What are the improvements for classical music in Roon 1.8

My use case for Roon is a quite large local library with only classical music. My library is also well curated over the last decade and has all the file tags set-up with regards to Roon’s Best Practice.

Over the last couple of days, I have seen many positive comments about what Roon brought to classical collectors but without real examples. I’m really struggling to see the improvements and have asked for detailed feedback in other threads but did not get any reply on statements like “Roon 1.8 is improved classical a lot”. Probably these people have different use cases or requirements when listening to classical than I do. So this post is a try to collect this information into one single thread.

I do not want to discuss optics, only functions. So I’m really not interested to learn from you whether 1.7. or 1.8 is more aesthetically pleasing. :smiley:

I did subscribe to Qobuz for a month for the release of 1.8 in order to play around with Roon and check functionality with and without streaming options. From a pure collection perspective, I don’t need a streaming service. Especially since my local metadata is much more consistent than anything I get with Qobuz or Tidal.

I am currently struggling to see the big benefits for my use-case when comparing 1.7 to 1.8. Maybe I’m clouded by my expectations concerning having more control over the metadata display (make “prefer file” to really prefer the file tags in settings, for example) and dealing with large box-sets. I cannot display reviews of my albums that I have tagged using a custom file tag, nor can I fill in artist information for the big amount of classical artists that have no bio. I cannot maintain opera recordings I’d like to, e.g. assign composition roles to performers. This could make Roon a big nice reference database for my collection.

For my use case, if I fully hand everything over to Roon my metadata is being degraded because 3rd party metadata for classical is terribly inconsistent as we all know. We also know this will never change…
So I hand over my files to Roon with assumed 98% of tags properly filled, set everything to “prefer Roon” and see some tags “enhanced/changed”, see compositions organized in a strange way or missing and lots of data added that is not correct. In order to “repair” that I need to invest time that I already invested in my file tags. There are numerous topics on the forum discussing the problems I’m experiencing with the “prefer file” settings over the years. It is not consistent. Prefer file does not prefer file. It often “merges” with 3rd party in a way that is not transparent for me.
I was hoping that this would change over the last releases but it didn’t. OK - I do not have a right that Roon evolves in the way I want.
But still, there are many that think Roon has made a big step in classical with 1.8. I think the biggest step was to introduce compositions and movements and the ability to see them as single entities. But this is available for years now. I had many forum discussions 4 or 5 years ago about how classical handling could be improved and I was told to have patience. Well, I was patient… But I’m not sure it has significantly improved for me compared to Roon 1.3, let’s say.

What do you guys think has improved with classical that I may not see?

For me the biggest improvement with Roon’s handling of classical music - and I apologise in advance for it not fitting your use case of a local library - is that when you search Qobuz for instances of a composition you can restrict results to “Only complete recordings”. Previously you would search for say Così fan Tutte and get hundreds of possibilities offered most of which were performances of a single Aria, or Overture, so it was just hopeless. They’ve fixed that now, so my biggest gripe has been addressed. And quite right too; you can hardly claim to understand classical music and be great for discovery if you don’t understand what a composition is when asked to search for it, and make it close to impossible to actually discover performances of them. I am still navigating my way round the new structures. Like many people here I am more interested in content than form, so I find the typographical excesses and waste of space not useful. I don’t understand why if I go Composers > Bach there is no focus in the overview of My Library, though if I select Discography there is a focus option. Some of the “Top Performers” are laughable - I got recommended a bluegrass mandolin player for the Bach Violin Sonatas, and Lang Lang seems to be a top performer of things I don’t think even he would think he is a top performer of. But what can you do.

So, if had some advice for you, it would be to try a Qobuz subscription because that’s where Roon really pays off. You get access to a fantastic classical catalaogue, albeit one that will never be as meticulously tagged as your own one.

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Yes, I’ve seen that (having a temporary Qobuz subscription for testing). It does not seem to be able to filter out everything but most of the ‘garbage’ is left out.
Would be cool though to use this for local files, too. There are lost of overture recordings referencing to the sam opera that you may want to filter out.

My general problem with Qobuz is that it seems to be very cumbersome to modify composition assignments. It seems to be a hit and miss whether compositions are properly identified. I just cannot control it to fit consistently in the local file tags.
Feel free to call me a control freak or having an OCD with these kind of things… :wink:

Roon offers a great DB strucure if you could only fully map it to your local file tags. I wouldn’t want to change the Roon DB. But for example mapping Form/Instrument/Period to compositions and being able to map external content to objects in Roons DB. They seem to have an internal ID for a composition.
How cool would it be to be able to select a number of tracks from a streaming album and assign it to a composition from Roons database…

I feel almost everything is there from a DB strucural point of view, but just not usable and accessible in the way I would wish for… If Valence cannot learn based on expert grooming in the streaming environment then it will continue to show you mandolin players… I am getting pianists for La Mer…

I also do not really see any improvements for Classical and I would be interested in what I apparently seem to have missed. I’m not seeing anything specific mentioned and I haven’t found anything after 4/5 days exploring. I guess I am not the target market for the new Classical functionality as nothing is jumping out.

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