Thinking about canceling Roon and Tidal... can you help?

I’m new to both (Tidal + Roon)-- really like the slick layout and ease of use of both. Really love the complex use cases that Roon offers (e.g., to choose the endpoint that’s played within any client or server)… but there are two (2) critical use cases that Roon *seems to fail on-- and search is a bit of hit or miss.

Does anyone have these problems/limitations?

1. Cannot add a Tidal track to a Tidal created playlist within Roon.

Here’s the idea or use case: I find a song I like and I want to play it when I’m out there in the world on my phone. So, I add it to a Tidal playlist, which is in the cloud and when I’m not home (or only have my phone) then I can play the song again. However, Roon only allows me to add tracks to Roon created playlists. Is there a workaround or I am missing something?

OP Edit: Ok - found this link that confirms this is a known limitation. Adding music to Tidal playlist

2. Access to Roon outside of home network… Now we transition to the next usage: I’m outside of my home network, but still connected to the Internet-- and yet I cannot access Roon-- not even to look up artist information? To read about an album or click through the producers? I don’t even need to play music – I just want to learn about the music! Or is this a firewall setup thing-- and like Plex– I just need to open a port on my firewall?

3. Search– In Tidal, I came across the artist War-- well known group, and the first track listed in Tidal is Low Rider, which some of you may know is the title track for George Lopez TV show (canceled)– but I wanted to add that song-- but then I wanted to research the song- so I went to Roon- guess what?? Can’t find the song. Then after believing the song existing in Roon’s DB, I found it, but it took numerous pages and was not listed under the artist War.

Am I crazy – I’ve only had Roon for a couple of days and these are serious limitations or concerns for me. Am I the only one?


Try adding the playlist to your Roon library and then make sure that the album you are adding the track from is also in your Roon library. I think that will then allow what you want. But it won’t feed back to Tidal outside of Roon.

There are VPN workarounds but nothing elegant right now. Roon team has said a mobile solution is in the works.

No question, Roon is goofy this way. You can search for a song title and know the track is there but Roon won’t find it. Then you go to the artist and it is there on the album where you knew it was. I have not understood why Roon search doesn’t find items that are clearly there. It may have something to do with not matching up artists from within Tidal and within the Roon library until you add a work from a Tidal artist into Roon and then manually merge that artist with the artist in your Roon library. I have found that makes connections Roon didn’t make on its own.

@James_I: Thanks. At least I know I’m not crazy. One final question: and I know this be hard to answer on a Roon community board-- but if I have a bunch of Apple TVs and Macs and Echos in my home-- would it be crazy cheaper to go with Spotify and cancel Tidal and Roon? Spotify does Airplay & Echo integration… and since Roon does not do outside of the home access …

IDK, I love the biography and stuff…
BUT I’d read that and engross myself in that away from home– as a break from work or during lunch time or in any case away from home.

Plus, the ideation of the cloud is too intense in my life. When I see read-only integration (i.e., Tidal playlists) it makes me think the product development team hasn’t thought through the consumer/customer’s usage-- and seeing all the posts on this desired feature— idk. I get not being fully integrated with Apple/iTunes (closed system)-- but Tidal is clearly an open system, so …

Anyway, I’m rambling… But for $500 or $10/month forever… it seems like an obvious feature to have… already.


We all have different use cases and I am sure that the folks at Roon Labs have thought of a lot of these issues.

I think they have targeted the playback of local music with the best quality they can deliver. They also have a great setup for multi-room audio. And now we see them with their own hardware working with home control systems.

What it appears from the outside is that their “focus” is not mobility. I agree that there is significant weakness from that viewpoint. There are other areas where Roon could provide broader support. Things such as additional music services are of interest to myself and others. I have some work around processes for that.

I may not be helping you in your quest, I just want to provide some other observations that might help you think about the problems. Roon is not the perfect music playback system for everyone.

Finally I am not sure what to tell you about cost. Software is expensive to produce. Software intergrated with disparate hardware is even more expensive. Running server systems to provide the metadata in Roon is not cheap! The continuous update stream of feature improvements we have seen from Roon Labs shows that they are working to expand their work!

I wish you luck with your audio systems design.

PS I do not work for Roon; I find the software meets a lot of my needs.

Sounds like you are more interested in mobility than sound quality, exploring metadata and in-house multiroom which is where the roon focus is. So it probably isn’t for you.

A lot of people, who can afford it, have roon/Tidal and Spotify. As you have found no one application can cover every use that people have for music playback. That’s why there are so many of them :slight_smile:

I have roon/Tidal for home - Tidal on my mobile and portable music player and Spotify for range of artists and the great playlist services.

It’s not accurate that I don’t care about sound quality. I could use Audirvana for that. I care about not thinking (or not having to think) about where I am when I exploring music or listening to music.

I think the prior poster’s insight — that Roon’s promise or marketing claim is to local music listeners — is dead-on (thanks!)… but it is something I missed in its marketing language of bringing music to everyone.

I guess I’m just different but as an IT guy I’d be careful about releasing an iOS app and then limiting it to usage on the home network - that is confusing (to use a technical term :slight_smile:) to the user. And given we all know Roon’s DB is in the cloud why not have it accessible wherever? And again I’m not talking about my library— I’m talking about reading about music and bookmarking it for later listening— or since there’s Tidal integration — listening then. I mean who only listens to music at home??

That’s not a mobile requirement - that’s consciously turning off access. It’s different.

Anyway. I get it. I buy Roon cause I’m a local user otherwise stick with Spotify or Tidal cause no matter how great Roon is (and it is) no of it is useful outside of home.

Hank, we do not “all know Roon’s DB is in the cloud.” That is inaccurate. Each Roon account has a personal database – usually several GBs in size – that is created and stored locally.


When I say Roon DB I meant the information that’s not in my library. And, the music metadata - it that’s all local (maybe it is) then I could circumvent it - but more importantly Roon would be “downloading” a bunch of information that’s better stored centrally— and stuff I may never listen to… sounds weird but I think you misunderstood my point and we’re trying to answer too quickly without hnderstanding my point… it’s not a big deal.

Whether all the information that I would explore is local or not — Idc to figure it out but it’s probably best in the cloud— and I should (or would like to) access it when I’m not home.

Btw, r u guys all home replying to me?

And finally…

@Bob_Fairbairn1: thanks! real good insights. Appreciate it.
@James_I: Again, thanks!

I just missed that Roon is really only for local. And I put cost as a concern or dimension, but I should have put “cost value simplicity” as my concern. What is cost value simplicity?? Idk I just made it up :smiley: but what it could mean is – I pay for all of these products and services-- and one of them meets/exceeds 80% of the needs/requirements and the others accomplish the remaining 20%.

It makes things simple and provides value for my dollar: if I have to maintain playlists or history in Spotify and in Tidal and in Roon and in … well u get the point… then the simplicity is lost.

It’s not about the money. Shucks, I have Tivo and Comcast and Plex and Netflix and Hulu and Amazon Prime… but I’m always looking to get rid of one or multiple of those service providers bc it’s a headache for me to still have to manage my life and pay them for it. what can u do, right?

That’s all, but the searching and the editing of playlists- that has nothing to do with local – actually, if Roon is so local it should allow the capability of updating Tidal playlists. I’m just trying to understand Roon differentiating factors and it’s hard once you leave your home. Ahh. Whatever.

Again, thanks!

Hank, you are exceedingly new here, while some of us have been using Roon for many years. Take for granted that some of us understand Roon’s architecture better than you do at this point. For example, “database” is accepted and widely used Roon terminology for a specific database that is unique to each account and must be stored locally.

Before lecturing longstanding users about misunderstanding you, you would be well served first to do a lot more reading within Roon documentation and this community.



Yeah ok @WiWavelength-- I’m brand new here. And, I didn’t know you felt lectured, but that may say more about you than me… because I don’t feel lectured or talked down to by anyone… well, now, maybe you but I don’t know you so you make just sound that way because I can’t read tone from a post.

I was asking one simple thing: this information must be accessible outside of my local network so could Roon may it available. That was my point- which I still don’t think you answered. Or if you did answer then you are saying all the music information in the world that you will ever access via Roon is stored locally. Wow. Ok. So be it.

Keep in mind, I took the time to post to get help and education about how to use Roon-- and someone mentioned local-- not me-- and I just picked up on it-- if that were the really the case…

And, I thanked some posters James_I and Bob_Fairbairn1 for really echoing my concerns or explaining Roon’s market approach. But I’m here to better understand.

Flip responses-- well, I guess anyone can type can I stop them…

I hope this isn’t one of those sites where if u don’t use the proper words you’re punished and people miss the point. Oh well.


Yes all data is stored locally.
No there is no official remote sution; there are VPN and other workarounds .

@ged_hickman1. Wow. Thanks.

I don’t want to continue this thread but your response opened another question for me: when new information is identified, eg, a new album is released — not one that I’ve bought or is even on Tidal— wait… that begs another question first.

Does Roon have artist and music information that’s not in Tidal or my own library? I think that has to be yes — but it’s an assumption that without confirmation makes my next question sound terribly uninformed :slight_smile:

When a new album is released— and let’s say it’s an exclusive to Apple/iTunes, ie, not on Tidal at all— does Roon get that information and download it locally to the user’s local dB?

This may help me understand: to use a probably bad analogy— I think I was looking for Amazon Prime Video but this is more like Netflix - I mean (as you may know) Prime has “every” piece of video content— even if you cannot view it via Prime — you can search on it, read about it, but not view it (always because it may not be licensed to Prime or in your region, etc)…: whereas Netflix will only show you content you can view via Netflix.

Anyway— The q is “When a new album is released— and let’s say it’s an exclusive to Apple/iTunes [and it’s not in my library]— does Roon get that information and download it locally to the user’s local dB?” So that I could read up on it even it I could not listen to it?

Yes and no. Generally this is a very friendly forum and I consider that I have “friends” here and usually enjoy posting, and even those I debate with it is quite friendly.

But there are a few grumps. Also, and I think this is most prevalent, keep in mind that (1) Tidal was originally a Norwegian company later acquired by JayZ; (2) a lot of Tidal users were thus the first ones to jump on Roon; thus (3) a lot of early Roon adopters are Scandinavian or other Northern European; and thus (4) English is not their first language. I have often found that strict dictionary translations creates a sense of harshness in language that is unintended.

So I try not to assume someone is really flaming me until it’s very obvious.


Lol. Got it. Thanks!

Any time!

10 chars

And my last q was easily answered via a test. I turned Tidal off/logged out-- quit and reopened Roon and I could no longer see any other music choices to explore for War - other than the tracks/albums I have in my library. I could see Similar To… Artists and Influenced By… Artists… but not their album library.

I get it… took a little while but Roon is not a “library” - it’s the visualization of a library or set of libraries (my music, Tidal)… I’m sure everyone knew this years, ago, but it does implicitly return to earlier community topics re: if Tidal goes away then what is Roon? I’m not rehashing that topic! Seriously, I’m not criticizing Roon-- I am understanding its limitations.

And again, that “what is Roon w/o Tidal” is based on the following assumption:

The user has a limited purchased / owned library.

Certainly, if I had 100,000 tracks instead of just 4,000+ tracks in my own library then visualizing my library would have more and more benefit.

Roon (CERTAINLY) has benefit even with a small library, but the larger the library the better Roon would become-- again, assuming that Tidal is not integrated.

With Tidal integration the need for visualization is clearer…

Now, I get it. I think I do … at least. :blush: gives me something to think about and helps me understand the value that Roon brings to me…

The best thing you can do is put aside any perceived limitations and simply live with Roon for a few weeks. Let the benefits unfold! :smile:

And keep asking questions,

Good answers here, I’ll just add one point.
It isn’t that Roon is uninterested in mobile usage.
We have discussed this at length (I have argued it at length).
What I hear is that Roon broke new ground on a lot of fronts, this took a lot of engineering, if they had tried to incorporate mobile in the plans they wouldn’t have succeeded.
They are now working on a mobile solution, but doing that while maintainability no their strengths is harder than it might seem.

@AndersVinberg: That makes perfect sense-- walk, run, fly… Thanks :smile: for providing the history/background. Very helpful. I’d say with one glaring exception, who shall remain nameless- the folks on this site are very helpful. LOL.

So, Roon has a very compelling, useful legacy system and they are attempting to extend or transform into mobile. And again mobile is only discussed as a use-case --it does not assume lower sound quality or increased instability.

For example

This site here is mobile but I bet no one thinks of using an iPhone to post considers the site unstable or lower quality. Ok, that was a stretch analogy (at best :blush:) with me attempting to prove my point against all odds. :smiley: Shame on me!