Suggestions, requests for improving Roon for the Classical Music Lover

I am a lifetime subscriber to Roon and have enjoyed it from day one, I would buy it again in a moment. With that context, I have some thoughts on the recurring questions related to quality of metadata, handling of boxed sets, reviews, etc.

It seems to me that the ultimate issue is not simply how Roon chooses to source and present meta-data, but also the quality and completeness of that data in the first place. Obviously, Roon’s supplemental information will be only as good as the data source. I believe that even were Roon to present metadata perfectly and in a manner to everyone’s liking, many of the issues cited by members of the forum would remain as the metadata source is incomplete & imperfect.

If there is not a 100% reliable and complete metadata source, perhaps the solution is to create an added and integrated layer of crowd-sourced metadata accessible across Roon subscribers. For example, I may take time to do my own grooming of a boxed set in such a manner that Roon can better present the set to me. I would be perfectly happy to share that revised metadata with any other Roon customer. Similar perhaps for reviews etc. Think of it as a Wiki for Roon customers.

One could see interesting uses of the data on the back-end. Perhaps Roon could sell a subscription to this data back to its existing metadata provider? Going further with the notion of shared data, it would sure be cool to see real-time aggregated data from Roon users: most owned album, playing now, total albums owned, genre distributions, etc.

Speaking for myself, while I am very sensitive to privacy concerns, I am a real fan of music (and Roon) and would be more than willing to contribute my metadata and library stats to make for a better music-listening community.

If my recall is correct, this is how Gracenote started – it was created by users and eventually it was purchased by Sony (I believe Nielsen now owns it).

I think instead of creating & maintaining yet another closed / gated community sourced metadata pool it would be better and nicer too to push more into the musicbrainz and maybe critiquebrainz direction. Roon already uses some metadata from musicbrainz, more hopefully being on the way.

If you want to bring an album or a box set into Roon musicbrainz already kind of works for this – if one’s willing to add the data to musicbrainz that is. :wink:

As long as each album in the box set is given the same album name (ie the name you want to use for the box set) and the individual discs are correctly numbered in the source files, this will appear as a single item with multiple albums in Roon.

Don’t know if this has been mentioned yet, but here is my complaint/feature request.

On the album page, in the column of “By This Artist”, for classical music more often than not this results in more selections by the performing symphony, etc. Wouldn’t the composer be more appropriate?

Maybe a drop down list for this column, that lets one specify the criteria for display? Either on a per album basis or as a dynamic choice.

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I would (presently) expect to only see the performing artist(s) in this column. If you are sometimes seeing the composer then this suggests you have a mix of composers/artists in your artist tags. Many here will have gone to a great deal of manual grooming effort to ensure they do not see this.

I do agree though that this column should be configurable. Some will prefer to have a handy link to other albums keyed on composer whilst others will prefer performers. The important thing is that the display should be consistent. I can even imagine a configuration drop down to display both as long as roon is making it explicitly consistent that is what it is doing.

No, I want to see the composer rather than the performer. That’s my complaint.

Apologies. I misread your comment.

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I am (and have been for some time) very concerned about lack of access to the print materials almost universally supplied with classical CD/SACD releases. These materials include all four covers, front / back / inner /outer and any included booklet. These materials contain information vital to the true enjoyment of the recordings, such as:

— texts and translations of music with voice (songs, recitals, choral music, opera) How to enjoy an opera without a libretto? While I find many pop/rock songs with text, I have never seen a single text or translation of classical materials.

— cast / artist identifications by role, vocal range, instrument etc (Credit info on classical releases shown by Roon is as good as non-existent.) Something as simple as on opera roster like Birgit Nilsson - Soprano - Isolde for any opera cast member, members of string quartets

— essays on the specific album about countless aspects of the production, original instrument vs modern instrument with historical sensitivities, historical instruments or modern recreations, themes affecting works selected, sequencing of items, new insights on composers, musical practices, textual issues on various versions and variations of many works, performance venues, sound recording approaches … ad infinitum.

I applaud Roon for the expansion and improvement of their ancilliary information like reviews, brief explications of specific works, bios of composers and performers, etc. These materials are welcome, but are no substitute for the album specific materials carefully prepared by the artists and labels involved in the creation of a new recording.

My only temptation for trying Qobuz ( I prefer Tidal’s MQA based approach in Hi-Res to the brute force ever higher bit rate approach of Qobuz) is that I have heard that Qobuz provides access to pdf album materials. I don’t know if that is true or to what degree.

This may well not be as much a Roon issue as a streaming company issue. I don’t know where the lines of responsibility are between Roon, streaming company, digital library suppliers and record labels. I hope someone along that chain can help make progress helping us gain access to these musical experience enhancing materials. After all they were created at some expense and I’m sure started life as a computer text file.

Qobuz supplies PDFs with almost all recent releases and re-releases. That alone is worth the price of admission to Qobuz streaming for Classical music lovers. And now it is all integrated into Roon and the PDFs are equally available through the Roon interface.

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Thanks for the feedback on Qobuz. I will certainly have to check it out at some point. I may let Qobuz USA settle down a bit before I give it a try. I may have to revisit my budget to see if I can swing both services or must make a choice. Streaming is such a value for a really limited income senior like me even at twice the price, but budgets can be stubborn things.

Thanks again for your prompt and helpful response.

I used to also subscribe to Tidal. Their Classical selection is very good, but my sense was that it was not quite as extensive as that of Qobuz.

I have been a Qobuz subscriber for several years and its integration with Roon has been for me, a great step forward.

However, there was one issue that did annoy me with Tidal - a reasonable proportion of their new release Classical albums had their tracks out of order, which, of course, would render these albums unplayable, without a lot of editing of metadata in Roon.

Perhaps this has now been fixed, although I do not envisage I will subscribe again to Tidal any time soon. In my opinion, the ready availability of the booklets in digital format is a game changer for streaming classical music.

I haven’t been logging in - just checking the new items - so I didn’t see your helpful post until now. I too have had issues with Tidal having classical releases with scrambled tracks - all on multi disk albums where they appear to have copied track one on all the disks, track two on all the disks, etc. I haven’t encountered any recently - not sure if it is fixed or just chance. Agree with your stress of the essential importance of album notes for classical listeners. Probably will ultimately end up with Qobuz as a result, although I’m still with Tidal and am a fan of MQA for several reasons.