Hank, as I’ve read through this thread, it occurred to me that a description of how I use Tidal/Roon may give you another perspective, or use-case.
My home system consists of 6 stereo systems in different rooms. My Roon core is a PC hard wired to my router and I use Chromecast Audio receivers at each stereo to grab the WiFi signal. I use the optical output with an external DAC as well. Each room is assigned as a zone in Roon. I use my iPad to control the music in whatever room I happen to be in. I use the DSP preset function to tailor the sound to each particular room. The whole house function is one thing I particularly love about Roon. My office and studio are attached to my home, and I generally have music playing if I’m awake, so I spend a lot of time with this system.
My Roon library consists of about 1000 stored albums and about 1500 flagged favorites in Tidal. Roon visually combines these into a relatively seamless group when I go searching for something. Searching my library of stored/flagged albums is great. Searching Tidal from within Roon can be a hit or miss thing. I keep the Tidal app on my iPad and phone, and use it often when searching. I flag what I want in Tidal, and it then becomes easy to see in Roon. I treat them as an interactive pair.
I use the Tidal app as my mobile source. The same flagged albums are at my fingertips when I’m out and about, along with about 300 selected albums stored on my devices. As a system, it works pretty well.
The streaming sound quality is another reason I love Tidal/Roon. My stereos are such that low bitrate streams sound inferior to the 16/44.1 and higher bitrates available from Tidal. I used to use Spotify and Bluetooth, and my kids still do at their homes, but switching to Tidal/Roon has noticeably improved sound quality for me, at least on my home systems. Mobile improvement is debatable.
I’ve had Roon for almost 4 years I think. It has become second nature to me. I watch very little tv, so my “media budget” goes to feed my music habit. I’ve had a serious music habit for over 40 years now, and my Tidal/Roon system is by far my favorite way to access what I want to hear.