Roon on the go? Maybe the next best thing


#1

Hi Everyone,

Since discovering Roon, now nearly 2 years ago, I’ve constantly been a bit stumped at how to be able to enjoy my largish collection on the go, ie using devices which have not been on the same wifi network as Roon.

I think I’ve cracked a stop gap solution at least until a proper Roon mobile experience comes along.

I’ve always been a bit “meh” when it comes to streaming, as I really like to acquire the files themselves, and not be at the mercy of a streaming service as to what they want to allow me to access and how. So this left me in a quandary as my collection now runs to around 6tb of normal flac file albums (i call 16/44 to 24/48, normal, as they can be processed “normally” by android). This amount of data precludes portable devices - my largest device has 2 microsd slots thus 1tb of data onboard max, and it’s limited to that one device, and onboard storage is cumbersome, lots of toing and froing from pc to cards, trying to track what’s on them, avoiding duplicates, etc.

I thought there must be a better way…

A couple of months ago I was checking out pricing of online cloud storage and discovered that the price was tumbling. A 2tb Dropbox account costs around 20€ a month, and now Google is rolling out One with 2tb for 10usd a month or something, at least in the States. Even unlimited storage plans are becoming possible but afaik only available for “corporate” group memberships. Still… it’s enticing.

This online boon in storage got me thinking so I started to check out also what the market had to offer in terms of Cloud players, and found something called Cloud Player of all things, which is a spin off of Double Twist, one of the veterans of music players for Android at least. It works with Dropbox, Box, Google and Onedrive.

I took the plunge and enrolled in a 2tb plan with Dropbox and bought Cloud Player.

I uploaded a few hundred albums to Drop Box and linked my Drop Box account with Cloud Player and voila… the result is a clean, aesthetic and ergonomically sound personal streaming service. Here’s a screen print. It’s entirely configurable in terms of how many tiles you wish to view, columns and such. Nice!

It works extremely well also, and will cast to chromecast.

Now, that could be the end of my story, however, it’s where the fun starts as I can integrate my Drop Box activities, automatically into Roon.

By configuring the Drop Box folder on my PC to a folder on a large external harddrive where my Roon-pointed music files are located, I can also point Roon to the Dropbox folder.

Having done this, I can drag and drop files to the Drop Box folder from other Roon-pointed folders. Using Focus within Roon (to show folder contents), I can have automatically updated bookmarks within Roon which indicate for example “Added To Drop Box”, or “Not for Dropbox”, or “Not listened to yet, not on Dropbox”, etc.

The beauty of this is that I can link the DB account to any other device I have, ie DAP, 2 other phones, and Tablets, etc.

The icing on the cake is that Cloudplayer allows for offline storage on any device.

It’s pretty nice to have a living collection on the go which is tied to my “master” Roon collection. I know I’m limited to 2tb, so far, on the go, but it’s a living thing 2tb is a heck of a lot of sorted, good music to have access to all the time. I will probably add a Google One account to the system when it becomes available here. I even have a OneDrive “free” TB with Office365 I haven’t tapped into yet.

There, that’s about the size of it. I’m a happy camper until Roon-mobile comes along. I just hope it will allow for streaming from cloud services too :slight_smile:


Roon on the go - make it work on the road!
(Mike Ormerod) #2

I use Plex to achieve the same thing but the big advantage is all my music stays in my house :slight_smile:


(Steef de Bruijn) #3

@Mike_Ormerod Nice trick, Why did I not think of this earlier…


#4

Nice. How much does it cos? Is the player interface OK to use for music? I use plex locally for videos, not for music, and not outside the home network.

Is it laggy, or choppy? Am curious…

I like the Cloud streaming as it IS independent to my home setup, but I can’t then access all music when I’m out.


(Mike Ormerod) #5

Plex Pass lifetime is $120, or $40 per year. Download the mobile app and have a look but yeah I think it’s great. I’ve not had issues with it being choppy, even over cellular.


#6

I bought a sony walkman and filled a 256gb micro sd card with high res files. No streaming required :wink:.


#7

And now you can use a 400 Gb microsd card and never have to worry about network issues. :smiley:


#8

I have a couple of those too :slight_smile:


#9

I will investigate further. I do use plex for videos within my wifi network. I will give it a go for music locally and see how it fairs.


#10

I have just added my music to plex, I have not used in this way. I am not really sure if i will use it though. Probably just tidal stuff when out, but, I do like to tinker.


#11

@Mike_Ormerod

I took on a monthly subscription to plex pass. It’s doing its thing now. Definitely a worthy addition to my arsenal of music playing gear. I had really bypassed plex as a tool for music, having Roon for the home network, and the yearly thing wasn’t doing it for me with plex, but now i see there’s a monthly option, it’s a no brainer to try it out :slight_smile:
Ill keep my Dropbox thing going, as it means I have a great store independent to outages in my home (both internet router, and electrics). But the plex pass opens up some great options! Cheers!


(Gary Thomas) #12

I also have Plex to access my music when away from my network. I’ve found, though, it will resample the stream to a lower resolution and I’ve had issues with dropouts … app crashes … unable to connect. I have a hi-res and a low-res (already converted music to m4a) libraries and only stream low res due to above issues. Even when remote and on PC it will play a track and stall. So it is a solution but, can be frustrating when it fails. I purchased a lifetime plex pass so hoping the experience will improve over time. Today, I carry a large portable drive with me and listen mostly via JRiver (on PC). Given up on phone audio since most don’t have a headphone jack anymore.


(Paul Williams) #13

Most phones do have a headphone jack! Apple is not the only company that makes phones. Most phone companies have focused on upgrading the camera capabilities rather than audio. However, LG is an exception. Some LG phones come with a high quality DAC and expandable memory which allows you to carry quite a bit of music with you, The DAC on these LG phones is probably better than on most laptops.


#14

Hi Gary.

I was using Plex to stream today almost exclusively and was pretty pleased with the results. I was able to stream fairly consistently. There were a couple of times that tracks cut out and plex moved on to the next one, and I was noticing quite a long pause (like a few seconds) between tracks, but nothing major.

A couple of times it seemed to lose touch with home pc, so to speak and I had to go to the home page and reselect Music from the main menu.

Overall, quite a good system. I wasn’t frustrated to keep needing to switch to my OP Dropbox solution, but i can definitely see

I have moved about 700 albums so far into a Plex-Pointed folder on my main 8tb music HDD.

Will see how responsive things remain as this gets increased significantly.

I can imagine if the internet gets choppy then it can really bug the system. Im running a fairly consitent 20-22mbps on down and upload.

Ref the converting to lower res, I found a check box in the settings of the app which seems to maintain flac quality… SETTINGS->QUALITY->MUSIC QUALITY->ORIGINAL.

It was set previous to 192 as default, and I really noticed the difference, quite surprisingly to me as I’m cloth eared when it comes to bitrates above 160, lol.

Definitely pleased so far overall, but I’m still going to keep the Dropbox for now at least.

PS… Ref phones with jacks, Paul is right. LG make some great Phones for audio with jacks, V20 and V30 are standouts.I was really tempted to try a V20 for kicks tbh. I have a Note 8 Samsung, which is proving to be really very good for headphone listening. I’m guiltily using it more and more in preference over my Android based Fiio X7ii simply because the audio is that good and the screen is too lush ignore over the low res (640x800) of the X7ii, navigating is a breeze with the Note and clunky at best with the X7ii sadly.


(Andrew J Shepherd) #15

My NAS has a Plex server app. Just point it at the same watched folder as Roon, yes? Plex does not modify the file/folder contents, does it?

AJ


#16

Now I am stuck. Plex is now not allowing me to connect remotely. I’ve just wasted 2hrs of frustrating fiddling with ports and crap. It was working yesterday fine, now, it’s steadfastedly refusing to connect. Grrrr…Ill try and get some forum support over at plex, but if it’s a repeating issue which needs regular fudging, this will soon be on my LTS list (life’s too short).

Back to plan A for now. In hindsight, ignorance really is bliss.


#17

@WiWavelength i’m fairly sure plex doesn’t mess about with the files. But there’re probably people more qualified that I to respond :slight_smile:


(STEPHANE L) #18

I have used Cloudplayer, linking it to my Google Drive account. The UI is nice (I especially like the search functions that filters album in the grid as you type).

A few issues I had:

  • initial scanning and update process with Google drive is extremely long
  • it does not use artwork stored in music folders. You need to embed artwork in the music files, which I do not do. Editing artwork in cloud player is possible but you lose your changes if you rescan completely your library (or switch phones).

#19

Ok Stephane, yes the scanning is a PITA . It takes an age :slight_smile: - but once it’s done, it’s done, so to speak.

Ref embedded artwork, i know what you mean. I use Foobar to batch embed Cover.jpg or Folder.jpg to all tracks. (right click multiple files then select Tagging and Batch Attach Pictures). Works like a charm.

Ideally the Roon export feature would do this correctly, but Roon in it’s infinite wisdom decided to make the embedded album labeled as “EMBEDDED ART PICTURE NUMBER 554” or somesuch stupidity, so it’s not recognised by many players.

Hope this helps


#20

Im having real problems getting consistency with Plex, to connect remotely to my desktop pc. Ive reinstalled the programs throughout and it’s working again, but it’s no longer as promising as i thought. If I can get some stability then Ill continue to use it but for now, the jury’s out.