Roon 1.3 is now live!
Originally, we planned for 1.3 to focus on metadata, and in nearly every way, this release marks a major step forward in Roon’s ability to understand your music, and present your library as tightly knit web of composers and compositions, performers and performances – artists and their work, and their influences, and their stories.
As things moved into high gear way back in September, the scope of the work came into focus, and we were faced with a choice. Scale back some of our more ambitious goals and ensure we had something live for the holidays, or move full steam ahead to really get it right.
We spent a lot of time looking over the Community Site. What were the most common requests? What do people find frustrating? What areas are we coming up short and, as the metadata work comes together, how can we really take Roon to the next level?
Ultimately, we decided this was an opportunity not just to make wide-ranging improvements to Roon’s handling of metadata, but to also take a step back, consider the feedback we’ve heard from all of you, and make Roon better across the board.
We wanted Roon’s handling of your files to improve, whether this was about how you import your collection or your iTunes playlists, or about how you export music from Roon to take with you on the go.
We made huge strides in Roon’s ability to help you organize your music. We redesigned our Playlist functionality based on your feedback, and rebuilt our Tags feature from the ground up. We designed and built a slew of new editing features, ensuring you can update nearly every field in your collection however you see fit.
As more and more of you enjoy Roon around the house, we took steps to improve Roon as a multi-zone product, and as a fixture in your household. Zone grouping and transferring are simpler, more configurable, and easier to access, both in the redesigned Zones popup and elsewhere. We added Sonos support, built a 1.0 version of our API, and have nearly completed work on the soon-to-be-released Roon Optimized Core Kit, ensuring it’s easier than ever to use Roon like an appliance – plug it in, and press play.
And while all that work was happening, we made huge strides with regards to our metadata. Roon’s handling of composers and works (now renamed Compositions) is clearer, and easier to understand. We built new cloud services that link every composer and composition in your library to every performance we have access to. In just a click, you can jump from a FLAC file in your library to hundreds of performances of The Beatles’ Come Together, Gershwin’s Summertime, or Beethoven’s Moonlight Sonata, just to name a few.
And we took time to implement changes for those of you who have invested time in your file tags, or folder structure, and those of you looking for better browsing of classical music.
And while it all took a bit longer than we would’ve liked, we’re incredibly proud to deliver on so many requests and comments we’ve heard from you all. We don’t plan to jam this much into future releases, or to make you wait this long for the next one, but we do intend to continue listening to your feedback, and pushing Roon forward. We hope it was worth the wait!
The Team at Roon Labs
First, a few warnings.
Before installing this build, be sure to make a backup of your Roon databases as well as your content.
Because so much has changed for this release, you should note that 1.3 is not compatible with 1.2 remotes. Make sure you update all your installations of Roon, including remotes, Core, and Roon Bridge.
After updating to 1.3, Roon will re-extract file tags from your library and then re-queue your files for audio analysis. This can place some extra load on your core until that work is complete, so consider this when deciding when to accept the update.
When experimenting with the new DSP features, proceed with caution. When DSP goes wrong, it can produce loud, potentially damaging sounds. Set volume levels conservatively at first, and do not take undue risks with expensive gear (or ears!) until you have built some confidence.
Roon’s “Tags” feature has been considerably re-worked and expanded.
It’s now possible to tag Albums, Tracks, Artists, Composers, and Compositions, Playlists, and even other tags. Like Playlists, Tags can be assigned to different user profiles within the app, so each member of your household can have their own stuff. There is now a top-level browser for tags, so you can see them all together and use them as a jumping-off point.
“Focusing” on a tag is much smarter in 1.3. For example, if you add a bunch of albums to a tag, you can select “View All Composers” and see the composers that appeared on those albums, or “View All Compositions” to see a list of the songs.
Learn more in the Roon Knowledge Base
Roon 1.3 introduces a re-designed playlist browser, and a brand-new spreadsheet-style playlist screen, with selectable columns, sorting, and filtering support, as well as a tool for locating duplicate tracks within a playlist.
We have also added some settings to storage configurations that let you turn on/off automatic import of m3u playlists, which helps keep things nice and clean in Roon for people who have them accidentally.
Learn more in the Roon Knowledge Base
Roon’s Tracks and Playlist view has been rebuilt from scratch, with new ways to sort and filter all the tracks in your library.
The new Tracks view has resizable customizable columns, horizontal and vertical scrolling, individual filtering by column, and the ability to view tracks by Path.
This means you can filter for only the tracks in your “HD Tracks Downloads” folder, and even save a bookmark of this content. You can also filter for a certain path or folder, and use our editing functionality to group tracks into an album.
Since before Roon launched, people have been asking us about DSP features. After over a year of development work, Roon is taking our first step into this exciting world.
Roon 1.3 supports configurable sample-rate conversion including upsampling and DSD output support. A beautiful (but more importantly, accurate) parametric equalizer, a crossfeed implementation for headphone listening, support for convolution filters, tools for managing clipping and compensating for speaker positioning, and more.
Plus, nearly 100% of Roon’s signal processing code in Roon’s Core has been re-built from scratch, using 64-bit floating point processing throughout, including the implementations used by pre-existing features like Crossfade and Volume Leveling.
The new DSP engine is just the beginning. Now that the infrastructure is in place, we are in a position to continue expanding this offering with new features, or fine-tuning the sound quality to perfection over time.
Learn more in the Roon Knowledge Base
Roon now supports multichannel playback, including support for reading multi-channel data from all supported file formats, multichannel streaming via RAAT or HQPlayer, channel mapping, and a facility for downmixing so that multichannel content can still work on stereo hardware.
Support for Sonos Devices
Streaming to Sonos hardware is fully supported in Roon 1.3. You can set up your Sonos devices from the Audio tab in Settings, and jump right in. Roon will stream losslessly up to the 48kHz/16bit, and will automatically downsample higher resolution content.
For more information about getting started with Sonos and Roon, visit our Knowledge Base.
We’ve been continually amazed by our users’ enthusiasm for sharing music with each other. In Roon 1.3, we decided to make it even easier to share, both in music and audio communities across the internet, and with your social networks.
You will be able to share artists, albums, tracks, and more from your library, direct to Facebook, Twitter, or a Sharable Link. What you share is fully customizable – for example, when sharing an album you could choose to also share the genres, some of the credits, or the review, plus a personal message about what it means to you.
Learn more in the Roon Knowledge Base
Composers and Compositions
Late last year, we deployed major changes to our cloud metadata services. Just as Roon has always identified “interesting” composers in your library, our cloud services now identify compositions across every album and track we know about, whether they’re from our metadata providers or streaming content like TIDAL.
This not only means Roon will do a better job identifying, say, a few covers of “Like A Rolling Stone” in your library. It means you’ll be able to browse all 51 cover versions of the song on TIDAL. Until you start playing with these links, it’s hard to understand what an incredibly powerful tool this is for discovery and navigation.
We have also renamed Works to Compositions in order to make it clear that this feature has huge implications not just for browsing Classical music, but for jazz and popular music, too. Screens in the app related to composers and compositions have been redesigned. If this is a part of Roon that you’ve ignored in the past, now’s the time to give it another try.
Roon 1.3 supports fully automated, scheduled backups of your Roon database to local storage, network storage, or dropbox.
Many of us have invested countless hours building content inside of Roon. There’s no better time than now to set up some backups and make sure that that investment is secure.
Learn more in the Roon Knowledge Base
Roon’s Core has always required a powerful machine to perform properly. While that’s not changing in 1.3, a significant amount of work has been done to improve Roon’s performance.
In 1.3, importing, editing, and other database manipulation is much faster, screens load more quickly–especially on remote devices, remote devices will re-connect more rapidly, and Roon’s search engine has been completely re-written, ensuring autocompletion and search no longer make you wait.
Roon’s audio streaming infrastructure has also seen some performance tuning. Roon Ready devices and software-based RAAT endpoints will experience lower CPU utilization when used with Roon 1.3, and CPU usage in the core is improved too.
Finally, our cloud services–the ones that deliver metadata to you when browsing content available via TIDAL, have also been optimized and tuned to reduce load times.
Starting in Roon 1.3, we have fully adopted the R128 volume leveling standards. Your music library will be re-analyzed automatically to extract R128 data, and the volume leveling features throughout the app will make use of it.
We’ve added support for volume leveling based on the album loudness or track loudness, an automatic mode that selects between the two automatically based on the content being played, and a setting that allows you to apply a fixed adjustment to content like internet radio streams, which can’t be measured in advance. Finally, Roon 1.3 is also able to make use of REPLAYGAIN tags in case you prefer to manage loudness measurements externally.
Finally, Roon’s Audio Analysis can now be configured to use all of your CPU cores, and several stability issues related to analysis have been addressed.
Learn more in the Roon Knowledge Base
Dynamic range measures the difference in volume between the softest and loudest portions of a track or album. It is most useful when comparing different releases of the same material.
Roon 1.3 measures and displays information about the dynamic range of your tracks and albums. This will provide some much needed insight into what is going on. Roon’s Dynamic Range measurements are based on the R128’s “Loudness Range” value.
Learn more in the Roon Knowledge Base
Storage And Export Changes
Roon now features a full fledged file browser, that works on all platforms and across the network. This allows for a clean consistent experience on all platforms, whether you’re using an iPad to configure a hard drive on a headless Core, or exporting to a Remote running on your Mac or PC.
Organized Folders are no longer part of the product, and Watched Folders will simply be called Folders going forward.
iTunes importing has also been fully overhauled, as Roon will now simply import playlists from any iTunes XML it finds. Users that are already using the old iTunes functionality will be able to continue doing so.
Folders support a few new settings, too: you can choose whether or not to import iTunes content or .m3u playlists, and you can fine-tune the set of paths that are ignored when Roon scans directories. You can also re-point a folder to a new location easily if you happen to move your music library someplace else, instead of having to re-import the content.
Roon provides access a list of files that were skipped during import. This will provide some much needed transparency about files skipped because they were malformed, corrupt, unreadable, or of an unsupported format.
Export functionality has been redesigned from the ground up, getting some much needed attention now that it will be the only way Roon can organize your files on disk. Our new export functionality gives clear feedback on status and progress, handles multiple album editions properly, and exports more metadata fields.
Library Management Improvements
Expanded editing and grooming functionality is, of course, a big part of 1.3.
Our users have long lamented the fact that Roon didn’t allow editing of “links”–relationships between artists, tracks, compositions, artists, and composers in your library. This limitation has been addressed, which allows for all of those relationships to be edited manually.
Additionally, Roon now includes support for merging duplicate artists and compositions. At the same time, we’ve done serious work on the automatic merging algorithms to make this necessary less often.
Roon includes supports a few new file tags, including WORK, PART, and PERSONNEL, which allow for richer experiences when working with content that doesn’t match our metadata services.
Roon will detect and expose artwork or PDFs stored alongside your files and make them available to you. Our algorithm for finding and associating cover artwork with your albums has also been improved, and will do a better job of locating artwork when media files and artwork are not right next to each other.
Finally, 1.3 will allow for the configuration of “Import Settings”. This allows you to set global defaults for metadata preferences, import dates, genre handling, album version handling, and delimiters handling in file tags.
Audio Streaming Improvements
When using RAAT to stream audio, Roon now supports fine-tuning of grouped playback with a few new settings that allow you to micro-adjust time synchronization and take control of master clock selection, if desired. The algorithm for managing clock drift during grouped playback has been improved, and should tolerate situations with less well-behaved clock.
Based on your feedback, our Squeezebox support has been upgraded to include support for displays on VFD devices, and to support streaming in FLAC format, to help ease some network-related performance issues.
Roon API (BETA)
The Roon API will allow developers to enable:
Custom volume controls even if the device is not Roon Ready
Custom convenience switching/standby can be used even for devices is not Roon Ready
Display of now-playing data and transport controls
Lightweight hierarchical browsing
Plugin settings from Roon UI
Roon’s API is still in a pretty early state, but 1.3 contains support for these features and is suitable for experimentation.
We have several exciting integrations planned over the next few months using the API as a jumping off point, and look forward to expanding and improving the Roon API with your feedback. Please try it out and let us know!
Roon Optimized Core Kit (Coming Soon!)
Roon Optimized Core Kit (ROCK) enables you to easily build and configure turn-key Roon Core “appliances”, which will run a custom built, lightweight version of Linux called Roon OS.
Roon OS is fully configured from a web interface, and will be available to both hardware partners who want to build Roon Core products, as well as DIY’ers, who will be able to build high performance “Roon Box” appliances using off-the-shelf hardware.
We initially planned to release ROCK with Roon 1.3, but based on feedback from some of our users when discussing the idea, we became convinced that support for storing music on internal hard drives is a must-have feature.
This pushed the schedule back a little bit. ROCK is slated to enter alpha testing in the next few days, and will be released as soon as it is stable.
Odds and Ends
A number of screens have been fully redesigned, including:
- Zones Picker
- Playlist Browser
- Playlist Details
- Composer Details
- Composition Details
- Track Browser
- Composition Browser
- Tag Details
The experience of reconnecting to your Core should be smoother and faster on iOS and Android devices, and will feel less like an error while the connection is established.
Finally, lots of new documentation is live in our Knowledge Base.
- Seekbar no longer goes out of range due to incorrect track length
- Compilation icon now properly anchored top right in album thumbnail
- Time remaining always displayed in Queue
- Internet radio station image properly displays after transferring to other zone
- Play count no longer affected by pause
- Lyrics pop up uses track performer
- Phone: Focus description fixed only one item is shown
- Better handling of white text in review/bio expansion
- Artist Details: Missing headers for RelativeOf links resolved
- Analysis no longer gets stuck on 0 tracks in some cases
- Genres sorted on album edit screen
- Possible to fix track grouping for an album with ‘Duplicate’ status
- Internet Radio - Now playing track name no longer truncated
- Artist count no longer displays persistent “X of Y” count
- Using Shuffle and Repeat together works as expected
- Possible to play internet radio via hqplayer zone
- Easier to read blue “aka” links against light artist image background
- Bio rendered correctly at the end of paragraphs
- Long-press on pause button on the footer no longer loads queue screen
- Better detection of “exact match” album playlists
- Undo no longer breaks shuffle
- Signal path shows DSD to PCM conversion when ‘Convert to PCM’ is selected
- TIDAL albums no longer have unidentified status after ‘re-identification’ process.
- Issues merging items via remote resolved
- Looped queue: items not removed when jumping around in the queue
- Possible to play works split over multiple discs
- Track focus counts fixed
- Fixed missing “explicit” indicators on phone form factor
- Made inactive heart icons more clear
- Fixed inconsistencies when automatically extracting album versions
- Fixed some bugs when computing work durations.
- Fixed appearance of radio section on the queue screen when looping
- Fixed unlikely RAAT-related crash on very broken networks.
- Fixed broken “play from here” for playlists on phone form factor.
- Fix some situations with Linux installs failed to play AAC files
- “Resync Delay” now works properly for Roon Ready devices
- ORIGINALRELEASEDATE tag is working
- IPv6 Support
- storage: proper error shown on Windows when network share can’t be found
- zone picker properly displays grouped, unnamed zones on the zone picker
- “reset” button shown any time spreadsheet is filtered
- Added way to focus on duplicates for playlist items
- sound distortions when playing 128/256 DSD content with volume leveling ON resolved
- Generic volume leveling applied to radio stations
- Fixed a lot of little sorting related details
- Fixed storage crashes
- App preserves a picked sort order in case of redirecting from the discovery page
- Screensaver doesn’t show ‘Up Next’ section if queue screen wasn’t open
- Fix some obscure crashes related to bookmarks
- Export duplicates handles duplicates
- Playlist items sorting/filtering
- Warning added to the zone settings screen that preps people for DSD->PCM conversion
- Compositions editor won’t ask to save if no changes were made
- Queue display issue resolved
- Storage: .md5cache_* files ignored
- Better image sorting
- Updated support links
- Full Screen Now Playing: better treatment of work parts
- Copy files dialog: better copy
- Zone picker: hit area for play button is too big
- Image pasting added to profiles and internet radio stations on mobile
- Track browser: “group tracks” moved into the edit popup
- Long press “clear queue” clears now playing
- Issue picking up extra images in folder called “art” resolved
- UI hang when scrolling through merged items resolved
- Issue resolved transferring queue with TIDAL album from one zone to another
- ‘revert edits’ pop-up in the same order as the editor
- Master volume window graphical issues resolved
- Zone transfer: starts from the proper part when transferring the playback of the multipart work
- Search no longer returns deleted items
- Album/artist editor shortcut works on details page when zone isn’t selected
- “By This Artist” works as expected when album has no primary artist links
- Revert edits feature works for Compositions
- Compositions with no composers are set to “Unknown Composer”
- No longer possible to create an artist without name
- Work editor renamed to Compositions Editor
- Zone picker: long track titles no longer push volume controls
- Track browser: group tracks moved into the edit popup
- Album editor, revert edits: select all selects all fields
- Added a warning on the zone settings screen that preps people for DSD->PCM conversion
- Additional album images no longers shift as you browse
- Storage: proper error shown on Windows when network share can’t be found
- iTunes XML support issues resolved
- ipad: crash on wifi connect when looking for core resolved
- Copy: edit dialog no longer refers to “1 albums”
- Merging performers from View All screens closes selection bar
- Focus on storage location “cart” fixed
- More file path display fixes
- Version no loner extracted from TIDAL albums
- Display issues resolved for the artist name slider
- Zone picker improvements on mobile
- Crash resolved when trying to use focus with huge library
- Loading spinner when no drives to display resolved
- Album editor: higher resolution picture displayed
- ‘Primary Artists Links’ doesn’t reset after editing any other field
- Better icons on add menu album/performer links
- ‘primary artist links’ section populated for unidentified albums
- Work popup: better spacing
- Focus: list of composers doesn’t disappear during recalculations
- Credits editor looks better with 0 credits
- ‘Primary Artists Links’ alignment fixed
- “most played” album sorting fixes
- Crash when clicking storage options for DMF resolved
- playlists: treat better with the drop down
- mobile: crash when trying to select artist from ‘Top Result’ section
- Internet Radio playback issue resolved
- Storage: crash resolved for folders with no read rights
- Fixed a bug that caused volume leveling to be applied inconsistently around track transitions. Typical symptom was a “chirp” right around a gapless track boundary (no ticket)
- Fixed situations where implicit/explicit work/performer merges result in circular refs.
- Fixed a severe file-descriptor leak in Linux MP3/AAC decoders (no ticket)
- Fixed a migration issue that prevented “file” performers from getting merged with rovi performers in all cases
- When processing “frozen” clumps, do a better job at choosing the track numbering strategy
- Roon now always treats ARTIST as track artist even if it is also using it for album artist. This cleans up situations where tracks only have one ARTIST tag, wherein it could mean either, but having it mean both leads to better behavior.
- Fixed some really tricky cases in the performer/work merging engines related to equivalence. Should fix symptoms where a merge partially works (i.e. you still see 2 items, but they both navigate to the same place), or where un-merge is impossible.
- Fixed a deadlock that could happen when stopping playback. This lead to transport thread freezing and eventually timer threads piling up and causing a crash or OOM.
- Genres browser: selection bar shown when selecting genre on ‘view all’ page
- “Composed by” added to screensaver
- Linux: faster folder adding
- Linux: crashes after losing connection with network folder resolved
- WAV file importing issue resolved
- Fixed a crash that happened when shutting down WASAPI devices
- Fixed a crash that resulted from sample-rate switching against system output
- Subscribed to HQPlayer events properly
- Playback issues playing 192k to a device that goes up to 96k resolved
- Album details: genres navigation fixes
- Analysis hang resolved