Crackling when playing to a NAD C658

Roon Core Machine

Intel Core i7 6700k, 16 GB RAM, running Ubuntu 22.04 LTS as headless server.
The same computer acts as NAS running 4 drives with ZFS which also stores the music I am streaming.

Networking Gear & Setup Details

Unifi dream machine as router, both the core and the player are connected via Ethernet to the same 5-ports gigabit switch (also Unifi lite)

Connected Audio Devices

The main player is a NAD C658, I also have a few Apple Homepod Minis and a raspberry pi running RoPieee and acting also as display through the monitor

Number of Tracks in Library

16k local tracks on the NAS/Roon Core. 2k albums in total including my Qobuz favorites.

Description of Issue

I hear apparently random cracks when playing to the NAD C658. I tried both Qobuz albums at high resolution, standard resolution, as well as high resolution and CD quality files from the local library. No difference. The same albums played directly on the NAD via BlueOS work just fine.

I am aware that the recommended setup is with a dedicated core, but lacking that for now, my NAS is oversized for the purpose, there are no other processes running, no other clients accessing the library and a “top” shows that all processor cores are at around 2% occupancy, 1.5 GB RAM used out of 16 GB so I cannot really see how that makes a difference.
The signal path is simply → RATP → NAD

I tried rebooting the core and the NAD, no improvement. This being a very standard 1 Gbps Ethernet connection I don’t expect any problems there.

Interestingly, the other clients show no such problems. None of them handles high res and they all go through a conversion for volume levelling, as opposed to the NAD which gets streamed the native files. As an example, for the RoPiee:
Source → Conversion from 16 bits to 64 float → volume levelling → conversion back to 16 bit → ropieee → DAC
As if the bitrate conversion would make the transport more reliable.
Below are some logs during a playback session where I could hear multiple issues, on my uneducated check I could not notice any errors.

This is very annoying and it makes Roon practically unusable for me, pity as I am currently on the trial and I like the system so much I was considering a lifetime subscription, but playback quality is of course a dealbreaker.
Any suggestion on what I could try is really appreciated.

11/16 18:19:37 Trace: [prebuffer] short read: 0 / 8820 fill=437334
11/16 18:19:39 Trace: [broker/accounts] [heartbeat] now=11/16/2022 6:19:39 PM nextauthrefresh=11/16/2022 7:10:45 PM nextmachineallocate=11/16/2022 9:09:39 PM
11/16 18:19:40 Trace: [Stereo] [Lossless, 16/44 FLAC => 16/44] [69% buf] [PLAYING @ 12:03/12:15] Piano Sonata in B flat major 'Hammerklavier' Op. 106: Allegro - Angela Hewitt / Ludwig van Beethoven
11/16 18:19:42 Info: [stats] 27285mb Virtual, 1132mb Physical, 453mb Managed, 352 Handles, 96 Threads
11/16 18:19:45 Trace: [Stereo] [Lossless, 16/44 FLAC => 16/44] [21% buf] [PLAYING @ 12:08/12:15] Piano Sonata in B flat major 'Hammerklavier' Op. 106: Allegro - Angela Hewitt / Ludwig van Beethoven
11/16 18:19:47 Trace: [prebuffer] ready 149940/441000 (34%) @ 0/182 sec
11/16 18:19:50 Trace: [Stereo] [Lossless, 16/44 FLAC => 16/44] [1% buf] [PLAYING @ 12:13/12:15] Piano Sonata in B flat major 'Hammerklavier' Op. 106: Allegro - Angela Hewitt / Ludwig van Beethoven
11/16 18:19:52 Info: [library] recorded play for profile 209a14d1-dcd7-4302-be5f-b887719b19da: mediaid=50:1:73f6d9df-c618-4dfb-bbf1-61d69e746338 metadataid=123:0:MT0060091956 contentid= libraryid=50:1:73f6d9df-c618-4dfb-bbf1-61d69e746338 isfromradio=False isfrommix=False isfrommobile=
11/16 18:19:52 Info: 
--[ SignalPath ]---------------------------------------------
SignalPath Quality = Lossless
Elements:
    Source Format=Flac 44100/16/2 BitRate=430 Quality=Lossless
    Raat Device=NAD C658
    Output OutputType=Local_Analog Quality=Lossless SubType= Model=
------------------------------------------------------------
11/16 18:19:52 Info: [zone Stereo] OnPlayFeedback OnToNext
11/16 18:19:52 Debug: [zone Stereo] _Advance (Track)
11/16 18:19:52 Trace: [library] finished with 102 dirty tracks 2 dirty albums 3 dirty performers 4 dirty works 4 dirty performances 0 clumping tracks, 0 clumping auxfiles 0 compute tracks, 0 deleted tracks, 0 tracks to (re)load, 0 tracks to retain, 0 auxfiles to (re)load, 0 auxfiles to retain, and 14 changed objects
11/16 18:19:52 Info: [zone Stereo] OnPlayFeedback Playing
11/16 18:19:52 Trace: [roonapi] [apiclient 192.168.1.111:51594] CONTINUE Changed {"zones_changed":[{"zone_id":"1601ab62a49e062bf74179d63dc5e3aef339","display_name":"Stereo","outputs":[{"output_id":"1701ab62a49e062bf74179d63dc5e3aef339","zone_id":"1601ab62a49e062bf74179d63dc5e3aef339","can_group_with_output_ids":["1701ab62a49e062bf74179d63dc5e3aef339","17018b5d77f606c745affc555c6e8e287da1"],"display_name":"Stereo","volume":{"type":"db","min":-80,"max":12,"value":-40,"step":0.5,"is_muted":false,"hard_limit_min":-80,"hard_limit_max":12,"soft_limit":12},"source_controls":[{"control_key":"1","display_name":"NAD C658","supports_standby":false,"status":"indeterminate"}]}],"state":"playing","is_next_allowed":true,"is_previous_allowed":true,"is_pause_allowed":true,"is_play_allowed":false,"is_seek_allowed":true,"queue_items_remaining":2,"queue_time_remaining":3961,"settings":{"loop":"disabled","shuffle":false,"auto_radio":false},"now_playing":{"seek_position":0,"length":182,"one_line":{"line1":"Piano Sonata in B flat major 'Hammerklavier' Op. 106: Scherzo: Assai vivace - Presto - Angela Hewitt / Ludwig van Beethoven"},"two_line":{"line1":"Piano Sonata in B flat major 'Hammerklavier' Op. 106: Scherzo: Assai vivace - Presto","line2":"Angela Hewitt / Ludwig van Beethoven"},"three_line":{"line1":"Piano Sonata in B flat major 'Hammerklavier' Op. 106: Scherzo: Assai vivace - Presto","line2":"Angela Hewitt / Ludwig van Beethoven","line3":"Beethoven: Piano Sonatas Op. 106 'Hammerklavier', Op. 111"},"image_key":"fc756836e6c262e01192b3d3218a244e","artist_image_keys":["70fd997ecc848dccd37e4f40a91927b4"]}}],"zones_seek_changed":[{"zone_id":"1601ab62a49e062bf74179d63dc5e3aef339","queue_time_remaining":3961,"seek_position":0}]}
11/16 18:19:52 Info: [library/albumdetails] found 1 ingroup alternates, 0 other alternates
11/16 18:19:52 Info: [library/albumdetails] found 1 ingroup alternates, 0 other alternates
11/16 18:19:53 Trace: [dbperf] flush 0 bytes, 0 ops in 1 ms (cumulative 0 bytes, 0 ops in 5571 ms)
11/16 18:19:53 Trace: [library] endmutation in 34ms
11/16 18:19:53 Trace: [dbperf] flush 0 bytes, 0 ops in 5 ms (cumulative 0 bytes, 0 ops in 5576 ms)
11/16 18:19:53 Info: [Stereo] [zoneplayer] Queueing: /media/nas/music/Music/flac/Classica/Beethoven, Ludwig van (1770-1827)/Piano Sonatas Opp. 106, 111 (Hewitt)/68374-01-03.FLAC
11/16 18:19:53 Trace: [music/searchindex] [search-index]  removed: 1 albums, 1 tracks, 0 works, 1 performers, 0 labels, 0 genres
11/16 18:19:53 Trace: [music/searchindex] [search-index] added in 1256ms: 1 albums, 1 tracks, 0 works, 1 performers, 0 labels, 0 genres
11/16 18:19:53 Info: [Stereo] [zoneplayer] Open result (Queueing): Result[Status=Success]
11/16 18:19:53 Info: 
--[ SignalPath ]---------------------------------------------
SignalPath Quality = Lossless
Elements:
    Source Format=Flac 44100/16/2 BitRate=430 Quality=Lossless
    Raat Device=NAD C658
    Output OutputType=Local_Analog Quality=Lossless SubType= Model=
------------------------------------------------------------
11/16 18:19:53 Debug: [easyhttp] [411] POST to https://metadata.roonlabs.net/1/albums/translate?c=qobuz-de returned after 576 ms, status code: 200
11/16 18:19:53 Debug: [easyhttp] [413] POST to https://metadata.roonlabs.net/1/albums/translate?c=qobuz-de returned after 579 ms, status code: 200
11/16 18:19:53 Debug: [easyhttp] [412] POST to https://metadata.roonlabs.net/1/performers/translate?c=qobuz-de returned after 580 ms, status code: 200
11/16 18:19:53 Debug: [easyhttp] [414] POST to https://metadata.roonlabs.net/1/performers/translate?c=qobuz-de returned after 580 ms, status code: 200
11/16 18:19:55 Trace: [Stereo] [Lossless, 16/44 FLAC => 16/44] [100% buf] [PLAYING @ 0:03/3:02] Piano Sonata in B flat major 'Hammerklavier' Op. 106: Scherzo: Assai vivace - Presto - Angela Hewitt / Ludwig van Beethoven
11/16 18:19:57 Info: [stats] 27303mb Virtual, 1144mb Physical, 514mb Managed, 352 Handles, 97 Threads
11/16 18:20:00 Trace: [Stereo] [Lossless, 16/44 FLAC => 16/44] [100% buf] [PLAYING @ 0:08/3:02] Piano Sonata in B flat major 'Hammerklavier' Op. 106: Scherzo: Assai vivace - Presto - Angela Hewitt / Ludwig van Beethoven
11/16 18:20:05 Trace: [Stereo] [zoneplayer/raat] sync NAD C658: realtime=271809316924 rtt=0us offset=-235683us delta=-9us drift=-7827us in 271.3565s (-28.844ppm, -103.838ms/hr)
11/16 18:20:05 Trace: [Stereo] [Lossless, 16/44 FLAC => 16/44] [100% buf] [PLAYING @ 0:13/3:02] Piano Sonata in B flat major 'Hammerklavier' Op. 106: Scherzo: Assai vivace - Presto - Angela Hewitt / Ludwig van Beethoven
11/16 18:20:10 Trace: [Stereo] [Lossless, 16/44 FLAC => 16/44] [100% buf] [PLAYING @ 0:18/3:02] Piano Sonata in B flat major 'Hammerklavier' Op. 106: Scherzo: Assai vivace - Presto - Angela Hewitt / Ludwig van Beethoven
11/16 18:20:12 Info: [stats] 27303mb Virtual, 1148mb Physical, 528mb Managed, 352 Handles, 95 Threads
11/16 18:20:15 Trace: [Stereo] [Lossless, 16/44 FLAC => 16/44] [100% buf] [PLAYING @ 0:23/3:02] Piano Sonata in B flat major 'Hammerklavier' Op. 106: Scherzo: Assai vivace - Presto - Angela Hewitt / Ludwig van Beethoven
11/16 18:20:20 Trace: [Stereo] [Lossless, 16/44 FLAC => 16/44] [100% buf] [PLAYING @ 0:28/3:02] Piano Sonata in B flat major 'Hammerklavier' Op. 106: Scherzo: Assai vivace - Presto - Angela Hewitt / Ludwig van Beethoven
11/16 18:20:25 Trace: [roonapi] [apiclient 192.168.1.111:51594] CONTINUE Changed {"message":"Running (38)","is_error":false}
11/16 18:20:25 Trace: [Stereo] [Lossless, 16/44 FLAC => 16/44] [100% buf] [PLAYING @ 0:33/3:02] Piano Sonata in B flat major 'Hammerklavier' Op. 106: Scherzo: Assai vivace - Presto - Angela Hewitt / Ludwig van Beethoven
11/16 18:20:27 Info: [stats] 27271mb Virtual, 1161mb Physical, 498mb Managed, 352 Handles, 90 Threads
11/16 18:20:30 Trace: [Stereo] [Lossless, 16/44 FLAC => 16/44] [100% buf] [PLAYING @ 0:38/3:02] Piano Sonata in B flat major 'Hammerklavier' Op. 106: Scherzo: Assai vivace - Presto - Angela Hewitt / Ludwig van Beethoven
11/16 18:20:35 Trace: [Stereo] [zoneplayer/raat] sync NAD C658: realtime=301974439988 rtt=500us offset=-236560us delta=-297us drift=-8703us in 301.523s (-28.867ppm, -103.920ms/hr)
11/16 18:20:35 Trace: [Stereo] [Lossless, 16/44 FLAC => 16/44] [100% buf] [PLAYING @ 0:43/3:02] Piano Sonata in B flat major 'Hammerklavier' Op. 106: Scherzo: Assai vivace - Presto - Angela Hewitt / Ludwig van Beethoven
11/16 18:20:41 Trace: [Stereo] [Lossless, 16/44 FLAC => 16/44] [100% buf] [PLAYING @ 0:48/3:02] Piano Sonata in B flat major 'Hammerklavier' Op. 106: Scherzo: Assai vivace - Presto - Angela Hewitt / Ludwig van Beethoven
11/16 18:20:42 Info: [stats] 27295mb Virtual, 1164mb Physical, 537mb Managed, 352 Handles, 97 Threads
11/16 18:20:46 Trace: [Stereo] [Lossless, 16/44 FLAC => 16/44] [100% buf] [PLAYING @ 0:53/3:02] Piano Sonata in B flat major 'Hammerklavier' Op. 106: Scherzo: Assai vivace - Presto - Angela Hewitt / Ludwig van Beethoven
11/16 18:20:51 Trace: [Stereo] [Lossless, 16/44 FLAC => 16/44] [100% buf] [PLAYING @ 0:58/3:02] Piano Sonata in B flat major 'Hammerklavier' Op. 106: Scherzo: Assai vivace - Presto - Angela Hewitt / Ludwig van Beethoven
11/16 18:20:56 Trace: [Stereo] [Lossless, 16/44 FLAC => 16/44] [100% buf] [PLAYING @ 1:03/3:02] Piano Sonata in B flat major 'Hammerklavier' Op. 106: Scherzo: Assai vivace - Presto - Angela Hewitt / Ludwig van Beethoven
11/16 18:20:57 Info: [stats] 27295mb Virtual, 1166mb Physical, 491mb Managed, 352 Handles, 97 Threads
11/16 18:21:01 Trace: [Stereo] [Lossless, 16/44 FLAC => 16/44] [100% buf] [PLAYING @ 1:08/3:02] Piano Sonata in B flat major 'Hammerklavier' Op. 106: Scherzo: Assai vivace - Presto - Angela Hewitt / Ludwig van Beethoven
11/16 18:21:06 Trace: [Stereo] [Lossless, 16/44 FLAC => 16/44] [100% buf] [PLAYING @ 1:13/3:02] Piano Sonata in B flat major 'Hammerklavier' Op. 106: Scherzo: Assai vivace - Presto - Angela Hewitt / Ludwig van Beethoven
11/16 18:21:06 Trace: [Stereo] [zoneplayer/raat] sync NAD C658: realtime=332132813963 rtt=0us offset=-237186us delta=-559us drift=-9329us in 331.6825s (-28.129ppm, -101.265ms/hr)
11/16 18:21:11 Trace: [Stereo] [Lossless, 16/44 FLAC => 16/44] [100% buf] [PLAYING @ 1:18/3:02] Piano Sonata in B flat major 'Hammerklavier' Op. 106: Scherzo: Assai vivace - Presto - Angela Hewitt / Ludwig van Beethoven
11/16 18:21:12 Info: [stats] 27279mb Virtual, 1166mb Physical, 518mb Managed, 352 Handles, 91 Threads
11/16 18:21:16 Trace: [Stereo] [Lossless, 16/44 FLAC => 16/44] [100% buf] [PLAYING @ 1:23/3:02] Piano Sonata in B flat major 'Hammerklavier' Op. 106: Scherzo: Assai vivace - Presto - Angela Hewitt / Ludwig van Beethoven
11/16 18:21:21 Trace: [Stereo] [Lossless, 16/44 FLAC => 16/44] [100% buf] [PLAYING @ 1:28/3:02] Piano Sonata in B flat major 'Hammerklavier' Op. 106: Scherzo: Assai vivace - Presto - Angela Hewitt / Ludwig van Beethoven
11/16 18:21:25 Trace: [roonapi] [apiclient 192.168.1.111:51594] CONTINUE Changed {"message":"Running (39)","is_error":false}
11/16 18:21:26 Trace: [Stereo] [Lossless, 16/44 FLAC => 16/44] [100% buf] [PLAYING @ 1:33/3:02] Piano Sonata in B flat major 'Hammerklavier' Op. 106: Scherzo: Assai vivace - Presto - Angela Hewitt / Ludwig van Beethoven
11/16 18:21:27 Info: [stats] 27239mb Virtual, 1166mb Physical, 478mb Managed, 352 Handles, 89 Threads
11/16 18:21:31 Trace: [Stereo] [Lossless, 16/44 FLAC => 16/44] [100% buf] [PLAYING @ 1:38/3:02] Piano Sonata in B flat major 'Hammerklavier' Op. 106: Scherzo: Assai vivace - Presto - Angela Hewitt / Ludwig van Beethoven
11/16 18:21:36 Trace: [Stereo] [Lossless, 16/44 FLAC => 16/44] [100% buf] [PLAYING @ 1:43/3:02] Piano Sonata in B flat major 'Hammerklavier' Op. 106: Scherzo: Assai vivace - Presto - Angela Hewitt / Ludwig van Beethoven
11/16 18:21:36 Trace: [Stereo] [zoneplayer/raat] sync NAD C658: realtime=362273088014 rtt=500us offset=-237911us delta=-202us drift=-10055us in 361.823s (-27.792ppm, -100.053ms/hr)
11/16 18:21:41 Trace: [Stereo] [Lossless, 16/44 FLAC => 16/44] [100% buf] [PLAYING @ 1:48/3:02] Piano Sonata in B flat major 'Hammerklavier' Op. 106: Scherzo: Assai vivace - Presto - Angela Hewitt / Ludwig van Beethoven
11/16 18:21:42 Info: [stats] 27279mb Virtual, 1166mb Physical, 494mb Managed, 352 Handles, 95 Threads
11/16 18:21:46 Trace: [Stereo] [Lossless, 16/44 FLAC => 16/44] [100% buf] [PLAYING @ 1:53/3:02] Piano Sonata in B flat major 'Hammerklavier' Op. 106: Scherzo: Assai vivace - Presto - Angela Hewitt / Ludwig van Beethoven
11/16 18:21:51 Trace: [Stereo] [Lossless, 16/44 FLAC => 16/44] [100% buf] [PLAYING @ 1:58/3:02] Piano Sonata in B flat major 'Hammerklavier' Op. 106: Scherzo: Assai vivace - Presto - Angela Hewitt / Ludwig van Beethoven
11/16 18:21:56 Trace: [Stereo] [Lossless, 16/44 FLAC => 16/44] [100% buf] [PLAYING @ 2:03/3:02] Piano Sonata in B flat major 'Hammerklavier' Op. 106: Scherzo: Assai vivace - Presto - Angela Hewitt / Ludwig van Beethoven
11/16 18:21:57 Info: [stats] 27279mb Virtual, 1160mb Physical, 475mb Managed, 352 Handles, 95 Threads
11/16 18:22:01 Trace: [Stereo] [Lossless, 16/44 FLAC => 16/44] [100% buf] [PLAYING @ 2:09/3:02] Piano Sonata in B flat major 'Hammerklavier' Op. 106: Scherzo: Assai vivace - Presto - Angela Hewitt / Ludwig van Beethoven
11/16 18:22:06 Trace: [Stereo] [zoneplayer/raat] sync NAD C658: realtime=392443806021 rtt=0us offset=-238193us delta=241us drift=-10337us in 391.994s (-26.373ppm, -94.941ms/hr)
11/16 18:22:06 Trace: [Stereo] [Lossless, 16/44 FLAC => 16/44] [100% buf] [PLAYING @ 2:14/3:02] Piano Sonata in B flat major 'Hammerklavier' Op. 106: Scherzo: Assai vivace - Presto - Angela Hewitt / Ludwig van Beethoven

I did another test by setting up the NAD as an AirPlay endpoint. If I stream a CD quality album I still have issues, if I stream an high-res one (which gets downsampled to 44.1/16) everything seems fine.
I did not test as long as I did with the other scenarios but this would point to really something happening when the source is streamed directly to the NAD and going away if the file is processed by the Roon Core.

It may be totally unrelated to your issue, but I bought a C658 in November 2020. A few months later it started to make occasional crackling noises. At the time I had no Roon and no hires and no local files, only Tidal. Went back for warranty repair and the initial analysis said it was probably an issue with some chip. 6 months later I still didn’t have it back (Covid supply chain issues getting a replacement chip) and I switched to a different system, so I never found out what the problem really was.

Like I said, may well be unrelated to your experience, but is similar enough to not rule out a C658 hardware problem, possibly

Thanks for sharing your experience, I am sorry to hear that happened to you. So far I did not notice issues with other sources, but with that in mind I will keep a close eye on it and do a lot more tests!

It made me buy a crazy fat Naim system and Roon, so all turned out very well :slight_smile:
(Though I was a bit unhappy about NAD at the time because there was zero communication from them unless my dealer asked them, and 6 months is a long time for a warranty repair, especially as the fault developed at the same time as the pandemic started … I understood the supply chain problems, but would have preferred if they had kept me or my dealer somewhat up to date regarding what’s going on)

I hope yours is a software issue that can be solved without too much fuss, and there are some differences in your description compared to mine, but you never know and I thought better to have that info than going down a dead end.

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It turns out that I was probably affected by the same issue reported in Dropouts when streaming via Roon to NAD C 658

For whatever reason my NAS stopped sharing the music folder and only that since I installed Roon, I didn’t give it much thought because with Roon I was not using that but the NAD clearly has a problem with that. I reactivated the sharing and the system has been playing without interruptions for one hour, I hope it stays like this :crossed_fingers:

Now I feel bad for not having found that thread sooner :man_facepalming: I guess I was thrown off track by the fact that streaming to BlueOS directly worked perfectly. I hope this can help other people in the future.

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