Why Roon needs to adapt and evolve...pov of a partially disgruntled yearly subscriber

In recent weeks there have been a couple of posts highlighting what certain members feel Roon needs to evolve and as these issues are affecting me personally and in fact causing me to rethink my Roon subsciption, I thought I’d share.

I am a yearly subscriber a year for the moment and it’s not THAT large an amount for me to worry too much about. However, any product in which we invest a periodical amount, needs to be able to justify itself on an ongoing basis. For example, I was using Netflix for a year or so, but cancelled that fairly recently as the release of good new series just wasn’t happening frequently enough for me to justify the monthly expense.

I have been on and off, a Tidal subscriber for a few years, and recently it has been more consistently “on” for me, simply because the Tidal experience is getting better and better, more and more titles are coming out, filling gaps in my collection and more “master” versions of albums coming out all the time. Also mobile internet has improved greatly in the last couple of years to the point that it’s becoming a seamless experience to listen to either a Tidal album or the same album I have locally on my pc or mobile device.

Coming back to Roon, I will be likely continuing my subscription, bar poverty hitting me, in February, but the decision to renew is clouded, ie less of a sure-fire thing as it was, say 3 months into my sub, because of 3 things mainly:

  1. I’ve invested in a Fiio Android based audiophile player which is a super device but cannot be used as a Roon Core.

  2. The Tidal standalone experience is not at all bad in itself and improving all the time.

  3. Roon’s ongoing development is clearly biased towards audiophile integration rather than creating an indispensable “Experience” and other systems/services are catching up in the experience department; hence there is a feeling of “this is pretty much it” about the product. The actual developments that have been implemented in the past 10 months since I subscribed, have not really been great UI changes or improvements apart from, notably, one click play.

Changing times and ownership of music:

My firm belief, is that the physical “ownership”; either on HDD or even in our personal cloud space is going to keep dwindling as time goes on. Streaming services will become the way in which we consume music. Even if we “own” the data locally, we will evolve to using Streaming as parallel collections to our own.

We can still “own” the music from streaming services. It’s a psychological thing. Any software can provide enough personalisation of something so we perceive it as our own. If we invest time and effort in personalising something then we bond with it, as we can bond with stored CD’s, Vinyl or carefully tagged and filed Flac or other media.

Roon clearly has its priorities in tweaking the Audiophile aspects of Roon and that’s fine in terms of niche market support, but to get a wider audience or even maintain part of the audience they have already, I do feel that much more should be going on to improve portability, UI, develop interface features, develop socialisation aspects, and to improve the ownership experience of both local and online music.

My ongoing feeling is that Roon execs feel that the interface and metadata capabilities of Roon are “good enough” and don’t warrant allocating a large portion of development (and importantly, marketing) for further development; I am beginning to feel that Roon will always, as such, remain a niche product.

This is not to say I’m unhappy with my Roon experience, far from it, just that It’s a little frustrating as the months go by and there’s no sign of any further development in the key areas which could make Roon a really even more exciting place to hang out (and to entice so many more people to the fold).

So, to recap, to avoid becoming or remaining a product with limited or dwindling customer base, Roon should be offering (or even show signs of offering these in the nearish future):

  • Social aspects of sharing and linking with fellow music lovers from within Roon itself on an artist by artist and album basis; if we are linked socially with friends and relatives through our love of music inside Roon we will be far less likely to unsubscribe and more friends will join us as they want to experience this exciting new “package”. What is the most viewed and replied to thread in the Roon Community? “What are you listening to now?” - Speaks for itself.

  • Ability to edit and add notes to existing bio’s and reviews. Personalise our albums and artist entries, invest our time and energy and we become more attached to the product.

  • Mobile Roon Core Ability - this is so key to evolving Roon - Roon for Android/IOS should absolutely allow mobile devices to be the Core for Roon, so the mobile device’s local content can be integrated with Tidal for seamless on the go experience. We can switch Cores quite happily between PC’s, Laptops, Macs and such, why for the life of me this wouldn’t include an android or IOS device is beyond my understanding. This is just a starting point for Roon “on the go”. Later we can have cloud based Roon database sharing, etc, but make this a key priority for now.

  • Integration of Roon with other streaming services, such as Google Play Music, Qobuz, Spotify, etc, as many as possible. It doesn’t matter if some don’t want to play ball (and I know Spotify is one): get on board with as many as possible, the more you have integrated with Roon the better for future proofing and further integration with further services. Even if the integration is not seamless (at least to begin with), doesn’t matter, give people the ability to stream from their preferred service from within Roon; keep people within the Roon fold. Bubble Upnp offers basic integration of a whole host of streaming services alongside local content on my Fiio, I don’t understand why Roon can’t do the same?

I really think Roon would enlarge their customer base enormously and secure many more existing clients’ future yearly subscriptions by even starting to implement these basic developments.


Thank you for this excellent, well thought-out post. I don’t necessarily agree with you on all points, but it sure is inspiring food for thought, also for the Roon team. I kinda feel it belongs in this discussion, though I can understand you’d like to highlight it a bit more, as this thread is already a month old:

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Thanks Koen. I know what you mean. I was thinking about that thread and also the one about the why our friends don’t adopt roon:

Ie those are the 2 thread I was referring to at the start. I did want to highlight my thoughts, as I do feel our ideas get lost inside a long thread.

I think overall, I’m a bit confused as to where Roon sees it self in a year, five years, or ten, and where we will be ourselves; as continued supporters. When I first took Roon on board, I loved what I was seeing and yet I could see so much exciting further potential, which I am just not seeing in the further development side of things to date, and no sign of it being in the pipeline either. Am just a little worried that Roon will miss the boat somehow.

There will be a major UI update soon though! :smiley:


Roon is adapting and evolving. Time warp back a year to 1.2 and compare it to now. Huge difference, so many new features added all at once in the 1.2 to 1.3 update. A year ago, DSP wasn’t included. A year ago, Bluesound, Sonos and Devialet were not included. A year ago, ROCK didn’t exist. A year ago, Nucleus didn’t exist. Each of those foundation pieces that will allow further growth.

As to what is upcoming, the devs do not like to provide a definitive road map and even more so target dates, I do not think that is going to change. However, as Koen has pointed out, they HAVE said that a UI revamp is in the mix. And there is the eventual MQA addition. Might they revisit the decision to not have a published “road map”, anything is possible. However, I am not bothered by the lack of a published road map.


You make some very good points. Roon to Go Mobile (which is forthcoming), and multiple streaming service integrations would be great additions. I’m less interested in social aspects as you stated, but can see a big market opportunity there. Excellent post.

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Compliments to @Sallah_48 for a great post which pretty much reflects my current mood about renewing my yearly subscription, and compliments to @Rugby for recalling the improvements into memory that finally have been made.

I am constantly tinkering with my audio system, and with Roon running on my Mac mini, the Roon endpoint has been changed more than once between the Mac itself, the Raspberry Pi with IQaudio DAC, with and without DSP room correction, with and without HQplayer in the chain, and using iOS, Android, and Windows PCs as a remote. And in fact that is possible because the Roon ecosystem is so open and flexible, much more than any other software solution that I have tried beside that. (Maybe I should focus more on music than on playing bricks, but big boys, big toys…).

However, while this kind of flexibility is regarding the “audio transport” part of the system, I am missing the same flexibility on the “audio source” side. I am feeling uncomfortable that Tidal is the only streaming service. Not so much because I am missing much in their catalogue (ECM is a big plus now), but from the sympathy point of view I am much more attracted to Qobuz and would rather spend my monthly subscription fee to them.

I know that the lack of Qubuz integration has been discussed over and over again with reference to legal constraints, but I am not convinced yet. Products like Audirvana integrate Tidal, Qobuz, and HighResAudio purchases in one software, and I believe that the talented Roon guys could achieve the same in an attractive and operable user interface. Everything in Roon is about the tight integration of metadata which seems to be only possible with Tidal, but personally I would prefer an 80% integration of multiple streaming services, but with the supreme UI and signal path that Roon already offers.

In my opinion this multi-streaming-service argument becomes more and more significant in the future. Since Tidal and the others are offering the entire ECM label catalogue since couple of weeks, I almost do not have any reason for my ripped CD collection any more. Not so far in the future, my entire personal range of music that I am interested in will be provided by streaming services. Being able to choose between some of them would be highly appreciated.

I am whining at a high level, so if money doesn’t run out unexpectedly, I will certainly renew for another year. Roon is still a superior piece of software (and architectural concept), and worth every penny. And not to forget accompanied with a lively community which makes discussions like these even possible. But the guys behind Roon must (and I am convinced they do and will) listen to that community carefully to dispel those recurrent doubts. In my opinion, a rough, public, prioritized, and undisputable roadmap without any strict time commitments would help a lot.


Choose any two from the five constraints, and it might be possible, but personally, I doubt it would help.


As a contrast, I don’t want to subscribe to more than one streaming service. Roon can partner with as many as they like, but I will only stream one. If there are more, we can all take our pick. I seem to find everything I want on Tidal and have the added benefit of the ever growing Tidal Masters selection.
I don’t want free streaming at low quality, that would make the latest quality discussion mute anyway. I appreciate others may want this, which is ok. Roon need to appeal as widely as possible.

I don’t do any tinkering with my system, I just play music and have not noticed any decernable differance from my previous Sooloos setup. Currently Meridian MS200’s and Bluesound devices are my endpoints all hardwired on a cat5e network.


Yes, exactly. Unless, I am mis-remembering, rough road maps and tentative timetable were mentioned in the past and the problems caused pretty much resulted in the current “no public road map and time tables” policy.


Totally agree. My personal favorite is Qobuz for couple of reasons (newsletters, curated playlists, overall direction more to the classical and jazz genres; interesting high-res subscription model), and I would not subscribe to another service then, let alone low-quality models.

Lucky you. :+1: Not that I would hear much difference between my constructions, it’s just the technician in me who does not allow me to simply listen and enjoy.


Too much information about future revisions creates problems in and of itself. Same with upcoming hardware releases. Most companies figure out sooner or later not to disseminate info until the release is ready for distribution. Emotiva learned that one with their promised XMC-1 prepro which took four-five years before being ready.


Maybe “roadmap” in the sense of an ordered feature list causes more problems as it solves, agree. My intention is more about statements regarding certain features or future directions. But as I am writing and rethinking my post (just deleted some paragraphs…), I realize that there is already the Feature Requests section which is - with a little bit of reading effort - what I have been looking for. Should visit that section more frequently…

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Yes, as the devs do comment on specific feature requests, it provides a bit of “future intent”. It is just a lot of reading. :thumbsup:


Good post. I am reluctantly turning away from Roon due to uncertainty that I want my music preferences, or really “micro-preferences” stored. I think I invented that term, not sure. What do I mean by that?

  • artist likes and dislikes
  • Genres
  • Certain time periods of certain artists
  • sub-genres and niches, what I like and don’t
  • song play counts and information derived
  • playlists I have created or Liked
  • other people who influence
  • Labels

All of MY information and activity over YEARS is a rich data layer. I WANT Roon to be the keeper of that data across multiple streaming services, an umbrella. I want that layer to be thoughtfully used to help me discover more and learn more. I trust Roon more than others. I think currently Spotify does this discovery the best, albeit they keep the data hidden from us and just surface results.

Finally, Spotify is single-song and playlist oriented, where Roon feels album oriented (my feeling at least).

I haven’t given up on Roon, but I’m not sure I’ll stick with it either.



Good post… thanks for sharing.

All of that “social media” and “adding notes” stuff sounds like a lot of work. I really want to just listen to music.

Sometimes I surf the inner tubes and sometimes I just close my eyes and listen, but I don’t want to start bleeting my opinions on a piece of music - there are endless resources for learning more on the web, some of which is well written by knowledgeable critics.

The “Magic of Roon™” is helping you explore new music, IMO. I tend to get stuck listening to same 10 albums, until I get sick of 'em and move on. Roon does a nice job of presenting alternatives from your local library and TIDAL, based on what you are looking at. Frankly, in a way that no one else does, as far as I know. I have discovered a lot new music this way. Another app good for that is Pandora - I discovered a ton of new music from listening to Pandora stations, which I tend to buy and add to my collection.


Really interesting post.

Before and after becoming completely committed to Roon, I spent/spend time using the solutions from Jriver, Amarra and Audirvana. I just don’t think any other product comes remotely close in terms of usability, elegance and flexibility (endpoints, server hardware options). There’s just no contest! I mean, Amarra and Audirvana don’t even offer Android apps - ridiculous.

I don’t like the price of Roon but I work in software development and producing a system like Roon requires paid staff; maybe an open source volunteer project could also do it but we haven’t see one yet.

Regarding additional streaming services, I see the lack of them in Roon as a big problem. However, this is the choice of those streaming services and not Roon.

The “Magic of Roon” for me is NOT discovery but finally being in a system with a killer interface and immense flexibility. To my ears, Amarra and Audirvana have an edge when it comes to sound output but that’s so subjective.


For me the “social” aspect that roon can explore is using listening metrics to help in making suggestions… wisdom of crowds. I don’t want a roonbook.

I see roon evolving into a cloud based hub. It has publishers on one side (Tidal, local library, other streaming services) and it collects the technical metadata about your libraries from these. That goes to the cloud. There it is supplemented with external metadata - like reviews, lyrics etc. And is further supplemented with internal metadata - your listening habits and the listening habits of others. Then it is accessed by subscribers - your local core which delivers it (with DSP) to your outputs, or your mobile phone directly. The cloud could hold a small version of your on premise library for you to take on the road - but the mobile experience may be access to streaming content supplemented with the internal and external metadata.


PLEX is a good example of portability. Local (HDD/LAN) based content can be streamed anywhere on a long list of devices and apps. PLEX has had over a decade of development and was built on KODI (XBMC) whereas Roon is still a young product.



you are saying that you feel that more should be being done with your data either allowing you to work with it creatively or for Roon to algorithmically use it to tailor Radio functions more proactively, that sort of thing?

I would agree with you that we should be starting to see a more intuitive implementation of the data acquired through, like you say, years of listening.

However: I would also like to see the ability of being offered completely OPPOSITE styles of music as recommends to avoid being pushed down a “safe path” when listening. :slight_smile: .

One of my problems has been a vast collection untapped, unlistened to and unknown. Roon has helped to move on more organically in this regard but can do much more to help. These are also features where Roon can be constantly tweaking and improving and adding to during every build/release.