Roon has been around since 2015 and over that time it has earned a reputation for offering the best user experience in terms of controlling your music library with its superb control app offering you an incredibly unique and clever way to reconnect to your music.
If you have your own music on a computer, NAS drive or streamer Roon simply looks at your music content and conveniently presents it to you in a really easy to use app with rich metadata, photo’s, clever links between artists, producers and much more. You could have music in a variety of locations on a network and Roon will present it as one library.
If you are a Tidal and/or Qobuz subscriber it links with both of those services as well.
There is a brilliant function in the Roon app called ‘Discover’ and when you select this Roon automatically curates your music library and presents you with a selection of your library and basically mixes it up, potentially showing you albums you had forgotten you own, highlight a specific musical genre, or it will show you all of the music your own by a particular record label, or an album that was released this week 10 years ago – and so on.
Discover is a brilliant feature and one which Roon users are frequently citing as one of there favorite aspects of using Roon, spending some time using this feature makes it easy to see why. Reconnecting with your music or rediscovering albums you forgotten you owned almost sounds like a cliche, but it’s true and it works really well.
Another great feature is Roon Radio, this is a new function that was added in update 1.6.
Roon Radio basically plays a mix of your favourite tracks along with music from beyond your library, using the vast catalog of music from Tidal and Qobuz.
To get started, simply click the Roon Radio button on any album, artist, track, or genre from your library, TIDAL, or Qobuz! Roon Radio makes recommendations to you based on not only your own music preferences but also those of other Roon subscribers with similar tastes in music. Use the thumbs up and down buttons to craft a personal, one-of-a-kind radio experience.
As you listen to and interact with Roon Radio over time, it learns more about what you like and helps you discover new music by curating great recommendations.
How do I get Roon into my existing set-up?
In order to take advantage of Roon in your hi-fi you simply need a what is called a Roon Endpoint, this is a piece of networked hi-fi equipment like a DAC, streamer, or network player that is certified as Roon Ready. The fantastic Vitus RD-101 DAC / Network Streamer and the Streamer / DAC option on the Vitus RI-101 are 2 examples of products available from Audio Therapy that are Roon Endpoints. There is more info on Roon Endpoints on the Roon site
Multi-Room made so easy
If you have different systems streaming music in different parts of your home Roon can put them all together in the Roon App – One App for all your music. Sonos in the Kitchen, Alexa or Google Home in the bedroom with Linn in study – no problem at all. Roon controls them all easily and effortlessly, you can have the same music in all locations or each zone can be completely independent from another.
The brain behind the whole Roon experience and the way it learns about your music and tastes is the Roon Core. This is a powerful, resource hungry piece of media server software that is required to be on and running whenever you want to listen to music via Roon.
Roon Core can be installed on any PC, Mac, Laptop you have, as long as it is connected to the same network as your Roon Endpoint.
Roon’s approach to music library management enables data-intensive features such as the incredibly rich links and information from which the browser is generated, as well as Radio and Discover functions as outlined above. Roon’s library management is based around an object database. This means that instead of storing data in the traditional tabular form, Roon models your music as a web of interconnected entities and their relationships to one another. For a typical music library, Roon is tracking millions of objects–everything from tracks and albums to works, performances, labels, genres, credits, and a dozen other kinds-of-things.
Together, they fucntions allow Roon to keep your library “live”, and continuously ready for browsing and playback – providing the computer that you use to run Core is on and ready to go.
Core enables Roon to perform complex queries that would be impractical for a more traditional application, and they let Roon perform background processing on your music library in order to continually improve the user experience.
Many core-less streaming systems shoehorn library management into a low-cost embedded processor that already exists within the system (typically, these are about as powerful as a 3-5 year old cell phone). Roon would not be able to do what it does within those constraints.
Plus not everyone wants to run their computer 24/7 and many people don’t have computers that are powerful enough to Roon Core properly AND do all the things that a conventional computer does at the same time. Running Roon Core on a computer does affect sound quality on a good hi-fi system and this where the Roon Nucleus comes in.
The Nucleus is a dedicated turnkey server that has 1 task – to run Roon Core better than any conventional computer.
Every aspect of Nucleus — hardware, operating system, and software — was developed to provide a silent, high-performance, power-efficient Roon Core, by the same team that created Roon.
Roon Nucleus looks after itself, you simply plug it in, connect it to your router and it simply does its thing, it updates itself when required and it doesn’t need any user intervention. Computer skills and networking knowledge are not needed to the get from the Nucleus and Roon itself.
Nucleus has no fans and is completely silent in operation so you confidently install it in your listening room or on your desk and it won’t disturb your music listening in the slightest.
You can even fit a hard drive into the Nucleus so it can directly store your music library. It can be connected to a USB DAC via one of its 2 USB ports as well, so it can effectively act as both a Roon Core and Roon Endpoint in 1 box.
Roon have produced 2 different Nucleus servers, there is standard Nucleus and the more advanced Nucleus+