Roon does not charge a licence fee to the manufacturers for its use

Not just that: it’d also change the relationship.

In RoonLabs’ case, it’s likely the more of the knife you hold, the better for your users. If the manufacturers became customers, then you could conceivably imagine that things like the recent end to shoddy implementations fracas would’ve been even more difficult to make happen.

Regardless, there’s absolutely no upside to it at all, because one of the things Roon sell is interoperability: as long as it’s Roon Ready, your experience will be the same no matter what your endpoint.

If you weren’t in desperate need for cash, which Roon isn’t, how extraordinarily stupid would you have to be to risk adding friction to your ability to deliver on a core feature ?

Having had a business that sold embedded tech to consumer electronics companies, I know from experience that in general, they have to have massive incentive to increase the material cost of their products by adding new licensed tech that cost $s - and for them to do this, it has to be a consumer “must have” and must provide value for all of their customers. But Roon is not a “must have” and many of their customers will never use it so paying to license tech for a subset of their customers is very unlikely. Even if free, it takes tech resources, time and effort to implement Roon’s code so that already represents a significant commitment that CE companies do not make lightly. But I think it highly unlikely that Roon could get CE companies to pay to integrate their tech or if they did, the number that did would be very very small and that would provide a massive hinderance to Roon adoption and license revenue from end consumers.

1 Like

I agree with you Craig, but it makes it all the more extraordinary that MQA was able to get consumer electronics companies to do exactly that - to pay MQA a licence fee to be able to integrate their technology, despite the fact that, at least initially, the consumer demand was limited at best.

I really wonder how many companies actualliy did pay for an MQA license.

Based on nothing, I think that often, if not always, the 1st year license has been offered for free, and that the following years have been waived due to the enormous success (sarcastic) of MQA.

1 Like

You may be correct that it was not a lot in terms of a direct licence fee. Certainly the early financials of MQA Inc. show that it wasn’t a money-spinner by a long stretch. However, there is still the set-up and integration time required, based solely on the fact that one of the least relevant streaming companies was on-board.

I don’t want this to turn into a commentary of MQA, but I thought it was interesting given the topic being discussed.

1 Like

The typical way you do this is to find one or two marquis companies who want some unique differentiation and who will do it for free (or you even pay them if you have to) and then use them to try leverage others to move and you keep working your way down the food chain until you get to the run-of the-mill products and it takes years and years for this to happen with most new tech. Anyone who is a follower (after the marquis companies) pay… MQA, however, is still niche like Roon. Once you start seeing MQA in your run of the mill A/V receiver then it has widespread adoption. Roon is still also a long way from wide-scale adoption.

1 Like

When Tidal started offering MQA music at no additional cost (i.e. free) to HiFi subscription users, we received a lot of requests from users to have MQA supported.

We supported MQA because this is the Hi-Res format chosen by Tidal.

If you read the internet, it’s easy to get the impression that everybody hates MQA. The fact is a lot of users want to listen to freely accessible music and play [decode] them in [to] the best quality, no matter what.

We did not get MQA license for free or waived. I seriously doubt any manufacturer did.

1 Like

Marketing and easily accessible content plus a very healthy set of rags telling consumers this is the only way to listen to music.

Marketing - I mean Roon doesn’t have anyone on staff who has been awarded the Prince Philip Medal from the Royal Academy of Engineering as far as I know. Bob must know what he’s talking about.

Easily Accessible - It cannot be denied that Tidal is driving the interest in MQA. Heck I actually dislike, strongly, MQA but because of Tidal I plan on getting a MQA capable DAC at some point. Dogs and cats. Living in harmony. It’s crazy!

The “audiophile press” rags - These are the same people who told you that the only way your hifi achieves it’s ultimate fidelity is to use a green pen and color the edge of your CD. These same people now say you cannot do better than MQA. I never bought the green pen. I might end-up buying MQA as, because of Tidal, it seems like the green pen is going to be a requirement this time.

But, getting back on topic of the original thread. Not everything is, or should be, a money grab. Sometimes you make a heck of a lot more money by staying relevant and playing the long game. Roon stays relevant if it keeps adding Roon Ready devices. Keep the entry for that as easy as possible and we all benefit.

1 Like

Imagine the licencing Roon could charge if it had folder view :stuck_out_tongue:

I’d say Roon is a must have in the higher end of the niche.

I wonder if this is why we 're not seeing Roon integrated on the cheaper end of the spectrum. DiY options aside, what’s the cheapest endpoint ? The bluesound stuff ?

Very interesting discussion, thanks for the link @Xekomi

I often wonder if one day my tongue will get stuck in my cheek :smiling_imp::smiling_imp::smiling_imp:

1 Like

It is funny… seems like you could make a (very small) killing (for a while until you got completed out) selling finished RPi based endpoints with meh DACs for $400. Make some snake oil claims about how your power supplies are blessed by both shamans and rabbis.

In all seriousness, though, it is surprising to me that there isn’t a Schiit endpoint or other budget way in to Roon hardware without assembling a bunch of stuff. Same kind of go’s for nucleus - feels like someone could create a competitor at a lower price based on ROCK. But this is not my line of work.


Yes and no. There are a number of options from “proper” manufacturers that do just that (the Bryston BDPi is one example, it’s a RasPi with a HifiBerry hat, a screen, and a nice PSU, in a nice case with the appropriate warranty and retail markup (so over $1000).

Once you’ve gone through the expenses to make that happen, I’m not sure how much you make.

This said, there’s definitely space for a good industrial designer to make nice looking cases for the various Raspberry options, alongside easy to follow guides on how to snap 'em together. Sell case + a pre-burnt card, kick back the OS maker, and you probably have a business. The downside is you’re then in a business relationship with audiophiles, something I wouldn’t wish on my worst enemy.

I’m surprised as well. I’d wager Roon Ready-ness takes time and money. I’m even more surprised that the more progressive brands, let’s say Shiit and JDS Labs haven’t gotten in the nice Pi case business, and I’d guess there’s probably a very good reason to that.

You do have a few pre-built options (@ALLO_audio_boards and @Orchard_Audio come to mind), but the industrial design seems like the work of spastic two year olds, and the websites that sell them the endeavour of the four year old, on the spectrum, older brother. Clearly, nobody explained to whomever did those that normal people don’t know the difference between Volumio and DietPi, and, as they should, don’t care.

You’d need to licence the OS / rights to RoonServer from RoonLabs. Some have straight-up distributed ROCK illegally, and some (SGC and more recently Mytek come to mind, but there are others) have provided legal Roon Server options. They’re open to it, and it was one of the ideas behind ROCK.

I sell one for $549, with an amazing DAC.

15 posts were merged into an existing topic: Orchard Audio PecanPi® DAC is Now Roon Tested

Manufacturers do not need Roon, but Roon does indeed need the Manufactures, so I fail to see why w manufacturer would want to pay extra for something they don’t need, or why Roon would want to disenfranchise manufacturers by charging a licensing fee. NAD obviously doesn’t think Roon is a necessity, or they would have done what is necessary to get the M33 and a couple of other models certified as Rood Ready. PS Audio doesn’t think Roon is necessary in upcoming product. They’ve already announce their upcoming streamer will not have Roon. And, the number of Roon Ready models from all manufacturers pales in comparison to all models available. If Roon tried to charge a licensing fee, they would be shooting themselves in the foot. Believe me, if Roon thought that a licensing fee would be beneficial to them, they would already be doing it.

…or maybe you are being impatient and jumping to incorrect conclusions. Here is an email and screenshot from NAD showing M33 being Roon Ready:

and here is the M33 on our NAD page:

That makes sense since their founder has publically stated that they are making a competing product to Roon… Although I’ve not heard any more news on that front for a while now (year+). Maybe they are getting close?

I stand by what I said. The M33 was introduced in March 2020. If it takes them thirteen months to get a model certified, especially a high end model, then they must not think it a necessity. A benefit? Yes. A necessity? No. One reason I have eliminated that model from my proposed upgrade path.

I see that the M17 is Roon Ready, and then when I click on the link leading to that device it shows that it’s not sold anymore. What about the M17 V2?