Dirac 1.2 (not Roon) update = occasional buffer static again

As per other threads, the Roon update to version 1.2 caused static/buffering issues for many Dirac users. The general solution around this was to enable “power-of-2” buffers for the Dirac audio endpoint. This seems to have solved the issue for the most part with Dirac 1.1. Though I for one never actually had any problems with Roon 1.2 strangely enough.

However, Dirac updated their own software on the Mac to v 1.2 this weekend and this is when I first noticed it. With power-of-2 not enabled it is horrifically bad and painful. Turning on power-of-2 mitigates it for the most part, but it still happens once in a while. In my limited testing, it seemed to occur with Tidal, rebook, and hi-res material. Just to be sure, I downgraded to Dirac 1.1 and it went away. And using iTunes + Dirac 1.2 caused no issues.

So there is definitely some sort of buffering issue with Roon and Dirac. I am guessing that the change in Roon 1.2 to depend on devices providing accurate metadata has exposed a potential issue with Dirac not playing along nicely - eg. it’s not giving back the right data to buffer correctly. And it looks like the Dirac update to v 1.2 has made things even worse.

To those of you thinking of upgrading Dirac 1.1 to 1.2, Roon 1.2 + Dirac 1.2 is mostly useable with power-of-2 enabled but you will still likely experience occasional buffering static/drops. For me it’s occasional enough to be tolerable. I haven’t gone back to Dirac 1.1 because it looks like the 1.2 update changed the format of their project files such that you can’t open them fully in 1.1 once resaved. So I would have to re-calibrate/measure all over again. If you are going to try updating to Dirac 1.2 I would strongly suggest you backup all of your Dirac 1.1 project files/filters in separate folders in case you want to downgrade.

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Thanks for the heads-up, I was eagerly awaiting the 1.2 update (apparently with the fix for remembering the USB output device if it gets powered off)……
Will definitely do some backups.

Apart from the static here, are there any new features of note in Dirac 1.2? Improvements you can detect? Is the AU/VST plugin included by default now?

The AU plugin is still not available for general release. On the Mac, they have added a clipping indicator to DAP which is actually quite helpful and brings it inline with Windows. The Kext is now being put in the right place and it seems to remember some settings after restart better. Is it ‘more’ compatible with El Capitan? Hard to say. But overall, pretty much a nothing release, particularly after 18 months since the last one. For the price they charge, they should take some lessons from team at Roon on how to update one’s software …

Kind of disappointing if its been 18 months, especially the AU plugin still not being official.

TBH the biggest issue I had with Dirac was it not remembering the USB output, and it having to be manually re-selected (over VNC in my case) every time the DAC was switched off or input changed, so if that’s sorted I’ll be happy. But it is expensive so you’d expect after 18 months maybe some advanced features, improved algorithms, etc.

I asked about the AU plugin on CA, where Flavio said there’s no ETA for its release and its expected to have a cost associated when it is. He hoped the free ‘decimal’ updates had kept customers happy, and it seems they’re busy building industry alliances. Great for Dirac but I got the distinct impression the Dirac Live product for Mac/Win isn’t their focus…. Not necessarily a problem, but if there were other tools for the Mac I’d definitely be considering those… but the only serious alternatives are Windows.

Completely agree. I still haven’t bought a Dirac License as I was waiting for this big 1.2 release, which really was more like release. I find their attitude towards the product terrible, particularly given it’s price, and am thinking I might actually install windows just so I can try out acourate and in combination with HQP. Dirac is really the only worthy option on the Mac side of the fence unfortunately.

I should just say I can’t fault the product itself in terms of what it does to the sound in my system and its ease of use - I was really impressed when I first installed it and would still be using it currently if weren’t for the 1.1 issue I had.

I thought I should make that clear along with my reservations - I wouldn’t want to scare anyone away from Dirac as it is a really good product - I just worry if anything crops up in the future it might be a long wait for updates/fixes.

Yes sorry I did not point out that, similarly, I have continued to keep Dirac around as an option because the actual filters/algo/sound and ease of use are very good. It’s just a shame that product support/updates are so weak. I do know that alternatives on the windows side may produce better filters (search acourate vs dirac) at a steep cost in ease of use. And it’s not like they are free or very cheap either.

Have installed Dirac 1.2 (OSX 10.9.5) and recalibrated from scratch.

All worked fine with Roon and the DAP although since I’d read the above comment I just ticked the x2 buffer by default and haven’t tested without it. Have only mainly tried redbook and tidal but no issues there.

It remembers (and reconnects to) the selected output device which was my main issue so in that sense I’m happy. :slight_smile:
the added clip indicator for is is helpful too.

not much to report really.

I just noted that Dirac also sells a dedicated hardware box, digital in and digital out (or other options). $900.

Has anybody tried that, or know of any comments?

Might eliminate the integration issues.

Oops, hadn’t noted this is sold by MiniDSP, not by Dirac.

$900 is very reasonable considering the Dirac software alone costs half of that.

If it works well.

I seriously considered one, but for me the IO options were a bit annoying. I just wanted USB in and USB out, or USB in and AES out. Getting there seemed convoluted and each box seems to come with a lot of unwanted features. AFAIK its also limited to 96K if that matters to you - I know Dirac probably makes more difference compared to sample rate, but still, would be nice to preserve as much as possible and the software can do 192.

At the risk of sounding like a fanboy, you can load an FIR filter into the HQP convolution engine and do room EQ while upsampling or pass-through at any resolution HQP supports, up to DSD 1024 if your DAC can take it.

:slight_smile: :grin:

I need to double-check on a bit more material, but I think I heard a few ‘crackling’ noises during a high-res file playback (DSD downsamled by Roon to 172 or something). Is that what the ‘static’ sounds like - it was reminiscent of the appalling Devialet AIR.

I have the power of 2 buffer activated.

Yes it is intermittent crackling that can vary from track to track, that once frequent enough sounds like constant breakup of the sound. Try turning power of 2 off for a moment and you will hear what it sounds like full blown.

This solution doesnt work with a RME Babyface Audio Interface and Dac.
And with an Oppo 105 Dac the static noise comes back again after a couple of minutes, when playing.dsf files.
Both used with a Mac Powerbook.

This solution doesn’t work for me either. Tried Dirac 1.2 with Audirvana without any problems. Somethings wrong with Roon/Dirac. So for me Roon is at this stage unusable and for me, I cannot miss Dirac.

Come on Roon, solve this problem.

Yes Dirac 1.2 has made the problem even worse such that on some systems even the power of 2 buffer setting doesn’t fully mitigate the issue. I would guess that Roon will fix this pretty quickly - right?

Hey @nquery @hifi_swlon (and anyone else experiencing this issue) – we are going to do some testing in house to see if we can get a sense of what’s going on here, and whether there’s something we can do on the Roon side.

@vova and I will report back about how the testing goes. It would be great if everyone experiencing this issue could let us know:

  • Your audio settings in Roon (like the screenshots shown here)
  • Whether this happens only with certain types of media or content, or with everything you try to play
  • Any relevant settings in Dirac we might need to match your setup as closely as possible

Thanks guys! We’re on it.