Roon vs Plex - a serious discussion

Dear all,

This has maybe discussed earlier, but i want to start this again as im recently a little in trouble to make the right decision.

Different experience might help to distinguish between this 2 great pieces of Software.

First of All i would Like to express, that im a Fan of roon since the beginning. I live the style the appearence and in front of all the connectivity to so many different Equipment. Additionally to be mentioned the high soundquality of the raat protocol. Two big downsides i See and during daily business let me constantly switch to plex is:

  1. Speed of Software. Search, picking categories, gap between Songs is flawless, snappy and i never need to wait longer as expected (i know what means acceptable is highly Personal and user dependend).
  2. Availability while travelling. Plex is perfectly available while travelling and out of the house…

I actually Listen through 2 ways.
First is home via kef ls50 wireless 2 and through
Mobile Phone and Bose tws headhones home and away

I experience roon as perfectly looking and with a very appealing frontend and appearence and i Like the Additional Infos via different Tags and Infos to find more music within my own collection (i own approx. 11000 albums in minimum CD quality on my NAS)

But at the end of the Day if i Look for example for a Genre Singer Song writer, i want to type - find and play without any timedelay. The same for All other type of searches. Roon just cannot Do this.
IT takes just too long and do not deliver the Kind of SEARCHTYPE - RESULT - CHOOSE - PLAY within seconds behaviour expect from a Software priced Like this.
Second big issue is. Since years there is no Feedback for a ROON ON THE GO Version which allows to Listen via roon when travelling. WHAT A LOST OPPORTUNITY.

Those two things let me start more and more PlexAmp instead of roon and play to my kef via chromecast and to my bose headhones via Bluetooth of My mobile…

Anyone else thinking that way?

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For me absolutely not, Plex sucks for managing a complex library pure and simple. Its purely Chromecast or airplay dependant on their mobile platform neither of which sound as good as RAAT or UPnP and limits the devices you can use it on. I use Andorid so can’t play to Airplay devices. It doesn’t have any way of getting music to all my music kit.

Plex only supports Tidal as a streaming partner and with that still doesn’t support MQA. They recently closed down threads asking for Qobuz as they have no plans to add it.

Yes Roons search is broken currently but they are working on it now to make it better but I can find what I want to play most often. Yes it’s quicker but it’s doing a lot less. Roon does every thing else library wise better from my perspective . I have Plex use it for video and occasionally plexamp away from home but again my dap sounds so much better and is more reliable than plexamp and again it’s not bitperfect. You can use both and have the best of both worlds.

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Is Roon search broke across the board for everyone?
I used to have issues with it but it has been working great for months now , I cant remember the last time I had issues.

Yes and they have admitted so. It works in some instances but for a lot its just hilariously bad. Check out the long thread on it.

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I never thought of choosing Plex after reading this:

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None of them are serious applications software wise so it’s hard to have a serious discussion about it. :innocent: The only decent (and serious) thing you can do is to use them both as they fit (or not) your needs!

Pretty much what @CrystalGipsy said.
I like Plex and PlexAmp but they don’t stand up against Roon.

I use Plex outside of the house and really like PlexAmp and Tidal integration.
In the house I never open PlexAmp at all

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I’ve tried Plex a few times over the years. Every time I concluded it wasn’t very good for music library management and playback.

Reading that they had added new features for music, I tried it again a couple of weeks ago. Some of the improvements seemed nice. I spent the better part of a couple of days trying to get it set up and optimized.

At first, the library management stuff seemed decent. But pretty soon, the bloom was off the rose. Various claims didn’t live up to the hype. There were bugs and things that didn’t work as advertised. Support was silent. Their new and revolutionary playback app turned out to be an unofficial side project by some support people. Nice idea, but the execution was sketchy and support is dodgy.

So, once again Plex is not a serious solution for audio, at least for me. Apparently it’s great for video. But roon is light years ahead for music, no contest.

P.S. Plex, like roon, requires a subscription. And the plex subscription costs about half as much as roon. Maybe it’s a bargain for video playback, but for music it’s half the cost for about 1/10th the quality and functionality.

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The Plex lifetime is way much closer to the real world…

This is true, though I chose not to pay for Plex lifetime as I felt yearly better supported the development for all user’s, even the free tier user’s. Free Plex users get a lot for nothing, and often only have to wait a few months for it.

Roon even with all it’s bugs and quirk’s is king of the Audio Library management and playback hill. I wish for many changes and improvements to Roon, but sadly there is no real competition at this point

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I haven’t tried Plex for a while but as far as I remember it’s not good for classical

It has Artist, Album, Playlist type of approach, no Composition, no Composer

Last time I tried I just gave up.

Why people need access out of their home network defeats me. I have a cell phone and a 256 SD card , that’s 800 albums in FLAC , I Connect a Audioquest red or Bluetooth to my Sony HW1000 MX4 . What more do I want ?. I could use Tidal or Apple Music if I wanted …

I maintain a folder to sync with the phone , finished.

As it happens I also run JRiver which I could use remotely but never have

Just my 2p

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Yes, a lot of arguments are for sure valid and they are in the favor of roon.

Appearance and library handling are far away from plex, but to be honest, i have no Real Benefit from seeing what i have Heard in the last weeks and How long that took. I rarely use the Explorer function even i Like it to roam through. I almost never click on anything then to Listen to.

Soundquality wise also right, plex is limited to chromecast which is still double CD quality 24/96, which enough for me in Day to Day listening and even on serious listening Session its really Hard to realize differences to higher Resolution.

What bothers me most is the Performance Part. Even now i tried to to a side By side comparison roon to plex while im listening via bluetooth from my mobile Phone to my Bose.
Everytime i Switch from plex to roon i have to wait for reconnection, which takes time. Several Times IT just Not able to connect and Shows the message No wireless connection. Then you have to wait, and now it doesnt connect at All anymore, so i have to restart roon App.
Plex never Shows this behaviour. Its snappy fast, Everytime i Switch to plex its just up, no waiting time, its Finds searches within 1 to 2 seconds and plays right after tapping…

The function to access the library from outside no need to discuss this, as roon just cannot Do it…
For Sure its an Option to put some albums on a sd card and take IT with any unit, but hey we are in the 21st century. Thats Not required anymore…
I really enjoy shuffling through my library while driving. Adding top picks to my playlists while being anywhere cause most of the daytime im Not at home but still able to Listen to my music…
Additionally i live the function to share my library with friends, as plex have the ability to give access to friends.

Still for home listening i use roon as its the most beautiful piece of Player with extremely nice library handling able to connect to almost any device with highest Audio quality.
ONE downsides for plex is for Sure also missing connectivity to qobuz.

All of this bring me to use 2 pieces of Software for one and the same purpose but just for different Situation.

I really would love to have a one Box solution When IT comes to music Playback…

I have lifetime license for both and run them on my NAS simultaneously. Plex I pretty much only use for movie streaming to my tv though. I do have Plexamp on my phone and occasionally use it on the go but much more often I just fire up Spotify in the car. I also like Plex interface and their smooth scrolling through your music but I don’t like the fact that there’s just no way to get the sound to my streamer without having one extra piece of hardware (like my LG TV or nVidia Shield) inbetween. It’s not possible directly over the ethernet to Linn streamer.

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Chromecast may handle hires but it’s a very heavy protocol and uses a lot of resources from the hardware it’s on. As a result it really doesnt sound as good as RAAT or UPnP, it doesn’t do gapless well and prone to take ages to initiate playback. It’d fine on little speakers and to you TV etc but on a half decent system it doesn’t hold up. Every time I have tried it, I go back to RAAT or UPnP as it sounds a little too bright in comparison.

Here you can see Roons response from 4 days ago. It’s coming soon.

This is not my experience. Chromecast is “Tap and Play” in my Setup without dropouts and lags. S question here is, what does it help if you have a lighter Protocol using less ressources if this is then slow and laggy and leads to unsatisfactory user experience (to be said, i know that the vast majority is very happy with roon as it is, just not me and some others).
For me counts what i experience in live usage. Any Background things (like protocols and used ressources) which doens not effect my experience i really dont care…

yes you are right. connectivity is one of the biggest plus for Roon and thats also one main reason i love it since years.

Another point is since days live radio stations from austria doenszt work anymore, i have not read anything about this issue, i know some reported this already and i need to do this today or tomorrow to solve this issue.
Its just annoying that i need to spend time to report and search and put time and energy in problemsolving for a software i pay for… Roon is not very expensive in my opinion, but also far away from cheap. And in this case i expect the provider (Roon) doing this without much interaction from my side.

for me it seems a little bit like Marketing a lot of functions, and releasing before !00% testing and then develop the software through the (negative) feedback of customer issues… - Not a nice way to sell…

I am writing from my experience in live usage, Plex doesn’t work as well as Roon overall in my usage. Yes I agree currently Plex is quicker to search using the search tool but it’s also less complex. Roons main problem here is it’s trying to be too clever currently and fails a lot of the time but that’s being addressed. I can find what I want and be playing it quicker than Plex overall though as I use many shortcuts in Roon.

To me on my main rigs Plex sounds worse. Also chromecast is not instant playback on any of my devices. Even via Roon playing via Chromecast it has lag to getting it streaming. When it’s going it plays fine no dropouts. So for me its fine on kit that sq isnt a must like my JBL little speakers for outside and my Son’s Chromecast into his little speaker, but for main systems it’s very lacking and is a backwards step for me and it can’t play back to all my listening zones and give me the same experience. The sq drop is down to their software stack being memory intensive.

Roon has some bugs, but Plex has just as many if not more that you have to ask advise or help to solve via their forum. You pay for that to get PlexAmp and their better audio library so I don’t see your beef here. PlexAmp is not even a fully supported Plex App just a side project and you can tell. Plex support hardly ever responds to anything and is generally less helpful than Roons which is saying something. No exclusive control of DACs or any kind of decent hifi support it falls on deaf ears.

I bought lifetime Plex when it first came out and have used it for video for years. Today I would go for Emby if I hadn’t made my bed. The amount of regular updates to fix regression bugs is all too common.

Lack of Qobuz support is also a big reason for not using it and this is never going to happen in Plex they said so.

If mobile playback is a very important thing for you then you know what’s best for you. Stick with Plex it seems to do what you want. For me it doesn’t and it remains pretty much unused for audio replay. You asked for a serious discussion so I am giving you the serious answers as to why I use Roon and not Plex.

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Which is totally fine and im thankful for your feedback, interesting how different gear can behave and its clear we have different live expereince. Neitehr of us is right or wrong. There are for sure many reasons, like network, server or core and mybe some of the issues are not related to software itself but to surrounding situation.

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I’m also waiting for LG to release native emby app for WebOS so I could compare it against Plex. There are some problems with Plex transcoding stuff even when not needed which occasionally can be a pain in the ass when streaming movies. Having lifetime Plex pass is a solid reason to stick with Plex though.

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Yep it’s buggy as hell in this regard. Had it on my Sammy TV as well it decide to transcode audio and then just locks up.

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