Cataloging Vinyl

roon
discogs

#1

There appears to be no way to inform ROON about the vinyl records I own. If so, this is a serious shortcoming. If the point of ROON is to be able to draw inferences about my tastes, and to show connections of bands and musicians, I’ve got a frontal lobotomy to deal with.

I know that I can use discogs to catalog my vinyl. I’ve never done that, because I know what I have. But I don’t always know those nice litte connections.

Is there any part of ROON that can be used, or any add-on to pull in this information? A ROON - Discogs bridge seems like it would be a good idea, because I think Discogs has the best vinyl database. Maybe they want to keep control.


#2

Yes, I know what people say that reply to self.

I looked on Roon Community forum, and I found a year old support request for the same thing. One community member replied. Suggested you use TIDAL to catalog your vinyl. Laughable. While most Roon members in the US may have TIDAL, not everyone does. And TIDAL’s knowledge of vinyl is nearly non-existent.

I revived the request. Any Roon Community members are requested to pile on.


#3

ROON isn’t a cataloging tool.

Based on the discussions I’ve had with a couple of the Roon folks (technical, sales and management) at various events, this isn’t going to change. There are myriad reasons for this … technical, practical, financial and intentional.

TIDAL (or any other digital streaming service) isn’t a cataloging tool either; there’s no reason at all for it to have any data whatsoever on music that isn’t available on the service - which is, by definition, digital streaming media. In other words, there’s no vinyl catalog/data because TIDAL doesn’t have vinyl material/versions.

The only way you’re going to get vinyl data into Roon any time in the foreseeable future, maybe ever, is to create local files that represent the music/data you want it to expose, each with the necessary meta-data embedded within it to drive Roon’s discovery and relationship features.

It’d be relatively trivial to build a tool to take an exported catalog from Discogs and for it create empty (or 1 second of silence) audio files that contain the necessary metadata to act as a proxy for your vinyl. Roon could then index those and they’d show up in your library as if they were actual music files (but not be playable -the same is true, of course, if you could simply enter data for vinyl albums directly).

I expect that’s as close as you’re going to get.

If someone wants to dig up all the necessary metadata fields, with definitions and the required ERD/map to make all of Roon’s features work for this I’d be willing to write such a tool.

That said …

While Discogs has an expansive metadata library, it isn’t curated nearly well enough (or at all, it seems) to be anything other than an intensely manual process. I looked at using it to catalog my 12,000+ vinyl album collection - starting with my local “Rolling Stone All-Time Top 100” collection…

And then, on Album #20, when faced with something like 6,000+ choices for “Thriller” (after over 3,500 choices for “London Calling” etc. etc.), realized I was either going to have to add all the metadata myself to make sure it was correct or manually sift through thousands of not-quite-right entries trying to find one that was “close enough” or was actually correct. Way too much work … and far too time consuming … unless you don’t care about accuracy and completeness, in which case I’d personally not bother in the first place.


#4

I don’t expect Roon to be the catalog tool. I expect it to make connections. The Roon community talks about making “needle drops” but your idea of one-second blank files is far more sensible. I think that Roon is missing something in it’s value proposition not to have a way to import external data.

I am fully sympathetic to your curation and multiple dilemma. I a prior life, I managed a good number of projects involving data cleanup using a combination of programmatic tools and human intervention. This is not a trivial exercise. I wonder if any commercial entities can be tricked — I mean enticed into funding a cleanup.


#5

Just to add on to building those files, you could store them in a My Tags folder, and therefore catalog what you have. I do this (with digital files) for my SACD albums and my MQA albums from Tidal.

Another thought would be to convert the vinyl to digital. Not sure much time and effort you want to spend on the project, since as you stated —you know what you have.


#6

I think I might need a how-to. Most people suggest that I just use TIDAL to reference the titles of my albums. I need to learn how to edit or add tags if I do that. At least its a simple partial solution. The issue with the Roon community is that although it’s supposed to be an audiophile community, most of them are so immersed in digital that they don’t realize how limited still that the digital realm is.

TIDAL, in particular, has a thoroughly weird catalog. There are gaping holes in classical, I couldn’t find a number of minor groups (pop/rock) from the 70’s. Meanwhile they are really good in early Latin Invasion from the 40s and early 50s, and even have a very respectable selection of Argentine folk music.

There are those who have no analog, And those who have a small collection of new vinyl that they want to add - but those almost always have digital files too. Only a few oldsters with a lot of analog in their collections. With the resistance to non-digital, I’m glad I didn’t suggest being able to catalog cassettes, 8 track, reel-to-reel, wire recordings, and wax cylinders.


#7

I moved away from vinyl about 10 years ago. Had some audiophile labels, but decided the move to digital was more efficient for me. HQ Streaming is pretty good, so I don’t regret the move. Some Schiit like this might be worth looking into.

http://www.schiit.com/products/jil


#8

I often listen through my ummm shhhhhh… loudspeakers when listening to vinyl. VPI Prime Scout, with Ortofon 2M bronze cart, Musical Fidelity phono pre-amp, Wired4Sound integrated amp, and modified Rectilinear III Highboy speakers. I know that digital can be fairly good. My usual chain now has been Tidal on Mac Mini to iFi xDSD or Audioquest Dragonfly Black to Mjolnir Audio modified STAX SRM-T1S tube headphone amp to older STAX headphones. Alternatively, I go out through either iPhone or iPad to the xDSD and some regular headphones, or through Sonos Connect to either the loudspeakers, or some SONOS speakers, or to a TEAC DAC and headphones connected to that. It’s not the quality of the signal path. It’s that I have stuff THAT’S NOT AVAILABLE on Digital and/or I have it in 3 different formats and I wanna listen to a record while I read the nice big album jacket!. Did you know that the Rolling Stones “Satanic Majesties” album cover has a 3D picture on it? Or that Jethro Tull’s 2nd album has a pop-up?
Take that! Digital, you beeyotch! Biff Whop Wallop!

oops, I seem to have sputtered all over me trousers.