Roon 1.8 Release Streaming Music

I use this app in conjunction with Tidal and Qobuz, music streaming services. This is a music indexing app but that description does not touch the pleasure, information, organization it adds to the listening experience. The big negatives are it cost $$ and only supports a couple streaming servers. (Both Tidal and Roon offer free trials.) If music listening and exploration are big it is worth your time to explore.

An app for aficionados less so for casual listeners…

1 Like

I like it but before I get max enjoyment I need to get a couple more end points setup.

1 Like

Can it do Metal??? If it’s well versed in Heavy Metal, I’m in🤘!

I love Roon. I switched to it 2 years ago and haven’t looked back. Roon in conjunction with beets for music management is about the best combination of player and music manager I can think of. I’m using the bluesound node and powernode as endpoints in my bedroom, gym, and office and have been very pleased with how well they work. On my ipad, I also use the Audioquest Dragonfly cobalt when I want to sit in my living room chair and listen to headphones (Focal Elegia).

1 Like

Carries the name music it works… Copied this from a search I did today about Tidal

60 million tracks

Tidal offers over 60 million tracks whereas Spotify has about 50 million; clearly both have a considerable amount of music.Feb 1, 2021

I get finger tied or brain locked when I try to describe why I’m so appreciative of Roon.

I listen to music primarily at home — living room/office using a ELAC Navis System. Satisfied++ with overall sound quality . I have Roon and streaming available at other points but podcasts and audiobooks have priority there. I seriously thought of going Bluesound because of it’s flexibility in source and speakers.

Alexa & Amazon Music do stream to other parts of my small condo. I wired a decent Pioneer Soundbar sub system into Alexa.

Youtube by an Australian out of Germany— on streaming, expensive and less expensive audio … and

I’ve been really impressed with Roon 1.8 and I’m glad to see there’s a few other users on here.

The classical browsing and filtering options are amazing and it got me to sign up for Qobuz again. I had dropped it in favor of my own files for the last year, but at $12.49/mo for their hifi plan if you pay for a year, I couldn’t resist.

Also, @RichardC please don’t tempt with the LSX or LS50 Wireless. I want them both so bad, but haven’t been able to bring myself to buy them. :smile:

@KGF, When I “sit and listen” to my Elac system I’m satisfied. But… Once I made the purchase of stands, a Elac connect unit and speakers. I stopped reading/listening to alternatives, (… want to avoid my newest shinny object syndrome.)

I primarily stream from Tidal. However, I captured (iTunes) several hundred of my CDs in case I don’t want to pay for streaming. Roon handles them too. I’m not interested in vinyl or other sources and am content to pay for CD quality streaming. This is my good enough strategy.

I desperately want to try this but am hesitant for a few reasons.

  1. I wonder how it will cater for my own personal taste in music. I always see Roon being for Jazz or Classical music rather than genres like Metal or Country which are more my tastes.

  2. I’m likely to only want to use it on my Mac which is where I do almost alll my listening. It is hooked up to a pair of KEF LS50’s. So since I won’t be using it with any Roon Ready devices to my knowledge.

  3. Streaming Services. I am not a subscriber of Tidal or Qobuz. I do have a (don’t laugh) Apple Music subscription which I know can not be linked. BUT can Roon play music that is downloaded via Apple Music?

  4. Cost!!! I am just not sure I can justify the cost for effectively an organisation system. Does it really improve the music listening experience that much?

Roon has a trial so I’d definitely give that a go to see if it’s worth it. You can try before you buy and there is no obligation. If you look around, you can probably find a 60 day trial which will give you more time to evaluate compared to the standard trial. Responding to your specific points below:

  1. I feel like Roon displays metadata for all music genres well. I listen to a lot of rock and new age and still find Roon useful.
  2. You mean the LS50 passives? Presumably you have a DAC and AMP then right? If so, Roon will recognize most DACs plugged into your mac and you should be able to use it without issue.
  3. Roon can play local files as long as they aren’t copy protected. Though you’ll be missing out on a lot of the Roon radio and recommendations features without a TIDAL or Qobuz subscription.
  4. Roon really isn’t an organizational system. Use Picard or Beets for that. Roon is more of an interactive experience to display and read about the music you listen to. The browsing experience and ability to read narratives about the bands and albums is unmatched. It also is tremendous for playing music in multiple zones of your house either together or separately.

Having said all that, for your use case (listening to music at your desk only and with no TIDAL or Qobuz), it probably is NOT worth the cost.

In my house I use a pair of LS50 passives with a Bluesound Powernode 2i at my desk next to my iMac. Then I use a stereo pair of Bluesound Flex 2i speakers in my gym, and then a Bluesound Node 2i on my nightstand to listen to calming music before bed. Having access to all these endpoints in a single unifed interface with access to TIDAL streaming is gold to me.

If you do decide to get TIDAL and are in the USA get the deal through best buy. It’s way cheaper than buying from TIDAL directly. TIDAL also just released an apple silicon native version of their desktop app this month so good to go on that front.

Also, regarding Apple Silicon support, Roon is not a universal app yet. The developers have stated they are working on it, but there is no ETA on when it will be available. Roon is built on .NET and is not a native app by any means. Not sure how much that matters to you.

I went through some decision-making similar to yours not very long ago, so let me tell you what I ended up with. First, to your points:

  1. I have Roon and I have never not found anything I was looking for. My tastes run to instrumental, classical, minimalism and some pretty obscure stuff unrelated to jazz. It’s all been there.

  2. That’s a tremendous pair of speakers you have. I’d be tempted to say you can get even more out of them by talking yourself into spending even more money. I’ll get to that below.

  3. Yes, I’ve used Roon to play all the music I’ve downloaded/uploaded to the directory formerly known as iTunes, now Apple Music.

  4. Cost? I’ve convinced myself it’s all relative, and rationalized the price because I’m listening to really great sound. I spend way too much time in front of my computer so it’s great to have good music constantly available.

Here’s my system: I subscribe to Tidal because it’s one of the best ways to stream music at the highest possible fidelity. My ears have made me a big believer in their MQA technology, although you will certainly find its detractors. I listen to the Tidal app on my standard iMac. As you probably know, Roon is only a front end for music that you stream from elsewhere. Tidal is both a front end and the source of the streaming music. Because of that it costs twice as much as Roon, $20/month vs $10. I subscribed to both so I can run them side-by-side but I’m probably going to drop Roon. I just like the Tidal interface a lot more. Same as with Roon, it seems to have everything. Tidal also claims to have 350,000 videos, but I prefer to listen, not watch.

Tidal has a great introductory offer. $2 for 90 days of their highest level of streaming. That gave me plenty of time to make up my mind.

But here’s the kicker that will bring out the best in your KEFs. This is not going to save you money… Between the iMac and my powered speakers I inserted a Cambridge Audio DAC Magic 200M. Its cost was somewhere in the high $400s when I bought it. Using a digital to analog converter makes a huge difference. This particular model has an array of pinpoint lights on the front telling you the incoming sample rate, and a couple of lights telling you if the source is MQA or DSD. A large percentage of the Tidal catalog is available in MQA, so I will confess that I’m a sucker for seeing that signal light up. I admit that it might be little more than bias confirmation; it lets my brain convince my ears that I’m listening to the best possible sound. Whatever, in that the music sure sounds great.

Yes, this is all rather pricey. But I figure the DAC will last me many years so I mentally amortize the initial expense across a decade. Mind games. Tidal is twice the price of Roon, but worth it to me when the music streams at higher-than-CD quality. Good luck with whatever you decide!

Thanks for taking the time for a detailed response.

Things have moved on a little and I have signed up for the trial of Roon and have to say I am really enjoying it. But I’ll come back to that after replying to your comments.

  1. Sorry, yes I am running the LS50 though a DAC and AMP, both of which are rather old now. I am using a Cambridge Audio DacMagic100 with an Arcam A32 amp.

  2. My initial intention with Roon was to get more from my own local collection of music ( I have close to 70K tracks ). First of all I want to expose links between tracks that I might not be aware of. For instance appearances that a musician may make on various tracks. Plus I want more exposure to the credits. I appreciate I can look a lot of this up BUT Roon does the in a much more instant streamlined way.

That said, I have very quickly found missing links between artists that I know are there, plus lots of missing pictures and bios of artists. However, I’m still impressed.

  1. Maybe I phrased this wrong. I understand Roon doesn’t organise my local files. What I want is that linking and exposure to a greater depth of data that Apple Music (for instance) just doesn’t provide.

To comment on my Roon experience further, one of the things that has taken me by somewhat of a surprise is that my own local files sound noticeably better through Roon than they do through the same DAC output on the same Mac Studio via other means such as Apple Music. I assume Roon is doing something special with the way it pushes the sound to the DAC.

I can see why Tidal or Qobuz woudl add an extra level of interest in Roon and have in fact also signed up for a trial of each of these and can’t decide which I like better. They do sound different and I’m not sure why I prefer. To me Qobuz sounds brighter. I’m trying to assess eaches catalogue to see how the coverage matches my own interests. I have to say though that the standalone Tidal app is much better than the Qobuz one.

I’m not sure what I’m going to do jut yet but my gut feel is that I will continue with Roon at least for a while. I may also end up having to subscribe to Tidal or Qobuz. I just wish that Roon would interface with Apple Music now that they have lossless available.

Please see my response to Dawfnls above which in brief outlines that I have now installed trials for Roon, Tidal and Qobuz.

I’m sorry if I wasn’t clear previously but I am using a DAC in fact its the predecessor to yours, the DacMagic 100 which I use with an Arcam A32 amp. I may dig into the 200 to see if there is much improvement over what I have but I am very wary of being pulled into the audiophile world proper which I frankly can’t afford right now.

I have linked Roon to my local files which is pretty extensive, but it will not play downloaded Apple Music files as they are protected. I wish there was a way around this where I still have an active Apple Music subscription. It shouldn’t matter what platform I play them on.

I am leaning towards Tidal over Qobuz in the High quality streaming service race but am still undecided.