Thousands of recordings - how to find a performance?

Since build 416 my experience so far (fingers crossed) is that search is technically much quicker (but not particularly snappy). For example if I do a search on “Carmen Callas”, then after 2 or three click throughs of option type screens I eventually can get to this screen which roon takes several seconds to build. Fair enough. Roon must retrieve a great deal of information.

But Qobuz has 1,355 versions. So what now? I am looking for the 1964 Callas version, conducted by Georges Pretre. It’s impossible. I am astonished that despite years of complaints about navigation of box sets, roon has implemented exactly the same navigation logic with the core Classical repertoire from Qoboz where it must be obvious that exactly the same usability issues arise.

On roon I gave up searching after 15 minutes as quite hopeless. On the Qobuz app when I do exactly the same search, I do not have to navigate through several pre-cursor screens and I instantly get to the following screen with this famous Callas version of Carmen at the top of the release list.

What this means in practice is that more and more I find myself using Qobuz to search and then get the result into roon via favoriting. But then I often find roon will have no or little metadata so what’s the value add? This is very time consuming to fix and sometimes is not possible. There is obviously a benefit in reducing roon search retrieval from 30 seconds to 2 seconds but it isn’t much use if you still need to spend another half an hour manually sifting through the roon retrieval results. I may as well just play it in Qobuz anyway.

There is a usability and human interface aspect to search as well as snappy pixels. It is not just a technical matter. Is this extremely poor navigation experience to be left unaddressed like box-set navigation, year after year?


When I land on this page, and use the filter for Callas, I end up with 35 versions on Qobuz and 31 on TIDAL.

Filtering for Pretre seems to work also.

Are you seeing something different?

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Thanks Mike, It will be soon I am using roon for two years. I had absolutely no idea I could do that. My intuition is simply to go through the 50 album lists one by one until I give up the will to live.

We are in process of redesigning these screens, and I have been making the point that the filter button is really useful, but also really hard to find.

For 1.6, I made sure it was included on the “View All” screens for search results, but I fear lots of people who need it are not finding it.

Point being, your question is timely, and appreciated :slight_smile:


Unfortunately I spoke too soon. I see the value of the filter but it still doesn’t help. Callas is the type of artist who has been rebundelled a godzillian times by the labels. There are a lot of aria compilations. I am looking for the entire opera. In the example above you have found a compilation of arias, not the opera. When I filter on “Callas” or “Pretre” I still cannot find this album:

Also, whilst I am at it, there are several ways to get to that screen with 1,355 versions of Carmen but if you are starting with a blank page, say from the album or discovery page I find I have to go through multiple page s to get there. So I type “Carmen Bizet” or something like that in the hour class. I get to the main search page. It is not really obvious what to do next so I just go to one of the albums it suggested son that I can finally click on the composition counter in an album that I am not looking for. Seems very convoluted to me.

I got to that album in only a click or two.

  1. Search for CARMEN
  2. Go down to albums and click “Show All”
  3. Go to the funnel and type in call (which is all I needed to bring up this)

When it comes to opera my methodology is search by the Opera Name, then go to the Album section (not compositions) and then funnel for conductor/singer etc. Gets me there quickly most every time.

Alternatively, if you know you are looking for something specific, use that information in your search terms. If you use:

Maria Callas Carmen 1964

the album you are looking for is the top Album search result.

Thanks for all the suggestions. I see there are a lot of alternative navigation methods.

I have finally found that album. But now I find that it has been associated with the Suite No. 2 which has no voice parts. It has 85 versions instead of the 1,355 versions for the opera.

This last sting in the tail is off the original topic but it does highlight the struggle I personally find with roon.

By way of wrapping this one up, the penny has dropped.

The reason I couldn’t find the Callas/Pretre Carmen in the screen of 1,355 Carmens is that it wasn’t there. Even with a filter. It has been classified as the “Suite” of 85 performances rather than the “Opera” of 1,355 performances. Grrr. Can this be fixed in metadata?


It turns out there are 10 versions of that opera in the manual album identification screen. Roon has selected version 5 which gives the correct artwork, release and mastering dates but misidentifies the Carmen as the Suite rather than the Opera.

There are 4 versions which make a reasonable identification of the Carmen as the Opera and I selected the one with the fewest track missmatches (only 1):

I am not quite out of the woods yet as the artwork is incorrect, as are the release dates. After I have tidied all that up with several manual edits I will finally be there. This is several days later now with what started as a simple search for a very famous album, by perhaps the most famous soloist of all time, of some very core repertoire. I find this a lot with roon and especially with roon/Qobuz integration where it is extremely common that roon has no metadata at all. In those cases the ordeal that I have tried to highlight here is much compounded. I really don’t understand why metadata has such a low priority as it is so basic to so many operations.

As an aside. When I started this thread I was trying to highlight end-to-end dependencies in the search process. Ending up with a godzillion results is one of those dependencies so it is good that filters can be used to refine large results or alternative routes like an album based search may work when a composition based search does not. But none of these are silver bullets. Search it seems to me is an end-to-end process with a lot of dependencies. Roon search feels very disjointed to me and depends a lot on jumping from screen to screen and thinking like a developer probably thinks in terms of the steps involved. Because none of the boolean operations are explicit I often have a queasy feeling not knowing quite what results will be returned or how to interpret them. Other more “primitive” players (like Qobuz for example) seem to hide those steps and jump to what I often find more useful results in one go. That is why I called the thread “Search Usability” or similar. The title was changed by someone but it is a bit misleading now. For sure, filtering large search results is an issue but it is not a silver bullet and is not the single issue here.

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Thanks for all the tips and suggestions in this thread! However, the thread also highlights one of digital streamings big drawbacks;
How to identify the provenance of a particular recording? And which reissue is it that sounds “just right”?
Thanks to discos and old school paperbacks it has always been possible to identify vinyl releases, with reasonable precision. How can we accomplish the same with medialess digital?

Well, I thought after a year and a half I knew everything about navigating Roon, but never noticed the filter button after performing a search. I guess that confirms your point! Very useful…!

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