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Roon 1.8 Build 756
Foto © Michael Holzinger - sempre-audio.at

Roon 1.8 Build 756 should do the trick…

Roon 1.8 is supposed to guarantee a completely new music experience, that was the message from Roon Labs LLC. around the supposedly biggest update in the company’s history. In fact, however, it turned out that this update was certainly not a glorious one for the software forge.


Already last year, the software forge Roon Labs LLC. announced a really big update of its media management and multi-room audio streaming software Roon. According to the company, the version Roon 1.8 should be the biggest update in the company’s history. It was currently in the final beta test so that the new version could be rolled out at the beginning of 2021.

Little by little, new information was provided about the innovations that would be available to users with Roon 1.8, so expectations were naturally high when the time actually came on 9 February 2021 and Roon 1.8 was available for download.

And it has to be said that what was on offer was certainly not a glorious event for Roon Labs LLC. Well, no one can really be blamed for the fact that the company’s servers did not really stand up to the immense rush of users, that is in the nature of things. However, Roon Labs LLC. did not deliver anything other than a beta version with Roon 1.8, specifically Roon 1.8 Build 748.

Within a very short time, the relevant forums were filled with the first reports from users about problems with the installation, and the countless support requests directly in the company’s forum even caused the server to crash.

Whoever came up with the “glorious” idea that the update could only be carried out in a certain order – first the controllers, then the actual core…

But this hurdle, which was ultimately easy to circumvent, was by no means the only problem. With certain configurations, various settings could no longer be made because they were either completely missing or always led to a crash. In addition, there were several other problems, up to completely faulty display of the app. All in all, the consumer experience was not really satisfactory.

Somehow it seems as if Roon Labs LLC. simply delivered an unfinished developer version instead of the actual final version that had been extensively tested for problems, it can’t be that no one noticed these obvious shortcomings during the beta test. Hopefully someone will have tried to access all settings and should have noticed that this leads to crashes…

I don’t want to make this story bigger than it really is, because in the meantime – only two days later – an update of the update is available with Roon 1.8 Build 756, which probably solves at least the most serious problems, even if there are still more open issues, which means that further updates will be necessary in the near future.

But, and that’s what I’m getting at, this seems to me to be typical of what’s been going wrong at Roon Labs LLC. in recent months.

Roon Labs LLC. has grown too fast, somehow it seems that with the existing support they are lagging behind the great success of the software with the users and at the same time they still focus solely on as many new functions as possible instead of first closing the existing construction sites.

If you take a look around the support forum of the software company, you will quickly notice that there is an immense crowd of users who are always demanding new functions. There is no question that there are some very sensible suggestions, but many of them fall under the heading of “nice to have – but who really needs it” or lack any basis for a wide range of users.

The developers obviously take up many of the suggestions, which is quite welcome, if one did not at the same time overlook those problems that are fundamentally concerned with the stability and smooth functionality of existing features.

Over time, more and more functions are added, the interface is refined, but many a problem that has existed for ages remains unsolved. Support tickets remain “unanswered” for days, sometimes weeks and even months, or you are put off until a possible future update at some point – I can report this from my own painful experience.

Getting to the point

To emphasise this clearly, I still consider Roon to be by far the best solution at present when it comes to the comfortable, intuitive management of audio streaming. No other solution can even come close to Roon at the moment.

Roon Labs LLC. has gained a lead that hardly any other company could catch up with so easily, so the software company can only give itself a leg up, to put it in a nutshell.

And that would be, for example, by always adding new features that are quite nice, but not really essential, while existing user problems remain unsolved. Likewise, it is not the smartest tactic to constantly tinker with the design of the interface, because as soon as users get used to a certain workflow, everything is somehow new again.

Yes, many people like it, no question, I can also enjoy the new functions, at least in part, and a constant development with meaningful innovations is also desirable, especially with the subscription-based payment model of Roon Labs LLC. this is almost essential. But it would be just as essential to make sure that one does not lose sight of the basics.

And quite frankly, announcing an update with a lot of fanfare and then delivering a half-baked beta version that has to be followed by a new update as quickly as possible is not really solid craftsmanship and does not strengthen trust in the platform.

As I said, I don’t want to make a big deal out of this, but in the end Roon costs a lot, and that has to be mentioned in this context. And you can expect professional service.

Manufacturer:Roon Labs LLC.
Distribution:Roon Labs LLC.

About Michael Holzinger

Michael Holzinger, founder and editor-in-chief of HiFi BLOG and sempre-audio.com, has been working for years as a journalist in the fields of IT, photography, telecommunications and consumer electronics.

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