Roon 1.8 Problems Part 1: The Version Problem

Roon 1.8 Problems Part 1: The Version Problem

I. Introduction

In the week since Roon 1.8 was rolled out, I have had occasion to use and experiment with it quite a lot. Unfortunately, I have uncovered at least 2 major problems that need to be addressed. For convenience sake, I will deal with these in separate posts.
It should be noted that these are problems that need verification on other computers. However, I am reasonably confident that they will appear elsewhere.
For the record, the relevant parts of my system consist of a Nucleus Plus with an attached 8 TB hard drive and an HDMI connection to my Bryston SP-4 surround sound processor.

II. The Problem

I was alerted to a potential problem when I ripped both the SACD surround layer and the CD layer from a Bis recording of Prokofiev’s Symphony No. 5/Scythian Suite. To my surprise, when I went Browse > Home > Added, only one version was listed. Furthermore, there was no indication of which version this was but it was quickly determined that it was the SACD 5.0 version.

This let me to wonder if the rip of the CD version was even in Roon. Therefore, I went into Composers > Prokofiev > Composition > Symphony No. 5 and found that there were 7 recordings including the SACD version of the Prokofiev but no CD version. Furthermore, there was no Version tab (I believe there was in Roon 1.7 but I rarely had the My Stuff Settings > General > Show hidden tracks and albums set to NO).

During this search, I noticed two other Roon 1.8 problems: (1) The recordings could no longer be sorted by Conductor, a very useful feature that was in Roon1.7 and (2) There was no indication of Version (in contrast to the corresponding Overview option).

As a cross-check, I looked in Composers > Prokofiev > Overview and the CD version did show up. Therefore, the CD version is in Roon 1.8 but does not display properly as a separate version.
I did repeat this process for several other discs where I have ripped both the CD and SACD layer and the same thing always occurred.

Next, I checked the My Stuff Settings > General > Show hidden tracks and albums. This setting had been changed to NO in the upgrade so I changed it back to YES and rebooted. Alas, this did not work in spite of several reboots.

After some experimentation I found a very clumsy workaround. If I tried to reidentify the album and went back to the basic file data, the CD version of the Prokofiev album would reappear in both Browse > Home > Added and Composers > Prokofiev > Composition > Symphony No. 5 (but still with no Version indication as in Composers > Prokofiev > Overview).

This “workaround” poses a number of problems:

  1. I have hundreds of these types of discs, so it would be a very labour intensive job to identify and re-edit the Roon tags.
  2. In doing so, I would lose the considerable advantage of the extra data and information provided by having Roon identify an album.
  3. In the few cases where I have tried this, sometimes I cannot get the metadata to match for the 2 versions.

An additional problem that cropped up during my experiments, was that Roon did not necessarily pick the best version. For example, I have a number of RCA Living Stereo and Mercury Living Presence discs that have a SACD 3.0 layer, a SACD 2.0 layer and a CD layer. Roon 1.8 seemed to always pick the SACD 2.0 version as the sole version to display.

There are several conclusions and observations that I have reached:

  1. Probably 99% of the Version problems occur with SACDs with a CD layer or multiple SACD layers (e.g. 5.1 and 2.0, etc.) no matter what the Genre. (It can also occur on rare occasions when both CDs and DVD Audio or Blu-ray Audio discs are ripped from the same package).

  2. Also, for all Genres, the inability to display all versions as well as identifying the appropriate version for each album in the Browse > Home > Added screen is a problem. Indeed, similar to the Artist or Composer Overview screen, the Version should be displayed for all items added even if there is only one version. Users need to be confident that their items have been added to the Roon database as well as which version(s) of those items has been added.

  3. Searching Composers > [Composer e.g. Prokofiev] > Composition > [e.g. Symphony No. 5] would mainly apply to the Classical and Soundtrack genres where the Composer/Composition relationship is of paramount importance. This is an extraordinarily useful and indeed absolutely essential search and display function for Classical music in particular (but also for my substantial Soundtracks collection as well) that needs to be restored to its former functionality. Again, users need to be confident that each version has been added to the Roon database and they need to be able to readily identify the appropriate version. The Composer >Overview search does this and so should the Composer > Composition search. Restoring the sort by Conductor would be a nice bonus. All this should be possible given that it existed in Roon 1.7.

  4. It should be noted that there are other types of versions that users might be interest in and that should be displayed. For example, a number of Japanese discs are of the SHM-CD or UHQCD variety and should have those versions displayed. Indeed, anything the user wishes to put within the types of bracket that can be specified in Setting > Library > Import settings > Album version settings (a very clever and useful feature, by the way).

  5. Roon is a brilliantly conceived and flexible product. However, it would truly be a great shame to lose that wonderful functionality and flexibility as a result of an upgrade, especially when that functionality and flexibility existed in the previous version.

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