Why do you all love Roon so much?

Tejstar

Distinguished Member
I’ve heard fantastic things about Roon for a while now, so thought I would give it a try. I’m coming to the end of my trial and have to say I can’t understand the love.

Yes, I agree that Roon has a lovely interface and a wealth of information about each artist, I also liked the Qobuz integration which seemed to offer better discoverability compared to even Qobuz’s own apps.

Over time, I’m listening less and less to my own physical library of music – and increasingly listening to the artists/album I own through Spotify/Qobuz instead. Therefore, I also question how much ‘value-add’ Roon offers in this kind of environment. Ideally, it would be great to use Roon without a need to keep a PC/laptop running, but that’s not possible right now.

I’m struggling to justify the ticket price. It’s a glorified wrapper from what I can see. Personally, I’m unlikely to continue my subscription, as LMS/Qobuz has been working fine for me. So, for those that subscribe to Roon, why do you value the service so highly?

A few caveats, I only have a small ripped music collection, and mainly used Roon with Qobuz. I only used this in a single room environment. Maybe, if I had a larger ripped collection or multiroom audio, my opinion would be different.
 

DT79

Distinguished Member
I’ve heard fantastic things about Roon for a while now, so thought I would give it a try. I’m coming to the end of my trial and have to say I can’t understand the love.

Yes, I agree that Roon has a lovely interface and a wealth of information about each artist, I also liked the Qobuz integration which seemed to offer better discoverability compared to even Qobuz’s own apps.

Over time, I’m listening less and less to my own physical library of music – and increasingly listening to the artists/album I own through Spotify/Qobuz instead. Therefore, I also question how much ‘value-add’ Roon offers in this kind of environment. Ideally, it would be great to use Roon without a need to keep a PC/laptop running, but that’s not possible right now.

I’m struggling to justify the ticket price. It’s a glorified wrapper from what I can see. Personally, I’m unlikely to continue my subscription, as LMS/Qobuz has been working fine for me. So, for those that subscribe to Roon, why do you value the service so highly?

A few caveats, I only have a small ripped music collection, and mainly used Roon with Qobuz. I only used this in a single room environment. Maybe, if I had a larger ripped collection or multiroom audio, my opinion would be different.
You’ve almost answered your own question in that you have identified that you only use one aspect of what it potentially offers - the interface.

Personally I think the interface is peerless and everything else seems broken by comparison, and for a one off lifetime cost that alone is worth it. Value for money though is very much in the eye of the beholder!
 

paulguk

Active Member
I also tried it on a month trial recently. I did think it was quite good but I couldn't see a justification for subscribing for the following reasons.

1. I don't subscribe to Tidal or any of the others.
2. All my music is either on CD or I stream from my NAS and for that UPNP works really well for me and it's free.
3. My NAS isn't powerful enough to run the core meaning I either have to use my PC or or buy a dedicated unit which is either messy or more expense.
4. I don't need any of the DSP settings etc as my amp does anything I need on that front.
5. I only listen in one room so don't need multi zones.
6. If I want to read up on artists / albums etc then Google is my friend and it's free.

I can see how some people would like it though.
 

spinaltap

Distinguished Member
On hearing a tune you’ve not heard before on Roon Radio, click the track and you’re taken to the detailed album track and associated album in Tidal/Qobuz. Google alone won’t do that for you. In Google, you have to have some idea of what you’re looking for.

Plus, when listening to any music track in Roon, it will detail everyone that was involved in shaping the album or track. Thus, you can follow the path of a given musician, composer or producer from that one track/album, to instantly discover/play those associated tracks/albums. Google won’t do that for you on its own.
 

paulguk

Active Member
On hearing a tune you’ve not heard before on Roon Radio, click the track and you’re taken to the detailed album track and associated album in Tidal/Qobuz. Google alone won’t do that for you. In Google, you have to have some idea of what you’re looking for.

Plus, when listening to any music track in Roon, it will detail everyone that was involved in shaping the album or track. Thus, you can follow the path of a given musician, composer or producer from that one track/album, to instantly discover/play those associated tracks/albums. Google won’t do that for you on its own.
If that’s what rocks your boat.
 

Tejstar

Distinguished Member
You’ve almost answered your own question in that you have identified that you only use one aspect of what it potentially offers - the interface.

Agreed, but even if I had a larger collection/multiroom audio, I'm still not convinced that I'd be willing to pay what is effectively a music subscription per month. Another point is that I can't find a way to get a folder view of my ripped content on Roon, which grates, although I probably haven't delved into the settings properly.

Plus, when listening to any music track in Roon, it will detail everyone that was involved in shaping the album or track. Thus, you can follow the path of a given musician, composer or producer from that one track/album, to instantly discover/play those associated tracks/albums. Google won’t do that for you on its own.

This is a very smart feature, and clearly the Roon devs have put a lot of work into it. I can see that for those that value discovery by this method, it can be very helpful.
 

DT79

Distinguished Member
Another point is that I can't find a way to get a folder view of my ripped content on Roon, which grates, although I probably haven't delved into the settings properly.
Do you mean seeing a by album view of your own local content as separate and distinct from any Qobuz content? You can filter every which way on Roon, so I’d be very surprised if you couldn’t. I’m not at home at the moment so I can’t play around with it to check.
 

jamieu

Well-known Member
What’s good:
  • It’s interface: IMO the best out there compared with the competition, although to be fair some of the streaming services own apps are now pretty good if you don't have a local music collection and are happy to keep your phone/laptop switched on while playing music.
  • Multiroom: rock solid and just works + easy to group and transfer music between rooms.
  • Control apps (desktop/mobile/tablet): again, rock solid and just works
  • Smart handling/merging of my local library and streaming services: The way you can combine your local music with selected albums from your streaming service works well, as it allows you to switch between 'play music from my curated collection' vs 'play me some new stuff' modes depending on what mood you're in.
  • Discovery: Roon excels here in multiple ways - Roon Radio, Discover view, Recommendations, Hyperlinked Sleeve Notes, Genre pages and Artist/Album info. All done (currently) without any obvious commercial or marketing bias (which can't always be said of the streaming platforms recommendation engines).
  • Filtering: You can filter and bookmark your music in pretty much any way imaginable
  • Excellent metadata / tagging support
  • Live Radio: Not a killer feature, but nice having it in the same interface
  • Playback to pretty much every audio device I own
  • Clear view of what is happening on the signal path (maybe a silly feature but nice to see everything is working as expected)
  • Ability to show a well designed 'now playing' screen on a cheap tablet/smart home display.
  • Multiple logins/library views for different members of the house on their own devices (see also, easy for others to use).
  • Can start playback on one device and then further control playback on another.
  • Can use the API to integrate 3rd party controllers (I use an Ikea Symfonisk dial/remote to control volume/skip tracks)
  • Well designed server / client architecture + no hardware vendor lock-in
  • Server (ROCK) just runs and self updates, have never had to fiddle with it. It just works.
  • Cheap(er) 'bridge' endpoints than Sonos (using RPi's)
What’s not so good:
  • No support for SoundCloud / MixCloud (which aren’t replaced/covered by Tidal/Qobuz)
  • No (real) Podcast support
  • No (real) support for non-Album like content (ie. DJ mixes / archived radio shows)
  • No mobile / out-of-home support
I can get around all of the above by running a copy of LMS pointing at the same Music folder structure or just syncing playlists back to Qobuz for offline listening. So not the end of the world, more pointing out where it’s shortcomings (for me) lie.

If you're on a budget then LMS is great and does a lot of what Roon does (and in some areas more), albeit without the slick interface and polish.

In terms of cost, a lifetime Roon membership isn’t that much more than an average piece of HiFi kit and paying for decent software and a good user experience is well worth it (to me) for something I use every day. But I guess how we spend our money is personal, there are plenty of people on here that would drop a similar sum of money on a new DAC or even worse some dubious snake oil product that would have me scratching my head re. potential benefits.

Another point is that I can't find a way to get a folder view of my ripped content on Roon, which grates, although I probably haven't delved into the settings properly.

Long, long, threads on this on the Room forum which probably aren’t worth repeating here.

But if your music is well tagged, then you shouldn’t need to rely on a folder structure. I can see why this at first would seem annoying if you have spent years organising your music in hierarchical folders, and there’s no reason to stop doing that if it makes you happy. But to use Roon properly you need to wean yourself off folder structures (which itself is fairly constraining) and start relying on metadata and tagging.
 
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Tejstar

Distinguished Member
@jamieu Great write-up, thanks for sharing your opinions.

If you're on a budget then LMS is great and does a lot of what Roon does (and in some areas more), albeit without the slick interface and polish.

Agreed, LMS doesn't have much of a front-end, but functionality-wise, it works very well and has been developed by the community over the years.

But if your music is well tagged, then you shouldn’t need to rely on a folder structure. To use Roon properly you need to wean yourself off folder structures (which itself is fairly constraining) and start relying on metadata and tagging.

Perhaps this is me struggling to move into the 'new world' of metasearch, but I've always preferred having the control to view folders for content that I've organised. I admit it probably requires some investment on my part, but it would have been nice to have the folder option for those that want it.

In terms of cost, a lifetime Roon membership isn’t that much more than an average piece of HiFi kit and paying for decent software and a good user experience is well worth it for something I use every day.

I really struggle when I look at the Roon lifetime membership. No doubt it was an easier pill to swallow before the last price increase, but it seems like a risky investment at $699. You need to assume that the company will be around for over 5 years, which can be a lifetime when it comes to software. When someone is investing in physical elements of a hi-fi system, at least that will remain with them no matter what. For this piece of software, if the company goes belly-up, you'll be left with nothing.
 

paulguk

Active Member
@jamieu Great write-up, thanks for sharing your opinions.



Agreed, LMS doesn't have much of a front-end, but functionality-wise, it works very well and has been developed by the community over the years.



Perhaps this is me struggling to move into the 'new world' of metasearch, but I've always preferred having the control to view folders for content that I've organised. I admit it probably requires some investment on my part, but it would have been nice to have the folder option for those that want it.



I really struggle when I look at the Roon lifetime membership. No doubt it was an easier pill to swallow before the last price increase, but it seems like a risky investment at $699. You need to assume that the company will be around for over 5 years, which can be a lifetime when it comes to software. When someone is investing in physical elements of a hi-fi system, at least that will remain with them no matter what. For this piece of software, if the company goes belly-up, you'll be left with nothing.
Roon are actually trying to deter people from taking lifetime memberships which is why the price has increased. They prefer to have a constant stream of monthly subscriptions as it is supposedly a better business model.
 

Tejstar

Distinguished Member
Roon are actually trying to deter people from taking lifetime memberships which is why the price has increased. They prefer to have a constant stream of monthly subscriptions as it is supposedly a better business model.

Yes indeed, I can understand that Roon would want the visibility of monthly cashflows, rather than the lumpy unpredictable cashflows from lifetime memberships.

It seems judging by recent comments made by the Roon COO that they will either be looking to remove the lifetime membership at the turn of the year, or increase the price of a lifetime membership even further! :eek:
 

Tom @ Cinehome

Well-known Member
AVForums Sponsor
For me, Roon is worth it alone for the Roon Radio function. It has introduced me to a lot of music I wouldn't otherwise have heard or been aware of. In a household of Roon Ready devices perhaps in two or three rooms, the group function is very useful. The Signal path feature is detailed and informative. Highly recommended.
 

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