Roon absolutely sucks for classical

#1
After so many favourable reviews, I decided to register and try Roon. Well, no piece of software has made me so angry for a long time. Here we go, by pictures:

roon5.jpg

This is how classical music fans sort their collections. I maintain this directory structure on my PC, and my CD's (all 4000 of them) are sorted on the rack in the same way. If it wasn't organized like this, I would never be able to find my music. Also, we listen to our music by album. I choose an album, and listen to it from start to finish. I do not want some bloody Prokofiev violin sonata to start playing after one track of my Bach finishes!!!! Even Foobar, a free app, is able to organize music by folder. Roon, which costs $499 for a lifetime membership, can't do it. WHY CAN'T IT BLOODY DO IT!

I won't show you the mess that results if you choose "Sort by Composer", because it also includes a whole bunch of non-composers which it thinks should be included. What's worse is that you can't delete these "Composers" to reduce the clutter.

roon3.jpg

In this picture, I selected "Beethoven" to browse all the music that Beethoven composed. Note that in my directory structure, my albums are organized by "Symphony", "Piano works", and so on.

I would at the very least expect Roon to be able to organize all music by Beethoven by album. But no, as you can see from the drop down box, it is not an option.

What's even worse is that tracks from all my Beethoven CD's (all 200 of them) are jumbled in an incomprehensible mess. If you press "Play", you will hear a random assortment of tracks taken from various CD's.

roon4.jpg

So, what happens if you try to sort the display by Album? You are no longer able to sort them by composer!!!. As you can see from the drop down box, it only allows you to sort by Artist and a whole bunch of completely ******* irrelevant fields.

roon2.jpg

By this time I was almost ready to give up. Suppose I wanted to listen to a Bach Cantata. I would normally walk up to my CD rack, go to the Bach section, go to the Cantata section, and choose the disc I want.

On Foobar, I would open the Bach folder, open the Cantata folder, choose which Set I want (sets are organized by Conductors), and then press play.

Type "Bach Cantata" into the search bar in Roon, and this is what you get. Good luck if you get to choose the right one by accident.

roon1.jpg

Another example of how unmanageable Roon is. Go to the "Bach" folder, and you are confronted with ... 2600 pages of cover art. Yes, I have a large Bach collection. THIS IS WHY I ORGANIZE IT IN FOLDERS!!!

I don't want to create a stupid effing playlist, when the albums are already organized exactly the way I want it. NOBODY who listens to classical music will want to listen of one track of Wagner, followed by one track of Schubert, then Beethoven, and so on.

Message to the Roon developers: JUST ALLOW US TO ORGANIZE IT BY BLOODY ALBUMS!
 
Last edited:

adyc

VIP/Donor
Jan 6, 2013
350
1
18
#3
Yes. Roon sucks for classical music. I gave this feedback to them. They agree. They promise they will have a better structure down the road. To me, LMS with Erland plugins is still the best for classical music.
 
#4
* Do you also have a large section of chef haute cuisine books? :b
Incidentally, I do.

Yes. Roon sucks for classical music. I gave this feedback to them. They agree. They promise they will have a better structure down the road. To me, LMS with Erland plugins is still the best for classical music.
Thanks adyc. What is LMS? Could you please provide a link? Also, do you know if it supports remote control by Android tablet?
 
Nov 3, 2014
405
0
0
#6
Roon has apparently been creating quite a buzz. But, the feedback I have seen in a number of forums is that it flunks on classical and in a number of other capabilities, as well.

The idea of automatic, web enabled, computerized tagging my be beautiful for pop music, but it just ain't working for classical, at least not with a library beyond fairly small in size.

I strongly believe in a multi-dimensional tagged database architecture. That only seems complex, but it really is not that hard to grasp. I do not worry about media file folder, and track file names on the hard drive at all. They can be whatever the disc author decided, inconsistent as that may be from label to label, disc to disc. They just have to be unique, album by album. Then, I roll up my sleeves and tag them manually with the fields I deem key to the various selection paths I might want to use for playback: by album, composer, composition, artist, genre, sampling rate, # of channels, label, etc, etc.

Since my library is primarily multichannel, my tool of choice is JRiver. I have added only two custom fields to their standard set of tags for better classical support, and it gives me all I need. It has "smart tagging", so typing a few letters of a composer name, say, will pull up any previous matching entries for selection with a mouse click. This minimizes typing and ensures greater tagging consistency as the library grows. My own custom views of my library via the tagged fields simplify selection, which I normally do via the excellent JRemote app on my iPad. JRiver is huge ( as D.T. might say), and I use it for many other of its functions. It also serves as my Mch preamp/processor, which JRiver's capabilities allowed me to eliminate from my system: PC to DAC to amps to speakers.

Friends use MusiChi for their classical CD libraries with considerable success. MusiChi was designed from the ground up with classical in mind, at it comes with a huge database of composer and composition names for easy tagging via cut and paste, again reducing typing and typos. But, MusiChi is simpler and narrower in scope than JRiver, and it supports neither Mch, DSD files nor video files, as I require.

I would not rate either of these tools as initially easy to learn. But, with persistence, one becomes quite adept at tagging and greatly enjoys the fruits of that effort when making selections for playback and pleasurable listening.
 

Kal Rubinson

Active Member
May 5, 2010
1,437
0
36
NYC/CT
www.stereophile.com
#7
Roon has apparently been creating quite a buzz. But, the feedback I have seen in a number of forums is that it flunks on classical and in a number of other capabilities, as well.

The idea of automatic, web enabled, computerized tagging my be beautiful for pop music, but it just ain't working for classical, at least not with a library beyond fairly small in size.
It is not the automaticity of Roon that is its ruin! What Roon sees/knows is pretty amazing but what it doesn't do is hard to deal with since it is assumed that Roon will eventually recognize everything. That is, shall we say, optimistic and yet they do not provide adequate tools to supplement/correct the database.

Since my library is primarily multichannel, my tool of choice is JRiver. ..........................................................
Friends use MusiChi for their classical CD libraries with considerable success. ..........................................................
I would not rate either of these tools as initially easy to learn. But, with persistence, one becomes quite adept at tagging and greatly enjoys the fruits of that effort when making selections for playback and pleasurable listening.
I use MusiChi for preliminary auto-tagging particularly for really obscure discs. For example, with discs that are completely unrecognized and appear as Track 1, Track 2, etc. and for which there is no commercial title listing on line, I have used copy/paste of ASCII text from scans of the back cover to populate the track listing. Then, everything goes into JRiver where, as Carl does, I can tag/correct as needed.
 

YashN

New Member
Jun 29, 2015
963
0
0
Canada
#8
After so many favourable reviews, I decided to register and try Roon. Well, no piece of software has made me so angry for a long time.
Since you're already organised with the file systems, just drag and drop what you want to listen to onto HQ Player.

I see you mentioned Foobar2000 - it has a very powerful feature which I haven't had the opportunity to explore: the flexible GUI where you can create your own way of looking at all information and create a custom layout out of it. Maybe this can help both browse and play at the same time.

Lastly, why did you fork out $500 for a lifetime license without even first checking if the software does what you want it to do?

What is it you bought it for?

Didn't you find out this limitation during the trial period or did you not do a trial period?
 
#9
Thank you for your reply adyc. I would have tried it ... except that I downloaded a trial version of jriver. So far it's working for me.

I have two questions about jriver, though. I was wondering if any of you can help:

1. Is it able to function as a digital crossover? For it to do this, it needs to be able to use Acourate files and have multi-channel output.

2. Is there any way to integrate it with HQPlayer?

I strongly believe in a multi-dimensional tagged database architecture. That only seems complex, but it really is not that hard to grasp. I do not worry about media file folder, and track file names on the hard drive at all. They can be whatever the disc author decided, inconsistent as that may be from label to label, disc to disc. They just have to be unique, album by album. Then, I roll up my sleeves and tag them manually with the fields I deem key to the various selection paths I might want to use for playback: by album, composer, composition, artist, genre, sampling rate, # of channels, label, etc, etc.
Thank you for your helpful reply. My hobby is listening to music, and not tagging music files. So far it has taken me two years, and I have only ripped half my collection. Even then, what I have on disc is substantial and would take me a really long time to go through them and tag them. I am starting to realize that tagging is more important than I initially thought when I first started converting my CD's to FLAC.

It is not the automaticity of Roon that is its ruin! What Roon sees/knows is pretty amazing but what it doesn't do is hard to deal with since it is assumed that Roon will eventually recognize everything. That is, shall we say, optimistic and yet they do not provide adequate tools to supplement/correct the database.
You hit the nail on the head there, Kal! There is a certain philosophy behind software like Roon - "let's make it easier to use by removing the user's ability to customize what we decide is best for them". It is reminiscent of a certain fruit computer company whose products I have hated for years - the whole "we know best" thing.

Since you're already organised with the file systems, just drag and drop what you want to listen to onto HQ Player.
THAT IS A GREAT IDEA!!! The only problem is, I am planning to implement this on a PC which will sit in my audio rack and have no monitor. It will be controlled by my Android tablet. I can make it work by using desktop mirroring software, but from experience this is really slow. But your solution certainly works.

I see you mentioned Foobar2000 - it has a very powerful feature which I haven't had the opportunity to explore: the flexible GUI where you can create your own way of looking at all information and create a custom layout out of it. Maybe this can help both browse and play at the same time.

Lastly, why did you fork out $500 for a lifetime license without even first checking if the software does what you want it to do?

What is it you bought it for?

Didn't you find out this limitation during the trial period or did you not do a trial period?
Agree with you re: Foobar2000. I have been using it for a few years as my media player of choice. It works well on my desktop which is only connected to a pair of AudioEngines and low-end headphones, and I have already customized it to my liking. It really ticks all the boxes except for two very important ones (I would love to be corrected if I am wrong):

1. It does not upsample or convert files to DSD

2. It is not able to use Acourate files for convolving

I did not fork out $500 for a lifetime license ... I took advantage of their 14 day trial. Note that they require a credit card to register for the trial, and they automatically charge you at the end of 14 days if you do not cancel. Well, I cancelled within a day.
 
#10
Well blow me down, I received a reply from Roon from the feedback I left when I cancelled my subscription!

Hi Keith,

Thanks for trying out Roon and providing feedback! We really do appreciate it.

We know our handling of classical music isn't superb yet, but it's on our roadmap to fix things up, so I hope to see you back in the future when we have a product that better fits your needs. I'll make sure the team sees your feedback and takes it into consideration.
Nice to see that the devs are so involved. Since they will be reading this thread now (I sent them a link with my feedback), I'll try to be constructive.

These are the features I would like to see implemented in Roon to make it more useful for classical listeners:

1. Allow albums to be sorted by Composer.

2. Allow Composers to be deleted from Roon's automatically generated list of composers.

3. I am not interested in seeing individual tracks until a particular work is selected. In a top level listing, what I want to see is something like this: "Schubert Symphony No. 8 - Abbado, Berlin PO". I don't want four entries listing each individual movement - that increases clutter by four times, and fills up a page four times more quickly.

4. Allow a file directory view for those of us who have organized our collections by directories. This would be my number one request.

Foobar does this, Jriver does this. Incidentally, this is what my Windows folder view of my music collection looks like. You will note that composers of whom I have substantial recordings have their own directory, and within these directories are subdirectories that group their works by type. Note that I chose these types because I know that it works for me! For example, I have a large collection of Beethoven Piano Sonatas and Beethoven Piano Concertos. I decided to give each their own subdirectory, because lumping them all into "Piano Works" would have made navigation unwieldy.

Roon7.jpg

Lesser composers are grouped together on the main page (e.g. Elgar, Eisler, and Ernst are in the E folder). Once again this is for clarity - it prevents lesser composers from cluttering up the top level directory so that I can easily find what I want.

Once again, this is a folder structure which I implemented because I know it works. It's neat, uncluttered, and easy to navigate. I am able to make choices as to what is more prominent (gets its own folder), and what I want to demote.

20160405_094132.jpg

The above is a photo of my CD rack, showing that the same structure is used to organize my discs. You can see that my Bach collection alone is so large that it would be impossible to find anything if I simply lumped them all under "Bach" - so Bach alone is divided into sections. You can also see that lesser composers are grouped together by alphabet - e.g. the "B" section contains Balakirev, Biber, Borodin, and so on.
 

Steve Williams

Site Founder, Co-Owner, Administrator
#11
Keith

I have to tell you that wherever you post here is a learning experience for me. Your simplest and easiast IMHO was your advice to Anericans on how to cook corn on the cobb I've never looked back.

Kudos my friend
 

Kal Rubinson

Active Member
May 5, 2010
1,437
0
36
NYC/CT
www.stereophile.com
#12
Thank you for your reply adyc. I would have tried it ... except that I downloaded a trial version of jriver. So far it's working for me.

I have two questions about jriver, though. I was wondering if any of you can help:

1. Is it able to function as a digital crossover? For it to do this, it needs to be able to use Acourate files and have multi-channel output.

2. Is there any way to integrate it with HQPlayer?
OK. I misread the post and was answering about ROON.
1. Not yet, in both cases.
2. Yes.


So, here are the answers with regard to JRIVER
1. It can do the crossovers and has multichannel output. I have used VST plug-in filters but I have not used Acourate, only Dirac.
2. No and JRiver has affirmed it.

P.S.: Your CD rack looks much like mine.
 
Last edited:
#13
Hqplayer can function as a convolver and crossover. I have not found a way to integrate jriver with hqplayer from my googling. If you have managed to get the two to work together, then I have missed something. Could you please tell me how to do it, or provide a link? I'll do more googling when I get home.
 

skolis

New Member
Mar 11, 2015
23
0
0
#14
Well blow me down, I received a reply from Roon from the feedback I left when I cancelled my subscription!

"Hi Keith,

Thanks for trying out Roon and providing feedback! We really do appreciate it.

We know our handling of classical music isn't superb yet, but it's on our roadmap to fix things up, so I hope to see you back in the future when we have a product that better fits your needs. I'll make sure the team sees your feedback and takes it into consideration. "

Nice to see that the devs are so involved. Since they will be reading this thread now (I sent them a link with my feedback), I'll try to be constructive.

I'll believe it when I see it.
I first investigated Roon at one of the shows last year - Maybe THE Show; maybe Axpona - in any case
the treatment of classical was poor.
And they said the same thing then. "It's on the roadmap".
And now it's a year later, and from what I can see - little to no progress.
 
Nov 3, 2014
405
0
0
#15
Thank you for your reply adyc. I would have tried it ... except that I downloaded a trial version of jriver. So far it's working for me.

I have two questions about jriver, though. I was wondering if any of you can help:

1. Is it able to function as a digital crossover? For it to do this, it needs to be able to use Acourate files and have multi-channel output.

2. Is there any way to integrate it with HQPlayer?
Yes to both.

I use JRiver for bass management crossovers to my subwoofer. That is in the poorly labeled Room Correction under DSP Studio. I use JRiver with Dirac Live, which I am extremely happy with.

I have not used HQPlayer, but I understand it works well with JRiver. I use JRiver's on-the-fly conversion to PCM from my Mch library in DSD(.dsf) format. I am quite happy with that, as well.

HQPlayer would seem at odds with Acourate or other Room Correction, which requires PCM. I have yet to be impressed based on my readings about HQP's own EQ convolution in native DSD. It seems quite limited and a lot of work, and there are no easy provisions for crossovers or bass management that way.

Also, HQP's claim to fame is PCM to DSD conversion, especially for RBCD upconversion. I do not know what it brings to the table going the other way - DSD to PCM. I see no one touting that. Since I play essentially only hi rez (mostly all in Mch, mostly from DSD converted to PCM or native hi rez PCM), I do not see much that HQP can do for me. That is especially true since I am really extraordinarily happy with my sound: JRiver - Dirac - Exasound E28. Incidentally, unlike many, DSD playback is not some graven idol I worship. It is good, but in my system, Room EQ and bass management is much more important sonically, in spite of the need to convert DSD to PCM.

Speaking of work, my readings also indicate that Acourate is a whole lot of work and quite difficult to learn. I am so happily with the much easier to use, though still very sophisticated, Dirac that I just lack the motivation to explore Acourate, Audiolense, etc. There is that and I just have a philosophical issue with Acourate's single point mike calibration vs. Dirac's multi-point. I have read most of the arguments back and forth, but multi-point is where I lean.

However, there is no question that Acourate has way more controls, parameters and features, but that comes at the price of considerably more complexity and a much more difficult learning curve. Is it worth it? Dallasjustice thinks so, as do some others, but they seem to have enjoyed the journey down the rabbit hole and the learning and challenge of that as much as anything. Still, their judgement has considerable credibility. Meanwhile, many others have given up on Acourate as too complex and cumbersome.

As to sonic differences, who really knows in a meaningful, objective way? But, my own view is to have sophisticated tools that are relatively easy to learn and to use and which are organized in a straightforward, orderly way. They must also pass my own tests for sonics, imperfect and subjective though those might be. I will say I am enjoying easily the very best sound of my lifetime which has left me me very satisfied for the past 2-1/2 years. It is quite noticeably better than my old Mch setup via Mch prepro, Audyssey/Audyssey Pro and HDMI.

And, though the scematic block diagram of my system might appear simple and orderly now, it took a lot of hard work to achieve that. Working in a PC environment, hassling with application and Windows software learning curve issues, bugs, etc. was no walk in the park, even though I have something of a bygone IT technical systems analysis background. (I am a former VP/CIO, who started on the technical side.) It has paid off handsomely for me, but there was no need for greater software complexity in the process. That might have derailed it all, unless it had some major functional or sonic benefit to make the effort worthwhile. I just wanted to sit with my iPad and play music from my library with great sound. I did not want to spend my time learning and fiddling with new software.
 

YashN

New Member
Jun 29, 2015
963
0
0
Canada
#17
1. It does not upsample or convert files to DSD
It does.

2. It is not able to use Acourate files for convolving
This I don't know but I do think it can support plugins for processing.

I did not fork out $500 for a lifetime license ... I took advantage of their 14 day trial. Note that they require a credit card to register for the trial, and they automatically charge you at the end of 14 days if you do not cancel. Well, I cancelled within a day.
Good on you!
 
Feb 14, 2016
171
0
0
Sydney, Australia
#18
Sorry it didn't work out for you Keith; I agree the lack of a folder structure is very very annoying.

I sort of got around it by looking at the directory structure as a share folder and then just selecting the album I wanted to play in Roon. I also didn't let Roon organise my music, that ended in disaster on one occasion.

Pity - the rest of the sw works very well for me, and integration with HQP was flawless.

SQ was top notch, if you believe in such things.