Music management and streaming platform Roon is getting a big update in the form of Roon 2.0. The biggest innovation? The Roon ARC app, which lets you listen to your entire Roon library of tracks on your phone, so you don't have to rely on just what the current streaming services have to offer.
The new app is free to all Roon subscribers and available on iOS and Android devices. If you're using Roon to organise and stream all your music at home, this app lets you remotely access all music by artist, album, playlist or tag, so you can quickly find something to listen to when you're on the move. Which is a godsend if you have a ton of rare music stashed away on a hard drive that you can't find on the likes of Spotify, Apple Music et al.
It also serves up all of Roon's rich metadata to your phone, so you can access liner notes, album and song credits, recommendations, Roon Radio, new releases and daily mixes.
And it links seamlessly to the Tidal and Qobuz streaming services, so you can listen to all the hi-res music they have to offer without leaving the Roon ARC app. By optimising the signal path, Roon ARC will also give you the best sound quality from whichever mobile device you're listening on. Want to dig deeper into this? The 'Signal Path' tab will show how the audio signal reaches your headphones from the source media.
You can download songs for offline listening too, so you can listen on a plane or where you have no internet connection. Files are downloaded in their original format, rather than being compressed, so should sound as good as they can. This could make for sizeable downloads if you have a bunch of hi-res albums, so hop onto a wi-fi connection to avoid a hefty phone bill for data use.
Roon is increasingly available on many audio products (from Naim to KEF to Astell & Kern), and promises to deliver "bit perfect playback of lossy and lossless file formats, including high-resolution audio content" – thus carving itself a niche in audiophile circles. But with the new ARC mobile app, its popularity could be about to change.
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