Roon 1.6 Launches With Major Upgrades and Qobuz Support

Coming from a background of vinyl, tape and CDs, I liked that they each could be referenced by their names (as that is what they were) but, in this day and age of technology-driven music access and it’s associated gear, the nomenclature of old has been replaced in the modern vernacular with simply ”software.”

In a way this was inevitable as gear simply became ”hardware” so anything that played through said hardware got lumped together. And while for practical purposes I get that, the kind of software I’m talking about today in the guise of Roon 1.6 is nothing like a remastered LP coming out. While both can be translated into an audio waveform and outputted, the machinations and level of intelligent engineering involved with a Roon update far outweigh grabbing the master tapes and cueing up the cutter head – not that I’d ever say remastering a classic is anything but an endeavour for those who are truly gifted. But back to ones to zeros.

Today’s computer-based software has become the modern version of the stylus/cartridge to the record player we call DAC/Streamers. And there is nothing out there quite like Roon audio-playback software; it has, in many ways, made itself the de facto audiophile playback application of choice in the last few years.

But the difference between the Roon I was running a couple years ago, or even a month ago to the Beta of 1.6 that I’ve been running the last couple weeks is in no small way much better than what I was experiencing previously. First off, 1.6 runs far more quickly and is more stable on my dedicated MacBook Air where Roon Core is housed, ditto on my iPad Mini2. Both of these Apple products are getting long in the tooth, but nonetheless they remain relevant and are completely competent (nay, even snappy) with this upgrade – which speaks volumes about the coding work done on Roon’s part to make it more solid, flexible and efficient at harnessing even aging CPU cycles.

After following the instructions to upgrade both my MB Air and iPad to the 1.6 Beta, the first thing I noticed was how fast Roon found and identified wi-fi connected devices; the KEF LSX wireless speaker system and dCS Rossini showed up as Roon Ready devices, the Cambridge Audio YoYo in my son’s room and his Google Home Mini came up as Chromecast outputs and the Aurender N10 music server as an Airplay ShairportSync which allows me to stream Roon through the Aurender as ALAC files at 16-bit/44.1kHz (higher-res files get downsampled per AirPlay streaming protocols).

Roon’s integration with TIDAL is what started this whole ball rolling and since then Qobuz has hit the scene offering a lot of what TIDAL does (minus MQA), plus a higher-resolution platform for PCM (up to 24-bit/192kHz) and a different and uniquely curated and influenced library to select tracks or albums from.

I love TIDAL and I also love Qobuz. Peanut butter sandwich, or jelly sandwich? Why not both I say? That’s exactly what Roon 1.6 offers now. The ability to stream, search, organize and database manage both.

Another very cool aspect of the whole Roon experience has been Roon Radio which basically uses an advanced algorithm to choose songs from your locally-stored albums or songs, or accesses TIDAL and Qobuz libraries to start playing music based on what you had previously been playing.

For example, cueing up the TIDAL 16-bit/44.1kHz version of Back At The Chicken Shack: The Incredible Jimmy Smith through Roon, when one finds themselves at end and the album has finished, Roon Radio chose the Qobuz 24-bit/96kHz track “Suburban Eyes” off Genius Of Modern Music Volume Two by Thelonious Monk to follow with. What was next? It was back to TIDAL and “Mimosa” off Inventions And Dimensions by Herbie Hancock. Why? Perhaps because Monk’s playing was another major influence on jazz. Like Smith on the organ, Monk was a legend on the piano, or maybe because both used Art Blakey on drums many times. Who knows? Ditto for Hancock as an influence on the keyboard and piano, but like Smith, Hancock also played with Wayne Shorter, which was the selection following Hancock. Whatever the connection, Roon seems to find it and keep the vibe going. And according to Roon: “Roon Radio also includes a new feedback feature for creating one-of-kind radio experiences and improving the recommendation engine as a whole. As you interact with Roon Radio over time, it gets better. Try skipping a track or pressing thumbs-up/thumbs-down. Roon Radio isn’t just for background listening either. Use it to find new music you love, and easily grow your music library using Roon’s add-to-library feature.”

Regardless of these and many more improvements to this software, if – for whatever reason – you haven’t taken the dive into streaming digital music, Roon just made things easier than ever to link your streamers, servers, DACs or AirPlay and Chromecast-enabled devices and get the music playing in your home. Update to version 1.6 HERE. Download your free trial of Roon HERE.

Press release highlights

Roon has always been great at reconnecting you with the music you've collected over the years, but now we've completely reimagined how Roon creates your personalized radio experience. Designed from the ground up with new machine learning technology, Roon Radio can play a mix of your favorites along with music from beyond your library, using the vast catalog of music from TIDAL and Qobuz. To get started, click the Roon Radio button on any album, artist, track, or genre from your library, TIDAL, or Qobuz!

Uncompressed high-resolution music from Qobuz

These days there are many ways to get your music – streaming services, digital download stores, and internet radio stations – and Roon supports them all. We’re committed to giving Roon subscribers more choices, which is why we’re excited to announce that we’ve teamed up with Qobuz to integrate their streaming offering in Roon! Now you can access the entire Qobuz catalog in Roon, allowing you to take advantage of Roon’s metadata with all of your favorite Qobuz content. Seamlessly sync your Roon and Qobuz collections, use Roon’s Versions to replace your lossy content with lossless versions from Qobuz, and fire up the new Roon Radio to start discovering more of what’s available from Qobuz.

A Fresh New Look

We listen to feedback from our subscriber community, and we’ve really taken that feedback to heart when redesigning several key areas of Roon 1.6. Check out our new Now Playing, Search, and DSP screens for some examples of how Roon is easier and more fun to use than ever. Roon’s metadata takes the spotlight on Now Playing, displaying a high resolution artist image, Real-Time Lyrics, credits, review, bio, and streaming resolution.

Search prioritizes the most relevant content in an easy-to-read layout, and lets you toggle between seeing only what’s in your own library, or including results from TIDAL and Qobuz.

DSP

Our DSP engine has been simplified to be more approachable and easy to understand, with a simple preset system that works across all devices, including your phone or tablet.

COMPANY INFO
Roon Labs LLC

X