Airplay / Wi-Fi Streaming Dropouts

Roon Core Machine

Nucleus Plus

Networking Gear & Setup Details

Aris SB200
Eero Pro 6E (6 in total)
CAT 8
1GB nominal
Wired and Wi-if
All ROON related hardware is hardwired.

Connected Audio Devices

LAN hardwired to dCS Streamer
Wi-fi to Devialet, and other wi-if only devices

Number of Tracks in Library

5500 +/-
30.5 hours

Description of Issue

The issue occurs while streaming (not hardwired) to devices, music will stop playing for 2 to 3 seconds. It then resumes. The time between the temporary drops varies. It could be several hours, several minutes or several seconds.

I reported this earlier, but haven’t had any follow up from support. I work as a software engineer and as a electronics tech. I am very comfortable doing my own troubleshooting. However, it didn’t require any special training to find the root cause. Just good ‘ole fashioned poking around.

If the DSP option has volume leveling turned on, then the dropouts, the temporary pausing of music, occurs.

Turning off volume leveling and devices that are AirPlay or have Wi-Fi streaming no longer experience the dropouts.

Over a period of several months, I have turned on and off volume leveling. The results are consistent. When off, no issue and when on, music will randomly pause a couple of seconds. Keep in mind, the music may play fine for hours. If you leave the area for just a minute or are unable to hear the music, the dropout is so short, it can be easily missed.

The fault may lie within the software of the DSP codecs. Roon Labs will need to reproduce the issue and then resolve.

Until the issue is resolved by Roon Labs, I would suggest volume leveling not be used if you own a Nucleus and have experienced the issue. It is unknown at this time if this issue will manifest itself on user built hardware platforms. The issue appears to be a software glitch, but it could be that the Nucleus+ hardware isn’t able to process the leveling in a timely manner.

Best regards,
Tracy

Your symptoms have all the hallmarks of a networking issue of some sort (dropouts when using DSP). It’s not clear from your description exactly what your network setup is so some more details might help. Also, does this only occur when streaming from e.g. Tidal/Qobuz and/or when playing local files?

1 Like

Rockhound: The issue is either Roon software or the Nucleus hardware.

To answer your question: The brief pause happens with any source, Tidal, Qobuz or from my NAS. It’s not a network issue. Here’s why…

First, I stream 4K video w/ Atmos for hours on end. No issues. Not a buffet, not a pause. I’m sure you know there is a ton more bandwidth usage than streaming music. Sources are NETFLIX, Hulu, Peacock, Paramount, Disney, Discover etc.

Second, what I listed as hardware is my network. Modem, router, cabling, WiFi devices. Network is Easy-peasy: 1 eero is the router. 5 eero’s are the access points that form the mesh network. Arris SURFboard SB8200 is the router. I use CAT 8 for all connections. I use Netgear Pro (unmanaged) switches. Simple, fast and extremely reliable. 1GB down which measures at the modem 955Mbps reliably.

Lastly, once the DSP volume level is turned off…I can stream music 24/7 without one glitch.

So, care to explain to me, a network admin since 1986, how turning on -or- off DSP will affect my ability -or- inability to stream music with or without issues over my WiFi network?

Let me ask that again. How does having DSP volume leveling turned on within Roon screw up just my music streaming on my network? It’s not network congestion as I’ve had all devices on my network on standby when troubleshooting.

The volume leveling uses CPU resources of the Nucleus. It has to examine, compute the increase or decrease in volume and then change the volume. I believe it is this computation and/or resulting volume adjustment that causes the music to briefly pause.

It ain’t me. It’s something within the software (e.g. not efficiently written) or the hardware isn’t capable of examining the stream and doing its calculations (or whatever) and adjusting the volume without exceeding those resources.

I really don’t appreciate comments that it’s my network until you can show me hard proof (logs, tracing etc.) that points to my network. Just so you know, I have been all over my network looking for issues. Computers, home automation, TV shows, movies, personal devices all work without a glitch. Let me also add, it’s not network congestion, because I’ve had just Roon streaming music with DSP volume level on and all other devices on standby. The only traffic on the network is Roon and the interruption of the music for a couple of seconds still occurs. Turn off DSP, perfect streaming.

Let me also define “drop the music”. It doesn’t go on streaming and then you pick up a few seconds later. Example: The music/singer is playing, “Take me out to the ball game”. When it drops / pauses, it does this: “Take me out -2 second pause- to the ball game.” If the song did this: “Take me out -2 second pause- game.” Then you’d have a case for a network issue. The music cannot be held in “memory” on the network. The stream is paused and then resumes. The bottleneck is within the hardware as the traffic/packets aren’t lost on the network.

An analogy: The interruption in music is as if I pressed a pause button. Upon releasing the pause button music resumes without losing a beat.

So, PLEASE add that to the explanation of how it’s my network.

Please understand that I’m not trying to be snide or condescending. I’ve been looking into this issue for a few months. It was frustrating and now I have the cause identified. I’ve been working in Software Engineering since 1986 and within electronics as a senior tech since 1982. While I have never considered myself a guru or special in any way, I do trust my experience. I’ve started networking in 1986 on Novell. Pretty close from the start of networking. I had the very first IBM PC on my workbench to use to troubleshoot desktop printer issues (IBM, Apple and Burroughs printers). Infancy of desktop printers. I can go on, I won’t, but it has been a fancinating career. I’ve been the one of the people to have created the wave of technology, the wave that either sweeps you up with it or washes over you and drowning your tech future.

So, since I am not perfect, please show me how a software switch within a computer (i.e. nucleus) can screw up my WiFi. We all can learn something new everyday.

Regards,
Tracy

But you are succeeding.

I can’t compete with your experience in IT, but I have enough knowledge to set up and maintain a reliable home network that serves all of our needs, including Roon working faultlessly (99% of the time). Here are a few observations in no particular order, although undoubtedly you know all this already. You can take them (or more likely) leave them. Anyway, I hope you get it sorted, I’m sure it is frustrating.

  • Roon uses a lot of networking resources, both internally and back to the mothership - much more than people realize. There are dozens, if not hundreds, of threads on here documenting this - including many where people can stream 4K TV no problem but run into issues streaming with Roon via wi-fi.
  • Roon strongly recommends having everything wired and not using wi-fi if possible - for good reason.
  • Many things impact network performance/wi-fi effectiveness - poorly maintained ISP DNS servers, neighbours’ traffic, etc. etc.
  • Eero is not exactly the last word in wi-fi technology.
  • It is very hard to believe that a $4000 Nucleus plus can’t do volume leveling.
  • If Roon software were the root cause, everyone using volume leveling would have this issue.
  • Thus, either you have a faulty Nucleus or it is some networking issue you have yet to identify and remedy.

I’m out.

I guess you take it the way you feel. Apologies. It was why I stated that I wasn’t. It’s been frustrating and time consuming. Bringing down the network, reconfiguring, restarting, moving hardware, and so on. My writing style reflected my frustration.

  • Roon strongly recommends having everything wired and not using wi-fi if possible - for good reason.

Not possible. Only my reference system is hard wired. That’s the only thing that truly matters Everything else is background music.

  • Many things impact network performance/wi-fi effectiveness - poorly maintained ISP DNS servers, neighbours’ traffic, etc. etc.

DNS is CloudFlare. No close neighbors. 1 acre lots. Streaming 100% local with Tidal and Qobuz shutdown, rules out internet congestion. DSP on = issues right off the NAS.

  • Eero is not exactly the last word in wi-fi technology.

STRONGLY AGREE! I’ve been thinking about researching other mesh networks. I have a 7000 sq ft home, so I can’t do (aka I don’t want to do) WiFi without a mesh. Have any suggestions???

  • It is very hard to believe that a $4000 Nucleus plus can’t do volume leveling.

Exactly! So, it has been reported to Roon.

  • If Roon software were the root cause, everyone using volume leveling would have this issue.

Everyone who has an aging Nucleus+ and isn’t hardwired, perhaps! Yes, very much agreed, good point. I can tell you I didn’t turn on Volume leveling. I discovered it was on and flipped it off. Presto, no more issues! Frustrating that a one second flip of a switch solved many months of troubleshooting. I do not like any DSP to interfere with the music. So this whole discussion is really for the Roon techs. Like you, I’m out as everything works perfectly and I don’t like DSP anything.

  • Thus, either you have a faulty Nucleus or it is some networking issue you have yet to identify and remedy.

The Nucleus+ is going on three year’s running 24/7. So far I haven’t been able to fault the network for any other issues. Like you 99.9% reliable. Perhaps it’s the aging Nucleus, especially if I’m the only person in the entire Roon community with this particular issue.

Anyway, I appreciate you sticking with me and for you valid points.

@Tracy_Petit, @Rockhound was trying to be helpful. What you are experiencing, based on what many of us have experienced, is that interruptions and dropouts in tracks are typlically related to network issues, especially WiFi.

RAAT requires some significant processing and synchronization across the network that allow zones, when grouped, to play together. This is unique to RAAT and is what makes Roon work across multiple endpoints and with different devices such as AirPlay, Chromecast, etc. (although not between these devices).

WiFi has so many potential issues with coverage and capacity that it is challenging to state equivocally what may be a potential issue. I had to tune my home WiFi network to work with Roon (not a large home but lots of potential WiFi interference from neighbors, the layout of the home, etc.), and I separated by 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz networks to allow my greater control.

The eero system does not allow you to separate your WiFi bands to allow more granular control of what device is connecting to what band. My parents had a ~6000 sq ft single story home and we were able to cover it inside and out with 3 mesh devices (1 router, 2 nodes). WiFi can be tricky in that too many nodes can result in local interference and a poor network.

I am partial to ASUS AiMesh systems as ASUS, among other manufacturers, allows the separation of WiFi bands into separate SSIDs. I connect my IoT and legacy devices to my 2.4 GHz network, and then all other devices I prioritize on my two 5 GHz bands. I will be moving to a WiFi 7 network later this year.

2 Likes

I never use WIF to my Nucleus or Mac Mini cores and never use volume leveling or any other kind of DSP. However, from time to time, I get a few drop outs. When that happens, I reboot my U-Verse gateway and all is good again.

Thank you for the response.

What I am trying to point out is that once the DSP Volume level is off, no issue.

So, I believe the issues lie within the Nucleus…RAAT or whatever. BTW, I am not grouping devices, in case it sounded like I was.

In any event, I don’t like DSP and discovered it was on. Now that it is off I can stream to these AirPlay and WiFi devices without fail. For me, there is no reason to go any further or dig deeper. I’ve resolved the issue.

For the last three or so hours, I’ve been streaming randomly to one Airplay device, one WiFi device and streaming a 4K program. I have 54 devices, mostly home automation, currently on my network. The streaming of Roon has been perfect, the TV has been perfect and various lights, fountains and heating has come on or off as programmed. DSP is OFF.

I have a 7000 sq ft house with a large deck and a patio. 3 floors and FROG and three car garage. I cover that area (inside and outside) with essential 5 eeros. My devices are 3 to 4 years old.

If you can help get my head around how DSP Volume Leveling interferes with WiFi and only WiFi that is originating from Roon, I’d very much welcome that explanation. I have no other issue with any devices. This is another reason I believe it’s not my network. Even when DSP was ON, there were no issues with anything on my network. Only issue, music streaming to these background little speakers (e.g. HomePod).

Thanks for the suggestion of ASUS AiMesh. I’ll check ‘em out. Also, thank you to all that have responded.

Or, the DSP is the straw that broke the camel’s back. I think it’s best not to assume you know all the answers. Give the people here who have dealt with this hundred’s of times a change to help you. If the problem was a software bug, everyone who uses volume leveling would have the same problem.