Roon's Commitment to Classical Music

Over the past year while I have been subscribing to Roon there have been numerous appeals for improvements in the handling of Classical Music.

I am fully aware , as far as I know, of all the various ways of approaching a classical library with , Tags, Bookmarks , Composition view and the various filters etc and the Album view with Focus but in my opinion they leave the experience wanting .

The Composer view showing works as opposed to Albums is virtually useless to me as I have sets like the complete works of Beethoven and Bach 2000 so you are swamped with works. As it is I have had to change my approach of selecting music to accommodate the shortfalls as I see them. I used to go Composer>Genre>Album – Pick now I find that Artist> Album is the most reliable way . Before someone explains the various methods of navigation, I think I have tried most and I am not moaning without having exhausted most avenues. I am sure there are tricks I haven’t tried

I appreciate that development effort is limited and that decisions have to be made to improve the UI for the most users . (My money is on Remote Internet Access as the next biggy release as that seems to be having the most vocal users. ) I appreciate that Roon Management will not advise their planned developments and deadlines and I agree with the approach but we Classical Fans are seeing no hints that improvements in the user experience is in the pipeline. Is there any light at the end of the pipeline ?

Handling of Box Sets has been raised numerous times, the big record labels , Phillips, DG etc are cashing in on back catalogue with Centenaries (Bernstein & Karajan for example) and releasing mega sets . Often these sets can replace old worn out vinyl and come at ridiculously cheap prices often < $2 per CD. BUT put them in Roon and they are pretty close to unusable. Sets of 100 – 200 discs are not uncommon eg Mozart 255, Karajan Centenary , Bernstein Centenary , Brendel Retirement etc… 200 Hyperlinks do not give much of a hint as to content

Add to that the fact that the “nearest competitor” allows for individual artwork, individual album naming etc within a box set and that leaves Roon at a severe disadvantage from a classical view point.

The other major issue is the accuracy of the metadata for many classical albums. Since this is bought in I suspect there is little to be done. When I first loaded my library probably half of my classical albums failed in one way or another (Identification, splitting compositions etc). There are ways around it by reverting to a third part editor , correcting the Work/Part pairing and then Preferring File rather than the Roon data. One of the big selling points of Roon to me is the “Totally Auto” nature of recognition, this sort of defeats the object a bit

I could go on , and probably will sometime in the future, There are many areas where classical stuff gets the poor relation treatment

The simple question is can we as classical users expect to see any change in the foreseeable future or do we simply have to put up and shut up.

Needless to say my annual renewal is coming due sometime soon , so I need a little reassurance.



The roon team have stated they are developing a new metadata model and it has the aim of improving the classical user experience. No date committed to.
See any of the multiple threads that already exist.

That’s exactly the problem. The labels are cashing out, which means they are doing this on the cheap and not even bothering to release minimally adequate metadata to any of the commercial or nonprofit metadata providers. Creating reliable metadata for a large box is a lot of work, which the label could amortize over their sales of the boxset, but is difficult for a metadata provider or Roon to justify.

Especially given how tiny the market is, 1.1% US share in 2017. Given that a large proportion of that would be TV advertised popular classical not a lot of sales of more challenging works to pay for metadata providers.

I suspect that the proportion of classical music fans is a lot higher on Roon than 1.1%.

However, the point raised by Mike regarding classical music are valid and need to be addressed.



But sites like MuiscBrainz are community sourced aren’t they

Apart from that metadata is not the only point , some means of identifying the content of each disc , even manually would help

In my previous system, I had custom tags for the Box Set name, Disc Name and even disc volume where they were multi volume set like the Beethoven edition in 20 volumes

That way you could at least navigate to a desired CD in a big set


Without being rude , I assume you are not one of the 1.1% or you may show more concern

My other 50% is rock & jazz which are 95% correct or better …so why should “the other half” fail so badly


Musicbrainz is community sourced, but unfortunately it has very poor classical coverage. None of the boxsets I own were covered accurately there. There is a Roon KB article on how to set up multidisc albums

and two on best metadata practices

Using these and some advice from experienced Roon users, I’ve been able to deal with pretty exotic boxsets. However, for best results you need to edit file tags with an external metadata editor if the file tags you got when ripping the boxset are inadequate.

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I have a couple of hundred or so classical albums. So some 12.5% of my CD collection, I use them as roon finds them and give a hand where needed rather than trying to impose my own schema.

And even then you’ll come up short. As soon as you have a box set comprising multiple albums Roon falls flat as it’s patently unable to deal with them, just as it was in 2015. “Searchable, surfable magazine about your music”, I disagree.

I’ve got a “few” classical albums.

You’re assuming the assigned genre metadata is correct and complete, could be more, could be less.

Sorry…you don’t know what I assume.

If you’re relying on Roon’s metadata and haven’t verified every genre assignment the albums returned by your filter criteria may or may not be complete. Clear enough now…

It’s something people could change if they wanted to. Just sayin’ … :slight_smile:

But there’s no reason to believe that the discs in the boxset are exactly identical to the original albums. In fact, they often are subtly different, like moving a filler track to another disc or using different masterings. A boxset is a boxset and thinking of it as a collection of albums is in my view a fool’s errand, and I’d not recommend that Roon try to do that. However, with the right WORK and PART tags, you can still have good identification of compositions.

The classical catalog is a mess because the (classical) music industry is a mess, a death spiral of (re)packaging the same kind of material again and again without any serious curation work.

I’d rather Roon work with metadata providers for better support of new recordings/works, which often do not show up until much after release if ever. For instance, I just bought two new digital downloads, one Pentaphone and the other BIS, no metadata.

Perhaps classical music is as you describe, but popular music often isn’t. A box set can for example comprise a remastered discography without bonus tracks thrown in. Classical too has such releases. Roon still can’t deal with them other than treat it as one homogenous mass sans the metadata relating to the individual albums making up the box set

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I have 3000 classical albums - a good number purchased as digital downloads either from the label itsel or reputable music retailers.

The metadata originating from the record companies themselves is a mess - I don’t know people expect a downstream player in the digital music scene - such as Roon - to be able to fix this. I could provide details of the differences in and between the different labels - but will not bore you. However, the metadata varies from the almost non-existent (catalogue number provided as the name of the album) to over the top (each track containing not only the name of the artist, but of the record engineer, the name of the conductor, composer…). There are inconsistencies in how composers are named (for me Beethoven needs to be found under “B” not “L” for Ludwig etc) and it goes on.

The moral of the story is that you need to take control of this yourself as and when you rip or download an album and amend the provided metadata with a clear view on how you want to organise and search your music collection.

Box sets are a particular conundrum - if you are ripping you need to make sure that the disc metadata reflects that of the box set (most importantly correct disc number - but also album title, artists etc) and not of the individual album that may have been released separately at some stage.


I don’t think people expect Roon to fix it, but I do think Roon needs to enable users to leverage the requisite metadata when it exists in their tags. A comprehensive list of tags including support for multi-album box sets and individual album covers would at least enable users to help themselves.


I don’t know about rock boxsets, but jazz boxsets very often include extra takes, for example compare Miles’s original Bitches Brew with The Complete Bitches Brew Sessions.

Except for individual album covers, once I get the track metadata cleaned up and completed with WORK and PART tags, I have a fairly good way of navigating between single discs and boxset discs. For example, you can see below the three performances I have of Bartók’s Concerto for Orchestra. The first in a single album, the last two on two different boxsets that required considerable tag curation on my part to get all compositions properly identified.