Roon 1.8 user guide/manual?

New to Roon, just switched from Audirvana. Is there some sort of pdf document (or series of web pages) that goes step-by-step into the various functions, icons, options etc.? I need some sort of cohesive book to read, rather than stumbling from one discussion to the next. I don’t even know what is possible, and how the logic of Roon works. Thanks!


Hi @Daniel_Geiger ,
Try the Roon Help site, that should get you started.

1 Like

Thanks for the pointer. I saw that, but this more of an informercial, is too low on specifics. I need a manual, like a software manual.


Yeah, there’s stuff I know or get; then there’s stuff I don’t…get.

It’s a good idea, but nothing like this has been written yet…as far as I know.

I came from Audirvana as well. You’re right that the Roon model is different. Audirvana, especially on macOS, is optimized for local playback…typically laptop connected to a USB DAC. There’s a remote control app and some support for DLNA, but the primary use case is local playback.

Roon is the opposite. While it can masquerade as a drop-in replacement for Audirvana, it does not sound as good (if you’re sensitive to sound quality). Roon is a distributed model, with one “Core” per subscription and (often) many Outputs, Controls, and Displays. Roon relies heavily on the local network, so that needs to be well sorted. Even in the age of Wi-Fi 6, wired Ethernet is preferred for Core and Outputs.

The first big “ah ha” moment for me came when I read the kb article on Sound Quality. It does a good job of explaining some of the Roon philosophy and why it’s different from other players, like Audirvana.

Other players tend to be more tightly coupled to the file organization and embedded metadata used in local libraries. If you have a local library, Roon will try to marry up what it finds in your local files to its online metadata service. Albums that are recognized will be presented with a metadata overlay that is enriched from Roon’s cloud service. For example, you’ll have enhanced licensed album art, more complete and searchable credits, etc.

Roon has an album-centric view of your library, including your favorite(ed) streaming content from TIDAL and Qobuz. It does not deal with partial albums as nicely as Audirvana and JRiver. Folks who can adapt their thinking to an album-centric view tend to be happier with how Roon handles navigating the library.

Roon tries to play with “everything”, but not everything enjoys the highest level of integration. So, don’t expect the same integration from AirPlay and Chromecast Outputs as you do from devices that support Roon’s own R.A.A.T. protocol.

If you want the best performance and convenience from Roon, arguably the best way to go is to bite the bullet and buy a Nucleus/Nucleus+ or build a ROCK and connect it to your router or switch with a wired (or fiber) Ethernet.

There are loads of endpoint devices that you can buy or build that support R.A.A.T. You can scan the Roon Partners page to find some devices that are Roon Ready certified (applies only to networked Outputs). Many folks are quite content with a Raspberry Pi running RoPieee or VitOS and playing out to a USB DAC.

The folks over at Pi 2 Design have some interesting high-performance DIY options. HiFiBerry and Allo are also interesting sources for inexpensive or DIY Output options. There are “Digi” boards with S/PDIF outputs, “DAC” boards, and even “AMP” boards for directly driving passive speakers.

If you have more upscale aspirations, there are plenty of Roon Ready certified options to explore. Just be aware that some manufacturers claim “Roon Ready” when they are not quite there yet. Verify status before you buy, or you may end up with a device that you can’t use for months (or years) with Roon.

So, this is not a manual, but I’m hoping it saves you from some of the stumbling around in the dark that I experienced when I started using Roon after being a happy Audirvana customer for years.


Oh, and welcome. :slight_smile: This is a good community. If you have questions, someone here will have answers.


Dear David,

thank so much for taking the time. It will take a bit to digest it all. My set up is with an older MacPro 2013 soupcan running OS Catalina as the core with local FLAC library (no streaming) going hardwire to an integrated amp for 2.1 stereo. Then also a MacBook Pro with Dragonfly cobalt and Dan Clark Ether 2 as a satellite using an Eero mesh network. I have to check on sound quality between Audirvana and Roon, did not think about this. I hear difference e.g. between DF red and cobalt, but have never heard a difference between cables. My primary, preferred listening is from vinyl; digital is just a secondary add-on.
I also do airdrop on secondary system, but that typically from my iPhone running Flacbox.

1 Like

The lack of formal documentation is one reason there is so much buggy software these days.

Back in the old days, when other sets of eyes went through all the features/functions to explain how to use them there were frequent “hey, wait a minute, something’s not right” moments.

Yeah, QA is supposed to do that now. Somehow it doesn’t seem to work as well.


If your MacPro has a wired network connection and an SSD for the O/S, it should make a fine Core. Roon Server is the prefered software since it runs in the background and can easily be configured to launch automatically after login. Music also continues to play when you exit the UI, which can be a bit of a memory hog on macOS.

Going USB out of your MacPro into your integrated amp will work, but sound quality will be slightly lower than Audirvana with the same arrangement. If the difference is enough to notice, you can watch my video on how to build a silent VitOS endpoint:

Same sort of thing can be done with RoPieee as well.

I’d suggest installing Roon Bridge on your MBP. If you’re an album listener like me, you can queue up some music and then quit the UI. Roon Bridge run in the background and handles streaming from Core to your Cobalt DAC. Some find that sound quality is a little nicer this way too.

I’m not currently a vinyl listener, but I’m looking forward to Roon adding support for input zones so that vinyl playback becomes possible with Roon. Some folks (in the Tinkering section of the community) have this working already.

If I decide to add vinyl back to my system, I’ll make archival recordings of my records…high-rez files with no RIAA equalization. Just what’s in the grooves, CHANNEL D Pure Vinyl style. I’ll then explore using Roon’s convolution engine to apply RIAA eq during playback. I think that would be pretty cool, but for it to work, we need a way to associate a DSP preset with a tag. Probably something that will be part of a future release. :slight_smile:

The Roon Remote app can function as an Output. Bit-perfect playback is possible under iOS, so you may be in luck there. A Raspberry Pi with a DAC HAT may be a more convenient solution at some point since it doesn’t need charging. :slight_smile:

I have a pair of JBL 305P powered monitors that are connected via 2m XLR cables to this little endpoint:

This is a simple Ethernet in, balanced analog audio out device that runs Roon Bridge. Sounds great and is probably the most used Roon Output in our house. I believe this is the same DAC chip that’s used in the Bluesound Node 2i, but this is (IMHO) a better implementation…plus you have the possibility of using balanced outputs.

I hope this gives you a few more ideas on how to proceed with integrating Roon with your various systems. Don’t forget to have fun with it. Get the remote app installed on everyone’s phones and tablets in your house and create profiles for them so that they can join in the fun. Cheers.


Hi David,

thanks again for all that info. The MacPro runs on SSD HD, and is a completely dedicated music server. Nothing else runs on it. I did some comparison between Audirvana and Roon with direct connection to my integrated, and cannot hear an iota of difference. I listened for attack on sharp bass notes, richness of cymbals, and soundstage, and no difference. The DAC in the integrated is pretty basic, so may keep it in mind when upgrading other hardware. I am a bit closer to the Amir camp, so unless it is obviously audible, it is likely suggestive psychology. But to each their own, it’s just for fun anyway.

Re Roon Bridge, I tried to figure out what that is with KB and forum threads, and still am completely confused between Bridge and Remote. So installed Bridge on the laptop anyway, try to open it, but nothing opens. ??? More confused than ever.

Distributed vinyl listening is not on my list, but good to know what this is possible even if it requires a bit more fiddling.

I used to have Pure Vinyl, but it stopped working with later Mac OS, so currently use Vinyl Studio. I had a Vincent PHO701 with ADC built in, but recently upgraded to an EAT e-glow petite phono stage and added a Focusrite Scarlet 2i2 ADC. The point for me is rather being able to carry my vinyl when I travel. iPhone with DF cobalt and Etymotics ER4 IEM is not the pinnacle of audiophile rendition, so don’t worry too much about master quality. If I want vinyl quality, I listen to vinyl. I like the retro routine. I also do some large format photography with sheet film, and enjoy the slow process.

I installed the roon (remote?) app on my iPhone, and it works well. Still keep Flacbox on there for on the road listening.

Read the Help Centre Architecture article.

Roon Bridge is an Output only. There is nothing to open with Roon Bridge as it has no Control function. It just enables a device as an Output which can then be selected as a Zone by a Control.

Roon Remote is a full Roon installation that uses a Core on a different machine. It operates as a Control and an Output.

1 Like

With Roon remote, I could already output on my laptop. So Roon Bridge seems not to be required to play something on a remote device. So what is the difference between listening just with Remote or with Bridge? Is there anything to set up in Remote to activate (?), loop in, whatever the term, the Bridge? I read the architecture description several times, and I cannot fathom how it fits together.

Take a look at the article on software packages, that explains what components are in each package

It shows that Roon Bridge has only the Output component, while Roon Remote has both Control and Output components.

1 Like

Roon Bridge is nearly entirely pointless on your laptop if you are running a Roon Remote. The only purpose would be to retain the laptop as an Output if, for some reason, you didn’t want to start up the Remote.

Hi Carl, around 2 years ago someone (I’ve forgotten the poster/topic) produced a pdf of the user manual which, even though now out out of date, still is very useful for browsing and basic Roon functionality. I have a copy saved but am not sure how to get it posted here, unless it’s still available somewhere in the community posts.

1 Like

The post with the link is here but be warned - it is indeed somewhat out of date.

1 Like

Good luck finding anything. I’ve never found it. You have to keep experimenting and ask questions here. I’ve found the community members much more friendly than the average forum. Most forums have smarty-pants who try to make you feel dumb because you asked a question and didn’t look at every post in the forum before you asked it. The folks here are happy to help.

1 Like

I could have certainly done with that when I signed up years ago when even negotiating the Roon Community did not initially appear straightforward either. For example, thanks to another user, I’ve only just learned how reorder multiple discs in a single album if they are not sorted by Roon in the correct sequence.

So yes, a downloadable PDF manual to get you going would be really helpful for those us of less intuitively endowed with IT skills…

I can’t stand trying to fix album ordering in Roon. I always drag it out of the library. Clean the library from the settings. Fix any disc numbering with metadata tools, sort out folder structuring and such… then drop in back into roon and see how it likes it.

This is a good example where a published manual by Roon would so help smooth operations. I did not know you could even drag an album out of the library. How do you do this and where does it go? This is a fascinating development which might previously have saved me hours when I was going round in circles!