Roon to directly PLAY audio files in folder but not import them to its database


Why not just create a new folder/sub-folder structure with OS that is not watched by Roon?

Or create a “temp” folder within it which Roon will then ignore.

I need that Roon will not ignore this folder, I need that Roon will PLAY these audio files but let me browse into them and without it to add this contents into its database.

They are 1000 and more files audio (interviews, radio rips, etc.) that are not songs/albums, with very messy tags, I only recognize them with the filename

Well, based on what I have read here in multiple threads, you are not going to get a “folder browser mode”.

The database is central to what Roon does and folders are not.

Now I made Roon (iPhone endpoint) my only player (I move my computer in another room) that’s why I recently “discovered” to have this need.

I did something like this once, and I think that Roon used the file name as a track name, in the absence of useful metadata.
If you can test this, and if it works, I would suggest this:
Put them in a separate folder, let Roon import them messy tags and all, use storage focus to select them all and tag them. Then create a bookmark that includes them based on that tag, and exclude them in another bookmark.

You may be able to hide them in other ways: select them all, in Roon or outside, and set the artist name Zzzzzz so they appear at the end of the browser and you don’t have to trip over them when you look at other stuff.

What’s this?

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Album view > focus > Inspector > storage locations

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I still request a “Folder browser mode”.

Before you just start saying “Roon is DB based” or “You will never have this mode” just make me explain why I want it.

I am aware that Roon is based upon a DATABASE of songs and tags are everything. I like it, I am happy with it, it helps me to keep my audio files ordered and neat.

Apart songs and albums I have other stuff yet.

I have multiple folders with multiple audio files that aren’t songs. They could be pieces of songs, radio rips, guitar, drum, bass tracks, interviews, and other.

All that files could be with or without tags, and are collect in folders and subfolders.

I absolutely DON’T want Roon to import them into its database, oh my God, if Roon will import those tracks into its DB it would destroy everything.

So, now open your mind a little before refuse what I am asking.

Roon is my STANDARD music player.

What’s the problem if you add a FOLDER BROWSER MODE, you click on it and a folder browse window will open give you the chance to browser into folders and subfolders that you choose.

In such occasion, Roon will act like a normal audio player (like winamp, foobar, etc.), you listen your music/audio files using it’s sound abiliets (endpoints, dps, etc.) but Roon will not collect history of it, will not collect those audio files tags data into its data base. Imagine like a “Anonymous browse window” of Chrome or Firefox to get the idea.

You quit from the “browser mode” and will back in the classical Roon interface with your albums and tracks.

In that way I will use Roon not only for my “ordinary” albums and tracks but for EVERYTHING that is audio on my storage, without mess up its database and I will have the advatage of using Roon and not other stuff.

Why we can’t have that mode?

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Based on what I have read a folder view will not happen and I fully support this. The database is what roon does well.

Don’t you understand, man? Folder browsing is toxic, maybe even carcinogenic! It’s also related to global warming. Don’t fall for that siren song of going directly to the media you’re looking for.



Roon it’s not only an excellent database (we love for it) but Roon is also an excellent player and it well use and configure my audio setup (endpoints, remotes, dsps, etc.).

Sometimes I want to use it also for media audio files that are not tagged and that I don’t want to be tagged. They won’t destroy the Roon database because in my view the folder browser mode will not collect any data or information.

It will just play those files using the wonderful Roon software, its sound quality, its remotes, its interface, its signal path, its dpss.

I’m well aware what Roon can do and Roon does databases well - correct.

I didn’t say it doesn’t do anything else well.


Being serious for a moment, I understand Roon’s position on folder browsing to be based primarily on two points:

(1) It is antithetical to their philosophy on navigation. They feel that their web of object relationships should be sufficient without a hierarchical method. That folder browsing is inherently inferior due to the need to make decisions about where to file something when multilateral relationships can be represented through the database and thus no such decision need be made. Music isn’t hierarchical thus neither should music be organized that way.

(2) They feel it would be an inferior experience because folder browsing inherently requires a frame of reference that is in contrast with the starting point. For example, you’re on your ipad and the media is on the D: drive of your NAS - it is not the D: drive of your ipad, and so there is an inherent confusion with the starting point or frame of reference relative to where the folders are.

I can see the philosophy. I don’t think I would use folder browsing myself much because I have put so much time into the metadata organization and because, well, I can’t and I have gotten used to it. That is not to say I’ve become convinced that the web of relationships is superior. I just have higher priority wishes for my own Roon experience. But I find it unfortunate that some new users get turned off because they load up their library, can’t immediately find something, and decide Roon is too goofy for them. The request keeps coming up.

I do think it would be useful for administrative purposes. There are plenty of times I’d like to play something once without adding it to the library or the hassle of adding then deleting. It is also annoying that playing something once requires it to be copied into a Roon storage location. That messes up my organization, doesn’t enhance it.

And I suspect most users would be fine with folder browsing from the frame of reference of the Roon core.

To the OP, I suggest that you keep this folder outside of your normal Roon storage locations, and then add that folder when there is something you want to play from it, and then remove the folder from Room’s storage configuration when you’re done. You’ll need to modify the metadata in the file tags or name your files something very specific to be able to differentiate between them, most likely. At least this will help prevent screwing up your library with test files - when the location is removed from the storage settings, nothing would remain in the library.

In the Roon’s devs mind, adding a “Folder mode” will lead most people (new people) to understand that Roon is a normal player and not mainly a database (well done database) for their music and then a music player so I can understand that they don’t encourage this kind of feature.

I (and many, I guess, like you), even can understand that they do this mode like an “hidden” feature, even not mentioned in the Roon website or in the Roon features list. Just a secondary function like the inspector or a sub-function of the inspector “Browse and play without adding database”, Roon could show a window and you select a folder in your local disk of your Roon core or Roon server then you select and then Roon will play. No history of it, no database on it.

Another valid and real-life reason to ask a “folder browser mode”.

But we know that this is unconfortable.

Absolutely not, I explain better: I have 10.000 files very good ordered by folder and subfolders and even file name that don’t have tags, or they have, or they have partially. I don’t want to put hands on that 10.000 file’s tags, I just want the Roon let me browse on them as I want. They could even be without a correct filename but in such case the folder>subfolder will be correct, for example:

Interviews>TV>Shows>2010.mp3, 2011.mp3, 2012.mp3, etc.

I such occasion I have a correct folder and subfolder but I don’t have a correct filename (and I haven’t correct tags). In other occasion I have the correct filename but I still need to browse by folder.

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Sorry, I had conflated two separate asks for folder mode. I was thinking you were the one with a few test files you wanted to play.

Your needs are more complex - interviews don’t fit into Roon’s paradigm of music metadata. More of a niche use but it’s a good example of where Roon’s idea of delivering library organization on a platter without user intervention (which doesn’t really happen anyway for many users) doesn’t fit a specific use case.

Since storage isn’t too expensive, may I suggest that you try to embed metadata that Roon can understand and organize? You can make COPIES rather than have this in your original files, in case you are not pleased with the results.

Foobar and DB Poweramp (and others) all have the capability of reading a folder and filename organizational scheme and converting that into embedded metatags – say, your folder/file is John Smith/Interview 2018-Sept-06 then you can configure Foobar to save a copy of the file with Artist=John Smith and Track=Interview 2018-Sept-06.

You could also set Genre in the metatags to “Interviews” or “Non-Music” and then bookmark the genre to get there quickly.

It’s not perfect - it is a kludge into an artist/album/track scheme when the media isn’t that. But it might parallel the ability to drill into folders and enable you to find the content.

Best Roon can do, I suspect.

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I’m a crazy music fan, I have about 20 TB of music resources, about 100,000 albums, and I bought the ROON lifetime edition a few months ago. I have to say that roon is a powerful software, But I still have a problem in use.Because my resources are too much, roon classification and retrieval are not very good.I want to listen to an album, although I know that these resources are somewhere on the hard disk and which folder is below.But I have a hard time finding it, using roon’s search function.

I have a suggestion: you can add a function similar to Windows Explorer, support folder list and path, users can easily find files and play directly. At the same time, the search function is added to support searching by file name and path name.

If roon adds these two features, I think this software will be more perfect, which is what many users with huge data resources expect.

Kind Regards

If you look at forum posts it is clear folder browse is never going to happen. Best you can do is optimise the hardware config for speed. If your 100k collection is properly tagged Roon’s search will find it.

Optimising would mean Roon Core and the music itself residing on the same machine and the OS and Roon Core being installed on the fastest SSD money can buy. Given you’ve a 100,000 albums one has to believe that money is no object.

Many people have asked for this - it appears to be the #1 strong opinion that the Roon team has about differentiating their product from the others. I think it would be useful for some not as a main mode of playback but as a means to import their collection into Roon better, being able to apply meta-information that Roon can handle based on folder organization directly.

Anyway, my suggestion is that you work to augment your embedded metadata to give Roon a better chance of ID’ing your music or you a better chance of finding it based on that metadata.

Maybe make a copy of your collection - then use a tag editing program that uses folder scheme logic to add artist, composer, album, whatever metadata to the files. See if that helps - maybe try with just a small portion of your collection?

EDIT: it seems I pretty much repeated my post from 3 months ago…I must be right then!

Well, I want to try again to explain what many of us ask to Roon.

We LOVE Roon and we LOVE the meta-informations handle by Roon, it’s what it does better and we never wanted a shared Meta-information + Browser Folder mode.

We are AWARE that Roon will never be known as a Folder mode player, and we don’t want it.

Said so, we need an tool inside Roon, imagine it as an “hide” function, where you can say to Roon “Play this folder” or “Play this file from this folder”. Roon will plays that file (a song, an interview, a sound effect), but Roon will never put it in its history, will never make you able to add it to a tag or a playlist, it will be like a “privacy browser mode” of a Internet Browser.

The path that Roon will reach in this modality will be not added in its database (where we say to roon the PATHs of our music and Roon examines them), Roon will just give us the opportunity to play a file that is EXTERNAL to it, to it’s database, to it’s history, to it’s ecosystem.

Why we need that?

Because there’s not workaround that could ever work in this scenario:

I have 10.000 mp3s that are NOT songs, they are interviews, me that play guitar or piano, music from retrocomputers, imagine EVERYTHING that is not taggable, not songs, not albums, not normal collections.

Why don’t use ANOTHER player instead of Roon when I need to play stuff that isn’t music? Why bother Roon’s devs to make a Folder browser mode?

Because, in my case (and in many cases I suppose), Roon is my MAIN if not UNIQUE player. It’s connected to my DAC and I never use ANOTHER player, I want only to use Roon.

Also, because I want to continue to enjoy it’s EQs even with that audio files that aren’t simply MUSIC.

In the end, I will be happy if a simply and even hidden “folder mode” will be enabled in Roon. I really don’t understand what’s the problem with it but I see that many people will enjoy it, me first.