A Message from the Roon Founders

To everyone in the Roon community,

Last November, Roon Labs was acquired by Harman International. This marks a new beginning for Roon, our industry partners, and our team. Today, we want to discuss what this means for us, for you, and for the future of Roon.

These past few months have been incredibly busy as we merge our company into Harman, an organization many times our size. We’ve been deeply impressed by the resources, funding, and infrastructure available at our new home, and Harman’s leadership has more than delivered on their promise to support us as we chart our path forward. Many of our ambitions that were difficult or impossible as a small company are now within reach, and we can already see how this will benefit our users and accelerate our progress.

We’ve found many Roon enthusiasts at Harman and Samsung. Like everyone in our community, these people – including the most senior executives – share our passion for music and sound quality. Harman acquired Roon to serve a business strategy, but it’s important to understand that the decision-makers responsible have a deep appreciation for our product. They admire what we’ve done and are committed to preserving Roon and helping us improve it.

Before the acquisition, we dedicated several years to expanding Roon’s reach by targeting new audiences. We put real effort towards enhancing the product experience for people with smaller music libraries, as well as casual listeners in hobbyist communities like gaming and headphones. Although these enhancements did help us find new audiences, they sometimes had the unintended consequence of disappointing our most loyal, long-term user base of music collectors and audio enthusiasts.

At Harman, we’ve been given a mandate to reconnect with our core audience. These are the curators who are passionate about shaping their music collections, the audiophiles who appreciate the nuances of high-performance audio equipment, and the genre experts who depend on Roon to expand their knowledge of music. These are the people who have multiple streaming services or who have extensive libraries of music files – the people who simply want the best platform for experiencing their music library. Within this community, Roon is still the only product that comprehensively caters to their diverse needs, and now, at Harman, we’re excited to refocus our efforts on serving them.

We’ve taken some steps in this direction. In 2022, we introduced an internet connectivity requirement to Roon. That decision was driven by strategic considerations, but we acknowledge that the change caused genuine dissatisfaction among our users, and we understand why. Today, we’re announcing a return to Roon’s pre-2.0 behavior. This means our users can once again enjoy their music collections without the need for continuous internet connectivity.

We’re also moving the product forward. Just a few weeks ago, we rolled out a significant update to ARC’s downloads functionality, and today, we’re excited to announce the release of support for TIDAL MAX, bringing a vast library of hi-res PCM content to every Roon user with a TIDAL HiFi Plus subscription.

Going forward, we aim to prioritize features that best serve our community. Roon occupies a vibrant niche, and our strategy at Harman no longer requires us to seek larger audiences. As a result, you can expect real changes in the types of features we focus on and deliver.

We’re paying attention to neglected aspects of the product – prioritizing performance and reliability – to ensure that Roon remains rock-solid. We’ll revisit long-requested features that we’ve avoided, like folder browsing and enhancing the way Roon handles box sets. Major improvements to our playlist functionality are in the pipeline (Hallelujah!). In the coming year, we’ll be focusing on features that center on your music library, rather than non-library streaming content.

Roon’s acquisition by Harman signifies a fresh start for our product. We’re committed to realigning with our core audience and focusing on the needs of music lovers and audio enthusiasts. We’ve already made strides in addressing user concerns, like reverting the internet connectivity requirement, introducing exciting new features like TIDAL MAX, and delivering an updated ARC downloads experience. With Harman’s support, we look forward to a future of improved performance, reliability, and features that cater to you, the Roon community. If you’re interested in hearing more, please check out the podcast we did with David Hyman, a long-time Roon user, audiophile, and music industry veteran who founded MOG (which later became Beats Music and eventually Apple Music).

We’re excited about what lies ahead, and we’re grateful for your continued support. Thank you for being a part of this journey. We can’t wait to bring you more exciting updates in the coming months.

The Roon founders

Introducing MUSE: Precision Audio Control on the go

MUSE is the new name for Roon’s sound engine and audio processing suite. And now MUSE has landed in ARC – with bold styling and sound quality never before seen or heard in a mobile music app! 

MUSE delivers the precision audio control of Roon when you’re on the go or running a streamlined, portable setup from your phone. It’s also one of the most anticipated and highly requested enhancements to ARC’s feature set. We’re excited to pack even more of Roon into ARC, and we’re confident you’ll enjoy what you see and hear in MUSE.

Continue reading “Introducing MUSE: Precision Audio Control on the go”

Introducing Fluency

Roon has always provided an immersive listening experience thanks to its vast library of music knowledge and exceptional sound quality. Throughout Roon’s development, we’ve tried to make that experience as inclusive as possible by letting you explore the software and enjoy content in your preferred language. 

Today we’re excited to announce the release of Fluency – a revolutionary new discovery and language feature, available only in Roon. Fluency lets you translate even more Roon content in your preferred language. Now, artist names, album titles, credits, performer roles, and genre names are available in 21 languages! 

Continue reading “Introducing Fluency”

Roon Ready Road Trips: Introducing Android Auto for Roon ARC

Recently we announced the release of full CarPlay support for Roon ARC, with the promise of Android Auto coming in hot on its tail. Today, we’re happy to make good on that pledge; Android Auto for Roon ARC has crossed the finish line!

Last September, Roon ARC paved the way to enjoying Roon and all your favorite music outside the home. Now, with Roon ARC for Android Auto within easy reach of the wheel, every road you take is a journey in sound.

Continue reading “Roon Ready Road Trips: Introducing Android Auto for Roon ARC”

Roon Ready Road Trips: Introducing CarPlay and Android Auto for Roon ARC

Roon ARC has forever changed how and where we enjoy our favorite music by transforming our Roon library into a bespoke streaming service that’s ready to go anywhere our adventures may take us. Today, we’re excited to introduce full CarPlay and Android Auto support for Roon ARC!

Ready to hit the road? Your Roon library is too

As soon as we began work on Roon ARC, we were eager to see Roon’s features come to life on our car’s display screen – and so were all of you. Now, just a few months into ARC’s existence, that day has arrived.

Nothing makes the road more exciting than our favorite music. CarPlay and Android Auto fully integrate Roon’s browsing and discovery features into your car’s controls for safe and easy playback.

Now you can cruise your Roon library, dig into your daily mixes as you drive, check out featured playlists, explore new releases, hit repeat on recently played favs, and much more just by tapping a few buttons from your car’s controls. With Roon along for the ride, every car trip drops right into the groove.

How to use Roon ARC in CarPlay

Roon Arc for Apple Carplay

We’ve made accessing Roon ARC in CarPlay as easy as possible so you can focus on the road while Roon provides the soundtrack.

If you’re an Android user, you’ll find similar setup tips in our dedicated Android Auto blog.

  • To begin, make sure you have Roon ARC. Visit the App Store to download the app. 
  • If you’ve never used CarPlay before, you’ll first need to set it up. Click here for Apple’s step-by-step instructions.
  • Once CarPlay is set up and your phone is synced to your vehicle’s interface, you’ll see the Roon ARC app on your display.
  • Just tap the Roon ARC icon, and you’re on your way.

Explore a new road to music discovery

CarPlay and Android Auto support has maintained the pole position of most requested feature since we waved the starting flag on Roon ARC.

Roon Arc for Apple Carplay

This release reflects our commitment to listening to your needs and delivering the features that matter most to our customers. We can’t wait for CarPlay and Android Auto for Roon ARC to transform your driver’s seat into your new favorite listening chair.

To enjoy CarPlay and Android Auto for Roon ARC, you first need to download the app. Download it now from the App Store or Play Store.

A new road to music discovery lies ahead!



Roon Search Overhauled – Dec 2022 Update

The Roon team has been working on improving the search engine throughout 2022, and last week, we rolled out a whole new architecture for search.

It’s been just about a year since I last wrote about search, so I figured it was a good time to provide an update on what’s been going on behind the scenes.

The Roon team has been working on improving the search engine throughout 2022, and last week, we rolled out a new architecture for search. If you are running Roon 2.0, you have been using the new stuff for several days.

Previously, the cloud performed a search of TIDAL/Qobuz libraries and the Core performed a search of your personal library, then merged the results.

Now, the Core gathers potential matches for the search query and submits them to a cloud service. The cloud service then searches the TIDAL/Qobuz libraries if needed, ranks and merges the results, and returns the final list to the app.

This change will allow us to deliver better results and improve the search engine more quickly. For more information, keep on reading.

Automated Testing Tools

One of the challenges of improving a search engine is understanding the effects of each change that we make. A change that improves one search might accidentally make other searches worse. In order to make progress, we need to be able to test our search system and understand the intended and unintended consequences of each change.

We introduced an automated testing system in 2022 to help us with that. This system allows us to test thousands of searches in the cloud without using the Roon Core. Our test infrastructure will help us make sure we’re not making things worse as we continue to improve the search engine.

Shorter Cycle Time for Improvements

By moving the search engine to the cloud, we can release improvements without shipping new versions of the Roon Core and apps. This reduces the time it takes to deliver improvements to our users, and allows us to iterate quickly on specific issues when they are reported.

Metrics

While our primary goal is to make our users happy, it’s also helpful to have objective signals that show we are making things better. The new search system includes an array of metrics that allow us to monitor search results quality on an ongoing basis. This helps us see if our changes are helping, and also helps us catch any accidental issues that might degrade the quality of search results for our users.

As an example, the “Average Click Position” metric measures the average position where a user clicks when they select an instant search result. For example, a result of ‘1’ means that the user selected the first item in the list.

These are the results from last week’s rollout. You can see that the number dropped quickly around the time of our rollout, which shows that our changes were an improvement.

Smarter Ranking

One of the challenges with the old search system was merging lists that had been ranked separately in the Core and in the cloud. It was difficult to compare scores from different ranking systems, so we relied on heuristics that tried to balance the ranks, popularity information, and text match accuracy.

This often led to less-than-ideal results, and troubleshooting issues was time-consuming because we had to replicate each user’s library in-house in order to see the issues. Since search ranking is now performed in the cloud in a unified way, this class of tricky issues has disappeared.

More Powerful Algorithms

Today, state-of-the-art search systems use Machine Learning to deliver results. It was difficult to use these techniques in the old Roon Core, so one of the main goals of the re-architecture was to enable this.

In the future, we will be able to tailor results to individual users. For example, a Beatles fan typing “John” into the search box probably expects “John Lennon” to be the top result, while a Jazz listener might expect “John Coltrane”.

This will also enable the implementation of modern search techniques like spelling corrections, search suggestions, semantic search, and gradient boosting, none of which are practical within the Roon Core.

Instant Search Improvements

After deploying the new architecture internally in September, we started the process of tuning it to perform better than the old system. We focused on improving the instant search dropdown, making sure that fewer characters are required to reach the desired result, and that the results continue to feel sensible as more characters are entered.

In addition to automated testing, we have a weekly review process where the product and search teams come together to examine a set of 50 representative searches and discuss how the results changed because of the previous week’s work. This helps us understand the tradeoffs and make decisions that prioritize the user experience.

Dozens of Smaller Improvements

As part of this work, we made many of smaller improvements to the search system. Shorter queries like “john” or “pink” should now return more coherent results. The system is not directly auto-correcting misspellings, but it is more tolerant of misspelled terms in multi-word searches. It is also better at prioritizing exact matches, deduplicating similar results, and choosing the best version of an album or track when there are multiple versions available.

While things have definitely gotten better in the past year, 2022 was mostly about laying the groundwork. We plan to make faster and more visible progress in 2023 and beyond.

I want to thank everyone for their patience as we work on improving the search engine, and for all the feedback in last year’s thread. It has been very helpful in understanding our users’ perspectives, and we hope you will continue to use our product and provide feedback in the future.

Introducing Roon 2.0 and Roon ARC

We are delighted to introduce Roon 2.0 and Roon ARC – our biggest release yet and something that will change how you use Roon forever. 

Roon ARC

Roon ARC is a brand new app that gives you the freedom to experience your entire Roon library – and Roon’s most powerful features – without compromise, wherever you are in the world. Right from your mobile device.

Whether you’re working out at the gym, heading into the office, or traveling thousands of miles from home – ARC gives you remote access to your complete library of artists, albums, playlists, tags, and streams. No more settling for second-best from streaming apps. ARC makes everywhere feel like home.

Powered by your Roon core, Roon ARC becomes your very own, custom-built streaming service. Explore and expand your entire music library, immerse yourself in new discoveries, access key Roon features, and listen in the best possible sound quality – all from a single, beautiful mobile app. All free and exclusive to Roon subscribers.

Learn more & download Roon ARC

Experience more with Roon 2.0

Along with additional enhancements, like native support for Apple Silicon, Roon 2.0 brings an amazing music experience to more people, on more platforms. Read all about ARC and Roon 2.0 over on our Community. 

Visit our Community to learn more

Updating to Roon 2.0

When you log in to Roon, you’ll be prompted to update your Roon Core to the new Roon 2.0. Please don’t forget to update your Roon Remote on iOS and Android devices before accepting the update on your Core.

To use Roon outside of your home you will need to download the Roon ARC mobile app and connect it to your Roon Core. Roon ARC is separate to and different from Roon Remote that you use at home, so even if you already have Roon Remote on your mobile device, you’ll need to download Roon ARC to access Roon on the go. More information on getting started with ARC can be found on our Help Center. 

If you have any questions or need some support, you can contact our dedicated Customer Success team via our Community.

Improving Artist Images in Roon with Art Director

The latest Roon 1.8 release talks about Art Director as a way of fixing up artist photos in Roon, and now that we have over 500,000 images already adjusted by our community, I’d like to expand on that.

Getting high-quality (and highly accurate) photographs of artists has been a challenge for every service that displays them. Even the major music services (with considerably more resources than Roon) struggle with this problem.

Over the years, we’ve continually improved the artist photos in Roon, both by licensing new data sources and by implementing image analysis. Facial recognition in particular made a major improvement in the way artists are presented, but it hasn’t been a comprehensive solution and in fact, we’ve found that it doesn’t help at all on a certain class of photos. For example, facial recognition algorithms are notoriously biased when it comes to skin color and gender, and are rarely effective when dealing with group photos.

As part of our Valence development, we’ve built a tool called Art Director that lets our team manually adjust photos, but we just can’t produce enough data fast enough. We’re a small team and there are many artists.

Rather than attempt the impossible, we settled on a different approach: we improved Art Director and made it suitable for use by a wider audience. Now, we’ve released it to the Roon community, so everyone can help make perfect artist images a reality. Not only will this effort improve artist images in Roon, but it will provide our machine learning algorithms with valuable training data for improving images automatically in the future.

Some Roon users have complained that circular photos are the problem, but that’s not quite right. It’s true that they’re not great when you have a row of performers lined up for a band photo, but square is equally bad in those cases. Going “square” creates additional problems in UI design, where artists and albums look too similar when presented together.

To solve the difficult circular cases, we’ve gone back to a concept that we’ve always wanted: the logo. Artist logos can be used as the “avatar” of the artist – the circular image. Circular avatars are now distinct from the large rectangular “banner” images shown at the top of artist pages. For example, the London Symphony Orchestra has a beautiful and unique logo; a wide-angle photo of the LSO on stage just looks like any other orchestra. The same goes for many bands; would you rather see the 4 to 6 members of The Rolling Stones in a small circle or their “Hot Lips” logo?

Now that we have started to get contributions at scale, another positive side effect of this project is that we will be able to show multiple great images of each artist in Roon in an future release of Roon.

You can find Art Director at https://valence.roonlabs.com, where we’ll introduce more of these types of tools in the future. You will need to log in with your licensed Roon account (not a trial) to contribute.


Roon 1.8 Fall 2021 release

With our Fall 2021 release, you’ll see some great improvements to Roon, but the big news is that we’re rolling out the first of a series of fun web-based tools to our community of music fanatics. The goal of these tools is to let you contribute your expertise to Valence, our cloud-based data system, making the Roon experience richer for the whole community!

Art Director

Everyone benefits from better-looking artist photos and band logos, so we’ve created Art Director, the first in a series of fun web-based tools that puts Roon users in control of how artist images are shown in Roon. Using Art Director, you can adjust the positioning of artist photos, upload your own band logos and images, and vote for your favorites. By doing so, you’ll be helping the whole Roon community and making perfect artist images a reality.

How does Art Director work?

When you visit our new Valence page and select “Contribute”, you sign in with your Roon account and select Art Director. You’ll be presented with images from the Valence database that need your artistic eye. If you want to adjust images for a specific artist, just type their name into the search box. From there, you’ll see all of the adjustments contributed by other users, as well as any images that still need your direction.

Art Director allows us to be far more dynamic with the images used in Roon, giving us the ability to adjust photos to fit into specific shapes. For example, you can adjust the main image that is displayed at the top of an artist page, as well as their circular ‘avatar’ that is shown on the Artists page and within search lists. This means no matter where an artist image is displayed in Roon, it will always look fantastic. If you have a band logo or a photo of an artist that you love, you can also upload it to Art Director to be featured in Roon. 

You and the rest of the Roon community can also vote for your favorite image on an artist’s page. Just click on the heart next to any adjusted image; this is how Valence decides which images are shown in Roon. As the Roon community begins to vote and adjust artist photos, you’ll always see the best possible images in Roon, and they’ll constantly improve based on the efforts of our community.

Local image edits are still possible, but if you have previously spent time improving artist images in your own library, you can now make these changes in Art Director to update your library while improving the Roon experience for everyone.

To start contributing, just sign into Valence using your Roon account details at valence.roonlabs.com

Playlists by Roon

Our team lives for music, and it’s our goal to create the best experiences for other music lovers. In addition to Roon itself, we do this by collaborating with artists, our community, and with our own music team to bring you editorial content and playlists that we think you’ll enjoy. Over the past year we’ve worked with artists including Patricia Barber, Daymé Arocena, AHI, and Stephen Moccio to bring you exclusive interviews and editorial, as well as producing weekly playlists with a particular genre or theme. 

Up until now, the playlists we have created have only been available on TIDAL and Qobuz, and haven’t been accessible in Roon. In our latest release, you can now access everything our music team has curated, directly from your Home screen on both streaming platforms.

Smarter search

Back in the summer, we released the first of many updates to improve how you search for music in Roon. In this update we’ve taken the next step and completely overhauled the search function to make it easier than ever to find the music you’re looking for.

Now, when you search for music in Roon you’ll see more accurate and concise results (with fewer inaccuracies!), especially when it comes to your library content. Roon will be able to detect when you’re searching for classical music, presenting composers and compositions first. We’ve also overhauled text filtering across the app, for more consistent handling of special characters and punctuation.

The updates we’ve made to search this year are just the beginning. Search has been a top priority for us this year, and led by our data team, it will continue to be a focus into 2022 and beyond.

Rock-solid streaming

We’ve completely overhauled Roon’s buffering and caching infrastructure for playing streaming content. The new implementation is designed to be less demanding when interacting with your network and internet connection, making streaming music both more stable and less intensive on your Roon Core. This should minimize playback interruptions from TIDAL and Qobuz, as well as making it possible for people with slower internet connections and networks to have a better and more reliable experience while using Roon. It will also ensure your Roon Core is more resilient to latency issues caused by Content Delivery Networks (CDN) and the geographic distance from your source.

Easier volume limits

We’ve redesigned the Zone Settings screen so it’s even easier to set volume limits that prevent your music from getting too loud. The new design also makes it easier to configure auto-sleep functionality and other settings for your audio devices.

Other new improvements in this release include: improved iOS lockscreen control implementation, new cover art on playlist screens on mobile devices and added the album type to artist’s “Recommended albums” for easier browsing of main albums, singles, and EPs. You can see a complete list of improvements over on our Community post.

We want to thank our subscribers for everything you have done to help us improve Roon and grow our amazing community this year – we couldn’t have done it without you!

We hope you enjoy the new update and if you have any questions or need some support , you can reach out to our dedicated Customer Success & Support team via our Help Center or head over to our Community and join in the discussions with thousands of other Roon subscribers.