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So, let's compare this to jriver media centre.
Bit perfect audio, check
Streams to any dlna renderer, check
Can use many dlna controllers, check
Can stream over the internet to your phone, check
Handles video & audio, check
Costs about £30 for a perpetual licence, check.
Roon, £600, thanks but no thanks.
I'd like to comment on the idea that Roon is good for people with large libraries:
The iOS and android Roon Remote apps have no way to quickly scroll through albums. There is no "alphabet slider" on the side like basically every other music app has.
So, if you like to browse by album and have 500+ albums in your library, you will be swiping 30-40 times to get through your library from A-Z.
Lots of people have complained to Roon about this for over a year, but they've done nothing to address the problem other than suggest typing in the name of the album you want to hear, which isn't the same as "browsing". I have 1000+ albums ripped from CD and can't remember the titles of all of them. So i like to flip through and browse to find a forgotten album once in awhile. Tedious and painful on Roon.
Roon is great as an automatic jukebox app and as a Tidal controller, but I've gotta say, for people with big collections that they like flipping through and browsing, it's just badly designed for the purpose. I was excited to switch from Plex to Roon, but after 6 months, I've switched back specifically because of this.
Also, I'll mention here that things seem to break frequently on Roon. An update a couple months ago kills functionality on QNAP devices, for example, and they have a non-employee community member working on the fix instead of doing it themselves (!)
Previously, playback on most Android devices stuttered like crazy and had random, loud static pops and cracks that could damage your hearing. It took a couple months for that problem to get fixed, too.
As a Roon owner (I bought a lifetime license), here in the USA, I must be missing something. From my viewpoint Roon is a great value with a combination of features that is not easily available anywhere else.
1. Seamlessly integrates music files I own on a hard drive with TIDAL and Qobuz, including MQA through TIDAL. It all looks like one library regardless of the source of the music. With a TIDAL or Qobuz subscription, I have access to more music than I could ever possibly listen to.
2. Outputs to any device with exceptional functionality with Roon testing hardware to ensure it works and certifying devices as Roon Ready if they have the required capabilities to integrate with Roon. Roon ready devices can sync audio throughout a home. You can have music playing throughout a house in near perfect sync as if they are hard wired together. You can move your music from one listening room to another so your playlist follows you where ever you go in your home. You can have different music playing throughout the hosue so each family member can listen to whatever they want. This all works super smooth and easy.
3. The operational paradigm is simple and efficient. You set up one core. This is the brains of your system and is always accessible within your home using wifi. Next, any computer, tablet, or smartphone acts as a remote giving access to all your music in a visually pleasing and intuitive interface that allows various people to have their own profiles and playlists. This is all accessed through your wifi. Last, your audio devices, wheather they are a smart speaker, a receiver with a Google Audio/Home puck attached, or a wifi enabled device like an Oppo UDP 205 or a NAD C368 DAC amplifier. You select the zone or device you wish to play music to using your remotes and you don't even need to be in the same room to start music playing somewhere else in your house. All of this just works.
4. Integration of external data. Concert dates, lyrics, summary information about the artist and albums is all pulled in from the Internet by Roon and integrated into the display. Do you like Jessie Ware's new album, What's Your Pleasure? I pull that up and see she is performing thee times in April 2021 in Glasgow, Newcastle, and Leeds. She was born in London in 1984 and earned a degree in English Literature from the University of Sussex. I can click on the credits which lists everyone involved in this album and can click on the names to see what other albums or projects each person has been involved with. I have gone down so many rabbit holes this way and found a ton of new good music by clicking on these links. Each track will list how many other versions of that same song are out there. I can click on that link and then listen to all the other performances of that song. Just another rabbit hole.
Last, I dispute there are issues with this software. I've been using Roon for over a year. Once in a great while there is a hiccup which more often than not is not a Roon issue. If TIDAL or Qobuz's servers are down you can't play that music. But I've found Roon to be rock solid.
In case you're wondering, I do not work for Roon or have any financial interest in Roon. If I have one beef with Roon, is they seem to be too busy to update the main page of their website. But that is really reaching for a straw to complain about. Roon is the one single purchase that has changed the way I listen to music and the level of enjoyment I get from my music. Nothing in my music system has impacted me more. Given what it has done for me. I believe it to be a solid value and is unequaled in the marketplace.
It's a lot of money just to link stored bits of downloaded files and to give you info that is found on a typical Spotify package , seriously , given the size of the average house why do you need to hear it from speakers in every room? What are you doing playing an album while moving from the lounge into the kitchen taking a dump and then lying on your bed for five minutes.
If tidal or qobuz has an issue it brings down everything. You download an app on your phone and tablet and gee it acts as a remote anyway. I don't need pretty pictures on a screen to gain musical enjoyment. There is a massive head in the sand failure by hi fi buffs to understand that apps give you pretty much everything roon gives you including info on dates , other albums and associated artists. It flatters to deceive. It's Tidal and quboz that give you the opportunity to explore music , roon has sold you a product that isn't really needed. It will be a niche product in five years time.
When you have a party at your house, and my house is fairly big, it is nice to have the same party music playing everywhere.
When I finish up work in my office, I go to the kitchen to make dinner and move my playlist over there, and a Mahler Symphony takes some time to listen to. Taking that dump without a pause is nice. I'm sure Mahler does not mind!
I guess you make a case for why record album covers should be plain white with just the name of the band and album on it. Black ariel font only.
Read Roon's facebook page. Seems like the entire audio industry is getting on board. AURALiC, Arcam, and Trinnov Audio have just recently release new Roon Read products. I think Roon will be the Apple carplay to the audio industry. Why should a manufacturer have to develop their own system when they can use a good standard. Although NAD has gone out on their own and developed BluOS. Seems some manufactures find it important enough to go through the trouble to develop a similar solution on their own.
I can see the party angle but it's not a roon only concept , there are a myriad of ways of having your music played in such a manner. For me personally the covers and info displayed via a screen are not something I would want as my sole reference point. I still prefer the actual physical media and the ritual of actually playing them.
Again , manafactuaring companies don't have to develop their own system. You are missing the point that they only have to allow an app to play via WiFi , common,simple and cheap. Roon is at heart a simplistic picture book for stored music. With Tidal say it offers access to music without storage and gives you the info roon seems to think is a novel concept.
Streaming will and is already making ripping,storing and organising redundant. You just need a phone or tablet. As I said you get roon to show you tour dates and the artists discography etc. It's already on the app. Ripping ,storing and management systems are overkill. It's on the app. Roon is just audiophile clickbait. To the average consumer it is an unnecessary over engineered idea that gives your man on the street little extra to warrant adding to his monthly streaming bill. Why pay extra for something that is 95% covered by what you already get from a monthly subscription service ?
It sounds as though Roon has pinched all the best bits of Spotify and Sonos app.
Stunning room integration (syncing etc), ‘radio’ post-listening suggestions, searching across NAS and ALL streaming services (non missing!), excellent cd SQ from Qobuz and Tidal
The only elephant in the room is hires.
But, Sonos mesh reliability is second to none. This is not unimportant as any user will agree.