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Ralf11

Roon v. iTunes

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Ralf11   

Setting aside SQ for the moment, what does Roon give you that iTunes does not?

 

I am interested in things that relate to a large library of ripped CDs - I don't buy any music from iTunes.

 

can it generate anything like the various "genius" mixes from your library that ITunes does?

 

what about sorting by various criteria?

 

Does it supply lyrics (iTunes does not)

 

from their web site it looks like Roon gives you a lot of video or still photos to look at while the music is playing - is that only for music streamed from online, or does it do that for a ripped library also?

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MoeB   
anyone care to make a substantive reply??

 

Ralf11, You asked about advantages of Roon over iTunes. Here’s what I’ve gleaned from my recent research: 1) Roon software “automagically” organizes your digital music collection with “comprehensive genre information". 2) Roon supports audiophile formats: WAV, FLAC, and DSD. 3) Roon provides "rich metadata" for albums (ripped or streamed), including: a description of the album; artwork; artist biography; critical review of the album; artist discography; credits for performers, engineers, producers and other personnel; release date; recording format; sample rate; bit depth; lyrics; and links to alternate versions of the album. You also asked about lyrics, music discovery, and sorting. Roon's catalog of lyrics is spotty, but if Roon finds lyrics, it displays them. Roon is designed for cataloging music not discovering music. Because Roon doesn't have a feature analogous to iTunes' Genius, many Roon users purchase a Tidal subscription for music discovery. Roon's Focus feature allows you to focus on specific areas of your catalog: Albums, Tracks, Artists, Composers, and Works. You can use Focus to save a playlist, e.g. a collection of high res files or music from a genre or time period. Roon's software isn't perfect. Serious collectors will be disappointed by these deficiencies: 1) no support for ripping; 2) no support for custom metadata; and 3) library size restrictions. (Roon Essentials Hardware supports libraries up to 30,000 tracks. iTunes allows libraries to be infinite in size). Per Roon's license, the metadata that Roon serves up cannot be saved to a users' catalog and all of Roon's metadata disappear when you terminate your subscription. Finding the music you want to play can be cumbersome with Roon, particularly if you have multiple versions of a recording that are indistinguishable by their covers. (It is unfortunate that Roon does not support Boolean search.) This piece at RealHD-Audio (http://bit.ly/2gkLYbF) speaks to this selection problem while offering an interesting perspective about the value of "rich metadata” (called “High Resolution Metadata” in the piece).I hope this helps you with your quest for music cataloging software. If knowing more about the music in your library is valuable to you and you don't mind the software subscription model, Roon might be a good solution for you. Good luck! - MoeB

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bobbmd   

ROON is just better period and the SQ is 'better' I love (when i feel like using it) it's metadata etc and I would never buy anything from iTunes and I agree with MoeB. The SQ with HQP is great (now that I have figured out how to use it correctly). I don't care for their community and support stuff but it makes for interesting reading and they are helpful at times(try dealing with Apple for that). I just wish they had Qobuz so Audirvana 2+ 2.6.1 is my favorite because it combines TIDAL/Qobuz/my iTunes library all in one and is approaching ROON in what it offers. I guess what it comes down to is 'the eyes/ears of the beholder'.

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gcoupe   

@MoeB - please don't confuse the limitations of Roon Essentials with full Roon. The limit of full Roon is determined by CPU, RAM and SSD. Libraries well in excess of 400,000 tracks are not unknown amongst Roon users. There is no hard-coded limit in the Roon software. And frankly, there are so many perfectly good ripping solutions out there, I'm pleased that the Roon developers have focused on innovation rather than reinvention of the wheel.

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MoeB   
@MoeB - please don't confuse the limitations of Roon Essentials with full Roon. The limit of full Roon is determined by CPU, RAM and SSD. Libraries well in excess of 400,000 tracks are not unknown amongst Roon users. There is no hard-coded limit in the Roon software. And frankly, there are so many perfectly good ripping solutions out there, I'm pleased that the Roon developers have focused on innovation rather than reinvention of the wheel.

 

I'm still learning about Roon and other music software. I'm hoping some of the Roon aficionados at CA can help with these four questions.

 

 

  1. Does Roon rely exclusively on Rovi for metadata or does Roon also check crowdsourced databases (MusicBrainz, FreeDB, and/or Discogs)? (dBpoweramp queries multiple databases for the best and most complete metadata.)
  2. What can I do if Roon has no metadata for a work in my library or if Roon’s metadata are incorrect or inferior to the metadata I curated for a work? Members at various fora often complain that Roon's metadata are incomplete or incorrect, esp. for classical music and for boxed CD sets. If I prefer my own metadata over Roon’s for a specific work can I revert back to my metadata for that work?
  3. How does Roon identify music in my library? I guess Roon must use acoustic fingerprinting. Is there anything else?
  4. Is there a way to restore my library to its original organization with its original metadata if Roon goes bankrupt or if I don’t like using Roon? Do users typically keep a copy of their original archive as a backup?

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gcoupe   

 

  1. Does Roon rely exclusively on Rovi for metadata or does Roon also check crowdsourced databases (MusicBrainz, FreeDB, and/or Discogs)? (dBpoweramp queries multiple databases for the best and most complete metadata.)
  2. What can I do if Roon has no metadata for a work in my library or if Roon’s metadata are incorrect or inferior to the metadata I curated for a work? Members at various fora often complain that Roon's metadata are incomplete or incorrect, esp. for classical music and for boxed CD sets. If I prefer my own metadata over Roon’s for a specific work can I revert back to my metadata for that work?
  3. How does Roon identify music in my library? I guess Roon must use acoustic fingerprinting. Is there anything else?
  4. Is there a way to restore my library to its original organization with its original metadata if Roon goes bankrupt or if I don’t like using Roon? Do users typically keep a copy of their original archive as a backup?

1. As far as I am aware, Roon relies on Rovi for metadata. It may well supplement that with its own additional metadata, but it does not specifically check crowdsourced databases.

 

2. You can elect to prefer your metadata over that provided by Roon for a variety of fields (e.g. Album title, Album Artist, Artwork, Release dates and so on) both on initial import or subsequently per album or group of albums.

 

3. Don't know - ask the Roon folks.

 

4. Roon does NOT change anything in your library at all. All the original content and metadata is preserved. Roon has a separate database.

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Setting aside SQ for the moment, what does Roon give you that iTunes does not? I am interested in things that relate to a large library of ripped CDs - I don't buy any music from iTunes.

A bit like asking what's the difference between a Honda Civic and a Porsche Cayene... Yes both take you places, but with the Cayene you have a lot more features and it will allow you to explore places you never would have reached with a Civic.

 

From a metadata standpoint, the key difference is minimal in your files vs a universe of added metadata. Lyrics as well. So for example if you like the bass player in this song you can click and see what else they've done, or read a description of the album, or find who else recorded that song... Possibilities are endless.

 

In terms of techonology, sound quality is amazing (and top of the heap if you use HQPlayer upsampling). Support for multiple file formats is also complete - iTunes does not support FLAC or DSD for example. There's a radio feature similar to Genius. And finally the interface is very rich and nice.

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semente   

iTunes and Roon are very different music players/browsers/librarymanagers and I really think you should try both to see which one works best for you.

 

 

Most of my music is of the classical genre and I have chosen to add the metadata manually to all tracks.

 

I have in most cases split the contents of a CD into different "albums" (i.e. Kleiber's Beethoven Symphonies 5 & 7 became two separate albums: Symphony 5 and Symphony 7).

 

I have also chosen to divide the music collection into different libraries according to genre so that I don't see any rock or jazz when I am browsing for operas.

My libraries are:

- Early, Renaissance and Baroque

- Classical, Romantic and Modern

- Sacra

- Opera

- Minimal

- Jazz

- Ethnic and Traditional

- Rock & Pop

- Soundtracks

I press the ALT key when starting iTunes and a dialogue box will show up asking me to select a library.

 

Another advantage I see in iTunes is its simple browsing.

I can easily choose something I wish to listen to then drag-n-drop it into HQPlayer:

 

2py9ji8.png

 

 

I have no need for streaming at the moment and for me Roon provides too much information, which I find distracting.

Roon is not just a simple music library browser but more of a music encyclopaedia and a music universe browser.

I can understand its appeal but it's not for me.

 

R

Edited by semente
typo

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realhifi   
I'm still learning about Roon and other music software. I'm hoping some of the Roon aficionados at CA can help with these four questions.

 

 

  1. Does Roon rely exclusively on Rovi for metadata or does Roon also check crowdsourced databases (MusicBrainz, FreeDB, and/or Discogs)? (dBpoweramp queries multiple databases for the best and most complete metadata.)
  2. What can I do if Roon has no metadata for a work in my library or if Roon’s metadata are incorrect or inferior to the metadata I curated for a work? Members at various fora often complain that Roon's metadata are incomplete or incorrect, esp. for classical music and for boxed CD sets. If I prefer my own metadata over Roon’s for a specific work can I revert back to my metadata for that work?
  3. How does Roon identify music in my library? I guess Roon must use acoustic fingerprinting. Is there anything else?
  4. Is there a way to restore my library to its original organization with its original metadata if Roon goes bankrupt or if I don’t like using Roon? Do users typically keep a copy of their original archive as a backup?

 

Pretty sure they have a free trial soooooo.....you can answer so many questions (and ones you don't know yet) by simply trying it out. It's great.

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MoeB   
iTunes and Roon are very different music players/browsers/librarymanagers and I really think you should try both to see which one works best for you.

 

 

Most of my music is of the classical genre and I have chosen to add the metadata manually to all tracks.

 

I have in most cases split the contents of a CD into different "albums" (i.e. Kleiber's Beethoven Symphonies 5 & 7 became two separate albums: Symphony 5 and Symphony 7).

 

I have also chosen to divide the music collection into different libraries according to genre so that I don't see any rock or jazz when I am browsing for operas.

My libraries are:

- Early, Renaissance and Baroque

- Classical, Romantic and Modern

- Sacra

- Opera

- Minimal

- Jazz

- Ethnic and Traditional

- Rock & Pop

- Soundtracks

I press the ALT key when starting iTunes and a dialogue box will show up asking me to select a library.

 

Another advantage I see in iTunes is its simple browsing.

I can easily choose something I wish to listen to then drag-n-drop it into HQPlayer:

 

[ATTACH=CONFIG]31463[/ATTACH]

 

 

I have no need for streaming at the moment and for me Roon provides too much information, which I find distracting.

Roon is not just a simple music library browser but more of a music encyclopaedia and a music universe browser.

I can understand its appeal but it's not for me.

 

R

semente,

 

You did a lot of tedious manual editing to make iTunes work with your collection. If iTunes had subgenres you might have been able to store your collection in one library instead of nine. Roon offers genres and subgenres so I wonder how Roon would have handled your catalog and whether it would have met your needs. Did you try Roon with your catalog? iTunes doesn’t do everything I need but I think it is currently a better option for me than Roon. Apple’s recent announcement about de-emphasizing automation technologies (esp. AppleScript) is troubling but I’m not worried that Apple is planning to eliminate music management from iTunes’ long list of functions. Still, I like keeping tabs on iTunes alternatives.

 

iTunes Offers More Control Over Metadata than Roon

 

Audiophiles like being able to tweak everything in their audio chain, including the metadata. The Internet databases are filled with errors and inconsistencies. Fixing metadata problems satisfies my OCD and makes searching my catalog more efficient. iTunes lets me do a lot of fiddling with my metadata.

 

iTunes doesn’t provide enough metadata but Roon provides too much metadata. Roon’s abundant metadata can be distracting and one can get lost exploring all the hyperlinks. How many times do I need to view the same artist biography in Roon, esp. if the artist is Mozart who’s been dead for two centuries? I’d like to be able to select and store only the metadata that are meaningful to me. iTunes allows me to save any metadata I fancy but it often forces me to shoehorn the metadata into a field where it doesn’t belong or dump it in iTunes’ “comments”. It’s unfortunate that iTunes does not support more of the ID3v2 tag library (e.g. these ID3v2 tags: conductor, band, musician credits, artist webpage URL, and lyricist) or allow users to create custom metadata fields.

 

iTunes is Flawed but Extensible

 

My ideal software package probably doesn’t exist. It has these characteristics: 1) The software is simple to use, even for non-techies. 2) It’s a complete suite for ripping, organizing, editing, and playing music. 3) The software gives you flexibility with the cataloging scheme and the metadata. 4) The software GUI is simple and uncluttered, and uniform across mobile and desktop platforms. I don’t want to cobble together software from different manufacturers. I don’t want to send files back and forth between software packages or between my tablet and my desktop system to edit metadata. I don’t want to spend my free time learning to code.

 

iTunes has some of the characteristics of my dream software but it has many flaws. iTunes is bloated with features unrelated to music management and the user interface is cluttered and unintuitive. Apple doesn’t typically allow users to customize their software so it is refreshing that iTunes is somewhat extensible. It is easy to find AppleScripts to expand iTunes’ capabilities and to clean up some metadata problems (e.g. Doug Adams’ “Proper English Title Capitalization” AppleScript). I sometimes supplement iTunes’ metadata with information from the Internet using Doug Adams’ excellent AppleScripts: “Search Wikipedia” and “Google Lyric”.

 

Cataloging classical music is tedious in iTunes. The new Work and Movement tags in iTunes are a step in the right direction but one needs to painstakingly edit individual tracks to achieve perfection: a header with work name and composer and Roman numerals preceding the track names (see http://bit.ly/2hqWRdh). If you have non-standard metadata that you want to store (e.g. soloist, conductor, orchestra, venue, sample rate, bit depth, etc.) you’re out of luck. You’ll have to use a clumsy workaround to store the information.

 

Does the Perfect Software Package Exist?

 

I like owning my music and my metadata and some of my collection is already stored in iTunes. I’m not sure I want to spend my time cramming the remainder of my eclectic collection (esp. the hard-to-catalog classical works) into iTunes. It is unfortunate that iTunes doesn’t offer users with large diverse libraries a few more options, e.g. custom genres and subgenres, support for more of the ID3v2 tag library, and the ability to create custom metadata fields. Is there software that I have missed (other than JRiver Media Center which I find to be too difficult to learn) that offers better control and customization than iTunes with more flexibility over metadata editing than Roon?

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Brojito   

I currently play Tidal, interface using the Tidal iOS app, and connecting to my DAC via AirPlay (through an optical connection w/ AppleTV).

 

Would Roon provide a benefit (SQ or interface) to this setup? Or, would a component change enhance this system (urendu comes to mind)?

 

Other considerations: I value convenience and being "hassle free" heavily along with SQ. This is the reason for AirPlay via iOS "remotes", and going "all Tidal" for source material.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sent from my iPhone using Computer Audiophile

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MoeB   
I currently play Tidal, interface using the Tidal iOS app, and connecting to my DAC via AirPlay (through an optical connection w/ AppleTV).

 

Would Roon provide a benefit (SQ or interface) to this setup? Or, would a component change enhance this system (urendu comes to mind)?

 

Other considerations: I value convenience and being "hassle free" heavily along with SQ. This is the reason for AirPlay via iOS "remotes", and going "all Tidal" for source material.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sent from my iPhone using Computer Audiophile

 

Brojito,

 

Check out Chris Connaker's RMAF 2016 seminar [

for answers to your questions about Roon, Tidal, AirPlay, and Roon endpoints (esp. Sonore’s MicroRendu). Chris’ seminar is over an hour long but you can skip the first 23 min if you’re not interested in learning about JRiver Media Center’s software.

 

I doubt Roon will improve your sound quality (SQ) but Signalyst’s HQPlayer software might. HQPlayer has a toolbox full of acoustic engineering tools that you can tweak for SQ effects: delta-sigma modulators for upsampling PCM to DSD, selectable algorithms for dithering and noise shaping, and convolution filters for equalization and room correction. Experimenting with HQPlayer’s tools might not fit your criteria for “hassle free”. A new DAC or speakers would most likely have a bigger impact on SQ than new software, but, obviously there are monetary tradeoffs to consider. Consult your wallet and your ears for more guidance.

 

Good luck, -MoeB

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