Thoughts On Roon One Year In...Plus a Question

I’ve been a “lifetime” Roon subscriber for over a year now, and I thought it would be fun to muse on the experience so far. I would love to hear others’ high-level experiences as well. Plus, I have a general question for the group - see below.

First, a bit about me: I’m a non-technical person compared to many on this board, although I know my way around a MAC as a user. At first I found this board intimidating since it tends to be technical and tweaking-oriented, but I’ve come a long, long way. I’m certainly an audiophile.

First the facts: For a $500 purchase (which in audiophile terms is nothing, unfortunately) Roon has been responsible for a lot of spending! First I bought an iPad Pro to use as a remote, then a PSAudio DSJr (which feeds my PSAudio BHK preamp and stereo amp). I bought a Synology NAS which I ended up not using for storage (too clunky for my taste); I use it for backup. I ended up using a Mac Mini as my Roon core, with and aftermarket SSD drive and a separate SSD drive for music storage. I have two other systems which use Roon via earlier-generation Apple TVs (the nature of my house makes wired connections to those systems impossible).

Bottom Line: Roon has steadily changed my entire listening experience. The Tidal integration is great fun, and supplements my 700G worth of files. Tidal’s a must for me. It’s simply amazing how files and Tidal combine to create the best “library” I’ve ever experienced, complete with liner notes. I still listen to a lot of SACDs and especially vinyl, but the trend is definitely toward Roon/DSJr. And yes, I still buy CDs as well, but more often than not it’s to burn them to Roon then give them to my kids. I also buy files from places like HDTracks.

Each new update to Roon broadens my experience, even as a non-tweaker. For a while I used extra old MACs as endpoints, and the scheduled backup feature has made me a lot more confident about the metadata.

Which brings me to my question: Like many audio types, I’m meticulous about my collection. More and more, I’m working on the database by combing versions, merging sets, and adding image files. (For example, I have family recordings, bootlegs, etc, for which I have attached meaningful images.) When the day comes to move the core to a new computer/location, is this group confident that the process goes off without a hitch, so I can keep all my customizations by using my latest Dropbox backup? What have experiences been like?

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I’ve shifted the Core to different Windows machines by moving the database and never had a problem. The restore from backup method is simplest for cross-platform moves or folks who prefer not to shift files. I haven’t used it to swap machines, but have deleted and restored from backup a few times in testing. All went fine.

My two cents is that as long as you have multiple backups in a few different spots, one is likely to allow this migration.

I’ve been moving the database from house to house (week and weekend houses) pretty much weekly for the past 2 months and I only had a corruption once, and I think that was my own bonehead move in overwriting the new-install database folder rather than renaming or deleting it. There was probably a file from the new install in there that caused the problem.

I would not just trust a single backup - have multiple options - but you should be ok.

Oh, and I’ve found Roon to represent a potential paradigm shift in my approach to collecting music. I mean, I have only bought a few CDs since experiencing Roon/Tidal for the first time. We’ll see if that sticks long-term.

I would like to respond to the OP’s initial question, which is about others’ experience with Roon. I too am a lifetime subscriber and almost a year into it. I couldn’t be happier. Roon has completely transformed my listening experience and reconnected me with my rather large digital music collection in a way that was simply not possible before Roon.

As a person who loves vinyl and the very tactile experience it creates, Roon is the closest experience to that in the digital domain – allowing me to explore my collection again. In a word: wonderful!

The experience has been so good (and promising), that growing pain issues have been easy to forgive as the Roon team has been all over making the product better every day. I will add that now with the 2017 version of Roon (V1.3), it would seem that most of the work is around expansion and enhancement – no longer the ‘growing pain’ issues of the earlier versions. Okay, enough with the praise, here are some of my thoughts looking forward:

TIDAL: I know that many people are really excited about the Tidal integration. I subscribed to Tidal because of Roon and I use it occasionally, but only occasionally. The integration is very well thought out and executed, but for me I have such a large collection of HiRez and Tidal doesn’t have anywhere near the SQ. Also, my tastes in music are such that it is not too uncommon that Tidal doesn’t actually have what I’m trying to find – or if they do, they have a version of it that is really not the right one (first generation CD version versus later reissues/remasters, etc.). I am all for Tidal, but I think of Roon as the manager of my owned library first and a Tidal portal second.

BUYING HABITS: I would also say that Roon has increased my purchasing. Both in terms of the amount of new digital downloads (HDTRACKS etc.) and also in listening HW. It prompted me to make the leap and expand from room listening to a great headphone station (Focal Utopias, dedicated tube headphone amp, etc.).

HARDWARE ECOSYSTEM: I would like to see more HW vendors support Roon. Sadly, as I have commented elsewhere on these forums, many of the best DAC manufacturers simply have not made a robust Ethernet connection capable of DxD and DSD available in their DACs – much less made one that’s Roon Certified. I hope that the partners list continues to grow. Its growth is frustratingly slow, particularly in the range I typically shop.

MOBILITY: When I travel, I bring my Astel & Kern player with me. In the future, I would love to be able to create and manage playlists for my portable audio from within Roon – up to and including syncing the devices. This would be the last element of library management which is not solely in Roon.

Finally, a word to the Roon crew: It’s all well and good to make a great product that solves a problem or meets a need, but it is rare to create a product that brings true joy and pleasure to peoples’ lives. Audiophiles are already connected on multiple levels to their music and by delivering a product that enhances and reinforces that connection you have brought forward a product that brings its customers real joy and pleasure. Not many can say that… cheers to you and thank you.



I think this quote needs to end up on the main Roon website!