Why choose Apple Music over something else?

I am not an audiophile, and I have hearing issues in one ear, so headphones are kind of silly for me (still useful of course). I also use Sonos or AirPod Max for everything. Both of which audiophiles frown upon. So I really don’t need to do it either. But it’s kind of like why I use Obsidian, I like owning the files. They are mine and nothing can take them away.

A decade ago I could definitely hear the difference from my own copies and the digital services, but those have all gotten better over the years. So right now it definitely does seem silly to rerip everything, but I am enjoying the project. Plus these music services are so much better than Apple Music (me being annoyed at the Mac app is what started this project).


I understand. I still have my music cds (& movie dvds) and backups of my ripped and purchased digital media. But the only time I need them is when I can’t find what I’m looking for on YT music and want to upload them. I grew up listening to AM radio stations and streaming music is a big improvement :grinning:

Now that is a good reason rerip your music. :+1:

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Just out of curiosity, what do you see as the downside to Qobuz? I use Qobuz’ mobile and desktop apps and its Roon integration; I dropped Apple Music when I changed mobile carriers and it was no longer free, and haven’t really missed it.

I ripped a massive library of CDs to FLAC to serve them to our hi-fi setup and our various devices via a Roon nuc. We then subscribed to Qobuz as a Roon integration, and honestly, if I had to do it all over again I think I’d skip all that ripping and just stream hi-res tracks instead, since at least 85% of what I ripped is available via Qobuz. There’s some comfort in having a digital copy of our entire collection—it will always be there for us should streaming no longer be an option—but aside from that, I’m not sure ripping is worth all the blood and treasure.

PS - my husband is definitely an audiophile, so we’re a hi-res household …

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Whenever I see people complain about how the App Store rules make it so the developer can’t let you know to go the web site for a better deal, I always thought “I know better, I always go to the site directly to see if it is cheaper.” Apparently I don’t know better. Signed up for Tidal through the iPhone app today, noticed the price was higher than I thought I remember it being ($14 instead of 11) and thought they must have increased the price with the new plan. After I signed up it hit me, it was more expensive because of the App Store. No big deal, I get a month free and can switch it over if I decide to stay on it, just have to jump through hoops at the end of the month,

So far so good though. Their desktop apps seem to work well so far, which is a large factor for me.

One thing that does worry me, Tidal is a Jack Dorsey company. He doesn’t seem completely stable as a CEO.

Plex is a no go for me, it wants to open ports on my NAS which I do not want it to do. Can I keep Roon locked down to my local network only? I can’t find the answer online and I am not ready to start a free trial yet (want to rip more music).

Tidal so far is good, but it is missing some music I could get on Apple Music (2 albums so far).

I don’t think so, Roon relies on it’s servers for a lot of the features (they are processed on the cloud). It’s a contentous topic in their forums and may change with the new ownership but I don’t think it has yet.

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Yes. Mine is. But … I don’t use Roon Arc, which does require opening a port to your network.

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I believe it has. From a February 7, 2024 message from Roon’s founders:

In 2022, we introduced an internet connectivity requirement to Roon. That decision was driven by strategic considerations, but we acknowledge that the change caused genuine dissatisfaction among our users, and we understand why. Today, we’re announcing a return to Roon’s pre-2.0 behavior. This means our users can once again enjoy their music collections without the need for continuous internet connectivity.

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That is great news. I need to catch up on the forums. Arc had turned me off so much I just stopped using Roon altoghther.

I switched from Spotify to Apple Music as soon as Apple Classical came out. Apple Classical isn’t perfect by any means, but it has better search functionality and metadata for classical music than Spotify. For non-classical music, the experiences seem pretty similar to me. I don’t have the ears to be able to comment on audio quality.

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Very impressed with Roon so far. Coming from traditional streaming apps, this it pretty dang cool. No interest in Arc, I will just use Tidal on the go, so I am not seeing any drawbacks so far. I wish I discovered something like this long ago.

Unfortunately, it looks like my NAS isn’t up to par to be a Core, so I already started looking at options. Found out Intel sold off the NUC division to Asus, who doesn’t appear to be selling them yet. I can still get the Intel versions it looks like though. On the other hand, the new cheaper Nucleus might be the cheaper option. I don’t understand how it compares to the model worth 7x as much, since I don’t know what DSP is.

It is very interesting going back and ripping my CD collection. I am rediscovering some albums I have long since forgotten. Instead of listening to a “radio” station, I am listening to whole albums again. On the other hand, I bought a lot of crap over the years. I am making a pile of those CDs and will then decide if they are something I want taking up space.

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If it helps, I run a Roon Core inside a docker container on a 6th Gen Nuc and it doesn’t stutter. I don’t use any DSP though. You definitely don’t need a current generation NUC.

I’m deep into album discographies now too. Having grown up in the 1970s and 80s, music wasn’t cheap for a kid and I really had to pick and choose which albums and 12" singles to get. My allowance only stretched so far, even if taping albums my buddies had bought did help a bit.

So, now that limitation is gone, I am re-visiting artist careers by listening through their entire catalog. Just playing each album in track order, starting with the oldest and working my way up. (All the studio albums, and sometimes the notable live albums. )

It’s really neat to hear the development of these artists, and I am often amazed by how fully formed their style can be already on their debut album. So far I’ve covered 37 artists across 525 albums. Currently on Elton John’s sixth album of 35. And I think it gonna be a long long time until I’m done.


Not to sound like an advertisement for Roon (it has its issues), but one of the cool things it is does is for every album it shows some sort of review/summary for it, including links, so it is kind of like a built in wiki that lets you explore. It has made listening to some of these old albums even more interesting.

Anyway, I have been going down a similar road with the Talking Heads. A band I couldn’t stand when I was a kid in the 80s, but now I can appreciate them. That has happened with a lot of music I disliked 30 years ago.

On the other hand, Roon drove me insane yesterday. I wanted to use the music folder on my Synology instead of the local folder, but I could not get it to link to it. Spent an hour messing with it, and breaking other apps in the process. There are tons of posts on Reddit, Synology, and Roon’s forums about it, but none of the suggestions were working for me. Turns out you can’t have a spaces in the account’s username that logs into the NAS. I found that out completely by accident.

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My ongoing struggles…(typing this mostly to get it off my chest as I rip CDs.)

So Roon sends these newcomer emails, and the one today was about Focus. But I am was not seeing the Focus button on most screens, even when trying to follow along with their support article example. Their screenshots do not match what I am seeing. When I can find a focus button, it doesn’t really seem to do much. I think Roon 2.0 changed the way things work, and now it’s sort of a broken feature.

Then I found that if my Mac’s screen turns off, my iPhone can’t connect to Roon, despite me having the Mac set not to sleep. That’s annoying and shows that I really need to invest money in a Roon server if I am going to stick with them. (Of course Sonoma hides all the sleep options we used to have, so I am not sure how to fix that.)

But in my quest to find answers today, there was one common theme on Reddit, just get PlexAmp, it’s better. So what you said in the beginning, @obbiie.

I decided to give Plex another chance and see if I could run it locally without opening ports. I got it to work (I am learning a lot about my Synology doing this stuff, so that is cool) and I am now able to listen through their apps.

The problem with PlexAmp though is everything is behind the paywall and there doesn’t seem to be a free trial. So everyone is saying how cool Plex is for music, but I can’t actually try that stuff (but it is only $5 a month). Also, the Plex Mac app is no where near as good as Roon. It’s very basic and difficult to navigate for a newbie. Again, though, it seems all the cool stuff I have to pay for.

I do love the Roon core app. As I am reripping my CDs I have been reading a lot of the background info and it’s pretty neat. Plus, it’s a really good app, but it is more expensive than Plex, and I will need to invest in a server to make it work.

Also found one of my large boxes of CD got water damaged at some point, and it ruined some of my CDs. I figured the CD itself would be fine, but nope, a couple just will not rip. All of them have been on Tidal so far though.

I don’t know how far in this rabbit hole you are willing to go, but you can solve this with a Zero Trust Tunnel.

From the Cloudflare website:
Here’s how it works:
The Tunnel daemon creates an encrypted tunnel between your origin web server and Cloudflare’s nearest data center, all without opening any public inbound ports.

Actually, PlexAmp used to be a Plex Pass exclusive in the recent past. Now there’s a free tier and a paid tier. Depending on what features you want, yes you would have to sign up for a Plex Pass. There’s a feature comparison here, at the end of the page:

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Thanks for the info. I don’t really need to get to my NAS from outside my home since I work from home and only travel a couple of times of year. For that reason I am keeping everything locked down. No reason to do it. On the other hand, I could probably do more for my router’s network security. I keep playing with the idea of getting an Ubiquiti system and making my own homelab, but that is a different thread.

Anyway, apparently I was wrong and I can use Plex only on my LAN. It’s working fine.

With Plex, I am running the free trier, and it’s fine. It is just very basic, everything cool is behind the paywall. The Sonic stuff, AI playlists, and even play counts. I am going to pay the $5 for a month so I can compare it to Roon (which I really love).

Speaking of Plex, that could be a project, getting a Raspberry Pi and making a headless server. Not that I need it, and I think RP are still difficult to get.

One thing I have learned with this whole re-ripping CD thing. If you use Mac software (XLD and Musicbrainz Picard), make sure you tell it to rename the files in a Windows format. Otherwise Synology’s DSM won’t import all those tracks. I never realized that macOS allows a lot more special characters that other OS do not.

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Ended up with a Tidal/Plex combo with Last.fm for stats. $10.99/4.99 a month respectively and $30 a year for Last.fm. Except, I am going to get the Plex lifetime plan for $120 (?).

I am not sure Tidal is better than Apple Music. The playlists are fine, the music quality is great. The apps work fine. I don’t love that it likes to suggest music I would never listen to, much as Apple Music does. That said, I rarely use the Tidal Apps. Unlike the big guys (Apple, Spotify, and Google), Tidal works with everything. All the hardware, all the services, Tidal supports it.

I love Roon, I think it is incredibly cool. But running it on my NAS is not possible, and it’s less than perfect running it from a Mac. It’s also expensive between the service and having to get some sort of server for it. So I went with Plex instead. PlexAmp (the music component) is amazing. I wish I would have found it years ago. It has a bunch of ways to make playlists, it’s very fast, and it has a bunch of cool little features. It does this thing where it analyzes all your music in order to suggest other music. It works quite well, most of the time. You can do what is called a Sonic Adventure, where you select two songs and it will make a playlist to fill in the gaps between the two song. I went from a death metal song to a jazz song, and it did it, but it threw some Chopin in right before the jazz song at the end that didn’t really work, but it was still kind of neat.

The biggest drawback of Plex is it’s a bit more finicky about connecting stuff. Luckily I can just AirPlay to everything, but sometimes it won’t play right away. It happens enough to be annoying, but not enough that makes it unusable. It also has a Sonos set up, but it doesn’t work for me, so I have to Airplay to Sonos. Oh, and Chromecast from an Android device kind of sucks (everything on Android is a bit rougher than iOS, but that is another thread). Roon is far better in this respect. Roon seamlessly connects to everything I have.

Also, really enjoying ripping CDs again. I am finding music I haven’t thought of in years (decades) that I bought CDs for. it’s been fun going through 20-30 years of my life’s CDs. In the last few years, music has mostly just been for the background. I have always loved music, but in the modern streaming world, I stopped paying attention to it and would just set some Apple Music Playlist and that was about it.

The problem now is I am getting into that weird audiophile stage. I bought a Wiim Pro Plus to hook up to some old, but good, power speakers I had. it sounds better than my Sonos stuff. Now I want to get some Kef speakers for my Mac. This could get expensive.

Edit: Last.fm raised their price to $50 a year the same day I wrote this.


But think of the benefits to us as you write up your experiences! :stuck_out_tongue: Sounds like you’ve arrived at a nice setup + trajectory.

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