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).