Album Art changing problem when played with PS Audio Direct Stream DAC Bridge II

Hi,

I am using Roon trial to try out it with PS Audio Direct Stream DAC Bridge II which has got specific integration with Roon (RAAT).

I am running Roon server on Mac Mini and Roon Remote on iphone 5.

It works fine except when I’m trying to play a playlist or Radio. The Album Art does not change consistently when the song changes. However, when I specifically move to next or previous song using the navigation buttons either in Roon remote or main player on the Roon Server the Album Art changes.

This is not a problem with PS Audio Bridge II as it works fine when I use Minim Server and Blubble UPnP.

Any idea what is the problem ? Is there any setting which can take care of this issue ?

Regards,
Sourav

On a further investigation looks like this is a problem only when Roon is running on Mac. Can anyone from Roon confirm this as a bug or otherwise if it just a setting problem ?

Regards,
Sourav

Any take on this @brian or @mike ? can it be confirmed whether it is a Roon problem or P S Audio problem ?

Regards,
Sourav

Hey @Sourav_Mazumder1 – we’ll take a look and see if we can reproduce the issue.

If we can see it happening, I’m sure we can fix it. Otherwise, @Eric or I will come to you for more information.

Thanks for the report!

@Sourav_Mazumder1,

My feeling is that this issue is a bug and that this report is going to end up with PS Audio, but we will take a look here too, just in case.

At least, if we can reproduce it here, it might enable us to send them some additional information or help.

So I took a look, but I am having trouble reproducing the issue on a DirectStream here.

Here’s what I did:

  • Created a playlist with 10 tracks from different albums, all with artwork
  • Let the playlist play through, checking during every track to make sure the artwork was correct.

Is there something else–specifically–that I need to do to see this bug?

The most useful piece of information would be step-by-step instructions that begin with restarting the Roon Core + power-cycling the DAC–this minimizes the number of variables that might interfere with successfully reproducing the bug.

One thing to note: The PS Audio devices do take a few seconds to flip from one artwork to the next. I think the delay is just a performance limitation of their hardware platform. Roon’s higher resolution artwork might be pushing the system a little bit harder, too.

By the way:

The bridge is running completely separate firmware components for RAAT and UPnP–and the RAAT software was customized at PS Audio in order to speak to their front-panel. If I had to guess, the trouble is somewhere in those customizations, or in the frontpanel itself, but it is difficult to say.

Hi Brian,

Thanks for checking this out. Also thanks for explanation on why possibly it is running all fine for UPnP.

I’ve already tried the steps you mentioned without any positive results.

Couple of points I would like to mention here which may help you in reproducing this bug -

  1. In my case the Roon core is running on a MacMini with latest version of OSX. However, there are few people also found this problem while running Roon core on Windows. Only the ones who are running Roon on Linux did not encounter this issue.

  2. The artworks of my albums are mix of .jpeg and .png of size between 5 KB to 20 KB

  3. For the playlist I tested I ensured that the artwork is always taken from the original file.

  4. The artwork does not change even if I wait for more than 1 minute. However, I have tried playing Radio for hours and in some very rare cases I found the artwork got changed - but could not isolate the triggers/situations causing those changed.

Would be happy to help you guys if you need more inputs or want me to try out some more tests/settings.

Regards,
Sourav

Any update on this ?

If you need any more help to reproduce this bug (on Mac) please let me know.

Regards,
Sourav

I reported similar cover art issues to PS Audio on their forum moments ago. I am on a Windows 7 dedicated music server with files on a Synology D214+. 1gig switch connects my NAS to the DS DAC via Bridge II. Here is what I posted:

I don’t see a specific DS/Roon bugs thread, and I didn’t feel qualified to start one myself. Please feel free to direct me to an existing thread if there is one.

Overall I am very impressed with the initial release of the RoonReady Bridge II for my DS DAC. There is one minor bug and this concerns the album cover art display. It is intermittently working and I can find any specific pattern of failure. What tends to happen is that at start-up I will get the first album cover fine. Then at some point, perhaps two or three songs in, it stops advancing to the new song. This is true whether I am playing from my NAS files exclusively, or a combination of NAS and Tidal, or Tidal exclusively. No rhyme or reason.

As others have stated, I have also seen where I will get a “mashup” of multiple album covers.
If I pause the play from the LCD screen, the DS screen refreshes and I almost always get the correct album cover art. Just did this seconds ago to get off a “stuck” cover.

Thanks,
Steve

Still no luck reproducing.

From what you guys are saying, this is really sounding like a flakiness/unreliability transmitting the image to the frontpanel. I bet it’s getting to the BridgeII fine and the issues are either there or further downstream.

I’m going to continue monitoring this thread, but contacting PS Audio for feedback might be good at this point–this one is likely beyond our powers to address.

The PerfectWave DAC and the DirectStream DAC both have hardware limitations that
can randomly cause issues with covert art display. Cover-art can take from 10 to 30 or more secondsto be downloaded and displayed.

The Cover art is sent to the DAC’s PIC processor by a 115200 baud serial link from the bridge and stored on the SD-card because the DAC does not have enough memory to hold the image. Any error that happens in the process causes it to be aborted, and not retried due to time and protocol limitations. Any write or read errors from the SD-card also cause the process to be aborted.

Thanks Dennis, especially for popping on here and giving us the full answer. Sounds like we will have to live with this. As we move forward, I’d be interested in finding out if anyone out there has found any particular SD card to function better than another so as to at least minimize one of the potential error paths. Any tips or tricks for optimizing this would be appreciated, as it slightly lowers the overall experience (but not the sound of course!).

Thanks,

Steve

I sort of got it what’s going on after lot of testing with different configurations.

PS Audio bridge needs certain seconds of delay if it has to change the album art between two tracks. It is very apparent if the delay is there - one can see the previous album art getting changed to the ps audio logo and then the new album art comes up.If the delay is less than couple of seconds it does not work as the PS Audio Bridge does not get enough time may be because of the limitations mentioned by Dennis @dennis.

So I changed the resync delay setting in Roon for P S Audio to 10000 ms. However this setting takes effect only when there is change in format from 44.1 to 192 or 172 or anything different. So I created a playlist which has every next song with different format. And bingo !!! It works as expected, every time I see the album art changing without any exception. And if I insert some tracks which don;t have change in the format the album art does not change.

So now question to @mike or @brian - is there a way one can always induce a delay in consecutive songs in Roon irrespective of whether there is any format change or not ? If it is there then this problem can be easily solved by that setting.

Regards,
Sourav

Stating the obvious I know, but that would defeat gapless playback.

It sounds more like, if possible that Roon has a minimum dwell time between the completion of transmitting the previous artwork to when the next image is transmitted.

I believe this should be possible independently of the audio stream … thus gapless playback could be preserved.

@Carl I believe the same way.

In case of DLNA this behavior is very well supported by PS Audio Bridge without any problem. And that works for any DLNA server (I have used Minim and JRiver) flawlessly.

So I believe Roon can achieve the same too.

Regards,
Sourav

Nothing we’ve seen here suggests that the BridgeII is having trouble receiving the artwork–the trouble appears to be after that point, when it’s subsequently transmitted to the front panel over the aforementioned serial link.

I don’t see us adding a feature to delay track transitions just for the sake of working around a quirk in one product. If it’s necessary to throttle or space out artwork transmission in order to avoid overwhelming the front panel, the most sensible place to do that is within the BridgeII, not within Roon.

This is not a dodge–I’m saying this as someone who understands the architecture of Roon and the RAAT firmware running within the BridgeII. If I was responsible for both pieces of code, I’d put the fix on the device side, because that’s the place where it makes the most sense from a technical standpoint.

On the basis that the RAAT protocol allows the PS Audio to control the flow of album art data that Roon is sending to it … then I agree. It’s always better to fix a device’s issues in the device itself rather than apply a sticky plaster on the server side.

Maybe @dennis in collaboration with Roon could look at this.

Hi @brian,

I understand your point. You are possibly right in saying that Bridge II is the right place to fix it.

However, as a user, my counter argument would be, if standard DLNA servers are able to work with Bridge II to make album art display work without any problem (and also gapless), then why not Roon too ? The standard DLNA servers are too neither designed only keeping Bridge II in mind.

I understand that the DLNA module for Bridge II is a separate one from Roon. But in case of standard DLNA servers also I see the same behavior in Bridge II - the Bridge II needs some delay between two tracks to refresh the album art. It is just that the standard DLNA servers are someway able to provide that delay (as well as gapless playback). Most probably (I’m guessing here) they take a pause anytime album name is changed.

As a user, I think we should be fine either way whether PS Audio fixes the Bridge or Roon does the needful. What is important is either of the party agrees to fix this. However, if this is fixed Roon will surely become flawless server to play with PS Audio from UI standpoint - otherwise this lack is surely annoying from end users perspective.

Regards,
Sourav

One further refinement to my previous observation.

The change of art work between two consecutive tracks does happen even if resyn delay is set to 0 as long as the format changes between those two consecutive tracks. If two consecutive tracks have same format the artwork does not change.

I checked the log files produced by Roon. In either of the case (whether format changes between two consecutive tracks or not) Roon does send to Bridge II a request for updating the art work (as mentioned by @brian).

However, in case of change in format between two consecutive tracks I see requests like “tear down” and “setup” (for new format) between playing of the consecutive tracks. But, in case of no change in format there are no such requests like “tear down” and “setup” in between playing of the two consecutive tracks.

Hope this helps.

Regards,
Sourav

Good additional detail! I hope it helps, although I’m just starting to learn to live with it until my DS DAC is sold. Esoteric K-03X on the way!!

The cover art issue should be fixed in the Huron, which was released today.

Dennis