Frequently Asked Questions: Roon Software
How we buy, store, and listen to our audio and music is changing. Last year "physical" sales declined by 5.4% (ifpi.org) more than the previous year's 4.4% decline while streaming exploded.
"Driven by fans’ engagement with streaming – especially paid subscription audio streaming – digital revenues now account for more than half (54%) of the global recorded music market. Total streaming revenues increased by 41.1%. By the end of 2017, there were an estimated 176 million users of paid subscription accounts globally, with 64 million having been added during the year."
Streaming digital music needs new hardware and software. Roon Labs, a Cambridge based subsidiary of the Meridian audio company formed in 2015, created Roon Software.
What Is Roon Software?
Eric Neff supplied a great summary of Roon's software in July 2017.
Roon software is a component for your digital audio system designed by Roon Labs. We buy amps, DACs, and speakers to put together our rig. Roon should be looked at as one more part of that system.
Roon puts a digital front-end on your entire music collection no matter where may be stored, and your digital music is stored. Roon allows you to control your listening from a computer, tablet, or smartphone to one or many output devices (speakers) throughout your home, office or auditorium. Roon's peerless music curation function allows you to have your own favorite and personalized radio station made up of Roon selected tracks based on as little as one song selected by you to begin your listening session.
If we look at Eric's summary closely and think in Music Sources, Outputs, and Environments we see:
- Music Archive (high-resolution digital music files in a variety of formats on computers, servers, hard drives, players or tablets).
- Music Curation (create and organize playlists management with smartphones, tablets, and computers)
- Music Recommendation Engine or Personalized Music Magazine
- Music Streaming Apps like Tidal
- Laptops, Smartphones, and Tablets (to listen to headphones or IEMs)
Since Roon is a network bridging music sources with outputs music can be managed by room or output device. Speakers in your living room sound harsh and cold due to hardwood floors and lots of hard surfaces? Use Roon's software to change how your music sounds in the living room without affecting other rooms. Think one band overdubbed the bass? Use Roon's software to change how your system sounds for that band. Roon's software automatically selects optimum sound, but if you like to set your own EQ have at it.
What Is Roon Core?
Roon Core is the singular brain controlling a Roon network. Roon's music management software manages how music lovers and audiophiles hear, experience, and engage with music. Need to change the music sample rate? Need to adapt EQ for a room's sonic characteristics?
Roon's software does more than put the fun back into listening. Roon helps your music sound great even when you're unaware of the help. That's because Roon's software understands your network, it understands the best files to send to DACs, speakers, or other music processing.
While each "system" can only have one core there can be many controlling apps including Tidal and Dropbox.
Does one room in your house sound lousy? Roon can help. Tweak the output devices in the "sounds lousy" room with Roon's software to make harsh and shrill mellow into warm and full. These controlling features of Roon's software happen in the singular core.
Roon streams formats up to 384kHz/24-bit PCM and DSD256 to Roon Ready devices and intelligently converts audio to the optimal resolution for other devices.
What Does Roon Ready Mean?
Roon Labs is working with an ever-growing list of Roon Partners to make integrating music servers, DACs and other audio gear as easy as possible. Partner companies submit their digital-to-analog converters, network players, and media servers to undergo a strenuous certification process that can last anywhere from two weeks to a full year, depending on the partner's level of SDK expertise.
During this process, products are checked for compatibility with Roon software under extreme stress and demanding circumstances. Testing doesn't stop until the device is completely debugged and technicians believe it to fully support Roon's streaming software.
Once certification is complete, devices earn their place in one of three categories:
- Roon Ready Network Players
- Roon Tested DACs
- Roon Core Servers
Roon Ready Music Players
Roon Ready devices are certified to fully support Roon Software features and have Roon technology integrated into their firmware. Roon will automatically detect these devices on your network and connect to them. It's that easy.
Roon Tested DACs
Roon Tested DACs have been thoroughly tested by both Roon Labs and their manufacturers. Roon will also recognize these devices and optimize audio playback specifically for that device.
Roon Core Servers
Roon Core Servers arrive from their manufacturers with Roon Server software already installed or as an optional installation. These music servers are ready for Roon right out of the box.