BBC stations breaking up requiring coreaudiod force quit

When I try to “play now” a BBC radio station on the roon server (iMac) roon sometimes doesn’t play. It and asks me to select an audio zone (even though one was already selected), will then select the already selected zone and if I press the play arrow it will play but very broken up and crackly. Sometimes it will play OK. Other times starts playing crackly. Other times play for a few minutes and then stop. Clicking play may play very crackly. Playing the radio station on a different zone tends to stop after a few minutes and has to be started playing again, but no crackling.

Seems to be OK on non BBC streams.

When playing crackly stopping and starting again seems to eventually fix it. Killing coreaudiod process also seems to fix it.

I’ve just played BBC radios 2, 3 and 4 without problems.

The BBC streams usually have a lower rate alternative. Do these cause problems too?

(And just because it often solves odd problems - have you rebooted server?)

I have rebooted and lower rate streams don’t help.

This doesn’t make sense.

To confirm, you can play an mp3 stream from a non-BBC station, but you can’t from a BBC station? Is that right?
If so, I think we call in support.

I often find that as well.

MP3 or AAC doesn’t seem to make any difference. I just tried 20-30 stations and the I only found 3 that would also break up:
KPCP 88.3
France Culture

When the playback is broken up the noise part of the sound is not affected by the volume setting. The faint broadcast sound audible within the crackling is affected by the volume control. Which suggests to me it is an OS issue?

Or a codec issue.
Anyway, I’m moving this to #support.

In order for them to assist you, please provide a brief description of your current setup using this link as a guide.

Make sure to describe your network configuration/topology, including any networking hardware currently in use, so they can have a clear understanding of how your devices are communicating.

Hi @GraemeM,

Please do provide the setup details Brian suggested, also I would be interested in:

  1. A screenshot of your Signal Path when playing a problematic station

  2. To know if all of your zones are affected (zones such as System Output (iMac’s internal speakers) or just one zone)?

  3. If local/streaming content works as expected and the issue only affects those stations.

Apologies for slow response.

Core machine: iMac 27 late 2015, Catalina 10.15.4 connected via ethernet and switches to fibre optic broadband router.
The break up problem only happens playing on the iMac. However playing radio on a Google Chromecast audio usually stops after a few minutes and needs to be restarted. Don’t listen to radio on other devices but it seems ok on an iPhone and an Auralic streamer - for a few minutes anyway. All other content (Tidal, Quobuz, local storage) seems to work fine.

Only other issue is that playing any source to the Chromecast Audio often does not work initially: i have to transfer to a different zone and play on that and then transfer back to the Chromecast.

Hi @GraemeM,

Thanks for the setup details and screenshots. I’ve noticed you have quite a few DSP operations turned on, does the same behavior occur with DSP turned off? Are you seeing this issue for any local files or just the streaming stations?

I wonder if this could be related to DNS - we have seen users have a better experience in the past if they change their Router’s DNS servers from the ISP provided ones to Cloudflare DNS, Quad9 or Google DNS. Can you please give this a try and let me know if it helps?

DSP off makes no difference. Only affects certain radio streams not local files or Quobuz or Tidal.

Tried Google DNS - no difference.

Hi @GraemeM,

Can you please let me know the exact local time + date you experience the full stoppage behavior and let me know which station you were listening to?

After getting this info, I’d like to enable diagnostics mode for your account to see if logs perhaps contain further clues.

I’ve discovered that the break up on the iMac can be fixed by going into Audio Midi Setup and setting the output to 48 kHz. It seems to change back to 44.1kHz sometimes (maybe on restart) which results in breakup. There is no option in Roon to define the output sample rate, only minimum.

The following BBC radio 6 music stops occurred while playing to a Chromecast Audio device:
13/6 10:21, 10:50, 11:11
10/6 12:48, 12;50

Power cycling the Chromecast seems to stop the stops - for a while anyway.

Hi @GraemeM,

Thanks for letting me know those timestamps. I have gone ahead and enabled diagnostics mode for your account and what this action does is a set of logs will automatically be uploaded to our servers for analysis.

I’m looking over the log report now and I’m noticing something strange - it appears you’re also losing connection to our metadata servers around the same time the BBC stream drops off, and the stream looks like it was buffered.

Can you provide a full overview of your network including the model/manufacturer of your router and switches? I believe this could be related to how you have the network configured.

The router is a Synology RT2600ac > TP-Link TL-SG116 switch > TP-Link TL-SG1005D switch > mac.

The first switch uses green ethernet, another thread from a Mac user said he had found green ethernet to be the cause of dropouts.

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Hi @GraemeM,

I would try to temporarily bypass both switches and have the Mac connected to the router as a test.
As Ged mentioned, the first switch is an EEE switch, and there have been other reports of EEE switches having issues working nicely with Roon, so we should eliminate this variable.

Thank you. You try to save the planet and accidentally ruin something else. I’ve bypassed the eco switch so we’ll see.

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A post was split to a new topic: Frequent stops on BBC Radio

No radio drop outs since bypassing the Green switch to this point.

Jack - that sounds like the same problem I had before bypassing the switch.


That’s fantastic news @GraemeM, it does sound like the switch was the problematic component so glad to hear the system is stable since bypassing the switch!