The Audiophiliac does not love us

I almost always find Steve Guttenberg’s thought pieces and rants entertaining. This one made me sad…and if I’m honest, a little angry.

I’m sad for Steve because he’s missing out on some great listening experiences. It’s obvious from this piece that he has not really given Roon a try…he’s just lumping it in with all of the other computer audio experiences he has had in the past. It’s easy to do, but it’s also lazy, and I think Steve is better than that.

When you’re a journalist with such powerful reach, I think you owe it to yourself and your readers/viewers to perform a more thorough investigation before saying damning things about a product. He’s completely entitled to his preference for physical media, but I don’t think it’s cool to name Roon specifically in this objection to the category of streaming audio.


Out of touch and confused.


If I had to rely on physical media I wouldn’t play much… I’d never be able to find it.
A case in point. My brother and his wife were over, I don’t get to see them enough so when the talk was about his old uni days and Van Morrison albums, I was able to play music instantly with Roon adding to the occasion and bringing back memories. We were also able to follow on a musical journey as you do.
Gotta love Roon for this…


I’m also trying to understand why Steve finds Roon to be “intrusive.” While occasionally Roon will replace my embedded album art with higher quality album art that I don’t prefer, that’s easy to override.

Classical music collectors may have valid complaints about how Roon handles metadata, but I have yet to find a metadata solution that is perfect for that (tags are a big help). I can’t imagine racks of physical CDs or LPs being any more immune to the challenges of organizing a classical music library.

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Edit the thread title. Unless Steve has a beef with Roon users, his issue is with Roon, the software, not "us.’


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Here is a much better reviewer…


His beef is more than just with Roon Software. I’m searching for the right word. Perhaps he’s threatened by the reduced audiophile masochism associated with modern computer audio platforms.


I don’t think it’s a “bad” review; it’s an “irrelevant” review. He’s a dedicated physical media guy who enjoys his physical “clutter” and confesses to not use or like Tidal or iTunes much (despite having accounts), no doubt because they, too, organize his musical universe more than he likes. So be it. As I say, it’s an “irrelevant” review.


Actually Mr. Guttenberg’s right: the physical experience he likes isn’t something software can deliver, Roon or iTunes or what else he mentions. If that’s important and part of one’s journey into music than there’s nothing wrong saying digital music and its ugly sibling music streaming isn’t for me. It’s as valid as any other opinion.

And the presentation as such was amusing. :sunglasses:


I can certainly sympathise with him. He’s like me with books. I would much rather have my physical library of books than ebooks. Books are art objects in their own right and are so much richer than ebooks. However, all my CDs have now been relegated to boxes in the attic, and Roon rules as far as music is concerned…


Yes, I agree, especially on books. I, too, have relegated my large CD library to storage in favor of the many benefits of Roon. But I don’t read his comments as a critique of Roon per se, but as a defense of his preference for physical media.


I don’t think it’s a review at all since Steve barely describes the product (even in comments below the video). It’s just a rant about his belief that computer audio in general and Roon specifically is not good enough to be used for critical listening.

From the perspective of content, it’s irrelevant; however, what makes it relevant is the person who said it. Steve is a very influential guy in this industry who can make or break products and even companies with just a few words, and he called out Roon specifically in this piece. I would not be too hasty to write-off what he has said here as “irrelevant.”

I think this deserves a formal response…either publicly or in private.


It’s one person saying he doesn’t like computer audio in general, while acknowledging that everyone he knows who does, loves Roon.

His friend (come on, own up, which of you was it ?:smirk:) may have thought Roon might have the best chance of converting Steve to computer audio, but it wasn’t to be. I understood Steve to be saying he hasn’t tried Roon at home himself, just seen others fall under it’s spell.

I can relate to what he says about the positive aspects of clutter; I have a similar experience when tracking through the links in reviews and ending up somewhere far from where I started.


Mods have deleted a couple of posts that were veering off topic in an inappropriate way. Posts about other posts rather than the subject of the thread can easily do that.

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The quintessential old man complaining about the world changing.

That is all that video is. His rant is against anything that isn’t physical media, and to him Roon is a representation of that. It’s not like some objective comparison of Roon to its competition.

It is unfortunate that he has influence that could hurt Roon. But I wonder how much - I mean, anyone looking for media management software would look right past his rant because it doesn’t answer their questions, and anyone who isn’t into digital audio probably would only have their prejudices confirmed.

Who cares. I just find it ironic that the guy rants on a streaming video service about streaming audio. I mean, he should be sending out his reviews on VHS or even Betamax!


Haha…good point about using a streaming service to rant about streaming. :rofl:

I know a few people in audio who equate convenience with inferior performance. There is a lot of that in consumer audio, but every once-in-a-while, something amazing like Roon comes along…delivering performance without compromising on aesthetics or user experience.

I hope folks who have not yet explored Roon won’t be frightened away by Steve’s rant.


Hmmh - I’m sure that Steve knows a lot of audiophiles. I see his video as affirmation a lot of people out there are really getting into Roon.

I’m personally getting into an anti-change mode as much of what I see as “change” is not positive. Roon was different and I immediately bought the lifetime subscription.

I guess I’m disappointed that Steve didn’t actually try Roon for awhile before he gave a negative review. He didn’t understand that Roon does not mess with you files. Also, Steve explained his kind of non-linear music discovery (or re discovery) process with vinyl/cd. Roon is actually really, really good for non-linear browsing. I wish he would at least give it a chance. . .


Wake up little kids. Not everything in audio is spinning around ROON (or TIDAL for that matter). There is (good, healthy, normal) life beyond (and before) streaming and computer audio. Steve is just one (of many) enjoying that life, that’s all. That’s not really a reason to cry…


If he was a century older I bet he would have ranted about how LPs and other physical media were intrusive compared to listening to an orchestra or live musician.
Change, something some people, old and young, have problems dealing with.
And by his age (I know, I’m as old as he is) he can’t hear anything above 10kHz and can’t make the difference between MP3 and hi-def, so indeed, just irrelevant if amusing rant.

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Troll? Is your point we should all take up tennis?

Of course there are other ways to enjoy audio. And I don’t see a lot of vinyl or CD bashing here. The unfortunate part of this is that it’s someone with a platform to spread information instead spreading what is essentially ignorance. “I don’t really use it or understand it, but I don’t like it” with some implication then that “you shouldn’t either.” There just was no valid point to what he was saying. That is worthy of comment.