The dilemma(s) of Roon

Wasn’t that when streaming systems like Sonos took off and all were thinking that this is the new way to do it?

Probably not. What fundamental/groundbreaking changes are to be expected when it comes to serving audio to different endpoints?

Cars were now built since over a century. There are no fundamental/groundbreaking new things to come any-more. Even the new electric driven cars aren’t new – electric driven cars where already there in the beginning of motorised mobility. Sure if cars could fly – but could they still be called cars any longer?

It’s the job of the marketing departments to make users perceive other/changed ways to do things as new/exciting while there’s in fact only evolution and trendy features.

Well, the value add is not meta-data, because without standards, surely no one has an answer.

Roon does seem to have an odd mix of features that is difficult to pin-down a value-add unless you are a “roonie”. Also, an unusually old demographic in the 50’s and 60’s if the polls are anything to go by. I would imagine that is roon’s greatest dilemma.

That’s my memory of the sequence of events.

I haven’t a clue but perhaps Roon Labs knows the answer.

A lot of technology is at a cross-roads at the moment. Even a venerable 100-year old industry like the auto-industry is having to face the extinction of a fossil-fuel model and assumptions about the necessity of a driver. Almost certainly a roadless, wheel-less, gass-less and driver-less future transportation model will also turn much of society upside down as well.

Is roon at the vanguad of that type of revolution in consumer audio consumption? Of course not. But some of us may be starting to feel as if we were sold that puppy.

Isn’t that is why roon does the disruption of RAAT instead of UPNP?

But that isn’t really my gripe. I had assumed that roon would do the disruption higher up in the application layer. That is library management, meta-data etc. I was wrong.

Metadata

I think that for Roon there were many changes under the hood in their metadata cloud over the last months as many new sources got added (Tidal, Qobuz, MusicBrainz, …). As metadata is treated/stored/delivered in different ways from different sources, there was no possibility to do a simple field matching to integrate those new sources. A much more improved and clever way to match the data from different sources was needed. I also think that Valence has emerged from this efforts. But at the end of the day there’s still no way to display (additional) metadata for content were no (additional) metadata is available from the – available to Roon – third party metadata providers.

As already mentioned in another thread, the additional metadata (metadata beyond the basic set of album/track titles, performers, …) is mostly not understandable by a vast majority of potential Roon customers anyway because it’s availability in English only but this is not a problem per se, as those potential customers will either not get any additional metadata at all or the same English only metadata, no matter what player they choose in the end.

Library Management

What’s a users definition of library management?
As Roon never touches your files, you end up with the same files in your library that you started with should you choose to stop using Roon and as far as streaming content is concerned, it’s just gone. No tags or playlist created in Roon reflect to files and/or streaming providers. Is that management?

RAAT vs. UPnP/DLNA

RAAT looks to me like a technically superior way (over UPnP/DLNA) to stream audio content to endpoints. It’s one of the reasons why one – even the non English speaking one – would might want to use Roon.

That RAAT then fails to deliver with products of major brands (NAD/Bluesound, KEF, …) is a pity.

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Onkyo, Denon, Yamaha, etc. too.

But I doubt Roon has a leg to stand on, really. All the biggies want to dominate the home, both hardware (hi-fi and smart tv and voice assistant) and software/system. There’s really no place for Roon in that context. Third-party music streaming like Tidal and Qobuz will get squeezed out by the biggies (Amazon, Apple, etc.) who will undercut their services in order to sell their voice assistant. I assume Roon will have to align with one of them in order to survive; I just hope that it’s Alphabet.

By the way, everything comes around again. I just read that Japan is opening a dozen coal-fired power plants to replace the nuclear ones they are shutting down.

I think we can all agree that UPnP/DLNA is no match for RAAT, but why isn’t there a UPnP2? Because the main stream has moved on, and now streaming from a number of proprietary apps? A reason why slim devices was left to die. Roon picks up the small audiophile market that’s left, which actually cares about lossless gapless playback.

Slim Devices was sold to Logitech for $20m if I recall correctly. They then rapidly outdid themselves destroying what they’d bought.

Yep, Sean Adams took the money and disappeared. Probably enjoying cocktails on a beach somewhere ever since. Good for him!

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Having migrated to Roon from a UPnP/OpenHome environment, I think I have a bit of insight into that. Implementing a Roon/RAAT endpoint is way more complicated than implementing a UPnP/OpenHome receiver.

The simplicity is, I suspect, part of the reason that a number of manufacturers are turning away from UPnP/OpenHome towards proprietary solutions. It’s hard to differentiate your kilobuck product from that of your competitor, when you’re both implementing an open standard that has a fully-functional implementation on a $35 Raspberry Pi.

The upside of an open standard (multiple implementations with seamless interoperability between them) isn’t nearly as compelling in a market as small as the audiophile market.

But the withering of UPnP/OpenHome is, I think, cautionary for Roon/RAAT as well. Those same manufacturers are equally uninterested in “Roon Ready” certification (which, as I said, is harder to achieve), for exactly the same reasons.

Yep, I often wonder what happened to him. The Squeezebox was a fantastic achievement, ground breaking, integrated hardware, server software and control point, open system, cheap, way ahead of the opposition. It’s long in the tooth now, but £100 gets you a Touch which’ll work as a Roon endpoint. I wonder what Sean Adams would do now? Who else since has had the mix of hardware and software competencies that he had?

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Interesting observations.

One of Roon’s bigger problems IMO is that the big players in the audio market all try to push their own multiroom/streaming solutions like Yamaha’s Multicast and Denon’s Heos. Roon -all it’s niggles notwithstanding - is superior to these systems but the big boys have sunk so much effort in their proprietary products that they are understandably reluctant to abandon them. (I know I’m stating the obvious here).

This is why I don’t understand Roon’s choice to target the upper price range with their hardware solutions. I would consider it a wiser course to offer cheaper hardware solutions: a decent core apparatus at a NUC price point and a multi output bridge at a slightly lower price point.

The market would be opened up quite a bit this way. There are plenty of people who don’t want to tinker or DIY and who are quite content with their mid fi systems but who would happily replace the proprietary apps with something better.

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I think my definition includes all the organization, cataloging, storage, retrieval, discovery and recommendations surrounding the media. Just like a modern physical library. So for me it is much more than the basic “untouched” file management the OS is doing. This is the sense in which I had hoped roon would take a market lead and prioritize.

Maybe, there was a lot of behind the scenes groundwork in Valance and we will see the benefits in future releases. I hope so. For the moment with the genres I am interested in I just see the same unaddressed frustrations which in many cases are going back years. There are some bright spots. I find radio much improved for example. But with the best will in the world discovery and recommendations has a long way to go, search really doesn’t work with genres like Classical, Qobuz metadata integration is still flaky (but improved) and of course box sets . . .

I opted for annual.

Is it good that as the renewal date arrives i go through the mental torment of do I dont I ?

If the WOW factor was real i wouldnt even think about it

Why do i spend time keeping my legacy system up to date ?

Quite simply manually curated metadata can provide a better navigation experience , as Tony says Box Sets …

Its the inevitable love hate relationship.

RAAT vs uPNP is the other stumbler, i have a $1300 doorstop unless I use Airplay, instead i use $150 lash up and leave my hi fi component to rust in a corner

Maybe I am answering my own questions. Sexy AI etc may be the future but i want to listen my old classical collection but I cant find what i want , so I nip to legacy

Just my 2p until next renewal time?

I think Roon is a trade-off: we give up some control over how we manually curate our own music for easy retrieval and queue assembly (which is quite painful) in exchange for having “the world of music” (not in our library) presented to us in a similar fashion to our own library, and allowing easy integration of the two.

I agree it is a tradeoff, but each of us is probably trading off different bits. For me, I simply haven’t seen anything I like anywhere close to Roon. Sure, a couple of other tools out there may exceed certain aspects of Roon. There are certainly bits of Roon I don’t use and bits I don’t particularly like, but most of what I want is there and, for some strange reason, I have high confidence that Roon will continue to move more toward what I life than what I don’t like.

As much as I’d love to curate my own music given the tools to do so, it just won’t happen. Oh, I’d start and make some progress, but I’d never get it done before something far better came along… But similarly, I will never curate and manage my immense and growing picture collection as I would like nor would my book collection (now much in kindle form) ever see a card catalog Great and lofty goals but it simply isn’t going to happen. Not by me. Not this lifetime. Hey, let’s be honest, it’s hard enough matching socks.

But for now and the foreseeable future, Roon is damn slick. And once the unforeseeable becomes seeable, we can all weigh in again.

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Well put hence the Love Hate

There is nothing better but it frustrates me a times, my beef will probably never be fixed as my musical tastes are seen as marginal

I like your honesty on curating stuff. I too start with good Intensions but not long later, it’s all in a box or pile :joy:
It’s a personality type issue… All the librarians seem to get upset over folder views and scrolling directions whilst I consider life is too short and get stuck in to some music.
If you wait around for the world to show up just as you like it, you will wait for ever and never be satisfied. Nothing is perfect… nothing, if you look close enough but so much is plenty good enough and getting better.

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“Perfection is the enemy of progress.”

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