I’ll be 87 next month, am now a widower living alone, so ROON and my interest in Audio & Video is an important part of my life. Starting as a pre-teen with an Edison player in the attic, this hobby has evolved into a rather nice set of components which can keep me busy and occupied during the day and entertain me with A/V at night.
My main music focus is on classics, all genre, but with a particular love of Chamber and Baroque & Early fare. But the classics can pose many frustrating problems for ROON with some items only partially or incorrectly recognized so considerable editing can be needed, even track by track. The software merchants complicate the scene by reissue of older material into new sets with the same boring cover for many albums so these require net searching to find the original albums with their colourful covers. At times this search fails so the challenge is to create a unique one using Microsoft Publisher. In this ROON evolves into a creative art pursuit.
Next Roon meets the organizational urge. I find the usual tags allocated to classical music too complex and confusing so have evolved a simpler one to suit my needs. This requires each new album to have these tags associated, something which was very tedious in the first days that the collection was assembled to hard drive, but is now routine for additions. I have used the “Album Title” mode of album display to help sort albums featuring the works of a single composer by editing, if needed, the title so the surname of that composer features first. This puts all the works of single albums of Bach, Beethoven etc together. The albums with many composers present have the leading header “Various” followed by the album title which the ROON search function can quickly find. Less successful is the search engine at finding works buried in these mixed albums but hopefully that will improve over time.
One of the big attractions of Roon is all the linked data, particularly to identified albums. However not all albums have associated commentary but more can be added. Net searches can reveal reviews on the album and info on the artists and composer which can be collated into a pdf file and added via Windows explorer. It will then display in ROON, all of which expands interests beyond music into creative literature.
Associated with all this is the fascination of the technology which yields high quality music reproduction. It has been fun to route the music around the house so that now I can listen to high quality music reproduction, controlled remotely by (irritating) iPads at any one of 4 headphone stations and other numerous speaker outlets. As I’ve posted before I actually have reached the end point and see no significant improvement is possible with different hardware, particularly with these old ears which now miss the high frequencies. This is good for the budget but a bit disappointing that the hunt for Audio Nirvana is over as experimenting with new audio toys is fun, even if it only yields moves sideways rather than forward. But of course ROON demands good PC hardware so there is always room for improvement there.
Finally ROON taps into the collecting urge which has resulted in a count of over 25,000 here. The uninitiated mutter about how extravagant and unnecessary a big music library is, particularly when listening to it all an impossibility. But is the same criticism levelled at those with large book libraries? Are the owners criticized for not reading them all? Yes, I’m guilty of owning multiple versions of the same work but each expresses a different artistic interpretation of what the composer created and as such are unique. One of the drawbacks of a home music collection can be a fixation on how a particular favoured artist plays a certain work so that the efforts of another artist, which are different, are not appreciated. Having more that one performance of a work broadens the music appreciation and avoids such fixation. That is my excuse anyway and I’ll stick to it!!
So there we have it, ROON meets the needs of the audiophile, the collector, the artistic and literary aspirations of the amateur and finally gives the emotive satisfaction that music can yield. What better and more engaging hobby is there? So it is now time to reset the program to Shuffle and guess what musical gem is playing.