setup:

  1. Export files that exist on RoonServer in FLAC into iTunes library on my laptop in lossy format.

  2. Export playlists that I’ve created in Roon over to iTunes (which would mean transcoding and exporting any tracks in the playlists that don’t already exist in iTunes).

  3. Export playlists that I’ve created in iTunes on my laptop into Roon and have Roon play the tracks in full resolution using the uncompressed versions on the server.

  4. Add the files that I have on my laptop into Roon. They would wind up being hidden because full resolution versions already exist, but I could use Roon to manage them when I am no longer connected to the server, they would become visible again.

Can any of these things already be done, and if so, how? If not, consider them feature requests.

Re: #1 - iTunes does not support FLAC. You would need to convert them to ALAC. I had to do this for my wife’s library and used dbpoweramp converter.

Re: #4 - I believe that would work, but you would need a second Roon license on the laptop.

Or MP3 or m4a. That’s why I said “Export files that exist on RoonServer in FLAC into iTunes library on my laptop in lossy format.” Right now, exporting into iTunes in an unplayable format is useless. I’m coming from the Sooloos world, where this is baked in and works flawlessly. If Roon is to replace that, it needs this feature.

Perhaps. But the license says “one PC or Mac managing your music library (at a time).” If I add the local files on my laptop to my library, then only one Mac would be managing my library at one time if I’m away from the main server. In any event, the fact that an instance of Roon on a machine doesn’t function at all unless it is pointed at actual files is a significant oversight. Roon is the best client for Tidal that exists. A smart user would make every album that he owns as files a favorite in Tidal as well. These would be hidden when in Roon but become visible when the main server with its files is unavailable. Then you could put a remote instance of Roon on a laptop, use it to control your home system and still have access to most of your music when on the road. Theoretically, your playlists and metadata grooming would still be there.

Continuing the discussion from Remote iTunes integration:

So Sooloos would transcode files to ALAC and import them into an ITunes library programmatically? That would be helpful for keeping an iTunes library in sync as you add albums to the Roon library. Right now my workflow is Rip CD to FLAC in dBpoweramp and then copy file to Roon storage, move file to archive storage and then I’d have to transcode from archive storage to ALAC or AAC and then import into iTunes (or drop into the Auto Add iTunes folder).

Keeping multiple databases across multiple devices in sync is non-trivial of course, but yeah, it would be nice… Especially if/when Roon supports multiple streaming services. I don’t expect that I’ll ever return to storing my entire music library on my laptop, but when not attached to my home network, it would be nice to browse my library and be able to stream a song from Tidal (or whichever service has it) that is not locally stored on my laptop. I know there was some mention that Roon adding remote streaming capability was a possibility in another thread.

Not exactly. There are three ways to export from Sooloos: You can export in the native file format, in MP3 in a bitrate you specify, and directly into iTunes. Each “destination” can work on items you select only or on all. If I were in Windows, the workflow would be easy: Rip to FLAC using EAC, use Foobar2000 to transcode to MP3 in the Auto Add to iTunes folder. I’m in OSX with no access to EAC or Foobar, so its a bit more complicated for me. The Sooloos import feature uses EAC on the back end even in the Mac client. So what I do is I import my CDs into Sooloos where I have a native-format export set up for all files. That destination is the drive that Roon watches, so whenever I import anything into Sooloos, I automatically create a duplicate copy for Roon. That’s fine so long as I run the two systems in parallel. I don’t know how I’ll rip or transcode if I decide to go Roon only.

Here’s how I’d have it work if I could wave a magic wand: Roon would either have integrated ripping software or have the ability to work as a front-end for software that can make bit-perfect copies. The reason for getting Roon involved at the ripping stage is so that you can use its amazing metadata tools to get your metadata right before you rip. Then I’d love to see an export feature that worked just like Sooloos. Then Roon can be a totally self-contained music management ecosystem.

I’m not looking for synchronization. The beauty of the way Roon works is that multiple instances of the same track are hidden. So you can have the same song in the main library and on multiple remote devices and it would still only show up once. Therefore you could use Roon to manage everything and let you manage whatever files are present at the moment.

But this begs the question. If I were waving my wand again, the single feature I’d most like to see is the ability to run Roon without any files at all, just as a front-end to Tidal.

As to your last point Robert, you can Focus on Tidal library (Inspector, Storage Location) and bookmark that view. But am I right in thinking you want to be able to use Roon as a Tidal front end when you can’t connect to your library (eg mobile) ?

That’s it, exactly.

Step back and look at what files work interchangebly.

This is why I stay with Raw formats. In thise case, use .aiff file format.

transcode all to .aiff using dBpoweramp.

ensure your local iTunes library is linked to Roon and Roon can find the iTunes XML file. (This means on the same hard drive as the operating system, Roon only looks there for the XML file. -right now)

all together the iTunes library forms the base, Roon reads/processes/plays the files but does not move, and you can move in between the two playback software. (note: Roon exports playslists as excel files. As long as the file map is there, there is a variety of kludges to get it to be read by iTunes, but realistically Roon does not effectively export to iTunes.)