The Roon Ready Promise & the Case of the Bluesound 2i

The “Roon Ready” designation is a promise. A promise made by Roon that per Roon’s website: “…you can trust that you will receive the best experience and support from Roon Ready devices, regardless of the manufacturer.”

Adding to assertion of ‘the best experience and support,’ there are several implicit elements of this promise:

  • It Works. It is implicit that the Roon Ready device will function as advertised when used with Roon.
  • It Will Keep Working. It is implicit that Roon and the manufacturer are continuously testing Roon Ready devices to ensure that certification isn’t ‘broken’ by ongoing updates.
  • The Roon Ready Designation is Current. Roon Ready status should be revoked for devices that cease to meet the original certification criteria or that are subsequently found to fail to meet the promise of a Roon Ready device.
  • Defects in Roon Ready Devices Will Be Promptly Fixed. Bugs that, had they been known at the time of certification would have prevented the device from passing certification should be fixed post-haste and the status of these issues should be made available to the community.
  • Customers Will Not Need to Arbitrate Between Roon and the Manufacturer . It is implicit that the responsibility between Roon and the manufacturer for problem resolution of Roon Ready devices has been established between the companies and the customer will work with only one of these parties.

For the better part of this year, I have been fighting with material functional defects of a Roon Ready device: the Bluesound 2i.

The Bluesound 2i variously exhibits the following symptoms:

  • Random Playback Stops. Playback randomly stops mid track.
  • No Audio from Bluesound. Roon shows the track is playing, no audio is produced. This can continue indefinitely with Roon progressing through a queue and indicating everything is playing normally with no audio from the Bluesound.
  • Audio Delayed Start. A request to start a track results in Roon showing the track has started, running perhaps 15 seconds or more until the audio suddenly starts ~15+ seconds into the track.
  • Audio Will Not Start. A request to start a track results in Roon showing the track has started and playing fine, but audio never starts from the Bluesound.
  • Extremely slow to start or switch tracks (>15 seconds).
  • High Speed Scrubbing Fails. Using the high speed scrubbing bar fails, causing one of more of the other symptoms listed here.
  • Momentary Loss of Zone. The control unit flashes a message indicating the audio zone is gone and a minute or so later it reappears – typically requiring play to be restarted.
  • Zombie State of Bluesound. The Bluesound enters a ‘zombie’ state that requires a power restart to regain control from Roon.

The above issues occur with sufficient frequency as to make the unit effectively unusable.

I purchased the Bluesound 2i based on the promises of a Roon Ready device. My journey so far this year has been orthogonal to the promise of “the best experience and support.” Some of the highlights:

  • Months of continuously being bounced back and forth between Roon and Bluesound support, with each asserting that it was the other’s responsibility.
  • At the request of support, repeatedly running the same basic network tests – the presumption being it was my network – even though the fact pattern did not support that notion.
  • Repeated requests for the same log files from BS and Roon.
  • Long write-ups and diagrams created and submitted to make my case.
  • Multiple disassemble/reassembly of my network to run tests at Roon’s request, different core machine, different router, different library, etc.
  • Rinse, wash and repeat all of the above… I’m exhausted!

Recently, after I provided a write up and diagrams of how-to setup and test to reproduce the issues (it was the most basic of Roon/device setups), Roon has said they can reproduce at least one of the above symptoms and will be discussing it internally and with Bluesound.

Testing all the permutations of devices/networks is hard, we all understand that, however…. This is such a basic test escape, and for their highest level of certification! It leaves one to wonder how this device could be Roon Ready and have undergone any level of conscientious testing.

There are plenty of other customers who have voiced similar symptoms with their Bluesound when used as a Roon endpoint. It is easy to envision these customers giving up in frustration with the amount of work it takes to break through the customer support wall of blaming the network, claims of many other happy customers on the platform so it must be fine, and sending the customer off to run or repeat tests. This is not just a customer satisfaction issue, it results in critical defect information failing to get escalated and resolved at Roon.

Ideally, Roon Ready would mean the device was thoroughly tested and that in fact any customer contacting support did in fact have a network problem. That is sadly not the case.

While I am in contact with support over this and hold (perhaps against the evidence) some hope these issues will eventually be resolved, there are a couple of important points here for the reader:

  • Roon Ready can not be relied upon as a certification that the device will function as should be expected when used with Roon.
  • The Bluesound 2i has major issues, especially when used wirelessly. In spite of its Roon Ready status, I would not purchase it for use with Roon. (It works fine using its own app – other than Roon it’s a nice little device).
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Roon works just fine for me to my Roon Ready endpoint. I think a lack of reliance’s sits with Bluesound. Making this Roon’s fault when they cannot apply the required fix does nothing but hurt Bluesound because most of us that went elsewhere are experiencing no such problems. And you are using it wireless. Always a gamble.

Hello @Henry_McLeod, thank you for the reply. I don’t know where the fault in this case lies, nor do I think it’s useful for us as customers to spend time trying to figure that out. What is certain is that a device listed as “Roon Ready” when used in a normal configuration doesn’t come close to functioning as it should with Roon. Ergo, “Roon Ready” does not mean much in this case.

Your statement above on behalf of yourself and others makes the point: that to solve the problem with Bluesound you all went elsewhere. I may do so as well. However, I would be doing this after spending ~$750.00 and lots of time on a Bluesound Powernode 2i – annoying.

Roon Ready certification for Bluesound 2i generation products should be revoked so others don’t go down this frustrating and fruitless path. That is a matter for Roon.

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Ironically, I raised a similar point of view in relation to the previous generation of Bluesound devices. Sadly the difficulties in relation to Bluesound as Roon devices are anything but new… although I would say my only remaining Bluesound device (a Flex) now works flawlessly (over WiFi).

Thanks for the write up.

Made it clear I made the right decision not to buy a Bluesound Pulse Flex, which was a pity because of the 5 programmable buttons on top. I read the problems with it on the forum in the past.

I did too, I bought an iPad instead of an Android tablet.
(I had & still have a problem with an Android device. After pausing music the connection was lost and the tablet disappeared as endpoint. Only a restart of the app solved it. After some time with support I heard nothing for about a year. When I re-opened the issue they made it private on the forum, and never heard ever since, except the team will look into it.)

So, a new iPad “solved” my problem… Roon should acknowledge problems and keep things transparent.
I am curious if more problems of customers are made private.

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I can sympathise with the OP. My Pulse is stable via a Netgear Extender in the bedroom and the Node in the front room is connected by an ethernet cable so happy days but boy oh boy the Node 2i in my music room just sucks. Everything the OP has mentioned duplicates my experience and no matter how I try to connect without hard wiring just frustrates me but permanent hard wiring is not the way I wish to go " Why should I have to pay someone a great deal of money for a product to work when my humble Echo Dot works just fine in my bedroom ". have even tried Mesh systems but the 2i just will not cooperate and in the past couple of days again just stopped working so have disconnected and will try to sell on as enough is enough. So strange that using a Roon controller on my MacBook via an Audiolab M-DAC works perfectly? in the same location. Am also tired of being told it is a Wi-Fi issue yet I can stream 4K content without any issues to the music room, Why?. I have posted several threads on the Bluesound forum about this issue but all I get is people telling me to hard wire as it is more reliable but still think it is an issue with the Bluesound architecture. Every other wireless device I use around the home gives me no problems whatsoever and please do not tell me streaming Hi-Res music is resource intensive and requires a robust connection, Think we are told this when the manufacturer does not have a solution to a problem. Was seriously considering selling all my Bluesound products and going another route and may well do so in the future. Want to spend my precious time listening to music and not constantly phaffing about with electronic gear. Sorry if this post is a bit long winded but I had to put my two pennies worth in.

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FWIW, I had many of these issues with my Node 2i, until I connected an Ethernet cable. It started for me with the Node’s inability to reliably connect to my 802.11ac network - it would connect as an ‘n’ device.

I tried working with Bluesound’s support team; they were very polite but basically told me I was ‘holding it wrong’, if you get the reference.

My fix? I connected an Ethernet cable to the Node 2i and the other end to an Apple Airport Express - yes, a 10/100 wireless bridge. Removing their wireless software stack from the equation fixed everything.

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Th ongoing problems with the Bluesound 2i have a simple resolution: Roon should immediately decertify Bluesound 2i generation devices. Independent of where the technical problems are, Roon Ready is Roon’s promise that it works, and in this case it clearly does not – and has not. It’s a broken promise.

Roon’s decision to allow these devices to remain Roon Ready besmirches the credibility of the Roon Ready program. Allowing such a non-functional Bluesound 2i experience to persist for so long and yet remain as Roon Ready is either very poor execution of the Roon Ready program or a deliberate decision to allow these defective devices to be Roon Ready because Roon needs endpoints. Either way, it’s not what we expect or deserve.

Roon: Keep your promise!

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We need to be careful on how we describe this problem. The mention of WiFi allows the vendors to immediately pivot to a problem with the customer’s WiFi network – to be clear: IT IS NOT!

As mentioned above, Roon has been able to replicate the issue themselves so let’s presume their WiFi network works. In my case, I have clear neighborhood spectrum (no overlapping networks) and can put the Bluesound 2i within 5 feet of the access point to demonstrate the problems persist.

While this may indeed be a software problem in the WiFi driver or related part of the network stack, it is nonetheless a problem in the devices we purchased, not in the environment in which we run them.

As another point, I have another Roon endpoint that is wired. While these symptoms occur far less on that device, they so sometimes occur – so it’s hard to say for sure where in the network stack the problem exists. WiFi does however make the issues clearly acute.

Finally, while I always prefer wired, there are some cases where wireless is the only choice. I purchased the 2i specifically because it was wireless and Roon Ready.

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“The” 2i?
Are you saying you have this problem with all off bluesounds current devices?

@stevev1,

The point of my OP was to focus on the issue of the meaning of ‘Roon Ready.’ Others (as evidenced here) have encountered similar issues with Roon+Bluesound and Roon has been able to reproduce the problematic behavior themselves. As it’s been a longstanding and material set of problems, I am advocating for the removal of the Roon Ready designation for Bluesound 2i devices. This would spare other people from falling into the same trap that has ensnared so many of us.

To answer your specific question, my testing has shown these problems are very prevalent on the 2i when used wirelessly, and present but much less frequent on the Bluesound 2 (not i) and Bluesound 2i when used wired.

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I’m only using version 2 models ( Powernode2 and Pulse Flex2) and have never in the 2 years or so using them in combination with roon had any issues. Many others did however have issues with the node2. So it might be device specific… @c2c2c2 what exact device are you using?

I wish Roon could find a way to footnote their supported devices to document issues that Roon has subsequently found to be a problem with the product in question. Such a note might be sufficient to get the manufacturer to address and fix the issue at which point the footnote could be updated. It would also enable Roon support to simply reference the footnote when issues such as this thread arise as a known issue that requires the manufacturer to take action to fix it. I don’t think it’s fair to ask Roon to fully remove their “Roon Ready” designation if some of the products from the manufacturer do work fine or perhaps only work fine under certain conditions.

I’ve experienced this when Roon listed the Devialet Expert Pros as Roon Ready early this year. They are, but for many, it will not properly stream Roon at gigabit network speed. This has been acknowledged to be a Devialet issue, but they are still listed as Roon Ready and it seems that little is being done by Devialet to address the issue.

For the record my node 2 has worked flawlessly with Roon from day one. It was also 2nd hand. Not saying there is no issues with the 2i though as there have been some disgruntled users, but others ilt seems to work fine. I wager it’s network related as Roons more intolerant to network issues than some software. It does not excuse the issue it’s flakey, it needs addressing. Saying use hardwire is not an answer I would tolerate. It’s a product sold as a wireless device. I have several pi’s that are notoriously bad for WiFi but work perfectly for me. Something in the 100’s of money should work no quibbles.

I don’t think you understood my post, for whatever reason. Just return the device and get something else.

This kind of stuff with ‘roon ready’ is why I think you are better off with endpoints running roon software on a pc/computer of some sort. That way it is roon software end to end with less finger pointing and less dependence on unknown third-party developer capabilities.

That still leaves roon finger pointing at your network, but that’s easier to sort out. And they’ve provided a lot of flexibility to use only their software with all the different packages they offer.

Fair point @Krutsch. Unfortunately I’ve stuck it out too long waiting for Roon/Bluesound to resolve this, a return of the device is no longer an option.

I’ve posted here less to address my specific problem, and more with an emphasis of sparing others and hopefully adding some pressure for Roon/Bluesound to get this right.

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@stevev1, the updated Bluesound devices (any new Bluesound device you buy today) that add the letter “i” to the name (e.g. 2i vs 2) have an entirely different networking facility, particularly on the wireless side. This means different hardware, different software, different drivers, etc. when compared to the basic “2” models.

When it comes to networking, the 2i is radically different than the 2 and should not inherit the Roon Ready status of its predecessor simply because the name is close and the housing is identical.

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@mdconnelly,

I understand your point, but I think creating caveats on a certification program is unreasonable for the customer. Think of the new customer that hasn’t yet had the pleasure of digging into forums like this in search of answers. They buy a device that says Roon Ready, only to find that had they read the fine print it really doesn’t work. Certifications like these are intended to take the complexity out of the equation for customers.

Roon Ready should mean something - specifically, a guarantee that it works - no caveats.

@R_Neal,

Perhaps I would be better off, but that’s not the expectation I had when buying into the Roon ecosystem. I do not want PCs setup and running at each of my multiple endpoints.

While I have not seen the code, I believe that Roon supplies the RAAT client-side code as part of their partner SDK - so it is in fact Roon software end-to-end. Roon has but to be sure that their partners’ devices work and that they properly implement the SDK Roon provides.

I agree that herding multiple audio hardware manufacturers to be good end points and comply with the technical and business rules of a certification program is not a small undertaking. But that is in fact something we are paying for Roon to do.