Roon seems to require a lot of work

Hi, this is my first post - having used Roon for a short time only (a month or so), basically since Sonos ruined their software and I decided to do something about it - with Roon included as an element.

I didn’t know Roon other than by name before, wasn’t sure what it was. But having tried it out and become a daily user of it, I feel that it is a much bigger product, delivering a much greater experience than I could have imagined.

However, I see a number of typical problems. Also older posts describing the same but always with a reply that sort of fixes the problem. So I wonder if I am the only one experiencing such as:

  • After a rescan, forced or automatic, some albums do not show up in the Added part of Recent Activity on the front page - but they are in the collection anyway, I just need to search for them.
  • Many, many albums do not cross-link in the system, meaning that they are not shown on the pages for the composers, for instance, and it takes a number of strange activities to bring some of them in place - even though it doesn’t work for all of them. Activities such as removing the composer from an “Ensamble” role of the album, or changing the original file’s compuser name from “First-name Last-name (born - dead)” to just the name, or adding the composer as a “Primary Artist Link” on the album - or whatever change can work for the individual album, which is not the same each time.
  • Albums are often split into several smaller albums when being scanned, resulting in, e.g., 3, 4 or even more albums that I then have to combine into one. Albums with multible CDs are almost never recognized as such but will need to be combined by me manually (with hundreds of those it actually requires a serious amount of work).
  • Many albums have been equipped with extreme amounts of credits - several hundreds - including lots of composers, so that they show up in the lists of composers who had nothing to do with them.
  • There is often somewhat of a mess in the metadata, which doesn’t follow a particular style - meaning that I must adjust the metadata for each and every of thousands of albums.

Well, some additional problems have been seen, not the least about links to artists not being available when updating metadata for an album, but I have learned to just add an album from Tidal first, then things work with my own collection afterwards (quite silly concept, if you ask me). Other problems I also found solutions for, and a couple of smaller things do not matter in real life.

I have, so far, something like 50,000 files in the library most of them FLAC in CD quality. I am still ripping, so about 5,000 or so additional files will be added, and I am additionally replacing those maybe 10,000 MP3 files still left with FLACs. This has been, as the third incarnation of the setup, placed on an ROCK, consisting of an Intel NUC with i3 processor (2 cores/4 threads),16 GB RAM and a 500 GB SSD - the files are on a Synology 218 NAS, connected through a 1 Gb network cable and switch.

I hear all kinds of music, but according to the Roon statistics (which is based on somewhat wrong metadata about styles) more than half is classical, a lot being new age, avant-garde, easy listening, and progressive rock - and even some contemporary pop/rock. To this I can add that I have music from all over the world, some of it from local record companies, and Roon is definitely better at recognizing the mainstream American or UK records than most others.

In general, speeds are good all over, but at rare occasions there is a small delay or slow-down in the user interface. Not sure what causes it, but after a couple of minutes everything is good again. Since I moved to the ROCK, rescans are not affecting performance, and neither are adding files to the NAS (including other uses of the NAS).

I am very happy with the software, as it allows me to listen gapfree in high quality over the Bluesound an WiiM devices I have got, listening to long queues of all kinds of music, and I like the almost seemless blend of my own collection and Tidal, for the first time making it appear reasonable for me to have such a service as Tidal. And even though I was happy with Sonos years ago, Roon is many times better.

But I do feel the pressure from the lots of work I have to put into bringing the collection and its metadata up to a useful state where I can find things and do such as play all albums by a particular artist, etc. - that requires that they are findable and collectable in someway; not hidden in a wrong corner of the system.

But maybe it is only me?


This is the biggest flaw in Roon for me. But if the Roon engineers came to me and said, “Okay, how would you fix it?”, I’d have to say I don’t know. I just hope there is a way.


Welcome to the forum!

In short, much of what you say is just true. This is the actual sad state of metadata, unfortunately, at least on TiVo and Musicbrainz, which Roon uses. (There are some other potential sources like Discogs but they have their own problems). On the other hand, Roon is still better IMHO than any other music players, so I live with it (and edit what is really important to me; best to do that directly on Musicbrainz so that everyone benefits, but it is a bit of a slog. You can also report issues in Metadata and sometimes they get fixed).

There are lots of discussions about it, most recently (I think):

Some specific comments from my experience:

I have never experienced this, no idea.

I don’t know if this is what you mean (and haven’t tried the workarounds you listed), but there has been a glaring issue for years with some tracks not being recognized as compositions and hence not linked to other performances. There are several older threads about it where users gathered intel. I suppose the most recent one is my more formal problem report (where I also linked some older threads) which, after some initial progress, unfortunately led to nothing. Don’t ask me why, linking performances to compositions is one of Roon’s major selling points and IMHO should just work (with some allowances for cover versions with differing titles, e.g. because it’s in a different language) and should definitely not fail because a track is missing the “composition” property.

I may have seen this maybe 5 times max. with approx. 1000 albums imported. Are you sure your file tags are in order?

Typically this is caused by not following the correct arrangement:

Never seen this. Aggravatingly incorrect credits, yes, and other issues like the very common incorrect equivalence of artists with the same name, but not this one.

Not sure what you mean, other than credits being inherently messy because there will never be an agreement on everything :slight_smile:

Generally, I don’t think you will be happy with Roon if you intend to spend half your remaining life on forcing it to conform to your personal taste. You won’t win. Roon has strong ideas about how things should be done, sometimes more successfully and sometimes less, but it’s best to go with the flow (and make edits here and there where it is really important). It is possible that it is just not for you.

Yes this is annoying, in particular because every user has to find out themselves, after they already created a bunch of duplicated artist stubs. I have written about this quite much on the forum. (Luckily, you can merge such accidentally created artist stubs into the main artist)

If it helps, you can remove the placeholder albums from the library again, after having used their artists, if you only added them for this purpose. But still, it is a lot of work to ensure the existence of artists in the library every time before importing something.

It could be handled better in the UI, but the fundamental reason for this is probably the architectural fact that Roon maintains your local database only for the albums/artists that were added to your library. I don’t know if it could always search online databases (like streaming services and MusicBrainz/TiVo) to find artists, but I suppose this might be limited as long as Roon Server runs on a local computer (with limited resources) and not the cloud.

This distinction between objects that are in the library and those that aren’t lead to many limitations and some weird behaviors. Much of this is summarized in this thread and in other threads linked from there:

but there are also other dispersed feature suggestions that are probably technically related such as this:


Welcome to the roon community!

As a roon user having a local library a bit bigger than yours and facing similar issues, I can assure you these problems occur regularly but they are worth fixing. You have to be ready to do some research and invest some time into properly tagging and identifying the albums causing these issues. Deeper understand and a routine do help a lot.

As a first step before fixing metadata and links I would recommend to do some analysis why these albums are not linked to their artists or composers automatically. Are they all unidentified by roon or coming as local files without proper metadata?

So go to album view, hit ´Focus´ (which means filters in roon), activate ´Inspector > identified´ and then again click on ´identified´ so it will be inverted (shown in red).

I initially before polishing and sorting my collection had in the region of 30% unidentified. Most of issues were originating from this fraction of my library.

If the same is true to you, I would recommend to go through all unidentified albums and try to identify them manually.

If the ratio of unidentified albums is low, repeat the same check for albums having no assigned genre. This is a sign of incomplete set of metadata (from wherever source).

If these boxsets contain proper tags on disc number and proper subfolder names, they stand a pretty good chance of being identified automatically or requiring just one manual step of merging and group tracking. If this does not work out, it is worth analyzing where the issue is originating from. My guess: in most cases wrong disc numbers recognized by roon.

That is a common issue particularly with classical music and recordings from the analogue era. If is helpful to figure out if the mess is originating from roon´s own metadata (sourced from TiVo and MusicBrainz) or from local tags/file information. In most cases the latter is the root. The 2 most effective ways of countering that is:

  • re-tagging and re-naming files using software like MP3tag and solely MusicBrainz as a source of metadata, before ever exposing roon to these files.
  • merging artists and composers existing manyfold due to wrong identification with their designated roon entry (like ´Mozart, composer´ with ´Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart´).

Could you give an example of messed up metadata?

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Maybe it is a particular problem of some subgenres of classical music like opera and sacred music. Some sources of metadata seem to apply high numbers of completely senseless combinations of the artists taking part and roon seemingly is interpreting these as separate artists. I had to merge a lot of these with the proper metadata set. Example:

Never counted but I guess I have in the region of 10,000 of these metagarbage artists. In some cases like operas way more than 100 of these are originating from a single album alone.

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I see. Being a classical ignorant, I have been spared.


So true!

I remember when I first signed up with Roon (2016), it felt as though the Borg had taken over my music files! :scream:


Well, almost all the albums have been ripped by me. Some through Mediamonkey, which I used until recently, the rest through dBPoweramp. I always rip a full album, so shared metadata should be the same for all files on the album, and they are additionally collected in a separate folder. So I don’t see the reason for Roon to pick one of the files and make a separate album out of it.

The main problem with this is that these different “albums” often get different metadata in Roon, and so they do not always show next to each other on the screen - hence, I may not even notice that it has happened until I accidentally see one of the orphans somewhere else.

But of course, I don’t know how the Roon engineers are doing the software - I do know, however, that I, as a software developer, wouldn’t allow this to happen. I see it as a software error (unless the input data had been wrong, which it isn’t).


I do not know what was the source for metadata with your ripping software but I encountered a lot of such problems with rips I had been doing via iTunes resulting in different album artists assigned to every track or disc number. These are 2 main reasons for roon to keep the tracks separated and not identifying the album automatically.

Re-tagging the albums with MP3tag, sorting disc numbers manually and specifically applying only MusicBrainz metadata did fix this in most of cases.

Could you show and example or figure out if one or all of these ´broken album parts´ are either identified or unidentified in roon?

They are doing the software so that it is relying on metadata sourced from TiVo and MusicBrainz. If you have complying tags in your files it will recognize everything and the album will be identified automatically. If during identification process by roon any contradiction is appearing (such as wrong disc number, different primary artists, wrong track durations or different composers), the software will leave the album or parts thereof unidentified.

As a combination of metatags in your files, folder/files names and track durations are the input data for roon, it is regarded to be wrong the moment it is deviating from roon´s internal sources. If you merge all fractions belonging to one and the same album and subsequently starting the Edit > Identify Album process manually, roon will in most of cases make a reasonable suggestion for a matching set of internal metadata or will at least show the reason of contradictions.

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Lots of great info here, thanks!

The metadata quality wouldn’t be a problem if Roon had not abandoned the metadata already in the files - which I have carefully crafted when ripping the CDs. But of course, when this is the case, it would have been nice (but perhaps impossible) if metadate from where it comes, had been edidted by some set of standards (perhaps automatically, somehow?)

About albums not showing up on the composer’s page: It usually will work if I, as a test, add another composer - then the album willingly shows up there. But some composers’ pages require (typically) that the composer is registered for nothing else than composing - all other roles must be deleted. And in some cases this must be supplementet by putting the composer on the Primary Artist Links section - meaning that the album will show in the “Albums in my library” part of the composer’s page, rather than the “Appearences in my library”, which would be more correct for, e.g., compilations.

I can see now, though, why a composer cannot have the “Ensemble” role, as this obviously means that it is not an individual, and, hence, cannot appear on an individual’s page. I just wonder, then, who so many of my albums have got that tag with the composer as the Ensemble… (I certainly didn’t put it there).

Multible CDs/sets: I actually do follow the structure no. 2 in the referred description - yet, it works only sometimes. Even if I occasionally forget to adjust the disc no. for one of several discs in a set, so that there are maybe two of them with no. 1, this shouldn’t prevent the rest from being organized correctly? One thing I do differently is naming the disc folder as “1”, “2”, etc. instead of “CD1”, “CD2”, etc. - so, I will experiment with this.

Good to know that I can remove the placeholder albums again - I hove not tried that yet, but some of them are not needed, so I will look at that one day.

Well, only if you already have complete metadata, including credits, in the files - which few people do. When Roon works as intended (and to be fair, there are many albums where it does), this is great.

But whatever metadata you do have in the files, Roon shouldn’t abandon it. Do you have the correct setting to prefer file metadata, if you want that, in Settings > Library > Import settings?

And does the metadata follow correct conventions?

The metadata should be correct or things will get messed up. There are automated taggers that do this for you.

I would follow Roon conventions. The folder names probably don’t matter if the disc numbering is correct, but I have had best results by following rules in Roon to the letter, where documented. (Some taggers will also help with automated folder renaming)

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Roon is using solely metadata from the files in case an album (or a part thereof) is not identified. But even if an identification was successful (which I do not believe is the case here as roon´s own metadata base is pretty consistent), you can still force roon to use file metadata only (via Edit > Metadata preference function in the album view).

What happens regularly (see examples above) is tags originating from files being not compatible with roon´s name system and therefore appearing as separated artist entries in roon. Roon cannot know that an artist named ´Wagner (1813-1883)´ is identical with its composer entry `Richard Wagner´.

Maybe you have a problem with tags originating from files and metadata from roon´s internal sources are overlapping or bearing contradictions. That’s a typical problem as roon seem to not forget metadata from files easily.

Maybe a composer is accidentally at the same time primary artist or album artist or anything alike? That’s a typical problem.

If there are 2 discs being assigned as ´disc no.1´, the resulting contradiction will stop roon from identifying the whole set usually leading to separate the discs into unidentified albums. You need to manually renumber the disc with wrong number via ´Fix group tracking´ and subsequently merge all discs, if necessary.

´1´, ´2´ seems not to be recognized by roon. The tag for disc number is also taken into account so if you have a contradiction between folder name and tag - see above for results.

Have you played with:

It’s fairly important, when ripping, to ensure that each disc in a multi-disc set shares the same album name, to the letter. Even the best rippers like dBpoweramp will pull different album name (and disc x of y metadata, too!) for each disc. That should mitigate most of this. Can be fixed with a mass tag editor pretty easily, too.


Thanks, good advice for steps to make - but what is “Inspector > Identified”?

I do not have many unidentified albums, even though some of them are identified wrongly and need an update. I don’t think that it is a high percentage, even though I am only still walking my way through everything added to the library, so it takes a while before having that overview.

There are some albums without genres, even though I normally add one when ripping. I will definitely update those. How can I find them all? In the “My Albums” focus box there is no mention of them, but some genres are missing as well (Opera, for instance), so I cannot trust that, I think.

About the metadata mess - I am adjusting it when I see it, but a lot of unneeded or wrong credits exist om many classical albums, while the opposite is the case on rock/pop albums, where often the most obvious credits are missing. Apart from that, rock albums that exist in verious editions are typically not marked as such, so that I’ll get Mike Oldfield’s “Crisis” in two seemingly identical versions, even though one of them is the Remastered and Extended version, which would typically be written in the title for easy identification. More types of problems exist, and I will keep an eye on them to see what is systematic.

Will have a look at MusicBrainz - which I actually didn’t know about.

Yes, this is typical. I have decided to leave them and then just add the individual directors/conductors plus individual orchesters as separate credits, making typically the director/conductor the main album artist, for simplicity.

But the rich style you show, seems to be very common, also in the databases from where the ripping software gets their metadate, so there is a steady inflow of it to correct/adjust (I will not claim that it as such is incorrect, just an unwanted style).

Yes, I am beginnin to understand that nothing is what was written on the tin. But still, even with all the fluff, Roon does provide a pleasant upgrade to my music hobby.

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Thanks - examples will follow when I find the next ones :wink: - for now, I have fixed all that I have met.

Thanks for good and useful info. I rarely study what comes out of the ripping software, so there could be errors in it. I just didn’t expect that.

Settings and conventions… I probably have to run through more documentation to get it right. Thanks for the reminder :wink: But this does add to the amount of work, just with the possibility that things will get better and easier later.

Many good points.

For composers from the 19th century (or earlier), there is very little chance that they took part in the actual album production or music performance, so that information about Ensamble must come come from somewhere else. I have noticed, btw., that I often cannot change it! Maybe the “Ensemble” disappears from the composer’s name in the credits list, but when opening the files for editing, it is still there - maybe in 30% of the cases or so.