What does Roon Radio actually DO?

Thanks again. I’m getting a good handle on it. The anxiety was because of the unknown. I’ve been asking questions to reduce the unknown and your answers are as good as diazepam (almost :grin:).

The anxiety came also from past experience (not PTSD level anxiety though!). Not Roon experience, but Pandora. After having thumbed up some tracks, I found them to repeat obnoxiously. Fortunately, they have a control panel where you can edit your thumb action and I got that straightened out. Don’t use Pandora much anymore now though!

I intend to, once it’s available in California.

Yes, I’ve built these things myself, I understand what you mean. But what I want, for value, is “will it play a pleasing and surprisingly apropos series of tracks given the seed?” And I think it would have to be magical to infer what I want from a single seed. I think the thing to do with local radio is to treat the tracks as suggestions and then thumb-up and thumb-down until you have enough in your queue.

Yes, thank you, Brian. I appreciate the thought you put into your answer. Once Qubuz is available here, I’ll try the new radio. I’m sure I’ll appreciate it.

This makes sense as an explanation for where the anxiety is coming from. Then again, Pandora operates in a very different environment–they start by knowing nothing about you and have to learn everything they can learn from radio play. And anyone who uses it on lots of devices (car, tv, roku, computer, …) is likely not to even have a single login, so they are really prone to amplifying “noise” from a small number of interactions.

On the other hand…we start with your library, play history and favorites, and have a far better picture from the get-go. We will probably add some kind of initial taste profiling step to the onboarding flow in the app in the future to help “bridge the gap” for new users. This is less important for radio, because even if we don’t know about you at all, we can still organize picks around the seed. When we build more recommendations-oriented stuff, even something relatively straightforward like a “New Releases For You” list, it will be crucial to know something about you to get the out of box experience right for new users.

Anyways–we have much higher-quality sources of information about you than the radio thumbs. Pandora has no other choice but to amplify a few feedback interactions into a noisy picture. I view radio feedback as being primarily about improving the radio experience.


So, I wonder how different is selecting some focus, then doing shuffle on it, as opposed to selecting some focus, then doing radio on it? Presumably, even with a single song as a seed, it is essentially doing a shuffle among some set of songs it thinks are similar, which probably means “matches the seed in some ways”, like genre.

@Brian, you may have noticed that one of the distinguishing features of audio enthusiasts is their delight in the details of improving the SQ. Here, I’m wondering how to improve the sequence.

In 1.6, we don’t let you start radio on a focus because the intention behind that interaction is almost totally indiscernible. 1.5 did allow radio kickoffs on more combinations, but the results were super indistinct. You can shuffle anything of course–and that is really the best thing to do for random play on a focus.

Valid radio seeds today include artists, albums, tracks, and genres. These give us a clear “point in space” to organize picks around.

Step 1: use our newest/best stuff :slight_smile: . I know you’re waiting for Qobuz in the US…but there is more improvement in taking that step than in anything else you can do in the mean time.

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Hi @brian

thank you for the explanation, really appreciated.

I would like to check what you mean with

Does this mean that the learning algorithm learns from what I add to the playlist while the radio is going?

I asked this in a different thread

Hope I manage to explain the idea.


The stuff that you put in the queue does eventually make its way back into the data pipeline that feeds radio, but not quite in the way you are thinking. The fact that it is interspersed with radio tracks does have influence on what the algorithm learns. It is not analogous to a thumbs-up, but it is also more than zero-influence and more than the influence of playing the track on a different day.

The idea of recording a track added to the queue “at the same level as a thumbs up” would be bad data handling practice. To the extent that that things are recorded, we try not to discard information along the way–that has a way of poisoning the well. A thumbs up is a thumbs up. A track played in the middle of a radio stream deliberately is a different thing.


I feel a KB item , will there be one

This explanation is fascinating

I chose the wrong time to do my 4 week road trip away from my system



Thanks for your great explanations regarding Roon Radio.
With reference to the above quote, I have a work core and a home core which I authorise/deauthorize as needed. Will Roon Radio learn my tastes from both core’s based on my logon details so that they affect each other or as separate entities?


They’ll affect each other. All of the taste stuff is based on your Roon profile–so if you have multiple people in the household using Roon, they can all be separate.

Fantastic…cheers Brian

Is there a way to build a relatively short Playlist and then use Roon radio to expand it or fill it out? You can do something like that in Pandora by listing a group of artists and letting it build the playlist based on that grouping. Ideally, in Roon, I’d love to start with the simple playlist, turn to Roon radio and then add a third choice to the thumbs up/thumbs down which would be “add to my playlist.”

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Not directly, you can play tracks and then select them from history and add to a playlist.

Does the new Roon radio functionality also apply to local only libraries (without Qobuz/Tidal) or does it only work with streaming services?

only streaming, it’s in the release notes.

Why does it only apply to streaming? I mean… I get that with a local library it’s not going offer tracks that are only on streaming etc… but it seems the new radio is a more learning/intelligent type of radio, so wondering why similar benefits can’t be (at least partially) achieved with local libraries as well.

So from a “quick” read of this thread the longer I use radio is will start to learn from me using the thumbs up/down ? Ive mentioned in another thread that radio has always worked well for me but 1.6 is pretty hopeless at the moment. I left it playing today and it was jumping around genres all over the place, the last three tracks were louis armstrong onto radiohead then bach?? I stopped it after that, I dont really want to spend time teaching it what it should be playing

What seed did you use? I’m curious as I’m getting very mixed results as well. Sometimes it is working very well. Other times much less so. There were a lot of technical difficulties last few days so it is possible radio defaulted back to a local library only 1.5 mode

That’s also my question.

Brian, there’s an old saying in statistics: if you torture the data long enough, it will confess.

One other observation: rethink what it is you are trying to maximize. “Absence of complaints” is nothing like “satisfaction”. People’s propensity to complain will decay over time. And libraries can grow for all kinds of reasons other than Roon Radio algorithms.