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    The Computer Audiophile

    Roon From Roon Labs - A Video Run-through

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    The hottest thing to hit HiFi in recent memory is here. It's a software application / service called Roon from Roon Labs. Roon is unlike anything currently available for OS X and Windows in that it enables users to browse their music collections effortlessly and in an incredibly engaging manner. Rather than post screenshots I created a video showing the rich experience that Roon enables. A more thorough article with detailed tips, tricks, and information is soon to follow. [PRBREAK][/PRBREAK]

    Roon Labs is comprised of the original team that created Sooloos. When Sooloos first hit the market nearly ten years ago it was like nothing digital audiophiles had ever seen. Sooloos was acquired by Meridian Audio in 2008. After six years the original Sooloos team has spun off, leaving the Sooloos product intact with Meridian, into its own software company, Roon Labs. It's hard to believe from the original Sooloos to the Meridian / Sooloos to Roon Labs, this team has managed to create a product that remains unequaled in my view. Competitors have tried to imitate what this team has done for ten years but nobody has succeeded.

     

    In addition to Roon software, Roon Labs will integrate its product with third party hardware manufacturers. Launch partners include Auralic, dCS, Linn, Meridian, and PS Audio. I know there are many more companies lined up to work with Roon. I can't wait to see what comes of these integrations.

     

    Roon will be available online beginning May 11, 2015 with pricing for the service set at $119 annually, $499 for a lifetime subscription, and $999 for an upcoming Pro lifetime subscription for Home Automation. There is a 14 day free trial. Visit http://roonlabs.com for more information.

     

     

     

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    (Click on the Youtube logo to watch a much larger version on Youtube)

     

     

     

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    I do not believe it is being released today, last post Rob made said to use the countdown clock for the Munich high end show as the countdown clock for the release of Roon, so 2 days 17 hours?

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    I believe Rovi / All Music Guide.

     

    Funny thing is I feel like its just sort of a web version of that microoft product that came out like 20 yers ago on a cd. I cant remember what its called!

     

    I think the biggest benefit is simply displaying classical music and various artists albums properly. Its very disapointing J River havent sorted that out yet

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    Hey djn04 - Good to hear from you. It was nice meeting you in Berkeley.

     

    One very cool thing about Roon is the company's plans to integrate with a bunch of existing manufacturers. Exactly how this integration will work and what it will look like has yet to be seen. I know that Auralic is mentioned as a launch partner in the Roon press release. My guess is the Aries will appear as an endpoint for network streaming, but this is purely a guess.

     

    To answer your question, I wouldn't say Roon is of no use. I'd continue to watch this space as more integrations are released. Plus, I recommend using the app for a bit. You may like it as decide to move a PC back into the system :~)

     

    Chris-

     

    The meetup was a lot of fun. My wife already has her eye on the t-shirt for her next gym outfit, so kudos to you on the design aesthetic.

     

    I looked on the Roon forums and saw mention of openhome support and a roonspeaker install for the Raspberry Pi, so maybe I will be able to keep the laptop out of the system.

     

    The implementation does look very slick, and if it supported resolution rate switching with Devialet Air that alone might be worth the price of admission.

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    Having lived without liner notes for so long now, just about every hires release and most of the digital music collection, Roon certainly fills that void of information.

    At the moment, if I do want to read more about an album, there's allmusic.com and Wikipedia, or a Google search. It's cumbersome, but it works, the tools are there. Roon makes an easier job of it, utlimately the information is the same.

     

     

    Roon needs a few more runs on the board just yet, DSD is the show stopper, and for those not using a PC, (and justifyably so) an IOS or Android app is wanting. Just how you could run a database like that on a NAS with so many software variants is not going to be possible, so a PC/Mac may have to be used after all.

    The layout would need rework to match up the tablet screen, there's a bit of screen space shown in the demo that needs condensing. If Roon just plays the file using whatever sound engine comes with the OS, then that's also a show stopper. An alternative would be to use another sound engine from an established player, provided there's an ASIO type tie up somewhere?? We can't forget the streaming folks either, although I didn't watch the demo until the end.

     

     

    The metadata search is not bad at all, there are those weird albums that need manual intervention. Been there done that, I don't wish to go through detailed fixups again and again. I didn't see facilities for showing the front/rear or booklet type cover art, maybe this is hidden somewhere?

     

     

    Not going to harp on the price too much apart from being unfinished software, the full release may fix the above dramas, but when. It is not easy to please everyone, but there are minimums.

     

     

    Cool software...? Let's wait for the innings to play out.

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    Paying $119 each year for a piece of software that is going to replace my cover art, which I handpicked or scanned to perfectly match the mastering, with random cover art, probably taken from the latest remaster, seriously?

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    Sorry if this is clear to everyone else, but is Roon a software player, or a front end to other players/devices?

     

    I'm strongly considering switching from JRiver to HQPlayer for what I perceive is better DSD upsampling. It would be a dream come true to have the sound of HQP and (better than) the library functionality of JRiver at the same time.

     

    On the other hand, if we are meant to use Roon instead of the software player of our choice, it could be that Roon gives us great usability, but takes away features and performance that we have now.

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    Sorry if this is clear to everyone else, but is Roon a software player, or a front end to other players/devices?

     

    I'm strongly considering switching from JRiver to HQPlayer for what I perceive is better DSD upsampling. It would be a dream come true to have the sound of HQP and (better than) the library functionality of JRiver at the same time.

     

    On the other hand, if we are meant to use Roon instead of the software player of our choice, it could be that Roon gives us great usability, but takes away features and performance that we have now.

    Roon is a full library management and player application.

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    Paying $119 each year for a piece of software that is going to replace my cover art, which I handpicked or scanned to perfectly match the mastering, with random cover art, probably taken from the latest remaster, seriously?

     

    If that is the only thing you got from that 35 minute video i'm going to guess that you're not their target audience.

     

    And if I had to bet, i'd bet that the guys at Roon will soon enough add an option to use only local/embedded cover art and not art retrieved off the web, if they haven't already added that feature.

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    Question for CA and thanks here. Question: Does Roon currently allow you to give 0 to 5 star ratings to: 1) Artists, 2) Albums, 3) Songs?

     

    Such ratings are a big help to me (key) in managing my music library and now the ginormous music libraries of streaming services.

     

    VERY excited about Roon - huge advancement for enjoyment (and promotion) of music in the 21st Century. Music culture needs this as does the music industry. Thank you Roon! And thank you CA for the great video :-)

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    Nice article...this product is clearly aimed at the user who wants every single piece of info they can get about their music. Not sure this is "hot", but it does have a cool factor that those who are Apple aficionados will fall in love with.

     

    The cost is a bit bizarre...for less than that I made a VortexBox server. I can use Foobar or my Sonos. I honestly can't see the average Joe buying into this, but it does look cool.

     

    What are the hard statistics on computer audio users in society anyway. Anybody I ask either uses a portable device, Youtube playlists, or Sonos. What is the real market size for such a product?

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    We have the production release ready and are putting final touches on the website... We will launch in the late morning, New York time!

    Edited by robdarling

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    Finally! I've been hoping something like this. What I've missed most are the classic liner notes and all the other goodies of the vinyl past. Providing hyperlinks within is icing on the cake. One thing that would really make it even better would be a wikipedia like extensible database option, one where we could add more data as a community. Let Roon manage things while we crowd source content about the music, artists, stories, etc. Another thing that I hope they consider is curation and creation, via some artificial intelligence, that's about finding new music or old that a user might like based on their collection (both local and subscribed), for the adventurous among us. Also, it seems like a good idea to separate the player function (putting this on the system with the DAC attached) from the local or network-based database. That would allow the player's system to be lean and only need to communicate with the database when controlling selection and playback. Of course much as I like what I see, it's going to come down to the sonic quality of the player. Can only hope for something akin to Amarra or JRiver at the very least. Price is not really too much when I consider what is being offered versus the $15/mo I pay TIVO for their service.

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    Wikipedia approach (crowd-sourced) database would be cool. Let the world bring lots of data into the structure that Roon Labs is managing. I'd avoid burdening the system/player of database duties and let it focus on the playback. I know this would complicate things, as most folks simply want a lightweight client interface on an iPad, for instance, rathe than say a laptop client.

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    I really don't think they are aiming this at the average Joe....

     

    Nice article...this product is clearly aimed at the user who wants every single piece of info they can get about their music. Not sure this is "hot", but it does have a cool factor that those who are Apple aficionados will fall in love with.

     

    The cost is a bit bizarre...for less than that I made a VortexBox server. I can use Foobar or my Sonos. I honestly can't see the average Joe buying into this, but it does look cool.

     

    What are the hard statistics on computer audio users in society anyway. Anybody I ask either uses a portable device, Youtube playlists, or Sonos. What is the real market size for such a product?

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    We have the production release ready and are putting final touches on the website... We will launch in the late morning, New York time!

     

    What's your schedule for adding DSD support? I think I'll wait to try the 2 week trial till you have that.

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    Wow - something like this is so so overdue. "Very cool" as Chris says once or twice. For years we have had to manage with the same old apps e.g. JR, MM, FB etc, which are generally variations on a theme (though with FB there are admittedly many variations possible). It does look great. But holy s*** what a price! $119 would be expensive (though possibly worth it) as a purchase price - but ANNUALLY?

     

    But a few things. Cover art, as has been mentioned above, is one. I have spent much time not only downloading the highest-res (within reason) versions of the front cover art appropriate to the particular RELEASE of the album (albums are often released many times on different labels with different masterings etc), but also downloading the rear/back cover art. My question is will Roon preserve this and allow me to continue to view the rear cover art?

     

    Also, will Roon be able to differentiate between particular releases of an album? Or does it not "matter" whether it is the original 1975 pressing or the enhanced 2003 remaster?

     

    Ratings was mentioned above also, and this is something that has grown on me and has become an important way to remember the good songs in my fairly large (~4TB) music library. How long does it take to scan in a large library? Also, what is the "sound quality" like (if you believe in difference between software players)?

     

    Finally, does it need a speedy system or will it run on e.g. a CAPSv3 with the N2800MT board?

     

    Will this replace JRiver as your recommended software Chris?

     

    :)

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    This looks really nice. I'm interested as to how the integrations to music servers play out and also how this impacts the architecture of a Roon Labs setup. Is there a Roon server on each music server? Or is the server installed elsewhere?

     

    Also, is the app native or web based?

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    This is a huge deal. It takes computer audio, a tiny segment of the music biz consisting of dollar-waiving connoisseurs and tight-fisted hobbyists, and moves it much closer to the mainstream!

     

    The price seems fair, especially the $500 lifetime subscription. But...given that this is a very polished and innovative product, it looks like it's ripe for the picking by a large, mainstream company that has lots of money (maybe stockpiled in Ireland?) and wants to enhance its offerings in the computer- and cloud-based music distribution business. Then what happens to the subscribers?

     

    Am I crazy for asking? Chris or others, I'd value your opinion.

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    We are somehow in duplicate world today!

     

    Dog, the DSF rollout is very soon, likely within the next month or so. I will report back as soon as I see it (beta).

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