System phobia vs music enjoyment

I’m 74 a music lover and also an avid audiophile. Now In the twilight of my life and in the light of the Covid lockdown, listening to my music has given me with a feeling of contentment and escape. I’m not a Roon user, I recently had a trial run and I felt that Roon in the present incarnation was not best suited to catalogue my carefully organised collection of ripped CD’s mainly of classical music, I’m not closing the door indefinitely. However, I do get the impression from the Roon forums that the music now is only the food and the technical aspects, problems and system requirements dominate.

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Perhaps it only appears that way because this forum is where Roon users go to solve problems.

Start talking about your extensive collection of classical and the conversation will undoubtedly turn to the music.

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Thanks Rob, I kind of expected your reasoning soon after I posted.
Turning to the organisation of classical music I recommend that you visit Prestomusic.com. The way they have structured their database is the best I have experienced. They appear to have overcome the basic problem in organising classical music. That is by using a logical album name field with a standard description under which the piece is organised, distinct from the variable album names given by the producers for the same piece of music.

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There’s plenty of activity going on in the Music forum…

https://community.roonlabs.com/c/music/7

@Davyd What are you going to use as a music organizer in lieu of Roon. Audirvana, JRiver? I only have a few classical albums, so I can’t fully understand the limitations you’re facing. What type of player are you using?

You can find several new posts daily and a library of threads about complaining of Roon’s handling of Classical music. Let’s not start another one.

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I use iTunes, I found that iTunes can be fine tuned to be made perfectly adequate for managing classical music using a consistent approach. I Purchase original CD’s (and rip them).

I do not subscribe to any music services. Several of my CD’s are now worth in excess of their purchase price due to becoming a rarity over time and I like to have something physical to show for my money.

A very important field in iTunes is “Grouping” not often mentioned, this is where you should enter the Producers own Album Name for the CD and Catalogue No. The Album title should be entered as a generic name and may be tailored to suit so that all versions have the same title for example “Bach: Brandenburg Concerto (Leppard) No. 5”.

This will list all versions of that piece in alphabetical order by composer. In the event that you require be able to retrieve the complete CD it can be found under “Grouping”. Unfortunately the Roon database does not recognise the “Grouping” field in iTunes.

You will only appreciate this method as you collect different version of similar pieces and require to compare one against the other in quick succession. I recognise that mine is a narrow point of view, however, we are all coming from different place and it has worked for me over time.

My iTunes files are stored on a Network drive. I currently use Sonos connect linked to my Stereo for playback. I also have a desktop setup from which I burn the CD’s and then edit the tags and add albums art in iTunes. That way I feel in complete control of my music database.

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Thanks for the explanation David. Sonos Connect is a nice device; I have owned at least one since 2011.

If iTunes gets you where you need to go, that’s what’s important. Enjoy.

—Robert

@mitr

If that is truly the case, maybe Roon should work on addressing the shortcomings people are complaining about. Classical is a popular genre. It might be they can’t fix the issue (if it relies on third party software to update the database). If that’s the case, put that info out front so that new subscribers would understand that limitation. Full disclosure wins out in the long run. @danny

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I’m uncertain if this is correct in the overall scheme of popular genres of music - that is beyond Roon users.

However, if the Roon forum is anything to go by, classical is extremely popular, almost as popular as rock based music.

It’s hard to know if that exemplifies the Roon user base in its entirety or only the regular Roon users on the forum.

Notwithstanding, there always seem to be discussions on Roon’s inability to meet the needs of classical users. What I have learnt from this is that classical users tend to have their own preferences and so the inability of Roon to get things right is often limited by the expectations of the user. Suffice to say, composers, performances and so on often turn to glitches where the music isn’t catalogued in ways that make sense to the users and more.

It’s clearly awkward to rely solely on external metadata. Personal ‘deep’ tagging of one’s collection of classical music may alleviate some of the issues encountered by users.

Cheers.

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I have zero problems with Roon, but I don’t have a large library of my own music. I stream Tidal and Qobuz and both work perfectly with Roon.

Davyd–I’m 66, and like you, a music lover and audiophile. I’ve been a Roon user since 2015 and my large music collection includes 2100 ripped classical CDs, a number of which long ago passed out of print, and purchased downloads. No question, Roon has issues with classical metadata, but so has every comparable music organizing/playback software I’ve tried, going back to the introduction of iTunes in 2001. For me, the numerous advantages of Roon over the alternatives far outweigh the problems with classical metadata, many of which I’ve solved with Roon tags and bookmarks. As @Rob_Hanson noted, the forum is weighted toward problem solving, so there will be a lot of negative opinions about metadata, but I for one have learned a great deal from forum users about how to bring my classical collection to the point where searching and playing my music (I’m also a Qobuz subscriber) is fairly easy. And then i just sit back and enjoy!

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I am a classical music lover and my collection runs to about 3000 albums. You already have the key to enjoying Roon - a carefully organised collection of ripped CD which I am sure (like me) you have been consistent in your own naming conventions when you ripped the CDs.

What does Roon add:

  1. The ability to view CD booklets alongside the music. Through diligent searching I have been able to obtain digital copies of many booklets for the ripped CDs. Ready access to librettos/texts etc is indispensable for operas, lieder etc
  2. Roon allows you ready access to information about composers, performers and compositions. For example, I recently listened to Schnittke’s symphony no 1 - both a composer and a work that I did not know. In addition to the PDF booklet, Roon provided quite detailed and different information from that in the booklet about this symphony.
  3. Seamless integration with Qobuz - by far and away the best streaming service for Classical music. Nearly all Qobuz releases come with PDFs which can be readily accessed through Roon. (It should be noted that even Qobuz can be inconsistent in naming conventions - Roon allows you to edit these).
  4. The discovery options for new music either using Roon radio or Recommended for you. Neither is perfect - but then perfection does not exist.

The key issue for classical music lovers with Roon - or indeed with any digital music playback system is to take control of the metadata. It is quite shocking that even the most reputable classical music labels have such inconsistent approaches to the way they identify their music - Roon cannot be held responsible for this.

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When I read this, a red flag went up. I’m a much younger 69 ( :grinning:) and adopted Roon about 2 years ago. I’m a very happy camper – today. But I will warn you that Roon is not very adaptable to the myriad of music organization tactics, file tag systems, folder structures, etc. that exist out there.

Spend some time understanding how Roon fashions its DB and decide whether it fits your druthers.

My discomfort – pain is too strong of a word – transitioning to Roon lasted about two months. Your transition should be much shorter because of Roon’s numerous improvements lately.

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You were fast. It took me almost three months to sort out the mess Roon made out of my classical collection. I still find countless hickups as I listen and correct them on-the-go.

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I do think its a popular genre, especially amongst audiophiles and audio enthusiasts. Pretty good crowd of classical fans on the forum.

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I think classical appears popular on Roon above its level as its users are also very aware of and have their own methods for its organisation. So every time a new serious collector joins and they run up against their methods Vs roon they start a thread.

There is quite a lot of classical streamed but the majority of that I believe is the “film tie in, top 20 classical, classical moments” type. Unfortunately it seems quite a few of the labels are now approaching their metadata provision as if all releases are that category.

I definitely agree with your first paragraph, but I don’t think the stats would bear out your second.

If I look at the Qobuz “Still Trending” lists (which I take as being what’s being listened to in Classical), then there’s precious little “film tie in, top 20 classical, classical moments” stuff in there…

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But that’s Qobuz which has a tiny percentage of the market and is aimed at audiophiles which has a huge cross with classical listeners. Spotify and apple music are different.
From a NY times article.
“Those playlists “are exposing new, young audiences to classical music without them realizing initially that they are listening to classical music — they just know that they like what they are listening to,” Mark Mulligan of Midia said in an interview.”
“Classical music has always been a specialized corner of the music business, with a discerning clientele and few genuine blockbusters. But by some measures the genre has suffered in the shift to streaming. While 2.5 percent of album sales in the United States are classical music, it accounts for less than 1 percent of total streams, according to Alpha Data, a tracking service.”

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True enough. Sturgeon’s Law lives.

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