I am absolutely in love with Roon. Markus_Derflinger posted in such detail why he doesn’t like Roon, and that generated an interesting convo with lots of opinions and insights. I thought I’d start fresh and say why I’m completely in love with Roon.
- Library. Roon’s library is a wondrous thing. First, I subscribe to Qobuz, and Qobuz keeps me well informed about new releases and old releases and everything in between. I like that I can search by artist, by composer, by label (!). And I can "favorite anything that looks like it might interest me. Then I come over to Roon and all those favorites have been added to my library. What’s more (a) There’s tons more information about each recording. I haven’t see another program that even comes close to providing this much information. Having information in the form of mostly detailed and comprehensive essays about composers, conductors, etc greatly enriches my listening experience. And I can quickly click through to PDF’s and other websites. (Though I’d really like to be able to edit metadata and add pdf’s or other web llinks.) And (b) Roon lets me know if there are alternate versions available. Maybe the recording I favorited isn’t the most hires available. I can readily change the library listing to the alternate version if I like. I don’t have to buy any of those recordings. The fees I pay to Qobuz covers the streaming costs and reimburses (although not very satisfactorily I’m afraid) the artists.
If I favorited a new release in Qobuz, and then upon listening in Roon decided I don’t need to keep it, it’s easy to remove it from the library.
Tagging and genre-ing are also helpful. I’m passionate about Bach Cantatas - lots of different performers - so I’ve made “Bach Cantata” a genre, and then I can tag the specific series or performer. (It did take me a while to understand and appreciate the difference between genre and tag.)
I truly do not understand the comment that “having a library is worthless as soon as you have an account with one of the streaming platforms.” In my view, the Roon library greatly enhances the value of the streaming platform. Or, “Your library represents your musical past and only a small fraction are the tracks you actually hear.” My Roon library is where I live. It’s the center of all my Roon experience.
In short, the Library is an awesome virtual collection of all the music I could possibly want, and more. And so long as I stay subscribed to Qobuz and Roon (andI don’t plan to ever leave either), it’s more or less permanent.
My iTunes collection. Over the years, I accumulated a collection of music on CD. Now it’s all digitized and in my iTunes library. Roon watches the iTunes music folder on my computer and brings whatever is there into my Roon library. Then all the above advantages apply again.
Albums. I don’t see the problem with tracks that some have mentioned. But I think mainly in albums, so whatever the problem is, I haven’t experienced it.
Overview. I’ve discovered this is a great way to monitor my own listening. Having an immediate list of what I’ve listened to recently and new releases that relate to my listening is a great way to stay on top of things. Also, having the Qobuz lists here is nice too. I’ve seen the criticism of Valence about its not making the best of recommended music choices. But I almost never rely on an algorithm to pick my music, so it’s a good starting point. I have yet to plumb the depths of Discover, but I’m impressed by how much information there is.
Live Radio. The collection of radio stations available is growing. But what’s especially appealing is that I can create/add stations. Then, I can add descriptive information to stations I add. I can even “add” stations that are already in the approved stations list, thereby editing my own information. And I can listen to radio in distinctly higher quality than I’ve seen in any other streaming radio program.
I’ve done very little with Roon Radio, but like what I have encountered. It’s quite easy to reject or change tracks coming up. And so far Roon has produced a fairly “accurate” queue to match what I started it with.
Playlists. Playlists are a big deal for me. First, it’s easy to make new lists in Roon. Then, Qobuz provides lots of playlists which I can save in Qobuz and then they’re available to me in Roon. I can make iTunes playlists (mostly older, since I don’t do much in iTunes any more) can easily be transferred using Soundiiz. Finally, I keep a free level of Spotify and occasionally look in there for any new and interesting playlists. If so, I save them, and then again transfer with Soundiiz or TuneMyMusic. Then, they all get saved together in the Roon My Playlists list. (The only thing I’d like here - a lot - is the ability to add my own descriptive comment. Often, the name of the playlist tells nothing about what’s in it. That would greatly enhance the playlists feature usability.)
My setup. This is a testament to the idea that you don’t need to spend a fortune to listen to quality audio. I have Roon installed on my Macbook Pro. Occasionally, I will access Roon remote through my iPad. But otherwise, all of Roon is on the laptop. (I know, I’ve read the suggestion that roon components be split across different devices, but I’m not applying for “Golden Ear” status, so it’s ok.) I listen to a lot of music through headphones; I have Beyerdynamics which play through the Dragonfly Red, and the sound quality is extraordinary. Then, since my living quarters have shrunk somewhat, I no longer have extravagent speaker systems. I have Bowers and Wilkins Zeppelin and find the sound quality quite good. Then there’s a handful of other bluetooth and Appleplay things around the house. I listen mostly to classical music.
Audio. Another area in which IMO Roon really shines. With the combination of device configuration and the ability to have multiple digital signal processing profiles, I can custom tune the sound output to what I’m listening to and on which device - Highest possible quality with upsampling to the headphones, upsampled and enhanced for critical listening to the Zeppelin, mixed down to mono and flattened (or mono and enhanced, depending what mood I’m in) for radio and other less critical listening to the Zeppelin. And all those profiles can be saved and accessed with a click or two.
So, I certainly appreciate that everyone has their own tastes and preferences, and Roon may work better for some than others. But I love it. Count me a very satisfied Roonie!