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Leaving Roon, Qobuz and Tidal

Jimbob54

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After the second loss of Qobuz favourites from my Roon library this weekend , the second in a month (first occurence: https://www.audiosciencereview.com/...z-albums-vanished-from-roon.23281/post-776321) I decided to pack it in with Roon. A damn shame as it is great software and perfect for my needs as it :
  1. Allows me to merge local and streaming files
  2. Allows EQ at source
  3. Communicates seamlessly with endpoints over network (Mainly Cambridge Audio CXN) and allows me to use the remote for that to control playback, as well as apps on Android and Chromebook
But I simply cannot justify the hefty price if I cant access the bulk of my music for days at a time due to unresolved tech issues somewhere between Roon and Qobuz. I also had a secondary (less than lossless) sub with Tidal to both supplement my Qobuz library and also use with UAPP on Android when mobile due to its ability to shuffle big playlists and apply EQ (Qobuz didnt play well with that). I decided to bin that off too

So, what solutions did I come up with to replace?

1. Amazon Music Unlimited - currently under trial but its £7.99 pm or £79 annual for HD. It is one of the few streaming desktop apps that allows local and online files to be merged and also allows a full library shuffle (both of which I need). Spotify allows you to play local files through its app , but it puts them in a separate "box" so you cant shuffle along with streamed content- so pretty pointless, may as well use Musicbee etc separately.
2. EAPO/ Peace for EQ on desktop. Seems to work just fine - not as slick as the Roon DSP for sure, but its free and works!
3. For mobile - my wife has a Spotify account and you can add a second "Duo" account on for only a couple of £ pm. So far so good, but only a paltry EQ function. But then I discovered Wavelet thanks to @Doodski brilliant post https://www.audiosciencereview.com/...acos-ios-ipados-and-android.18450/post-602403 and wonderfully gives seamless access to the Auto EQ database of settings. Yes, I would love a proper PEQ, not GEQ and/ or presets , but you can tweak the Auto EQ settings a bit with manual GEQ so good enough. Sadly, Wavelet cant EQ an Amazon Music stream (nor Tidal and a few others I think) otherwise I would have done that.

What am I missing compared to Roon and Qobuz/ Tidal?

1. Interface nowhere near as slick- I love the library analysis and sorting features of Roon, fully integrated PEQ
2. Mobile / remote control- I may have to use a remote keyboard for PC and/ or remote desktop on the chromebook. Apparently you can stream Amazon Music from phone app to Alexa installed on the PC, but its a bit clunky and , from a very very quick test and a bit of research doesnt seem to have the sound quality of the AM app on PC.
3. Multiple endpoints- so I will have to go back to USB from the PC to CXN if I want to use EQ - I could cast AM to the CXN if I wanted something easier but no EQ. If I want to play on my bedroom setup with EQ , will have to be a USB cable from DAC to phone and run through Spotify and Wavelet .

So, I think I will be saving a fortune in Roon and quite expensive Qobuz and Tidal subs. My outlay is now looking like around £120 per year for AM and Spotify (as a second account with Duo) and (hopefully) a more reliable service . Aside from the Roon integration issue with Qobuz, Qobuz were also buggers for removing items from their collection and replacing without re linking or notifying.

Sonically, I am really not that interested in finding out if a file on Qobuz, via Roon with their EQ into my DAC sounds any better than AM to EAPO to DAC. What plays on the new set up sounds fine to my ears- I am using the same EQ profiles as on Roon, and that is surely where the bulk of what I hear from the system is coming from, not how the bits are processed before that.

Hopefully I will be a happy camper with more money to spend on important things, like beer and more headphones. To any other Roon users, there is a different (albeit less pretty) way!

If anyone has any better suggestions, shout out whilst I am still in trial!
 

Soniclife

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Are you considering something like the qudelix 5k for mobile use, so you can EQ any source? The way android is effectively random as to what will EQ or not drives me mad, for example the app I use for EQ will EQ BBC Sounds when it's playing back live radio, but not when it's playing back downloaded shows.
 

seyl3r

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I don't have a suggestion for a streaming platform, but I would like to additionally recommend LastFM (https://www.last.fm) to log the music you actually listen to. Set it up once, that's it.

I'm using it for almost 10 years now and have gone through different sources such as local music and streaming platforms. My LastFM profile contains all the music I have listened to and listened most, which is in turn my favorite music :).
 

Vini darko

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A quick note : Amazon also changes albums without notice and they just dissapear or become weirdly fragmented or go dark and won't play.
It's always a more modern "remaster" replacment , so worse genrally. Happened with brothers in arms recently and the interstellar ost.
 
OP
Jimbob54

Jimbob54

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Are you considering something like the qudelix 5k for mobile use, so you can EQ any source? The way android is effectively random as to what will EQ or not drives me mad, for example the app I use for EQ will EQ BBC Sounds when it's playing back live radio, but not when it's playing back downloaded shows.
I have one (5k)
I use it for daily exercise. The other "mobile" use is actuallyu current office space (kitchen table) so using regular wired dongles for that.

Yes, android for audio is only marginally better than apple with its crazy limitations!
 
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Jimbob54

Jimbob54

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A quick note : Amazon also changes albums without notice and they just dissapear or become weirdly fragmented or go dark and won't play.
It's always a more modern "remaster" replacment , so worse genrally. Happened with brothers in arms recently and the interstellar ost.
Bollocks:mad:
 

Pe8er

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If you already have a local music library, perhaps consider abandoning the need to merge local and streaming? If you're okay with that, I would recommend:

1. Plex for your local files. Excellent desktop / web browser and mobile apps — simple and polished UX, reliable streaming to mobile devices and support for all kinds of media. Plex pass ($120, often found on sale for $80) gives you local syncing and access to an even better music-focused app PlexAmp, which is available on all platforms. Plex also has pretty basic EQ (which doesn't really matter since you have the Qudelix 5K and Peace)

2. For new music discovery / streaming, you have a few options, depending on your needs and budget:

- Youtube - free, good for quick lookup before you buy and download
- Last.fm - what @seyl3r said above + collected information about your listening habits is used to generate recommendations, which are pretty good! It heavily depends on what you listen to of course, I found that last.fm is better with niche artists/genres than Spotify or Apple Music.
- Spotify - because your wife already has it, you can EQ with Wavelet and they're bound to announce a lossless tier now that Apple put their foot forward!
 

7mad

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Hi,
Long time lurker here. This hits close to home, so I decided to share a recent finding regarding Wavelet.
After I enabled the "Enhanced Session Detection" feature, Wavelet started working with UAPP and Amazon.
For the details checkout Wavelet's GitHub page: https://pittvandewitt.github.io/Wavelet/#enhanced-session-detection

A few points I must mention:
+ I have the paid version of Wavelet with Beta releases options enabled.
+ I tested this on Android 10 (OnePlus 6T) and Android 11 (OnePlus Nord N200 5G 'DE2118')
+ This is an experimental feature.
+ Due to lack of time, I did not get a chance to do any serious listening nor stability tests.

Screenshot_20210725-112346.jpg
 
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Jimbob54

Jimbob54

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Hi,
Long time lurker here. This hits close to home, so I decided to share a recent finding regarding Wavelet.
After I enabled the "Enhanced Session Detection" feature, Wavelet started working with UAPP and Amazon.
For the details checkout Wavelet's GitHub page: https://pittvandewitt.github.io/Wavelet/#enhanced-session-detection

A few points I must mention:
+ I have the paid version of Wavelet with Beta releases options enabled.
+ I tested this on Android 10 (OnePlus 6T) and Android 11 (OnePlus Nord N200 5G 'DE2118')
+ This is an experimental feature.
+ Due to lack of time, I did not get a chance to do any serious listening nor stability tests.

View attachment 143379
Very interesting. I actually prefer to use the eq in uapp than wavelet. But it's good to know I can push amazon through wavelet.
 

Jim Matthews

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I'm happy with Amazon HD quality and variety.

It's a faff to access their catalog, using BlueOS.
I keep the Amazon app open to browse their excellent GUI.

The rudimentary Amazon search in BlueOS gets fed the appropriate title.

If you're an Amazon Prime member, there's some discount. It's considerably less dosh than Roon (which I never considered, due to the expense).

If you buy a BlueSound Vault, favorite CDs and ripped files may be kept locally - up to 2TB.
 
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Headchef

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You’ve taken part in some of my tribulations Jimbob, distilled I’m giving up on streaming simply because it’s not actually the best audio available despite the marketing. Compressio, conversion, folding, unfolding, transport etc all have a noticeable effect on the actual reproduction. Streaming doesn’t actually sound better than CD in many cases (partially due to many albums being mastered for cd) and the best that you can get is the .wav from the likes of Bandcamp as those are often the direct files from the desk uncompressed (this has been confirmed to me by a couple of friends of mine in rather well known bands).

as for EQ/DSP I tend to avoid that stuff. That goes against the entire point of music reproduction in my opinion.

now there are those that’ll claim I’m wrong, but most of those folk are listening to kit on MidFi systems if that’s what makes them happy that’s cool, but if you’re looking for HiFi reproduction then it’s CD/SACD or WAV or signal degradation.
 

Purité Audio

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Poor souls with to their ‘mid-fi’ system, fortunate because they can’t hear a difference! Roon has a ‘transparency’ feature it tells you exactly which codec,sampling rate and bit depth you are listening to, it is the data which is important not the delivery medium.

Keith
 

Headchef

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Poor souls with to their ‘mid-fi’ system, fortunate because they can’t hear a difference! Roon has a ‘transparency’ feature it tells you exactly which codec,sampling rate and bit depth you are listening to, it is the data which is important not the delivery medium.

Keith

that data has been converted, compressed, split into packets, cached, sent across contended networks, recompiled, uncompressed, converted. I agree, it is the data that’s important. Rubbish in rubbish out.
 
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Jimbob54

Jimbob54

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You’ve taken part in some of my tribulations Jimbob, distilled I’m giving up on streaming simply because it’s not actually the best audio available despite the marketing. Compressio, conversion, folding, unfolding, transport etc all have a noticeable effect on the actual reproduction. Streaming doesn’t actually sound better than CD in many cases (partially due to many albums being mastered for cd) and the best that you can get is the .wav from the likes of Bandcamp as those are often the direct files from the desk uncompressed (this has been confirmed to me by a couple of friends of mine in rather well known bands).

as for EQ/DSP I tend to avoid that stuff. That goes against the entire point of music reproduction in my opinion.

now there are those that’ll claim I’m wrong, but most of those folk are listening to kit on MidFi systems if that’s what makes them happy that’s cool, but if you’re looking for HiFi reproduction then it’s CD/SACD or WAV or signal degradation.

Im not even going to attempt to argue back. All I will say is my "library" of streaming albums is around 5000- my physical (or actually ripped) library is about 1500. I couldnt have begun to afford to buy the 3000+ other albums so would probably have trialled on Spotify or similar - at which point I figured just go lossless streaming and not really care about whether I could tell the difference between the CD/ ripped FLAC and the online one.
 

Jim Matthews

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Jim Matthews

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(Which Roon happily blamed on Qobuz- though to be honest I care not whose fault, both have lost my custom)
My first and only experience with Qobuz was not positive, so I'm biased.

Still, you *should* get what you paid for.
 

SKBubba

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Note that Spotify only supports mp3 for local files. It won't play flac. Maybe this will change if/when they launch hifi?

I'm thinking about abandoning roon+qobuz, too. I haven't had any real technical problems with roon. They're just missing some features, are very slow to develop them, and some existing features are inferior. Plus, their aloof, superior attitude bugs me. Roon also seems complex and fragile. I think they made some bad choices of cross-platform development tools and it's holding them back.

I've been using Spotify for several weeks now. I like the Connect feature for controlling PC playback. I wouldn't even need the PC because my main amp has Connect built in. But, the built-in app doesn't support volume leveling and the PC app does.

I enjoy the Spotify suggestions and radio features. 10x better than roon+qobuz and roon radio. Playlist management and sharing is 10x better. Mobile app is a bonus. Sound quality is pretty close to flac in my setup.

Haven't found anything of importance missing compared to my local library, which is only about 1400 albums. There are some where Spotify only has a "remastered" version, which aren't always as good but close enough.

I'm OK with moving on from my local library and just streaming what's available. I will still have my library and JRiver if I really need to play my version or something that's missing. Being able to access virtually everything by an artist I like v. just the few albums in my library is a bonus.

I have also tried Amazon, Apple, Deezer and Tidal (with and without roon). None match Spotify's app+connect+mobile features. Tidal comes closest, but they never implemented their connect feature for PC that they promised a year ago, and I will not support MQA. If they ditched MQA and finished their desktop connect feature I'd seriously reconsider.

I miss roon's metadata and their presentation of it. It's easy enough to google the same info, though. Or better yet, pick up my phone or tablet and say "what's this song" and have Google Assistant look it it up for me.

Anyway, if/when Spotify launches hifi I'll probably be all in and all set. And save about $15/mo.
 
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