I’m in trial mode and I’m strongly considering giving Roon a shot for a full year.
Throughout the trial, I’ve tried a few other services. Each seem to have some pluses and minuses, with plenty of overlap.
I’m wondering, which of Roon’s features are truly unique? Or which of Roon’s features are amazingly better than features offered by other products?
I’m thinking about this on a high level - let’s not get too technical.
Here’s what I’ve come up with so far:
Scrolling lyrics on my TV via Chromecast.
Controlling audio zones seems unique to Roon. Or maybe it’s not unique, but it’s just a super convenient and seamless implementation?
The availability of using RoPieee alongside Roon. I’m using a Pi as an endpoint, and using RoPieee is such a joy. Every time I prepare my pi for a new service, I dread all the tinkering. With Ropieee, there’s nothing to it.
What else would you add to the list?
The inter links. The fact I can click on A name in credits and follow links to other works they have been involved with.
I have no idea what other services offer for comparison as Roon was my first experience playing digitized music files and streaming.
I can say that having all my music available for browsing and combined with Tidal and Qobuz integration it seems I have access to all the music the world has to offer and I can play it anywhere on my property my network can reach.
The zones, as you mentioned, are fantastic to me being able to play something different at each location or all the same for whole house music. Even outside working in the shop, the yard, the garden, my music is available as far as my wireless network can reach.
The ability to enter a search and have the response show what is available in my library and online is great for me.
Having suggestions on other music related in some manner to what I’m listening to or reviewing has exposed me to more music than I ever knew existed.
I haven’t scratched the surface on what Roon has to offer. I’m sure others will chime in and provide you with more information.
Lots of things have Roon features. For example scrolling lyrics exists in many apps, and audio zones are controllable by Sonos, and mpd/upnp have solutions that run on raspberry pi.
Given that, Roon does provide a lot in one place. If you continue down that line, I’d throw in some other stuff even if its not all truly unique:
- composer -> composition -> performance
- file and streaming combined
- roon radio is actually good, and the thumbs up/down is a good way to built up playlists
- “add to library” feels like a shopping spree, as opposed to just starring something
- album versions
- user profiles so your kids/spouses plays do not muck with your history and/or recommendations
- signal path
- streaming dsd
- easy to use dsp
- support for multiple streaming audio protocols so you buy devices for their capabilities and not their compatibility
- the best mqa support (reapplying render bits post-dsp)
That’s great info. Thanks all for the input.
Perhaps also unique to Roon: company executive participates in forum.
Something else that I think is unique to Roon (as far as I know) is great support for grouping tracks of an album as movements of a single composition (think concerto, symphony, etc. which are meant to be heard together). This applies mainly to classical music but probably to other genres too to some degree.
Once tracks are grouped, they behave as an entity in Roon Radio so they are queued together, and you can also queue them up manually or add them to a playlist in a single operation.
Anybody who has streamed classical music through Spotify can probably appreciate how great this feature is…
For me, this capability is the one feature that made me a lifetime subscriber.
Tracks, as you go you will favourite tracks you really love.
Now go to Tracks, select the heart and then randomly swim through your favourite music.
From this, you can intervene and go on a musical journey if you wish.
And dont forget it uses its own streaming tech called RAAT.
This helpful community, with its support threads, and with the “What are we listening to” thread for exchanging/discovering new music.
The architecture: Core, Control, Output;
The options for hardware: buy it (great partner support)
or build it (looking at you, ROCK/NUC and Rpi/Ropieee)
The integration of clickable metadata into Live Radio. Provided the Internet station is streaming metadata you can add a Track or Album that you are listening to on an Internet radio station into your own Library with a few clicks.
Raat protocol, seamless tidal/qobuz library/playlist integration, roon radio, recommendations.
Is this a new feature? I’m not seeing the same result… I would love to search for a track/artist and have both Tidal and local options available next to each other
What Danny said - many of Roon’s capabilities are found in one form or another in other players, but for me, the whole is definitely greater than the sum of its parts.
Add to that the excellent design (client/server architecture and the Core, Control and Output components) coupled with Roon’s USP: the RAAT protocol, and it’s a product that I am very happy with.
I must add a couple of things:
Roon just works! I have a multitude of Core’s and Endpoints and i never ever hesitate to try a new combo! And that stability and compatibility i have never seen elsewhere!
I know @danny mentioned it, but the combined library of streaming services favorites and local files is amazing! One place to go when wanting to listen to a favorite or search for a new reccy!
From an audiophile perspective, if you have Roon Ready gear, the ability to stream music from a server to that hardware with a customized driver for optimized sound quality.
That was my reason for a lifetime membership. It just sounded better than anything else I had ever tried.
I would amplify what @Chrislayeruk said about links.
Many people focus on direct navigation, enter an artist, then an album. Or more flexible search if you don’t have the exact name.
But that is for playing something when you know what you want, and that assumes you have your entire library, and the library of the streaming service, in your head.
I find that I often follow links: I listen to an album, look at the artist, that’s a really great sax player, let’s see what else he has done, oh he played with that piano player, what else have they done together, what can I add to my library from Qobuz or Tidal, what other saxophonists has that pianist played with — and suddenly it’s Monday morning.