Not the end of the world, just reported as found:
As the only mediaplayer app on any of our Android phones (various), Roon produces staggering audio when other apps takes UI focus. Could it be that non-UI related Roon processes related to stream playback is running on the UI-thread? If so, that use of the UI thread is a no-no in the context of Android. Everything is fine when Roon has UI focus.
For reference, consider this is a problem even on the LG V10, launched Oct 2015.
AUDIO QUALITY INDICATOR TOO CONSERVATIVE
There is the “diamond” for supreme audio quality, then green for good, etc. On LG V10 with built in audiophile grade DAC 9018 (the big brother of the 9016 in e.g. the Dragonfly red, or the Pioneer u-5), accompanied by equally excellent headphone amplifier 9602, both from ESS SABRE, the green light is always shown. It should be diamond.
Is this qualitative evaluation related to playback on a type of outlet like the mobile smartphone headphone out, i.e. such a device is always granted “green only”?
If so, know that there is a flooding of hi-fi equipped smartphones ramping up a new type of market for mobile phones; “audiophile playback with a smartphone”.
In particular, the LG V10 will automatically adjust to low or high impedance headphones, discover and adjust again when connected to AUX input on a preamplifier, etc.
LG V10 Audio quality via its analog out is fabulous: Diamond is the correct verdict.
DIFFICULT TO PLAY DSD
DSD playback is problematic, but more testing needed.
Perhaps the answer lies herein:
Tying in with @evand’s suggestion, the green dot most likely means that there’s downsampling going on.
Thanks, you are probably correct and then this is a major issue for audiophile playback on Android devices, but with a variant: There is a need for a thread called “Android device/tablet/smartphone having internal hi-fi DAC”.
Because more and more Android smartphones are equipped with built in hi-fi DAC, starting e.g. from the LG V10 with its 9018/9602 from ESS Sabre. The list of similarily equipped hi-fi devices is growing at a hectic pace.
It means the media players must learn to use these features, possibly without the help of standard Android drivers.
@evand and @orgel, on second thought: I have the LG G2 with 192kHz and 24bit, producing high quality audio, and the LG V10 with built-in hi-fi DAC and a more powerful headphone amplifier for audiophile grade audio. I am almost certain that both devices contains LGE’s proprietary audio drivers for android.
It would then be a bit strange if there was a downsampling going on? Thus, it will be interesting if @support could make a comment on this issue of “AUDIO QUALITY INDICATOR TOO CONSERVATIVE”. Is it green due to the fact that default Android has the limitations explained by evand, or “must” it be something going on with downsampling or similar?
They do but only the LG player/recorder can access those proprietary drivers. The standard android players cannot.
Roon auto sets the audio default to 48 and 16 for Android Devices to provide a base environment that will work for all users. You can always go into the Device Settings and change that. I can go into my S7 Edge and set it for 24 bits and Disable Max Resolution (these settings can cause static and drop outs on older samsung models). However, when I hit play I will get the green dot because the final output is to Android’s OS Mixer.
As for being conservative, Roon is being non-deceptive. Roon cannot know, except by an OS’s specification, what will happen to that audio stream after it hands it off to an OS. Android, Mac, Windows all show green if the output is to the OS audio mixer. Given that on the LG, Roon is handing it over to Android OS and not any proprietary LG driver, that is what should be shown.
Now, why can’t Roon find and hand off the stream to the proprietary drivers on the LG, probably because LG doesn’t expose them. With USB Audio Player Pro and an OTG cable, Roon can detect and deliver the signal through the USB port to an external DAC. I’ve setup my Galaxy’s with Dragonfly’s and Schiit’s for testing and they both work just fine, especially since the Dragonfly could color indicate the resolution of the incoming audio stream.
That was true, but probably after feedback from customers, it was changed. We have various versions of LG V10 (H960/Euro and H901/US), all on Marshmallow, and when a hi-fi headset or preamp aux is connected, these devices use the built-in 9018/9602 hi-fi dac/amp, not the snapdragon built-in ordinary DAC. There is a “hifi” flag showing status. User may toggle the hi-fi mode to experience the difference.
If Roon uses the standard Android OS MediaPlayer, I understand the rest of your explanation.
I have been on LG developer site to fetch LG high-res audiodriver api , but it is not disclosed. You are correct.
Regarding general Android OS (not LG in particular), the standard MediaPlayer class has the CD quality as highest quality, yes, but it seems possible from Lollipop version to experiment with 32bit float for playback if more advanced classes (Audiotrack) are used. And there is then the AudioFormat class available for detecting audio quality. https://developer.android.com/reference/android/media/AudioFormat.html#encoding.
I only investigated the LG when it was first released. If they have changed things, I haven’t kept completely up to date on what they are doing.
Interestingly, just the other day, I was reading that Sony contributed it’s LDAC wireless audio coding technology to Android “O”.
I am using ldac in connecting to my Sony wireless headphones that are also capable of streaming at 24bit/96khz.
It’s disappointing then that Roon is having to downsample because the is mixer works at 16bit.