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Does Roon 2.0 require an always-on Internet connection?

  • Last week we published a video about Roon 2.0 and its all-new accompanying app, Arc, that enables Roon streaming outside of the home: at the office, on the train or – my favourite – at the coffee shop. But there would be a wrinkle: the ensuing YouTube comments section chatter was lightly peppered with grumbles about Roon 2.0 requiring the presence of a functioning Internet connection to stream not just from Tidal and Qobuz but also local files. In my case, that meant 3TB of FLAC sitting on a hard drive directly connected to a Roon Nucleus+.

    Did these forum dwellers have it wrong? From Roon 2.0’s release notes: “Roon Core requires active internet [sic] connection” — one might reasonably read this as restating the obvious for Tidal and/or Qobuz users. Nevertheless, I thought it prudent to test out my YouTube commenters’ complaints. I pulled the Internet cable from the wall and let Roon 2.0 play from my local library. And play it did. For five hours (by which time I needed to get back online). Claims disproven, case closed?

    Not so fast.

    Smouldering over on Roon’s own community pages was a three-week-old 🔥 thread about this very topic, in which some users reported as I had found – that an Internet outage did nothing to local file playback – whilst others claimed Roon 2.0 was crapping out after less than an hour. Time to get on the phone. Picking up at the other end was Roon Labs COO Danny Dulai who explained carefully that Roon 2.0 promises “zero minutes” of offline playback for local files. “You’ll probably get more but we can’t guarantee that — so zero minutes is what we’re saying (or you move to 1.8 Legacy)”. How Roon got to this point entails a longer explanation which I detail in the follow-up above.

    The takeaway from my two-hour phone call with Dulai is that he and his team have already done the maths: that fewer existing users will quit Roon (because of 2.0’s move to an always-on Internet connection) than will join for Arc’s remote streaming functionality or as yet unknown software smarts coming down the pike, enabled by a shift to cloud computing.

    🎥 Camera: Olaf von Voss
    🎬 Editor: John Darko
    🕺🏻 Motion GFX: John Darko
    💰 Ad segment: Jana Dagdagan

    🛋 My listening room in 2022:

    🎵 Song IDs? Playlists of all music heard in this video – and other videos – can be found on PATREON:

    Further information: Roon Labs

    👉🏻 Further reading and watching…

    A short film about Roon ROCK

    10 more thoughts on Roon ROCK + Intel NUC

    Roon hardware requirements

    Roon TV Remote app

    Roon 2.0 release notes

    Roon 2.0 and internet connectivity

    🤔 Alternatives to Roon streaming?

    A short film about the Xiaomi Mi Box S

    A short film about PLEX + Plexamp

    A short film about the Raspberry Pi as Squeezebox streamer AND server

    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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