DSD256 Native Playback over USB results in performance issues, stuttering, and playback failure

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

i7 Kabylake Quad-Core processor, a 500GB Samsung 960 NVME M.2 DRIVE for Win10 OS and Roon, 16GB of 3000mhz DDR4 Ram, and my 55ktrack music collection resides on a Samsung 4TB 860 SSD.

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

N/A (Connected via USB directly to Matrix Element X DAC, problem is with local DSD256 file playback only)

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

USB–> Matrix Element X DAC

Description Of Issue

Everything works great except native playback of DSD256. My performance drops from 4x to .9x-1x when attempting to playback any DSD256 file locally from my 4TB SSD connected via SATA3 (550MB/s reads). The track plays until the performance drops to .9x for a few seconds where the track begins stuttering and eventually failing. I thought an i7 Quad-Core 3+ghz Kabylake would be more than enough to handle one single DSD256 local file playback? Nothing else is running in the background. I’m using the embedded Intel Graphics to power a 4K Samsung HDTV as my display.

I don’t do DSD but I think the paralellize setting in the screenshot allows the load to be split over multiprocessors.

Yes, I already have that on, but thanks for the suggestion.

Could you post a screenshot of your signal path?

It sounds like you are doing some DSP processing more than just playing a file. My i5 core doesn’t even show a X speed when just playing DSD256 native to a DSD capable endpoint. With another DAC, which requires DSD to PCM conversion and then downsampling to a DAC acceptable 24/176.4 , I am getting 5x.

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As @Rugby said, it looks like the EQ is your problem here. Layering the EQ on top of DSD256 is asking for a lot of processing horsepower.


When I turn on/off EQ with a DSD64 file on my Nuc8i7/ROCK with Native DSD processing enabled, I go from 6.7X to over 100.

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There are many i7 processors in every generation with different capabilities. It might be helpful to state exactly which Gen and which specific i7 product you are using.

Quadcore makes no difference to performance in Roon it will only use 2 max. So if your single core speed is low then that’s your issue. 1x is right on the edge.

Hi @Wh01sjongalt,

As others have noted, a processing speed of 1x is not great, and the extra DSP operations are taxing your Core even further. If you try to output DSD256 content with no DSP active (even as a temporary test), does the same issue occur?

Point taken. I just figured a quad-core i7 was powerful enough to handle it. I’ll just turn off the dsp.

You should be able to keep the EQ, but you have to disable Native DSD Processing.

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