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Roon + Qobuz, Tidal = Pandora for lossless lovers

  • Roon Radio? Not a browsable index of broadcast radio streams from around the world but a feature that plays similar music from your library after pressing its blue button from any song, album or genre. Roon Radio can also pick up where the ‘now playing’ playlist leaves off.

    Whichever way it runs, users are optionally invited to click ‘thumbs up’ and ‘thumbs down’ on the algorithm’s subsequent selections. Roon Radio is a little like Pandora for your hard-drive.

    But not only.

    In v1.6, rolling out to Roon subscribers from today, Roon Radio gets a significant update. Gone is the wall-garden approach to only playing music from inside your house. Roon Radio will additionally ‘swim’ out into any linked streaming service account to play similar music from Tidal and/or Qobuz.

    Yes, you read that correctly: Roon v1.6 will add support for Qobuz, the French music streaming service available to a large chunk of Euro users and now in beta for US customers, to put the boot in on any (artificially manufactured) ‘streaming war’.

    For rabid music fans like yours truly who in the nineties would drop upwards of $200 on CDs each month, Tidal and Qobuz subscriptions aren’t mutually exclusive; they can co-exist as two services with different libraries, where almost EVERY title is available losslessly (in CD quality) and with around 5% coming down the pipe in hi-res formats, natively up to 24bit/192kHz via Qobuz and MQA-encapsulated via Tidal.

    I’ve been playing with a beta of Roon v1.6 for the past few weeks and can enthusiastically report that the new Roon Radio algorithm will swim out into both Qoboz and Tidal waters as it feels appropriate and that its choices have an air of spooky precognition. Roon’s express train to music discovery has already led me to go nuts for British post-punkers IDLES and swoon over First Aid Kit‘s (2012!) debut The Lion’s Roar. Without Roon, they would have remained missing in my life and from my IKEA Kallax shelves.

    Roon also kicks into touch the idea that streaming software has to be ugly. The v1.6 update reworks the ‘now playing’ screen to feature customisable “high-resolution artist photos, track credits, album reviews, artist biographies and technical details about the current song”. The back-end’s DSP engine has also been reworked to be more “approachable”.

    Per our video overview, this latest update strengthens Roon standing as the go-to software for connoisseurs of music streaming:

    The v1.6 update will begin rolling out to all users from midday (EST) on 22nd January.

    Further information: Roon Labs

    Written by John

    John currently lives in Berlin where he creates videos and podcasts for Darko.Audio. He has previously contributed to 6moons, TONEAudio, AudioStream and Stereophile.

    Darko.Audio is a member of EISA.

    Follow John on YouTube or Instagram

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