Would Roon users like Sleevenote?

Hi everyone, my name’s Tom, I’d like to introduce you to an audio product that I am launching called Sleevenote.

It is a new format for a music player, with a large square screen for enjoying album artwork, and the Sleevenote database looks after providing additional album art, with interactive tracklist art, and supporting full booklet art.

The product is currently crowdfunding to see if we can further develop and produce them https://www.indiegogo.com/projects/sleevenote

The device has a fairly premium price of £533 / ~$700, due mainly to the custom display component and short initial run.

We’ve had several people mention that Roon users could be a great audience for it, and it would be great to get your feedback. The unit supports playing hi-res audio, with a capable, but standard DAC chip from Cirrus. We intend to explore superior DAC circuitry in a subsequent R&D phase.

We also think that Sleevenote could be used in conjunction with your existing DAC, as a controller of a zone within a Roon setup.

I’d be delighted to hear any thoughts you have and how you think we might be able to spread the word to people that would be keen to support the crowdfunded campaign and make it a reality. Thanks for reading.



Great stuff! I’d be most interested in controlling Roon using this, don’t need another device capable of playing audio per se. I’ve been contemplating adding vinyl to my set, mainly because I think the experience of listening to digital music is seriously lacking, and felt like vinyl will make me feel more connected to the music. I think this is a really interesting approach though, bringing this ‘tactile’ aspect to digital music listening. Love the square display, the fact that the controls are kept away from the artwork and that you can click on the numbers in the interactive tracklist art! I’m in!

1 Like

In principle, a great idea Tom.
However, for it to work with Roon I assume the device is also a network audio adapter capable of running Roon Bridge (I guess it must have WiFi)? What is it based on - Ropieee or some other software? Obviously, quality of audio implementation would be crucial - circuitry, dac chip (to some extent) etc.

Hi Tim, thanks for the feedback. Yes it will have networking capabilities, Wi-Fi and Bluetooth. It will be custom software likely running on a stripped down version of Android (for maximum streaming API compatibility) or possibly Linux, based on further software R&D. We’d develop the appropriate software to make it run. Yes agreed audio circuitry is very important for standalone operation, while I can’t provide any specific details at this point, it will be a high priority should we fund the project. Thanks

Android would be a bit of a negative as the way it handles audio does not currently mix well with Roon endpoint software - you don’t get bit perfect. Having said that, would not be a deal breaker if that’s what it took to support your intended user interface. Linux would be better, I suppose, for Roon integration but maybe harder for you to achieve your UI goal. Interesting product idea - I would consider purchasing once it got through the initial development phase.

Personally, no.
Comes across as a premium priced gimmick IMHO.
I’m sitting here listening to Roon through a 15K GBP HiFi rig and if I did want additional info on the tunes beyond what Roon can show me the android device in my hand is connected to the Internet. Your proosed target cost would fund Roon, Tidal, Qobuz and a pile of records.
Like I say, sorry but not for me.
Good luck

Thanks for your honest thoughts here. Our main agenda is not “additional info” rather “how the artist originally designed the release” so, like your vinyl, you’d have access to potentially 1,000s of albums with full artwork, and that would be cheaper than the equivalent cost in vinyl, that is if new artists and labels can even afford to keep pressing vinyl going forward. We’re hoping that a £500 price point would be attractive to someone with your hi-fi budget, so will keep working on that :slight_smile: . Also, we’d have an Android version of the Sleevenote app for you to enjoy on your device at some point.

Thanks Tim, Linux is very much on the table, we understand Sonos runs it and they are partnering well with providers. Supporting the project at this point is what will make it a reality though, so perhaps you’d consider supporting (you’ll only have to pay if we reach our ambitious goal, which would make it a sure thing).

Will assume an App would have wider potential audience than a piece of hardware, especially amongst many hifi enthusiasts.
Even on the App side, if its just liner notes you are pitching its a small slice of pie. Guess it depends on peoples habits as we are all different in degrees.
As a record collector and streaming listener Im more interested in pressing and version info of releases, so obviously I find Roon and Discogs covers me there for digital and analogue histories. They also throw in liner info / album notes but minus the full artwork I guess.
I will follow your cause with curiosity. :pray:

Your app is a true joy to use on Ipad! Absolutely wonderful.
Would it be possible to add Qobuz as provider as well.
They often offer full booklets.

Hmmmm. This strikes me as a device solving a problem that doesn’t really exist… Sorry to be blunt.

It’s inferior to other players at the same or less cost (unless you integrate dozens of streaming services, add lyrics, etc, etc, etc) and is less portable. And it has less music meta data and graphical data to peruse and enjoy than I can currently get on an iPad with Roon (and I can do many other things with an iPad). When I ran Gracenote I saw literally 100s of audio devices (many of which we were embedded in) and 99% of of them were miserable failures. I think you’re not clear on the problem you’re solving, what your real competitive differentiation is and your cost is way too high. The road you’re starting on will be very hard…

What would be interesting from a Roon perspective IMHO would be if it could be a low cost, light weight controller with a high quality touchscreen display that allows the display of all Roon metadata, lyrics and graphics. But this would be useful to a small audience however and likely wouldn’t make sense from a business perspective…

Of course this is just my opinion and I reserve the right to be completely wrong…:slight_smile: but you asked for honest feedback.

Thanks stevev1! Delighted to hear you like it (available here for iTunes/Apple Music for anyone else wondering https://sleevenote.app). We are currently speaking with some Hi-Res providers and hopefully will have an update for you there soon.

Hi Craig, yes thanks for your honest feedback there. The unique selling point is that it is square, which makes it perfect exclusively for the album art experience, you’ll get lyrics, credits etc etc as was originally intended to accompany the release. We are building a new artwork platform from the ground up, because it needs to be. I’ve been having a few conversations about this and more recently feel like expressing the argument that really, this is not trying to solve any problems for the music listening audience, it is solving a problem for the artist (me, Tom Vek), that I am not in control of how my music is experienced visually. I know that this might not be the right audience to preach to, but when a platform is built that artists control you will love it, trust me, and your trivia and meta data will still be available to you elsewhere. Hopefully you’ll keep an eye on our progress. All the best, Tom

Hi Tom. Thanks for the note!

I do understand your perspective. It always pains me that over the past 2 decades the tv/movie experience and the video game experience have gotten vastly, vastly better while the music experience over the same timeframe is arguable on par or even worse than it was in the age of LPs and beautiful liner notes with large format artwork and lyrics. (There is a reason that LP sales have now surpassed CD sales and is a growth business for the music industry!)

It pained me so much, that the company I ran at the time – Gracenote – pioneered the first rights deals with music publishers for digital lyrics to be used in downloads, streaming services and on web sites. We also built a massive database of lyrics. We did this because Steve Jobs wanted to put a lyric in every digital track apple sold (because he wanted them in his music; ok, I did too!) but then one of the major publishers kept holding out for a better deal and without that publisher there wouldn’t be critical mass in coverage and it took so long to resolve that Apple decided to move on to focus on video…

It pained me so much that Gracenote also started a joint venture with all 4 (at that time) major music labels to create a next-gen music experience (we called it the connected music experience). If fully realized, it would allow a music release to be a living breathing, updatable piece of art that could encompass the music tracks, rich metadata, graphics, lyrics, tour information etc, etc, and allow and artist (or a label) to update the release with new information over time – you could send out new photos, new concert information, even a new track. This would put artists in a next-generation level of creative “control” with ability to interact directly with the buyers of their music. We built a successful prototype (we put $Ms in this) and were ready to fully develop the tech but then the labels refused to fully fund and the initiative just lost momentum and Gracenote eventually pulled out of the JV.

Both of these initiatives were in the early 2000s… What could have been if they had been successful…:frowning: You’d be able to do even more creative things with your device… Having said all this I still think it’s a tough road you’re embarking on but wish you the best with your sacred quest!!

Hey Craig, wow that is some insight, I’ve heard about bits of this over the years. Truthfully I’ve sensed the fatigue from the established labels I’ve spoken with, heard about the efforts and expense that went into making iTunes “LP” releases for example, and fully understand the lack of enthusiasm to have to do yet another thing during a release. But a lot of the design thinking with our upload tool (https://sleevenote.design) has been about ease of transferral from vinyl artwork, ie backward compatibility, which I could talk about for ages. Community and fan input to get it to a certain point etc… and even launching a wildly unrealistic music player device are all intended to get the conversation going :wink: so many people react saying how much they miss album artwork, so many cool new releases are still getting amazing vinyl graphics designed, there is a stream of creativity to channel. (I’d be delighted to hear more from you directly if you wanted to email me tom @sleevenote.com, although I’m sure this isn’t just fascinating for me!)

We’ve just launched a web player which lets you browse through albums in the database as a 2-panel gatefold type experience, and play tracks in full from Spotify (in desktop Chrome), check it out, and welcome anyone’s feedback here also https://player.sleevenote.com

I love the concept and could see this as a very fun (and luxurious) Roon remote. I don’t need a player with audio output but love that it could be a smart display and control for what’s playing in a room and to bring back the review of album art in a meaningful way would be terrific. Roon PDF display is not cutting it and the old iTunes LP releases were not great either. Being able to hold the art again and page through liner notes would be very cool as I listen …

If this was integrated with Roon’s metadata, you could toggle through the credits and explore / discover more which is something I love about Roon today.