Roon vs Plex - a serious discussion

I have 4 in use one in my bedroom headphone rig, two I built into speakers one to make wireless speaker systems from some old stuff I wasn’t using. Iast one is a remote in my office. They are great for some stuff but I wanted a more integrated approach as well for main listening more partner friendly and less cables.

Can’t agree there I much prefer Roons integrated approach of how it’s just my music regardless of where it comes from. Plex only has Tidal and have said they have no interest in Qobuz they shut down all posts requesting it.

That’s true - they were relatively abrupt closing all requests for a Qobuz integration and where saying, that streaming providers should contact Plex for integration… they seemed to be on the edge every time someone brought up the Qobuz integration :upside_down_face:

It’s regrettable that supplies of Pi’s are so low at the moment. I’d have bought a few more over the past few years to run different processes.

My pi zero I ordered at beginning of the year is scheduled to come next year. Lol

Maybe Qobuz didn’t want to partner and give them the Api. Hard to tell but Elan had sour grapes for some reason. They also seem to be dismissing exclusive mode for PlexAmp on Windows to and won’t entertain Android not resampling.

the approach of Roon regarding its library is not good from my point of view.
Roon staff admitted the architecture was done for a local music source and was not super ready with Streaming services coming.
The library is a non sense because it manages only local and favs from Tidal/Qobuz. It blocks some features like tags for streaming views.

You are right when you said that you don’t care where your music comes from. So why when you like a song from streaming you must add to your library? It should be transparent, I like a song whatever its source.

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Victims of their own popularity.

there are some good (and currently available) alternatives to the pi … nanopi (r4s) and odroid (c4) are two I’ve used, there are others … both are perfectly capable of running Roonbridge and Plexamp headless (Plexamp works best with at least 2GB RAM)

What i like in Plexamp is the analysis songs tasks in background which allows some nice features like display the bandwith in the progression bar, find similar tracks based on sounding analysis, …


Thanks for that. I’ll have a look at them.

Ok, I spent a bunch of time on Plexamp (had lifetime Plex Pass from back when I was using it as my DVR, before I got tired and got YouTube TV). Set up Plex on my Synology, got my user permissions and directories right, scanned my library.

First off, Plexamp has come a long way, and I can see why some prefer it to Arc out of the home. It “just works”. No argument. Once analysis is done, it’s pretty slick for playing your library, and it can incorporate Tidal in pretty darn well. Playing over Bluetooth to the car, downloads, all work pretty well. I don’t personally find it a substitute for Roon because of how embedded I am in Roon’s tags & playlists, and how I know how to traverse genres. But it’s slick. It’s easier to build a playlist on the fly from your library.

But in the home, I find myself completely underwhelmed, in large part because of zone management, at least as far as I can tell. I don’t have Chromecast devices, so I’m left being able to cast to Sonos zones. Even those devices I have like my HEOS server can find the UPNP/DLNA Plex server, but they can’t be cast to from the Plex embedded web app or the Plexamp app. So my main system (which streams off a Ropieee) is off limits unless I rebuild my RopieeeXL into a headless Plexamp server. The metaphor that I’m used to of using an app to traverse my library and then send it to the zone I want is gone. And there’s no DSP. So I’m kinda like “huh?” It’s fine if I’m 100% Sonos, but it’s been ages since I lived that way.

Maybe the Plex community will see fit to solve the issues preventing RopieeeXL from embedding Plexamp headless (see thread and corresponding thread over at Plex forums) but I’m not holding my breath. If not, I have no easy way to manage my whole system. And I wonder - what’s the point? I totally get if you have fancy streamers which natively access UPNP / DLNA servers then it works kind of natively. But I don’t. I have serapate RPi’s running Ropieee and DACs fed with a combination of USB and AES/XLR.

Perhaps I’m missing something and someone can explain to me how to use it better. I’d love that. Feels like it could be great, but it’s just not even operating in a way that’s close to how I now have gotten used to managing my music. And since both Roon & Plexamp are free to me, I’m going to use the one that’s easier for me.

Edit: though I should say I’m glad I got it running again just so I can use it if internet is down and Roon still won’t let me play my local content. That feels like cheap insurance. Thanks to all who created much noise, I do feel better with that in place.

There is DSP it has PEQ and AutoEQ presets built in for headphones. Not as advanced as Roon though. Someone has created a UPnP bridge for it but I could not get it to work.

It’s no substitute for Roon for Hifi unless you use a PC, Raspberry Pis, AirPlay or Chromecast enabled endpoints. This may change over time I imagine they will try a UPnP route much like Innuos are doing with their sense app. I don’t mean the current run or as a UPnP server but to be able to play direct to any device that supports UPnP, like Bubble UPnP does.

Its on the go is way ahead of Roon, but it’s stay at home is way behind. It will be interesting to see how it all goes.

Also, I came away with serious respect for one of their features that I think is just better, and so I wrote it up as a feature suggestion.

If any of you agree that the Related Tracks portion of Plexamp is amazing, (or if you don’t know what it is, give it a read) ask you give it a vote;

I have computers and Pi’s everywhere, and I use standalone DACs and mostly vintage amps instead of gear with built-in streamers … so Plexamp already meets most of my (simple) needs for home listening … and of course it’s very good for mobile/car use, the app is slick, I like the playlist/DJ functionality, etc.

There’s also a web interface for Plexamp headless devices, so that’s another display/control option that can work on larger screens … not quite as nice to look at as Roon’s web display, but still pretty cool.

Integration with Pi projects like RoPieee XL might happen someday … for now, to switch between Roon and Plexamp on a single Pi I start with a Plexamp-only setup and then install RoonBridge manually. Not too difficult, but SSH and terminal is not for everyone, I know … hopefully there will be improvements to make install and integration easier for all. [edit] One additional note, for anyone who wants to try this setup themselves … Plexamp really needs a pi4 (or similar) with at least 2GB RAM, especially if you play hi-res files (which get fully cached for playback). To generalize/oversimplify … Roon does more work at the server end, maybe requires a better network connection, and asks less of the playback device … Plexamp, which started as a mobile app, can handle less than ideal network conditions, but the playback device does more work.

Either app works with my Tidal subscription … Roon’s integration is better, but I prefer how Plexamp keeps your Tidal and local stuff separate (Plexamp’s Tidal integration also has some … issues). For any remaining streaming needs I just switch to a different amp input and use Airplay 2 to an M1 Mac Mini (which used to be my only digital source, before my Pi obsession …).


Just so I understand, what are you using on your RPi’s? My guess is that you’re using Plexamp headless instead of Moodio or Ropieee? Not sure I understand how you’re exposing your endpoints to cast to in a way that works for both Roon and Plexamp…. Right now I can’t expose my RPi endpoints to Plexamp, only to Roon. But if there’s a simple way, I’m all ears.


You can run it on dietpi, install Roon bridge and install PlexAmp. Or any Debian distro will do really. It’s not rocket science to install either. You won’t get now playing screen like Ropieee but you get best of many worlds.

I’m still learning Roon, but I do like about Plex it’s the folder view. It’s so much easier, to me, to find my music. I don’t need to search via typing. It’s the view that I used when I DJed! I know where every song is.

My library is organized by decades/genre/album or tracks. Boom. Simple. Also, I don’t like how Roon creates separate albums for songs that happen to be on an album. I like how the albums that I own are folders onto themselves.

Anyway, I am enjoying learning how to use Roon, so far. I have lifetime subscriptions to both, so I will be using both.

as described by @CrystalGipsy, start with a general purpose distro (dietpi, raspberry pi os lite 64 bit, etc.), then install plexamp headless and roonbridge … I can send some basic instructions if you’re interested

once installed, the device should show up in the Plexamp cast menu and in the list of Roon audio zones

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I see the CTO has said they are working on some mulitroom audio features for PlexAmp. Be interesting to see what they are.