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Article: CA’s Best of 2015 Awards

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Roon for me is fantastic b/c it seamlessly integrates Tidal into my browsing and listening experience with my Library. Otherwise, I have to open some kind of "special" app for Tidal listening. Roon is about to launch playback to HQP and to Squeezebox. All of that is a pretty killer application in my mind.

 

Other products of the year:

Vinnie Rossi LIO - haven't heard it, just love the concept

Devialet Phantom - ditto, I think the concept is fantastic, and it seems to be selling well

Kii Audio KiiThree - again just love the concept of a quality all-in-one system, hopefully I will like it when I hear it.

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Having spent over two months with Roon, I agree that it is one of the most important things to happen to music lovers this year. And I used to use - and still do use - JRMC. Being audio only, I don't need multimedia playback. Even then, I use Kodi + MPC-HC. Roon is so easy to use, it makes traversing a 2 TB library completely painless, the Radio is incredibly well thought out, and Focus is next-level stuff. Once it's integrated to HQP I'll try that out for the first time. I'd also suggest the Regen but that would by hypocritical since I ditched USB shortly after getting one. Still, it was a fine device and not difficult to hear the improvement it made.

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So i guess no best digital player or best digital cable or digital to digital converter...

Edited by ajay556

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My list :

 

Aurender N10

Roon

Stealth USB-T

 

Since I've heard Aurender N10 I'm haunted there's nothing that I want more to complete my system. And will welcome Roon when it's implemented with Aurender.

Another surprise was the USB cable from Stealth because made my digital setup sound so 3 dimensional and in full flesh but with all the detail I've could long for and more.

I've heard new micro details for first time.

Can't wait to match all these with the N10.

Where are you Santa?

 

And for 2016 some great dacs are on my audition short list like Nadac, dCS Rossini and EMMlabs new DA2. But I'm sure there will be more.

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Why on earth is there no iphone app for Roon? Just trying it out now but I dont have an ipad to control it. THats dumb!

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Why on earth is there no iphone app for Roon? Just trying it out now but I dont have an ipad to control it. THats dumb!

 

 

Believe they said one is in the works for a remote.

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Definitely agree with Roon. I have used it for the past six months and I just signed up for a lifetime subscription. Awaiting integration with HQ for purportedly improved sound. J River is much too difficult to use for the casual user like me who only wants to play back his music. All My Trials is one of my favorites. The original CD version is fabulous. Early Mornin' Rain is my favorite PP& M recording though.

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YEP, ROON and AO is the best combination and no one can deny. and wish I can get more info about the SOtM Windows server! the windows server based on ROON and AO integration and waiting for more news! great works done!

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Roon was the kicker that got me back into 2 channel this year after a 10yr hiatus.

Elac F5 speakers were also key, to get my foot back in the door.

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My list:

 

- Bridge II for the DS DAC

- UpTone Audio Regen

- Daphile (thanks to Kimmo)

- UPnP/DNLA-bridge plugin (thanks to Philippe) for LMS that makes the DS DAC with the Bridge II or any other UPnP renderer to a "Squeezebox"

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Interesting list, especially considering all that I am being introduced to.

 

Here are my top 5 discoveries of 2015...

 

1. Naim Mu-so - Coming from something like Sonos this was a huge sonic upgrade and a must have without even considering the looks or features/functionality that will make it an integral part of any setup.

2. Schiit, while I haven't heard Yggdrasil I was introduced to the Schiit sound this year. Amazing in terms of VFM they provide, they are also a huge upgrade considering every Schiit DAC punches higher than its price point.

 

Hold on and hear me out before you start with the flames, but here are two $35 products that are true game changers all things considered.

 

3. Chromecast Audio - Pure awesomeness when it can bring wireless streaming capability to any piece of equipment as long as it has analog and digital inputs.

4. Raspberry Pi - Started with it only recently, but it simply blew me away with the myriad of options it provides. You can run a wireless streamer for music, a NAS, a home server, a torrent box, media center/server, and even watch/stream TV series. Speaking audiophile I heard it with both HiFiBerry DAC+ and HiFiBerry Digi+ and it blew me away on both counts. Seriously good stuff for what it costs, like $35 for the Pi, $45 for the DAC and $40 for Digi+ (which gives digital output for the Pi for bit-perfect output, and not really needed if you use some something like Chromecast Audio or similar DLNA/UPnP devices).

 

I really don't have a 5th discovery, but if I had to pick one then I would go with…

5. TIDAL · High Fidelity Music Streaming - Have not jumped in, I'm still on the 30 days free trial, but I'm definitely liking what I hear especially the FLAC streaming (TIDAL HiFi). I listen to a fair bit of Spotify, but it's mostly background listening while I'm working or before I go to bed/fall asleep, and it's basically a discovery tool to find new artists/music. Tidal however is serious listening and worthy of audiophile considerations. Hopefully, Chromecast support will be added soon and it will be a keeper.

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I join the naysayers on Roon. I have over 2000 classical albums that have been carefully categorized and tagged in JRiver. Roon made a total mess of my collection. Impossible to navigate efficiently. The metadata connections, ie photos and text were sometimes interesting, but not nearly good enough to give up efficient access to my collection so I can listen to music. For classical listeners with large collections I think it is worthless. I canceled my trial subscription and removed it from my computer. I can not understand how anyone could pay for this mess.

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For me, Tidal has been a wonderful addition to my system. Just starting to poke around with Roon integration - looks very promising. I need to upgrade my music server to use Roon/Tidal on my system proper. The CAPS gen 2 doesn't have enough processing/video capabilities.

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I recently trialed Roon. I loved the UI and the integration with my library but I found the TIDAL integration to be spotty at best. More often than not Roon would not aggregate(?) all the albums and artists from TIDAL that are actually, well, on TIDAL. I found it a bit frustrating and not really ready for prime time. I will absolutely check it out again in the future but I will not be using it at this time.

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Roon just released an update last night for HQPlayer integration and Squeezebox integration. They finally updated the Tidal section to include the Genres Tidal already breaks out for new releases. And the search feature finally has auto complete. There are plenty more enhancements. But for me listening to Tidal and my ALAC tracks thru HQPlayer is the biggest.

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I understand why reviewers are blissful over Roon, but my real world experience with it is that it's not ready for prime time yet. This may be because I have an all Mac system, but the marketing does not make any caveats about Mac users.

 

1. Roon will take upwards of 15 minutes to launch. As your library gets larger, (which can easily happen if you add Tidal albums to your favourites), the software takes longer and longer to start up. Roon tech support is only provided by a community forum--which strikes me as pretty chintzy for a $200/year piece of software--and after weeks of waiting, Roon developers had me reinstall Roon. That only starts the clock ticking to slow start up again.

 

2. Roon has yet to see my 2 Apple Tv's, which are always seen by iTunes or any other program, including any net testing software I run. To their credit, Roon developers, via their community support forum, have claimed to fix this in their latest update after my initial query 6 months ago, but their latest update does NOT fix it.

 

3. You really need a Tidal subscription to make Roon worthwhile, so add that cost when evaluating this.

 

Having paid for Roon after the initial 2 week trial, you can't get out of it or get a refund. But at this point, I won't be renewing.

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I understand why reviewers are blissful over Roon, but my real world experience with it is that it's not ready for prime time yet. This may be because I have an all Mac system, but the marketing does not make any caveats about Mac users.

 

1. Roon will take upwards of 15 minutes to launch. As your library gets larger, (which can easily happen if you add Tidal albums to your favourites), the software takes longer and longer to start up. Roon tech support is only provided by a community forum--which strikes me as pretty chintzy for a $200/year piece of software--and after weeks of waiting, Roon developers had me reinstall Roon. That only starts the clock ticking to slow start up again.

 

2. Roon has yet to see my 2 Apple Tv's, which are always seen by iTunes or any other program, including any net testing software I run. To their credit, Roon developers, via their community support forum, have claimed to fix this in their latest update after my initial query 6 months ago, but their latest update does NOT fix it.

 

3. You really need a Tidal subscription to make Roon worthwhile, so add that cost when evaluating this.

 

Having paid for Roon after the initial 2 week trial, you can't get out of it or get a refund. But at this point, I won't be renewing.

 

I agree, it is riddled with problems. I am however working with support through PM while they extend my tiral period and fix the issues. THe patchyness of our expeirence, especially as i havent paid anything yet, does not look good though! My only qiery is why do you think integrating this with a streaming service is so important? I have 150,000 flacs

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Why on earth is there no iphone app for Roon? Just trying it out now but I dont have an ipad to control it. THats dumb!

 

Because the phone interface is too small to properly display the Roon UI. The Roon people don't want to put out a dumbed down version of the UI for the phone that doesn't work well. It sort of makes sense when you understand that the Roon user experience is very much dependent on the beauty/usefulness of the UI.

 

Apparently they are about to come out with an iPhone version (in the coming weeks). It's a complete reworking of the interface for the phone, from what they've explained on their forum. My guess is that it will be more of a remote control than a complete Roon experience on the phone.

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Roon will take upwards of 15 minutes to launch. As your library gets larger, (which can easily happen if you add Tidal albums to your favourites), the software takes longer and longer to start up. Roon tech support is only provided by a community forum--which strikes me as pretty chintzy for a $200/year piece of software--and after weeks of waiting, Roon developers had me reinstall Roon. That only starts the clock ticking to slow start up again.

 

15 minutes? Not for me. Opens quickly. So maybe just leave it open all the time if your setup has issues.

I like the tech support via the forum - it is quick and responsive. They do have a support email address and personal Roon email addresses that they respond to. I've gotten nothing but good service from them.

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I agree, it is riddled with problems. I am however working with support through PM while they extend my tiral period and fix the issues. THe patchyness of our expeirence, especially as i havent paid anything yet, does not look good though! My only qiery is why do you think integrating this with a streaming service is so important? I have 150,000 flacs

 

What I DO like about Roon is that even if you have a large library, I doubt it's as big as Tidal's. And Tidal is the only streaming service that provides CD quality. When you select "Discover" in Roon, you find not only albums and tracks from your library, but from Tidal's. Or searching for music by genre, or composer, or whatever. The Tidal integration makes Roon an extraordinarily rich. (My caveats on operating issues notwithstanding.)

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15 minutes? Not for me. Opens quickly. So maybe just leave it open all the time if your setup has issues.

I like the tech support via the forum - it is quick and responsive. They do have a support email address and personal Roon email addresses that they respond to. I've gotten nothing but good service from them.

 

Wow. I have never got a response from them either on their forum or by email in less than a week.

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I think Roon startup time is really machine dependent. It used to take 10-15 min startup on my old early 2009 iMac but now it takes about a 1-2 min on new late 2015 27" imac.

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Revival of audiophile quality streamer technology is finally providing enjoyable digital.

 

That is #1 for me in 2015.

 

Anyone remember the SlimDevices Transporter? They were ahead of its time.

 

Really is a shame we had to suffer (and many still are) through the USB nonsense, expensive and time consuming tweaking, become paying beta testers for the likes of Jriver bloatware, Amarra bugware, etc..

 

Finally we have come full circle to 2006 when the Transporter launched.

Edited by tranz

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Revival of audiophile quality streamer technology is finally providing enjoyable digital.

 

That is #1 for me in 2015.

 

Anyone remember the SlimDevices Transporter? They were ahead of its time.

 

Really is a shame we had to suffer (and many still are) through the USB nonsense, expensive and time consuming tweaking, become paying beta testers for the likes of Jriver bloatware, Amarra bugware, etc..

 

Finally we have come full circle to 2006 when the Transporter launched.

 

I know what you mean Tranz. What is your streamer of choice?

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