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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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    Damn, there is my answer. The ifi Micro is connected using an ASIO driver. So, no dice - that's frustrating.

     

    Okay, another mystery solved and finally have Roon running. The ifi driver had been disabled as a Windows Sound device in the Control Panel. Strangely JRMC could still find and use it. Once I re-enabled it Roon found it and is using it.

     

    I had disabled the ifi driver as I only wanted music going through it and not system sounds etc. So JRMC was the only thing that used it.

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    Hi Audio Elf, you got me thinking and I looked over my mbp again and realized (never used this once lol) I had the Expresscard 34 slot that I can buy an HDMI card:

    http://www.amazon.com/StarTech-com-ExpressCard-Capture-Adapter-ECHDCAP/dp/B008YT5QEO

    Very cool. Thanks Elf!

    I think Windows is required.

     

    ExpressCard Capture Card - High-Definition Laptop Video Capture Card | 1080p | StarTech.com

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    Not sure where to go on this but the sound from Roon is terrible! I am playing tracks in JRMC and then in Roon and coming through Roon there is a lot of static and what almost sounds like serious compression or something. Same computer, same files on the same NAS through the same ifi Micro DSD. Actually, bordering unlistenable through Roon while JRMC sounds great fantastic as always.

     

    I am noticing that the volume is slight louder in Roon and I have to adjust the volume manually on the pre-amplifier accordingly when I switch but the nasty sound is still there. I am running both Roon and JRMC at full volume to the DAC so it should be bit perfect to there so I am surprised by the difference in sound and volume.

     

    I am feeling like there are just too many things not quite there yet with Roon and this is only day one.

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    Not sure where to go on this but the sound from Roon is terrible!

     

    One suggestion I would make is to go into Settings/Setup and make sure you have audio analysis speed off. It would seem that Roon will normalize the sound if you leave this on Fast or Normal, or at least that's my understanding.

     

    Might be worth checking this out.

     

    Let us know how you get on.

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    Not sure where to go on this but the sound from Roon is terrible! I am playing tracks in JRMC and then in Roon and coming through Roon there is a lot of static and what almost sounds like serious compression or something. Same computer, same files on the same NAS through the same ifi Micro DSD. Actually, bordering unlistenable through Roon while JRMC sounds great fantastic as always.

     

    I am noticing that the volume is slight louder in Roon and I have to adjust the volume manually on the pre-amplifier accordingly when I switch but the nasty sound is still there. I am running both Roon and JRMC at full volume to the DAC so it should be bit perfect to there so I am surprised by the difference in sound and volume.

     

    I am feeling like there are just too many things not quite there yet with Roon and this is only day one.

    Make sure you have volume leveling turned off. Blue highlight = off.

     

    Screen Shot 2015-05-13 at 12.54.02 PM.png

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    Turning off audio analysis makes no difference. Even after checking attachment from Chris I have no idea where to find the volume leveling to turn it off.

     

    I am running on a Windows 8.1 i5 NUC so there should be plenty of processor power to run this.

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    So far I have been pleased at how sophisticated and powerful this software is. Although I am impatient to have the iOS app to control Roon, it is amazing how they've integrated the listening zones and made it easy to see what's playing where.

     

    As I've used the software, a little "bubble" appears occasionally. When I click on it, it gives me info on what that title/icon/selector means. A subtle yet powerful evolution of Microsoft's paper clip. (Remember him?)

     

    Then there's that little green/purple/yellow dot that appears next to the song title. Reports the signal quality chain. That right there is worth the price of admission. Tells me when something higher-res that 16/44 is being down mixed to work in Airplay. Tells me when something is being dithered. I have been aching for this little dot for the last three months. Very helpful. (Among other things, it reminds me to prioritize how to re-rip my CDs to FLAC/ALAC.)

     

    Very simple. But the deeper I go the more powerful it is. So far so good.

     

    And Tidal thru Roon seems to be behaving very well. I will post some observations on my tweaks in the Tidal forum.

     

    Do I subscribe for life? Do I risk that? Is this another flash in the pan that gets lost? Gotta be expensive aggregation/writing/categorizing all that recording data. I have 13 more days to decide, I guess.

     

    Congrats to Roon. So far, so good. No major glitches. Learning the interface.

     

    T.

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    So where do Auralic fit with this as a hardware partner?

    As a Aries user this would seem like ditching the Aries and going back to a mini?

    Pricing seems wrong for an incomplete solution i.e no tablet control at launch and i'm not sure of the value if you have a fairly static library.

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    So where do Auralic fit with this as a hardware partner?

    As a Aries user this would seem like ditching the Aries and going back to a mini?

    Pricing seems wrong for an incomplete solution i.e no tablet control at launch and i'm not sure of the value if you have a fairly static library.

    The Aries will appear as a network endpoint capable of receiving audio from Roon just like an AirPlay device but better.

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    Turning off audio analysis makes no difference. Even after checking attachment from Chris I have no idea where to find the volume leveling to turn it off.

     

    I am running on a Windows 8.1 i5 NUC so there should be plenty of processor power to run this.

    If you click on the little purple circle at the bottom (while music is playing) does the popup look like mine pictured below? Or, does it say converting from 16 to 24 bit?

     

    Screen Shot 2015-05-13 at 1.45.22 PM.jpg

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    The Aries will appear as a network endpoint capable of receiving audio from Roon just like an AirPlay device but better.

     

    I'm wondering something similar with the of my Aurender S10. The ROON and Aurender interface are somewhat similar. I hope that Aurender can morph in the ROON operating system, or somehow adopt its apparently superior horsepower and functionality.

     

    Kenreau

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    Make sure you have volume leveling turned off. Blue highlight = off.

     

    [ATTACH=CONFIG]18546[/ATTACH]

     

    Sorry for any confusion in my previous post.

     

    Where is this setting for volume leveling shown? I don't see it in Roon's settings.

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    Sorry for any confusion in my previous post.

     

    Where is this setting for volume leveling shown? I don't see it in Roon's settings.

    The only way I know how to get there is to do this:

     

    1. Click on the name of the now playing track in the center of the bottom of the Roon window.

     

    2. On the next screen click on the two little gears on the right side of the screen.

     

    Screen Shot 2015-05-13 at 2.12.18 PM.png

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    If you click on the little purple circle at the bottom (while music is playing) does the popup look like mine pictured below? Or, does it say converting from 16 to 24 bit?

     

    [ATTACH=CONFIG]18547[/ATTACH]

     

    Same as what your attachment shows except it is WASABI instead of Core Audio. The source is a rip of a CD in ALAC format. I am listening to the exact same file that plays fine through JRMC though so that shouldn't be an issue.

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    The only way I know how to get there is to do this:

     

    1. Click on the name of the now playing track in the center of the bottom of the Roon window.

     

    2. On the next screen click on the two little gears on the right side of the screen.

     

    [ATTACH=CONFIG]18548[/ATTACH]

     

    Found it and volume leveling was already turned off. So that is not the problem either. Or maybe I should turn it on and see if it improves. ;)

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    The only way I know how to get there is to do this:

     

    1. Click on the name of the now playing track in the center of the bottom of the Roon window.

     

    2. On the next screen click on the two little gears on the right side of the screen.

     

    [ATTACH=CONFIG]18548[/ATTACH]

     

    Thanks. However it only seems to affect the currently playing song. Not a global control, at least from this location in the app. Gotta' believe there's some place to make it global. When I leave a song and go into, say another album and one of its tracks the setting is enabled.

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    The only way I know how to get there is to do this:

     

    1. Click on the name of the now playing track in the center of the bottom of the Roon window.

     

    2. On the next screen click on the two little gears on the right side of the screen.

     

    [ATTACH=CONFIG]18548[/ATTACH]

     

    This is interesting. I found the gear and volume leveling was off. I sort of thought nothing more but then I turned on volume leveling and the sound has improved considerably. The signal path is now showing that the file is being up-converted from 16 bits to 24 bits and then there is volume leveling of -7.2db being applied.

     

    Went back to JRMC and noticed that I had volume leveling turned on. So, I tried the same track with the volume leveling turned off and the terrible sound was there.

     

    Okay, so now I am confused. Why would the "raw" track sound so terrible and the leveled track sound so much better?

     

    Thanks for the help Chris with getting to the bottom of this.

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    This is interesting. I found the gear and volume leveling was off. I sort of thought nothing more but then I turned on volume leveling and the sound has improved considerably. The signal path is now showing that the file is being up-converted from 16 bits to 24 bits and then there is volume leveling of -7.2db being applied.

     

    Went back to JRMC and noticed that I had volume leveling turned on. So, I tried the same track with the volume leveling turned off and the terrible sound was there.

     

    Okay, so now I am confused. Why would the "raw" track sound so terrible and the leveled track sound so much better?

     

    Thanks for the help Chris with getting to the bottom of this.

    This is a weird issue as I have never liked the effects of volume leveling. However, it's personal choice.

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    Roon looks very interesting, can't wait to try it out (once I have fixed a recently occurring spontaneous rebooting problem on my computer).

     

    The pricing doesn't seem too bad but I personally would be VERY suspect of any deal where the term "lifetime" is used in conjunction with computer technology. What is the definition of "lifetime" related to Roon? Five years, ten?

     

    Also, I hope they put a lot of effort into a remote app. There are people wedded to JRiver just because of JRemote. Roon seems to be taking care of the library management feature, sound quality seems undetermined yet, the remote capability is key to a good portion of the population!

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    Roons appears to need a manual or at least some video tutorials, other than your very nice intro movie Chris. The problem solving via the website appears to rely on answers to user generated questions - I never like that as it isn't a structured approach and some users can chime in with incorrect answers and send one off on a red herring. I was wondering what the purple light was. I should have been more inquisitive and clicked on it :-)

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    So where do Auralic fit with this as a hardware partner?

    As a Aries user this would seem like ditching the Aries and going back to a mini?

    Pricing seems wrong for an incomplete solution i.e no tablet control at launch and i'm not sure of the value if you have a fairly static library.

     

    I am pretty pleased in terms of what I have read regarding the Aries integration, exactly as I hoped it would be. As Chris mentioned, much like you have Airplay and Songcast options in the Aries today, in the future Roon will be available there to make it available as an endpoint. You will still need some device such as a Mac, PC other other supported box to run the Roon Core software on, and you will be able to use Mac, PCs, tablets as remotes for browsing and playback.

     

    Additional Aries details here.

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