Distortion on bass / kick peaks

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

Windows 10 / AMD Ryzen 5 1600, 16G RAM, MSI X370 motherboard / Roon build 571, 64bit

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

Core internet connection:
VM Superhub 3 in modem mode ->
TP-Link TL-SG1005D 5-Port Desktop Gigabit Ethernet Switch ->
Realtek PCIe GbE Family Controller - Ethernet

House wifi connection
TP-Link TL-SG1005D 5-Port Desktop Gigabit Ethernet Switch ->
TP-Link Deco M4 mesh

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

ASUS Essence STX II PCIe soundcard audio output - has issue
ASUS Essence STX II PCIe soundcard optical output - has issue
Scarlett Focusrite 2i4 2nd gen USB soundcard - has issue

Chromecast audio - wifi connection - no issue

Description Of Issue

I’ve been hearing a zing/boing/buzz kind of sound on loud bass notes, in particular kicks in electronic music. Initially I thought it was a loose wire inside the speaker, or a damaged tweeter, but after testing on several amps, speakers and monitors the distortion seems to be in the output from Roon. The distortion is heard when playing from mp3 files and Tidal through Roon.

Playing the same mp3 files through musicbee does not reproduce the problem. Playing from Roon through a USB soundcard gives the same issue. Both audio and optical output from my usual sound card (ASUS Essence) have the problem. Strangely the distortion is not audible when streaming from Roon to Chromecast audio through wifi.

I’ve been using Roon since March this year and not noticed the issue until around the start of July, although it may have been there before that.

Any help would be appreciated!

Hi @Andy_Stringfellow,

Can you please share a screenshot of your Signal Path when you play a track with this behavior?

Also do you have any dsp settings applied?

To be honest I didn’t realise there was that much going on. I might try to weed a few things out.

I just turned DSP off and it’s still happening.

It’s not the volume leveling or crossfade either.
My signal path now looks like this, with the issue still present:

Is your connection to a DAC?
If so, have you tried setting Exclusive Mode in the device setup?

System Output --> OS Mixer

So perhaps a setting (sound optimization) / EQ on the OS.

That’s only using soundcard so the OS could be doing anything to the signal hence why it’s green and not lossles. If connecting the Focusrite it should show up in settings/audio as a device connected to the pc you should enable it and use that zone. If using WASAPI ensure exclusive mode is on in Device settings to bypass any OS interruptions.

The last screenshot was when playing through the ASUS Essence audio out, so no external DAC. There isn’t an option for exclusive mode using this device (“System Output”).

Setting the Focusrite as a zone fixes the problem. That’s without exclusive mode, but it also works fine with it enabled. The signal path for the Focusrite now looks like this, with bypass on for DSP and exclusive mode enabled:

I’m not sure why there are so many conversions. Seems like it may be a lead to understanding the problem.

So what I want to get working now is ‘System Output’ through the Asus Essence.That’s the one I use for general listening.

I’ve just found this window in audio settings:

Changing to 24bit, 41000 Hz fixes the problem on the Asus card.

I guess I’m maybe at risk of losing out on audio quality for anything recorded over 44.1kHz but that’s a different discussion!

Cheers guys

This is the trouble with computers . If you had it at 48 before the OS is resampling everything to that behind the scenes and is likely not good at it. Now you will get everything downampled to 44.1 Your best to use a DAC on a pc and set it to exclusive mode, Roon will send audio without any interferance from the OS, switch sample rates if the dac supports them and likely sound better.

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Looking at the Focusrite it doesn’t switch rates, it’s set by the audio control panel in Windows. So in your example it’s telling Roon it only supports 48/24 so Roon is resampling for compatability reasons.

In general terms, what you are seeing are your various sound cards controlling Roon’s signal path. Unless you are really mixing music or sounds, it’s best to just send a bit perfect signal on to the sound endpoint, which presumably is a DAC.
Now if you WANT to run some specific digital signal processing, then you can control that more specifically in Roon.

Really helpful, thanks!

I had a look around and found a separate audio device in the list for the Asus card which allows exclusive mode.

Now it looks like this!

Now I just need to get this acoustic treatment finished so I can actually hear the difference :rofl:


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