Out with Roon, in with the Naim app

So after suffering weird dropouts when using Roon on my Netgear Orbi mesh network and trying for about a year to track down and fix this. And also after the latest Roon upgrades killed the hardware performance of my current Roon Core I was faced with two choices:

  1. Replace the Roon Core and mesh wifi system. So around 2K plus yearly subs.
  2. Go back to native streaming via the Naim app.

I initially got Roon as I seemed to have jumped on the Naim bandwagon at a time when my usage patterns hit every bug in the app and the firmware and Roon solved a lot for me.

But considering the new cash outlay I was wondering about option 2.

But what has my experience been so far? Surprisingly good.

The highlights:

  1. No extra costs.
  2. Native streaming has been implemented well enough that buffering is obviously ensuring that I have zero network problems.
  3. It works fast on my current hardware and is not a almost broken solution on my Android tablet like the Roon app is (has to configure the heck out of the tablet to just make it work).
  4. I think it is sounding just a little better than Roon.
  5. Once I found I could click on the little Tidal and Qobuz icons on the panel above after selecting either it really opened a world in the Naim app for me.
  6. The Naim app works through the VPN I run on my phone and Tablet where that no longer works with Roon after the latest updates. Even if I set the VPN to allow apps to find network devices.

The lowlights:

  1. The Roon interface and searching is much better.
  2. Playing local files is a mess regarding album art and metadata.

So, unexpectedly for me, I think this may be spelling the end of my Roon era for now. The pros are certainly outweighing the cons for now.

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It is clearly “horses for courses” in terms of what different library and playing software have to offer vs people’s needs and wants. Where the software has a cost - especially an ongoing subscription cost such as with Roon - it is down to people’s consideration of pros and cons, with value for that cost often a significant consideration.

(Personally I have a rooted objection to the subscription model for software generally, and in particular anything that might deprive me of playing music should either the subscription or provider fail. However, others are clearly different, as evidenced by the popularity of Tidal and Qobuz as sources of music.)

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Always go with what works best. I’m not to happy about not being able to play my local music via Roon if my internet goes down now.

Been looking at alternatives but sadly isn’t much that will work across all my audio gear and alllow the same functions I use daily. I don’t want multiple apps either as this is used by Mrs Gipsy as well and we move music to where we move in the house all the time. I have no interest in the Naim app as it just doesn’t have a unified search and lacks all the focus things and multi Roo I use so much in Roon and I am contemplating moving on from Naim in my Naim system.

So my search is ongoing. UPnP is just out as it’s just not up to it and doesnt play ball with all my kit. LMS is too old and antiquated, PlexAmp doesn’t support playing to streamers other than AirPlay or Chromecast. It’s leaving me looking at a hardware solution such as Innuos but I don’t need a new server and I don’t feel it work with all my kit either and it’s expensive and goes me in to their kit.

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How often does this happen though? Most internet providers have 3g or 4g backups these days.

I can fallback to either the Naim App or Bubble.

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It’s the principle of the thing. I’ve lost it a number of times this year and my isp doesn’t offer a mobile back up, not that it would help as cellular reception is dire in my house.

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I’ve never understood the appeal of Roon. I’m able to play my local files throughout the house using the naim app albeit after some tweaking to maximize the legacy streaming platform. The Naim app has its shortcomings but works well enough and aside from a couple perpetual licenses no sub is required.

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We can’t all afford a Naim multiroom solution. I have lots of different kit for starters. Also Naim app can’t do any of the advanced organising. filtering and new music discovery that Roon offers.

I have 8K albums on my NAS and have no problem filtering or finding them. Though I spent some effort on getting my meta data sorted. And I’m still discovering new music from various sources. Outside of my main system I have Musos, not particularly expensive in the grand scheme of hifi.

That’s the exact opposite of my experience. I often struggle to find things on Qobuz, even if I search in the Qobuz app rather than the Naim (or Linn) app. Searching local files is much smoother and album art works perfectly, but I did invest some time in getting the metadata sorted when I first got into streaming.

Roger

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This struck me as I’ve been using roon over a Netgear Orbi mesh and controlling it exclusively from my Android tablet, and it couldn’t be more stable and predictable.

I’ve even returned to the old fashioned way of discovery by subscribing to The Wire and Gramophone and their archives and review databases. Much faster and more interesting compared to just stumbling around millions of music files.

I have used Roon and I still have the lifetime license to prove it. But I switched to a Melco-server and UPnP 1) it sounds more musical and better and 2) I get true multi-room independently of some single american developer.

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I thought i was unusual in not adopting roon. Tried it for an extended and free period, but didn’t see the value in it.
Yes, the naim app could be, and should be better. But it serves up qobuz and nas based music fine. Just a shame the bluesound app does it better.

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I don’t like the internet dependency for local files either.

I’ve not used Roon for months.

It was running on my old Mac Mini with 16GB RAM. I think I transferred the licence to my M1 Mini but Roon isn’t a lightweight app and I don’t think the M1 Mini with 8GB is all it is cracked up to be in many reviews when running several apps concurrently despite the improved architecture. It struggles with half a dozen Safari pages open which the 2012 model didn’t, so Roon using a few GB would cripple it.

I could just run the old Mac Mini for Roon, but with energy costs I don’t really want to leave a dedicated computer or NAS running for local streaming.

Add to that a forthcoming price increase I probably won’t renew in March.

I do like Roon, but I don’t think I use the features regularly enough to justify keeping it.

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Like many, I didn’t have a clue what the mysterious Roon was and reading about it didn’t help either. Why would I pay for something to organise my music that was sorted alphabetically anyway?

As soon as I downloaded it and started using it, the penny dropped. It puts everything together, finds the best quality version of all the stuff you have and leads you on a journey of finding other music that you often haven’t heard of, but sometimes really like.

Qobuz and Tidal make suggestions, but Roon’s radio function of continuing playing similar things after the album you’ve chosen is finished seems more intelligent (better algorithms?) and really has helped me find new artists and some great music. I’ve just paid for a lifetime subscription to go with my brand new (installed yesterday) ND5 XS2 and SN3.

My first post on the forum btw, so go easy on me!

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Great replies here and as @Innocent_Bystander says: horses for courses.

Roon is surely a great product and where it works it works well.

But I ended up in a situation where I need to spend some cash to get it working flawlessly again for me. On my current hardware album art takes 5-10 seconds to load sometimes. And this performance degrade happened in a few version upgrades as it moved to Roon 2.0.

Couple that to the fact that ARC is a feature I don’t want and won’t use and the online always model even for local files and it became a question of if it is worthwhile to spend 2K to keep it going.

Right now the Naim app is good enough to save that investment for something else.

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2k to keep going? What on earth where you looking at? NuCs perfect for Roon can be bought for a few hundred refurbished with warranties, no need for a brand new one, you can use pretty much any model now they updated Rock to work with UEFi boot.

What library software are you using on it, Jan

Not at all. My conclusion was tge same.

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Doesn’t mean that you are not both unusual!

:smiley:

.sjb

Big outlay is replacing my mesh. I need at least two satellites and will go for a good Wifi 6 setup or it would be wasted. The mesh will be around 1 K with the extra satellite and the NUC I was looking at was just over 800. So rounded up yeah.

And talking Euros here not Pounds.

The network drops have indeed been traced back to the mesh. It’s pointless to invest in a Core without fixing that too. While native streaming is problem free with what I have.