Please note that most of the hassle is not the fault of Roon but is a carry over from net databases set up for popular fare. FWIW, here is the laborious editing process done here:
The only sensible approach to classical albums is to make them composer focussed by prefacing each album with the composer surname. The great advantage to that is that “Sorted by Album Title” automatically gets all the Bach, Beethoven etc albums together.
But there are complications with e.g. Bach, as there is CPE and others besides JS. My approach is to reserved “Bach” for JS albums and to use “CPE Bach” etc for others. Similarly “V.Williams” is necessary to distinguish Vaughan from the other Williams.
Another complication can arise with some albums featuring the title in French while others are in English – many Berlioz works have this problem so editing to English can help. A further complexity is added with albums with works of more than one composer. When only two are involved it is tempting to use the first one in the header but I generally use “A – Various” followed by the album title. Finding works in these albums is done fairly successfully with the Roon search engine.
The frustrating aspect of classical fare is that composers like Bach, Handel etc often feature in the artist slot by net databases which Roon accesses. In editing the artist(s) I always list the conductor first with orchestral works but feature the soloist before the conductor with concertos. Similarly, famous soloists like Janet Baker are listed ahead of the conductor but, if the singer is not well known I assume the album is more easily detected from the conductor so he/she receives prominence.
The Album Cover
With single albums, works are quickly identified on Roon by the cover design but this falls down with sets. It is a job still in progress, but I break up all set albums and create specific covers for each to make them easily found from the icons. Using MS Publisher I insert text at 26 to 30 point size so it can be read from the cover icon. With some albums there are so many different works involved listing anything on the cover is pointless so in that case the inserted text merely says “CD 1” etc. With others , one or two major works are listed on the cover. I guess this could be listed in the album name but I choose to list the works there. With the header of the album name the composer, there is limited visibility of the remaining album data in the icon so putting it onto the cover overcomes that.
One common annoyance is the low resolution of the cover so at least half in this library have to be edited and replaced with suitable fare on the net. This is particularly useful where an album cover of e.g. an opera, might list all artists involved. Higher resolution is needed to decipher these.
Identifying Albums with Roon
The major advantage with this is twofold. First it takes advantage of the interlinking of data with Roon and usually gives an album description which you might or might not agree with. [It would be nice if Roon allowed, as Sooloos did, for us to add it our own data].
Secondly it tidies up any jumbled track display.
BUT, and it is a big BUT, achieving identification can be a PIA or even virtually impossible using the Roon arrows to shift tracks up/down in larger sets, particularly with baroque works with 20 or more tracks on any one album. And Roon can be frustrating in that one would hope that when one album in a set has been correctly identified, the software would be clever enough to recognise that so remaining albums would be easier to fix. At this stage that is not the case so very often I give up and leave the album unidentified, thereby missing out on the clever interlinking referred to earlier.
This can be a trap that I fell into in my early Roon days. There is considerable and obvious benefit for the albums in an opera or a live performance to be linked, but absolutely no point in merging others. As said above, I do the opposite and break up most sets.
I find the Roon tags confusing and unhelpful so have opted to compose my own. E.g. a concerto could have the following tags “Orchestral”, “Concerto”, “Violin Concerto”; a Haydn piano work “Chamber”, “Instrumental – piano”, “Baroque and Early” etc etc. Roon then allows me to play from a selected tag.
I’ve tried to do Roon back ups direct onto USB sticks but have not found one yet that works satisfactorily. I do have it set up to perform regularly at 2am an internal HDD but also often do a manual BU to another folder after finishing some editing. I then copy that file onto a USB stick.
It is also vital to have a backup of all music files as I found recently when, for some, still unknown reason, they all got deleted. Restoration was successful thanks to music file copies on an external HDD and using the Roon BU to reconfigure earlier editing.
Editing on Roon only alters the HDD data if a duplicate album is deleted so if one is concerned to have those duplicates deleted on the backup HDDs, then they need to be located to be deleted, or sections in the backup HDD replaced.
The whole editing process can be an absorbing hobby in itself, and done carefully permits quick access to a work or a particular album. And it allows quick comparison of artistry from different performers for the same work so a favourite can be selected.
Bottom line for me is that Roon, despite a few drawbacks, is a far nicer, more reliable and simpler system to use than the Sooloos it replaced.