We’re very pleased to announce our fifth major software update: Roon 1.5. In the four months since we released 1.4, we’ve launched our first hardware products (Nucleus and Nucleus+) and introduced home automation support with Crestron and Control4 modules. As the Roon team continues to grow, the pace of our releases is increasing so we can bring more features to our members more frequently.
As always, we’re hard at work to make sure Roon works for every music enthusiast and audiophile, including everyone from newbies to the most hardcore. This release marks three major milestones on the road to achieving that goal, as well as a huge expansion of the Roon ecosystem.
Audio hardware demystified
Providing the best way to interact with your music collection means working hand-in-hand with the audio brands that make the gear you have (and the gear you wish you had). We’ve partnered with nearly 100 of the most respected audio brands in the world, and now there are over 100 Roon Ready network players on the market (with many more to come) as well as hundreds more Roon Tested DACs, integrated amplifiers, and networked speakers.
Each of those devices has different capabilities in terms of format support, sample rate capabilities, and streaming protocols, so setting them up correctly hasn’t always been easy. To take the mystery out of this process, we’ve built a database of every audio product we’ve ever tested and documented every feature, capability, and idiosyncrasy. Roon now uses that database to identify and automatically configure itself to work optimally with all those devices when they’re detected on your network or USB bus.
Every Linn Network Music Player… ever
Linn was a pioneer among high-performance manufacturers in the world of network audio, which means that Linn has more Network Music Players out there than many other brands combined. Until now, the only way for Roon to communicate with those products was over AirPlay, which left many Linn customers without a high-resolution way to play.
With their most recent firmware update, Linn has released a streaming mode that enables bit perfect transmission from Roon to your Linn DS – with the DS as the clock master – guaranteeing the highest audio quality possible. Welcome, Linn fans!
MQA for everyone
MQA support is among our highly anticipated (and hotly debated) new features. We weren’t the first to implement MQA core decoding in software, but we can certainly claim a number of “firsts” now that we have! In addition to what you’d expect from an MQA source – detecting an MQA-capable DAC over USB and streaming to it appropriately – Roon offers some unique ways for anyone to experience MQA content:
Roon Ready devices
Some Roon Ready devices decode and/or render MQA and some don’t. Because of the tight integration between Roon and Roon Ready devices, you can be sure that you’re making optimal use of the capabilities of your hardware and software and getting the highest possible sound quality, over your network.
Roon Ready devices also report precisely what’s happening to your signal during playback, so you can easily see exactly what you’re hearing.
Roon Tested devices
There are thousands of high-resolution capable products that don’t have MQA decoding or rendering implemented. Thanks to our new device database, Roon knows the capabilities of many of those devices.
Roon can perform MQA authentication and core decoding (the first “unfold” of the MQA process) and send 96/88.2kHz 24-bit high-resolution directly to your legacy DAC or speaker, either over USB or your network.
MQA + DSP
We’ve covered some additional new ground with MQA: Roon will not only be able to perform DSP on “unfolded” MQA content, but it will do so without destroying the MQA signalling information. This means that it’s now possible to use features like EQ, Room Correction, and Volume Leveling while still taking advantage of the rendering capabilities of your MQA DAC.
10,000 of Your favorites, now in HI-RES
Whether you have MQA-capable audio hardware or not, Roon opens up a world of high-resolution content from TIDAL. With over 10,000 TIDAL Masters titles available, you’re likely to find many of your favorites represented.
To make it easier to find high-resolution versions of the albums in your library, Roon now displays album Versions on their own tab. Just browse to any album in your library and find the MQA version in TIDAL with just one click!
Thanks to the Roon community
We’d like to thank everyone who has supported Roon and helped us reach this point: the early adopters who took a gamble on the new kid on the block, the manufacturers who doubled down on our partnership programs, the journalists and evangelists who have helped spread the word, and the music lovers and audiophiles just hearing about Roon for the first time. Thank you!