Roon is to music what Plex and Emby are to films and series: a user-friendly platform for indexing and streaming music which uses a server, a mobile app and a playback device (network player or connected amplifier).
Better than DLNA and iTunes
If your files are already shared via a local network, to stream via a wireless speaker or connected receiver for example, you are aware that indexing files is not exactly the most practical thing. The root of the problem is the UPnP/DLNA sharing protocol, which only allows for a minimalist display of filenames, song titles, and artists. Moreover, the files need to feature a TAG with this information. Lastly, controlling playback from a DLNA server (that of a NAS for example) is often finicky.
Software based server to install yourself
A few years ago, Roon Audio decided to fix these issues by releasing a user-friendly client-server system. The first step is to install the Roon Server software on a computer (Mac OS, Windows, Linux) or to purchase a Roon server, such as the Roon Nucleus.
Automatic indexing system
Once copied onto the Roon server, the audio files are automatically indexed. Album covers, artist pictures, biographies, presentation texts, etc. are also downloaded automatically. The server may be easily managed via its web interface. In other words, simply type the server’s address in a browser and all the information may be directly edited by hand.
Compatibility with USB DACs
The Roon server may also be used as an audio player, in which case simply connect a DAC USB or ampli DAC to the server. Playback control is done via the mobile Roon Remote app (or from the server’s web interface). The layout is user-friendly. This app may be used to control the streaming of audio files from the Roon server to a compatible audio player or a connected amplifier (Bluesound Node 2 , Cocktail Audio N15D , Bluesound Powernode 2, Naim Uniti Atom, Naim Uniti Star and Naim Uniti Nova for example).
All types of audio stream are handled (PCM, DSD, MQA) in many file formats : FLAC, ALAC, WAV, MP3, etc. Roon is a tried and trusted solution.