Introducing Valence — finding your next music obsession with Roon!

Roon Labs is proud to announce the largest project we’ve ever undertaken. After two years of focused design and engineering, we’re unveiling an entirely new technology we call Valence.

Valence is a system built on a massive new cloud database, which uses machine learning algorithms – designed with our passion for music – to model the many dimensions of relatedness more deeply than ever before. And because you use Roon to explore, collect, and listen to the music you love, Valence understands you like no other.

The secret ingredient is the Roon community; Valence learns from the musical tastes of over 100,000 expert listeners who use Roon. 

The result is the ultimate music expert, which presents the world of music through a lens personalized just for you.

Beyond Valence, there’s more to this update: we’ve brought the kind of experience you expect from Roon to the world of live radio, and Roon OS has received a massive performance boost. As always, feedback from the community has led to a number of other improvements as well.

Roon includes three features that are powered by Valence:

New Releases For You

In most streaming apps, “New releases” are just a list of everything that’s been released this week, or sometimes only certain titles that are being marketed. Valence lets Roon show you new releases you care about, based on your library and listening history. The more you use Roon, the better the “New Releases” will get!

Recommended For You

Valence also powers a small selection of recommendations on the album screen, selecting relevant albums and allowing you to browse a nearly-endless supply of similar music.

Artist Play and Composer Play

These new play options use Valence to pick a selection of an artist or composer’s best music by determining their “heyday” periods, finding their most popular albums (based on Roon users’ listening history), and digging deep to find lesser-known gems. Whether it’s an artist you know and love, or someone new you’re ready to explore, now you can just click Play.

Valence now improves several long-standing Roon features as well:

Faster, more accurate Search

We’ve completely re-engineered our search algorithm based on feedback from the Roon community. Valence now tracks hundreds of data points when interpreting search terms, delivering more accurate and relevant results.

Better context for classical Compositions

Classical composer and composition views have been improved, presenting data more clearly and comprehensively. Most importantly, Valence uses the community’s listening history to allow sorting by popularity, so you can benefit from the expertise of other listeners when choosing performances of a composition.

Credits metadata is vastly improved

Valence has considerably increased both the coverage and quality of credits in Roon. Over 44 million additional credits have been introduced to fill gaps that existed before, and the roles associated with those credits are more consistent and accurate. This release also includes support for importing credits from file tags.

Other features of the 1.7 release:

Live Radio directory

We’re thrilled to launch our Live Radio directory, a collection of more than 1000 live radio stations, hand curated by the Roon community. Now you can browse stations by genre or quickly find your local stations. As with all streaming content, live radio can be added to your library for easy access later. Remember, the directory is an actively maintained database; if you have questions, suggestions, or if there’s a station you can’t find, let them know in the Radio Curation category on our community site.

Streaming Optimizations

For music playing from TIDAL and Qobuz, Roon now buffers data in a less disruptive way, and there are optimizations which reduce disk activity, CPU usage, and memory traffic. This means that streaming content starts faster and slower internet connections (or lower-powered cores) may also benefit when streaming high-resolution content.

Android audio improvements

When playing on an Android device, Roon now plays in the background with metadata and transport controls available in the Android “notification” area. Roon performs more gracefully when the state of  an Android device’s audio output changes, including when a phone call is received, when a headphone cable is removed, when a video is started on Facebook, etc. Signal Path will also report exactly how an Android device renders audio. Like most Android apps, Roon depends on the device to set sample rates.

Performance improvements on Roon OS

Starting with Roon 1.7, when running on Roon OS, Roon will use the Microsoft .NET Core Runtime, which offers higher performance and improved memory efficiency.

Library management aspects of Roon typically run 30-40% faster, use less power, and generate less heat. This also enables larger music libraries on the same hardware.

Roon OS has always been the best way to run Roon for most users, but as of this change, we are confident that it is the best option for everyone, regardless of library size. Roon on Roon OS is now more efficient and performs better than Roon on any other platform or product.

We’ve also listened to user feedback beyond the big-ticket features, and introduced a variety of little crowd pleasers:

Zone Icons

Roon has always included custom icons for Roon Ready and Roon Tested devices, but today’s release allows for more customization for the Roon zones around your home, with more than 40 zone icons included.

More File Tag processing

Roon can now automatically create “Roon Tags” from special file tags at the album or track level. This is a hugely flexible mechanism for the importing of nearly any external organizational system. This release includes support for importing lyrics and credits from file tags as well.

Visual improvements

Roon’s font and color rendering has also undergone a major overhaul. Across the app, on all platforms, text shapes will appear cleaner and smoother, and the intent of the font is better preserved, improving readability. Additionally, the coloring of album covers should feel truer to the physical media on a wider range of LCD monitors.

Text layout improvements

In addition to looking better, Roon now has complete support for right-to-left scripts such as Arabic and Hebrew. Faster performance in the user interface and less resource intensive rendering makes a significant impact, especially on tablets and phones.