Can't stream TIDAL MQA files beyond 30 seconds

Core Machine (Operating system/System info/Roon build number)

Mac Mini (late 2012)
2.5 GHz Intel Core i5

Network Details (Including networking gear model/manufacturer and if on WiFi/Ethernet)

Sagemcom F@ST2704R router connected by ethernet to core machine.

Audio Devices (Specify what device you’re using and its connection type - USB/HDMI/etc.)

USB connection from core machine to NuForce U192S USB to SPDIF Converter

Description Of Issue

ROON stops playing MQA files after 30 seconds (or less) and skips to the next song while presenting an error message suggesting network connectivity issues.

At a member’s recommendation in the Feature Requests subforum, I decided to submit this issue to ROON support. I’ve never been able to stream TIDAL Masters at any time, although I could stream FLAC files no problem. I live in an area where internet service is very poor, so I just assumed that my internet connection wasn’t up to the task of streaming MQA files.

A couple of weeks ago I downloaded a trial version of Audirvana 3.5 and I’ve been streaming TIDAL MQA non-stop with no hiccups whatsoever (the TIDAL desktop application on my Mac Mini also streams TIDAL MQA without fault). So I decided to investigate why ROON couldn’t stream MQA as well as these two other applications could.

Following the troubleshooting guidelines provided by the ROON staff, I stripped my configuration down to its most basic level: modem/router with an ethernet connection to my core machine with a usb output to my dac. The wireless network was not turned on, therefore everything was done off my core machine without the intervention of remote devices or remote output devices. Just one core and one usb output device.

Same result, TIDAL MQA files played through ROON would play at most 30 seconds before stutttering and skipping to the next track with the attendant error message. I decided to check the network traffic while using 3 different applications (TIDAL desktop app, Audirvana 3.5, and ROON, all on the same Mac Mini using the same MQA track from TIDAL). Here are the results:

TIDAL desktop app, track plays fine.

Audirvana 3.5, track plays fine

ROON, track skips after 8 seconds

I’m by no means an expert in IT matters, but it seems to me that ROON is too aggressive (compared to the other two applications) for my particular internet connection. That’s why I requested that we be able to select the maximum TIDAL streaming quality in ROON. TIDAL HiFi works fine, TIDAL Masters does not.


Forgot to mention:

I’m on MacOS Mojave 10.14.5 and ROON 1.6 (build 416)

This is from ROON streaming FLAC for reference. This plays fine.

Well what does something like or give you as a speed result. Remember roon is doing not only streaming but also metadata updates while running. Other streaming players probably not so hungry for additional content while running.

Why is it doing so much if it has already done analysis? When I was looking at my network traffic in Roon’s early days there wasn’t anywhere near as much outgoing traffic. It doesn’t look right to me.

Indeed - so much outgoing traffic looks very odd.

In order to test the metadata updates theory I decided to stream Radio Paradise (FLAC quality). There’s no metadata to update for internet radio and this is what my network traffic looks like. :man_shrugging:

Well assuming you have an empty library there might not be any need to pull or send information to Roon…but roon does work in the background doing housekeeping on your library and metadata too no doubt. Sent data maybe looks high for what should be essentially inbound data predominantly.

I still think it looks very odd - note that the last screenshot from Patrick shows a total of 17.15 GB in - and 12 GB out. Even taking Roon’s background processing into account, this seems OTT. By contrast, here’s what I typically see for Roon streaming Qobuz for both CD and Hi-Res streams. Outgoing traffic is negligible…

It is almost as if Patrick’s rig is sharing or mirroring what he is playing in Roon. This doesn’t look like normal behaviour to me especially if there are no other Roon end points in play.

Well, it’s good to see that it’s not universal behaviour. Thanks for posting that. A fix is conceivable then. I’m ready to troubleshoot whenever Roon Support is able.

Hi @SlowJazzHand,

Thanks for reaching out to us here, the amount of outgoing traffic does look a bit peculiar. If you by any chance have another PC around the house that can run the Roon core, can you please confirm if the behavior is the same?

What if you try making a Backup of your current Roon database and re-install Roon to start with a fresh database, does the same issue still occur?

Can you please run a speedtest via or and let us know the results?

Thanks for getting back to me. Sure thing, I do have another machine I can try it on. I’ll get back to you with the info you requested.

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Ok, I’ve transferred the core to a 2018 Mac Mini 3GHz Intel Core i5 with 16GB RAM and a 500GB SSD drive.

The setup used for this test was a direct ethernet connection to my modem/router and USB output to B&W MM-1 speakers. Same behaviour as before, FLAC files play fine and MQA files stutter and conk out between 30 seconds and 45 seconds.

Here’s some screenshots:

TIDAL FLAC streaming, no issues.

MQA Streaming

Here are the results of the internet speed tests you requested from both sites:

Anything else you would like to test from this machine before I go back to the original machine and try a fresh install?

I think we’re back to the original issue - your internet connection is just too slow to support more than CD streaming in Roon. Even MQA, which claims to be designed to run over slow connections, is apparently over the limit in your situation.

RAAT is particularly demanding on network bandwidth and minimal latency, the TIDAL app less so, which is why MQA via the TIDAL app will work, but Roon not, I suspect.

I’ve had a similar experience - I have an ADSL internet connection that runs at 4 Mbps on a good day, and I certainly can’t stream anything more than CD quality. I’m currently using a temporary 4G connection that gets me up to 20 Mbps so that I can stream Qobuz Hi-res titles. I hope to have fibre-optic broadband within a month or two, which will get me out of this hole.

I know that both the Qobuz and TIDAL apps allow you to restrict the quality of albums to match the streaming bandwidth, e.g. stream a hi-res album in CD quality. This feature has been requested to be included in Roon. While it’s possible that this may be included in a future release, Roon Labs rarely comment on future developments.

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That’s what I assumed from the get-go, which is why I added my two cents to the feature request to be able to limit TIDAL streaming to CD quality.

I’m not too sure on how RAAT could be affecting my network however. In my current setup, I only have the one Mac Mini directly connected to the router via ethernet with a sole USB output. There is literally nothing else on my network and as you can see from the screenshots, streaming MQA is not creating much more network traffic than streaming FLAC files. And I still find that the outgoing data is high for just TIDAL streaming (if I compare it to what you posted above). I don’t even have my local library connected on this machine.

Let’s wait and see what noris says about this. You may be right.

Um. Just a thought. Is it conceivable that Roon is treating the output as a network endpoint and effectively doing a RAAT ‘out to the network and back’ loopback?


Could be, but I have no way of knowing that. I’m sure Roon support will be able to clarify that for all of us.

Hello @SlowJazzHand,

Yes, 4Mbps is very little bandwidth for Roon to run on, and is likely the cause of this behavior.

We are looking into this aspect, but as Geoff mentioned, I can’t comment on when/if this feature will be added to Roon.

No, since the DAC is connected via USB, it should be processed in the Core and then sent via RAAT to the USB endpoint. The issue here is downloading the data from TIDAL in the first place.

Have you tried other zones yet, do they experience the same issue? Even System Output would further confirm that this is due to the networking speed. I don’t believe this is a DAC issue, but as a possible data point you can try eliminating the DAC and SPDIF converter from the equation.

One last thing you may want to try (but I’m not sure how much it will help) is checking the DNS servers on your router. You may have a slightly better experience if you switch your DNS to Google ( or Cloudflare ( but at the end of the day, high-res streaming will still use a significant amount of bandwidth.

I realise it should be processed internally, but can’t rationalise where all that ‘send’ data is going.

I’d be interested to see what both ‘send’ and ‘receive’ data are for playback of a local file (should be minimal?), and for your suggestion of playback to system output.

Apologies in advance if it’s a dumb idea…