Roon stability - am I an outlier?

Tomorrow will be 2 weeks since I first posted my issue. I’m ready to box this thing back up and return it.

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That blows brother

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Roon is a nightmare. I seriously regret wasting $800 on this piece of crap. I committed to a lifetime membership after trying it out a few month and it was a huge mistake. Take your money and run away from this trash fire.

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Plus, nobody wants to spend hours and hours (and often tons of additional money) to make a $700 music interface work. For $700, this thing should be flawless.

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Maybe from your perspective, but I’m in my fifth year as a Roon lifer and could not be more happy. Roon has increased my music enjoyment 10X over iTunes. I find members discussions helpful with all aspects of installing, using and enjoying Roon’s many benefits!

I’m sorry you do not see it that way…

I am a Roon user for just over half a year, but can say i am more than happy with it.
Just minor GUI issues, but 100% stable music enjoyment.
Have my Core on Linux and it is there, waiting for me to connect and press «play».

Roon is not perfect, but it works well, at least for me!

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I’m using ROON for more than 3 years and for or me ROON is the ultimate music player. I tried several players but not one has the same experience as ROON. There are problems, but they don’t outweigh the enormous benefits.

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This is written from the point of view of someone running the following:

Mac OS Big Sur 11.2.3

DB is on hardware RAID 0 2x512GB SSD; all drives check out fine. RoonServer on Mac Pro Trashcan, dual 700/32GB RAM. 12 TB of music or so. Music files are on 7200 RPM drives in an ARECA RAID enclosure attached via Thunderbolt 2. All drives online and reporting no problems.
Core is connected via Ethernet.

Roon 1.8 (790)

Network is Gigabit Fiber>Netgear Orbi RBR50 Router with 2 satellites which are equipped with Ethernet backhaul. Latest firmware.

Roonbridge on Mac minis via Ethernet, output to analog preamp and power amp.

Sometimes ChromeCast Audio, and very rarely via AirPlay.

Control is MacBook Pro Mac OS Big Sur 11.2.3, Roon 1.8 (790)

This is all with a clean System install, and a fresh install of Roon.

I love the idea of Roon. It looks great, has made me aware of music I might never have heard otherwise, and shows me information I care about in a generally useful way. However, it falls down in what seems like small ways until they bite you. Then you will want to throttle someone, and that’s not a state of mind conducive to enjoying music. In my view, Roon’s biggest failing is as a music player. When Roon won’t play a track, every other software will *. At that moment, Roon is a fancy hyperlinked version of Allmusic with a fat price tag.

Adding or Changing Music Files

Roon doesn’t like it if something else changes your music files while it’s watching.

Quit RoonServer before adding music. Restart the machine and RoonServer when you’re finished. Let Roon absorb and process the addition, then restart the machine and RoonServer before attempting to play anything in Roon. If you see the rotating circle, it is not safe to do anything but wait.

Do all of the above if you’re going to change metadata in your files via an external application.

Connected Services

If you have Qobuz, use the Qobuz app whenever possible, especially when trying to add albums. Quite often, Roon will just spin when trying to add an album or a track from an external service. If you click away from that page the addition may or may not work. Often Roon will tell you that the thing was added but it wasn’t. Sometimes it just crashes the client.

Qobuz Playlists don’t update links (I think this is true of Tidal, too). So, if Qobuz rejiggers a release, it will remain in your playlist, but inexplicably fail to play. Sometimes it will tell you that “…track is not available on Qobuz.” When you open Qobuz, the track will be there, and it will play fine. Take a deep breath, and remember that you only paid $450 or $800 or whatever, it’s fine, little frustrations like this remind you how good you have it the rest of the time.
If you have albums or tracks added to your library from a service, and the service no longer carries that item, don’t expect Roon to update in any way until you try to play the item. Service Sync is “a work in progress”.

WiFi: Just Don’t.

Do not use WiFi to endpoints if you can help it. If you do, expect endpoints to randomly stop working. AirPlay is so badly supported it’s an exercise in frustration, and Chromecast isn’t much better. Make sure you know how to reboot your Chromecast, because you’re going to be doing it often, and you will never know when or why. Did your amp sleep? Did your Chromecast sleep?

If you complain about this, Roon Support will advise you to do this or that or completely reconfigure your network. It’s not the network. It’s Roon. I’ve tested this by feeding the RoonServer output into Rogue Ameoba’s Airfoil and streaming it to whatever endpoint Roon was having trouble with. Works every time. (In fact, this is my preferred way of using Roon, as it cuts out one of the failure points.) I think that RAAT may be the problem, as it seems to be extremely sensitive to network “issues”.

Tagging, Playlists and the Database

Don’t put a lot of work into tagging or playlists inside Roon, because someday there will be an Issue Loading Database, and the likelihood of a backup database working is the same as sitting next to Jesus on the bus. The database backups are not checked or verified in any way, and if you have a big one, well, you might as well skip backing up and save yourself the many gigs of space. Nothing you do is recoverable, because it’s buried in the database. If you’re smart, you’ll export playlists as soon as you’re finished building them, so at least you can load them when you rebuild your database. Be careful, though: that will only work if all of the songs in the playlist are in the same Storage Directory designated inside Roon—and the playlist is in that directory, too. (No direct import of playlists) If you’ve got your files spread across different watched folders, it’s just not going to work. It’s funny how every other player software has these capabilities, but not the one you paid the most for.

Searching

Oy. So many bad.

No Boolean. Hit-or miss results. Inconsistent Services search. Unavailable results—Found something, clicked on it, black screen. Found the same thing in using a different search method, works fine. Filter searches v.s. magnifying glass searches v.s. “Focus”… so different, it’s almost like a choose-your-own-adventure!

Random Crashes

When you first set up Roon on a control machine, go and find your Roon folder in the System, and copy it. It’s got all your settings in it, and you’ll want it for when you get a crash loop. Just replace the current one with the saved copy, and you’ll be back in business faster, without having to re-program all your preferences. Don’t worry about the “Why” of the crashes, you’ll just waste time and energy. Restart everything from the network interface to the endpoint and you’ll probably be up and running. Or not.

If you have big library, you’re going to want to work on your tea-brewing skills, because Roon scans every single music file at startup, and you can’t stop it. You may not have changed any of your files for weeks, but Roon is going to scan them just in case. Why there isn’t a switch for this, I don’t know. It takes four minutes and twenty-eight seconds to scan the 322949 FLAC files on my system. You can’t play music during this scan. Add that wait time to the network/endpoint/server reboot times, and you’ll find yourself wondering if you can bill Roon for the time you’re spending screwing around.

Roon Support

Roon Support is great if you’re just using the software incorrectly. If you have another issue, you might as well just delete your DB and start over, because that’s where you’re going to end up most of the time. Having them read the logs/enable diagnostics on your installation sounds super, but I have yet to see it lead to a solution that doesn’t require you to just reinstall everything.

Above all, do not count on Roon to perform, as you will be disappointed more often than not. Don’t show it to your friends, or plan on using it for a party. Approach any Roon interaction as a “Might get lucky” type of situation. Have a Plan B, such as literally any other music player.

I have heard people say that their Roon is stable and always works. I suspect that they have fully hardwired installations with ROCK or Nucleus boxes that are rarely touched. I’ve been tempted to try this route, but it seems to me that a high-spec Mac that’s not doing anything but running RoonServer should be able to handle the job. I’m guessing that Roon is kind of poorly coded—not robustly; I think it’s possible that regular system services and processes mess with it, or maybe the other way around… But, if that is the case, then it would be nice if Roon told us not to run the software on anything but Nucleus or ROCK, and just quit developing for other platforms.
(I’m actually very interested in hearing from those of you that have “perfect” Roon systems.)

I’ll end by reiterating something that I said in a different post:

Playing music is different from other computer-assisted activities, as it is mood-related. If you’re sitting down to listen to an album, or trying to run a playlist for dinner music, or a party, the music is part of the mood and the experience in ways that, say, writing email or working in Photoshop are not. When the music software doesn’t work, it’s screwing up the mood and the event. It can ruin an evening, and afternoon, or a whole day.

Remember, this is my experience, not objective truth. I will amend or delete any part of this post that is proven wrong.

-* This is not hyperbole. Try it next time Roon won’t play something. Open up another software package and try to play the very same file. If it’s a service, try the web version of the service, or the desktop app. The song will play.

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I’ve had my iphone roon app crash about 10 times today. This has been going on off and on for months. Not really happy about this as its my remote for my whole house system.

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Plus 1 for a support ticket system - I’ve been waiting more than 26 days for an answer to a long standing support thread, far too many support threads, sometimes dozens everyday it seems!

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Just to say I absolutely love Roon and 1.8 has enhanced my music enjoyment massively, can’t praise the team enough… but… Roon is not in any way a stable piece of software and it is far too complicated a network hog to work without issues in every system in which it is used. Which is a problem, and more of a problem than not having shiny new features folk may want (as much as I love ‘em!).

It is my fervent hope and desire that the owners and the development team will, after the support disaster that has been playing out across social media and other audio forums, will give serious thought, time and financial investment towards rewriting the core operations in a way that is far, far more robust.

After all, as a product it is remarkably attractive and desirable, 1.8 finding favour in quarters where the name Roon hadn’t yet reached. Such a shame to lose that advantage by building shiny new features on top of a flawed architecture.

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Very nicely stated.

I remember Danny the C.o.o. saying that 1.8 was a very successful update by the metrics they use…heck, I don’t ever want to know what just an “ok” update looks like.

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I did that, once!

Yes, I think you are

@Andrew_Webb

I remember seeing this in another thread, and I was going to reply to say that I thought this very perceptive and insightful – people may well be more annoyed by obstacles in leisure-related activities, than, say, by Microsoft Office issues. But then I lost track of which thread it was.

I am in the middle – neither perfect performance nor atrocious. I did use Roon on Mac for a brief period of time and then Windows 10 for about 1.5 years and then moved to NUC + ROCK. I think Mac was the least stable – it would NOT maintain HDMI connections, so I didn’t use it very long. On Windows 10 things were fairly stable but I got annoyed by things related to Windows itself (the laptop would go to sleep and not wake up; would not wake up after the screen slept; would fail after automatic Windows 10 updates…) On NUC + ROCK performance has been very stable, only two-three reboots in five months. Most endpoints are wireless; one is connected via HDMI.

I’m referring to stability of music playing, and have little to say about the stability of the UI, because I use the UI in extremely simple ways. I don’t create playlists, I almost never search, I either start Roon Radio from Qobuz and let it go, or pick a local album by scrolling through my bookmarks, and play the whole thing. (Even with those simple requirements, 1.8 is for me a definite step backwards in usability from 1.7).

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I have no idea what this adds to the conversation.

Trying to answer Andrew Webb’s query about people’s experience of good stability.

@Andrew_Webb

KISS rules , my system is stable

My Roon Core PC is bog std , no frills

“Tower” Desktop, i7 7700,
16 gb RAM
250 SSD for OS and Roon.
Windows 10 all current updates
Integrated intel graphics
Music on 2x 4 Tb HDD
Video on 4 Tb HDD

All Ethernet to RPi and Cambridge Audio CXN
Avoid WiFi like the plague except for control

Router TP-Link Archer D9
20 Mbs Fibre internet connection

Control iPad 12.9 pro, old mini

Yes startup is slow on my library, I brew tea until started. Rebooted most days. Roon autostarts.

But seriously the more frills the more spills, this is my second PC running Roon of similar spec. It is fairly basic

It also runs JRiver Media Server and SQLServer in the background

I cannot remember a Roon UI crash . It just Works ( for me)

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KISS……and it just works

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This just sounds like there are some outstanding issues when using MacOS on older hardware - those Mac Pro’s weren’t exactly powerful when released nearly ten years ago.

Not bashing your setup, I’m an Apple guy when it comes to work, but have you tried running your core from a dedicated ROCK install?