Roon vs Plex - a serious discussion

Yes, there’s no doubt they are not competing in the home environment. I tried the desktop version last night and only lasted a few minutes before going back to Roon.

I suppose the question for most of us is would you take features from Plex and add them to Roon or the other way around?

I would like to see ARC handling downloads the way Plex does, I would also like smarter playlists. I think the video focuses on the things Plex does that Roon doesn’t and that’s probably not by chance this week!

No it’s only supports AirPlay or Chromecast no other streaming protocols your limited to computers other than use those to get it into your system.

Really? They were talking about Raspberry Pi connectivity in the video.

I used PlexAmp away from home before ARC but k not a lot, I don’t on the whole like it’s presentation or it’s handling of my library as you have to edit a lot of albums to get them to display properly.

That said yes it’s search and responsiveness is good, playlist building light years ahead something Roon doesn’t take seriously, i don’t really use playlists im an album man then radio after that unless I want something specific. Downloading is better and has more options and the ability to control the cache is a must for out of house use. It’s more mature as an on the go system but for the rest it’s too limiting.

That’s pretty much my experience too. The video explains why it was developed the way it was and that shows. I do like a playlist but I’m a dinosaur and don’t have enough hours in the day to listen to music. I agree about the UI as well. Not as intuitive as ARC.

I would like ARC to replace Plexamp in my usage, just for the consistent playlists/tagging etc.

Either one of these platforms has a lot to do to completely beat the other in different areas though.

A pi is a computer. I have a hifi system that supports streaming already so a pi isn’t of any use here and adds another component to the mix. Same for all those with streamers or server streaming systems like Innuos, Antipodes etc. Not everyone wants a DiY approach they have invested in a hifi option and want a way either via UPnP or Roon etc to play it on their system. I have a mix of pis in my setup for other zones but I don’t want this for my main system.

Plexamp is better designed for a combination local/streaming but not as good as Roon for audio protocols management.
I hope Roon will redesign it architecture to integrate better streaming services and get rid of the logical library which should be useless.

I use different Pi outputs, one of the is AES which I consider the gold standard since I can use whatever DAC I want with it. I’ve been using Lavry for a long time but increasingly my monitors have AES inputs.

I do tend to forget the HiFi end of things because I’m a bit more focussed on the engineering with a sound system and studio.

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.