Audio zone drop outs and track skipping

Core Machine (Operating system/System info/Roon build number)
Mac desktop as Roon core.

Network Details (Including networking gear model/manufacturer and if on WiFi/Ethernet)
The CXN is Roon Ready and connected via the ethernet to a NBN internet service.

Audio Devices (Specify what device you’re using and its connection type - USB/HDMI/etc.)
Cambridge Audio CXN as audio zone.
Mac Core via USB HDD to CA CXN streamer.

Description Of Issue
At first the set-up was working well the music files are located on a seagate 2TB hard drive.

After a couple of days the drop out occur . The song playing invariably skips to the next track and a message crops up on the signal path that says

"An audio file is loading slowly a performance or hardware problem "?

Hi @Gregory_Totman,

Does this issue occur for streaming content as well? If you try to copy a few tracks over to the Mac local HDD, are you able to play those when the issue occurs?

I am streaming from the one hard drive. The issue does not occur when I play content to the main computer only when using the proprietary RAAT to the CXN . I am currently using cromecast on the CXN as an endpoint it seems to be working with no drop outs but that could change with prolonged use ! I’m hoping it doesn’t .? Do you mean copy tracks to the macs hard drive and try and play them to that audio zone ? If that was successful does it mean a external hard drive issue ?

Hi @Gregory_Totman,

Yes, this is correct. I am trying to determine if the hard drive is not fast enough to deliver the media in time to your CXN zone.

What exactly do you mean by this? When you play to your internal computer’s speakers (the System Output zone), you don’t see this issue occur?

Noris ,I did as requested and copied some tracks to the Macintosh HD and played them to the audio zone that has the drop outs and skips tracks . The result was they played OK . I then played to the same audio zone from the external hard drive with no problem .
It seems to occur after prolonged use to that audio zone . How do i speed up an external hard drive ?

Hello @Gregory_Totman,

Thanks for giving this a try.

After the prolonged usage occurs and you start getting this issue, can you try to play the local tracks again? As in:

  • Play enough content from the external drive to enter the problematic state
  • Try starting playback from the internal storage tracks on the Mac
  • Verify if the internal storage tracks still work as expected

I would make sure that the cable is of good quality and if you haven’t performed any de-fragmentation on the drive yet, doing this it might help.

Noris , I have tried playing content to the cxn in roon ready mode from my core computer 's hard drive and the external hard drive and the audio file problem loading slowly is still prevalent in both operatives . I suspect the computer which has the core is not configured by ethernet only by wi-fi could well be the problem . I am reluctant to invest in a SSD unless completely necessary . As mentioned cromecast doesn’t miss a beat when streamed to the CXN .
I would like to experiment by changing the core to a more recent laptop and and operate the external hard drive connected by ethernet which from all accounts in your roon knowledge base would solve the problem . greg

Hi @Gregory_Totman,

This sounds like a good test to eliminate some variables here.

Streaming over WiFi is certainly less stable than using an Ethernet connection.

One other aspect which you may want to look at is the Signal Path. If the processing speed is dipping under ~1.2x that’s not a good sign, I would keep an eye on the processing speed when using the Roon Ready input as well as run the other Core test you suggested.

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