External Source Control results in duplicate power commands

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

macOS Big Sur 11.2.3
Mac Mini M1
Roon 1.8 Build 783

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

All pertinent devices on Gigabit Ethernet via NetGear Managed Plus switch, except Logitech Harmony Hub (WiFi only). WiFi provided by Ubiquiti Unifi 6 AP on gigabit backhaul to the network.

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

Trinnov Altitude16 (Ethernet)
Ayre QX-5 Twenty (Ethernet)

Description Of Issue

I’m using the Deep Harmony extension and recently moved my Roon Core to this Mac Mini.

I’ve noticed that on Roon Core 1.8, duplicate power commands are sent to my DAC when starting to play music. Through the external source control Harmony sends a “Power Toggle” command to the QX-5 as part of my basic stereo music activity. Then, Roon seems to send a Power Toggle through RAAT. This results in the QX-5 being turned off. Roon is aware of this status (see screen clip), but continues to show the track being played, even though the DAC is off.

Starting a new track causes Roon to turn the DAC on and resume playback.

Thanks,
Neil.

From the screen shot it looks like you have two methods of applying source control to the device. Roon cannot know that they are both the same device and therefore will apply power control to all those that support it.

If Roon has complete control of the DAC (on and off and this cannot be prevented), then maybe it should be removed from Harmony control in the Harmony app - that is the only work around I can think if. There is nothing (I believe) that Deep Harmony could do to deal with this. Harmony itself will be unaware of the real device state is is only reflecting the completion of the Harmony activity with its ‘selected’ (blue) state representing that the activity associated with the zone is the current harmony activity and that it has completed.

I agree there is an issue here, and that seems to be that Roon is playing although one of the source controls is in its ‘standby’ state. I might guess that is down to an issue with how Roon determines if a output can play and is probably using a last state update wins rather than updating a can play state with an AND of the state==‘selected’ for all the sources whenever a source state changes. However, this is a guess with incomplete information.

In the end, this kind of thing is always going to be a problem so long as device manufacturers continue to only assign power control IR code for toggle and neglect to also assign explicit separate power on and power off codes (same problem with cycling input selectors instead of direct input selectors) - TBH this is the bane of my life when it comes to home automation. I guess stateful home automation based IR control is just not on their radar at all.

Thanks, Adam.

The problem with removing the DAC from Harmony is that I would lose the ability to control the DAC from the Stereo Music activity in Harmony. Because the RAAT source control implementation on my DAC is not perfect, I rely on the IR control for certain functions.

It does seem like a flexible solution would be for Roon to offer an option to disable source control through RAAT, in the case that an external source control manages power, volume, or both.

Hey @Adam_Goodfellow,

Thanks so much for stepping in - we appreciate the help.

@Neil_Patel thanks so much for sharing this and for your incredible patience while we got a chance to reply. This is a good moment to apologize for our delay :pleading_face:

I was wondering if there were any changes to your setup to avoid this behavior? Or, has it been ongoing since?

Hi, Rebeka –

No, the problem is unsolved. As Adam noted, there’s no real solution in Harmony/DeepHarmony. The only solution I can think of would be for Roon to allow disabling power control through RAAT when an external source control was being employed.

FWIW, I would think RAAT would not permit Roon to play to a device that was in standby? Perhaps the algorithm should confirm and correct power status on the endpoint as a final step before playback?

As I have basically no technical knowledge of RAAT, this is just a conjecture.

Hey @Neil_Patel,

Thanks for following up. While I feel like I can’t make a valuable contribution to this conversation, I’m sure our technical team could offer some more insight into this. That’s why, I moved this thread to their queue.

Please, sit tight. You should hear from them on this thread :pray:

@beka Just pinging you for an update on this, as it’s been a few weeks.

Also, just posted another thread about an issue on a separate installation that we have. Would appreciate someone helping me with that one, too.

Thanks,
Neil.

Hey @Neil_Patel,

Thank you for the kind way you’ve used to get our attention. I’ve bumped this up. You should hear back from our technicians soon :pray:

Wondering if anyone came up with a solution for this? I have the same issue with a similar setup, a QX-5 dac and using the Deep Harmony extension for source control. If I hit play Roon will turn on the dac, then send power on command to source through deep harmony to the appropriate harmony activity. The harmony activity tries to power on everything again resulting in a the dac turning off because Roon already turned it on. Even though the dac is now off, Roon shows the track still playing…
Can Roon offer an option to not send a power on command to the dac directly and only use source power?

alternatively, as mentioned earlier in the thread this could be avoided if the Dac itself had discrete on and off IR codes to use in harmony, but it doesn’t. Does the Deep Harmony extension have access to network power commands through Roon? and does Roon utilize a discrete on and off command to power the dac? If so, maybe Roon power commands can be used in a harmony activity instead of the IR command.

Hi, Nicholas —

I’m not aware that this problem was solved. In my case, I made two changes that work around the behavior. The first was to switch to streaming via an RPi4 running Silent Angel’s VitOS. This means that Roon doesn’t talk directly to the QX-5/20 at all, leaving Deep Harmony to do its thing. The downside is that Roon loses the ability to report the volume level on the QX-5/20.

The second thing is that I built a Roon Extension that allows me to control volume on my KX-5/20 via AyreLink. So, I have complete volume control functionality from Roon and via Harmony.

Going into the QX5/20 via USB lent the music a more laid-back, natural sound at the slight expense of resolution. Because my system is already super resolving and my room acoustics a bit harsh, this was a better balance for me.

Hi Neil, thanks for the info. I saw the Ayrelink extension that you developed, nice work. I would have given it a try with my AX-5 Twenty but, unfortunately my mac isn’t in the same room as this system.

I suppose using an RPi would solve the issue since it would no longer control the QX-5 power… I do have one already setup there to use the Roodial extension and can enable it as an endpoint. I did previously do a little back to back comparison between usb and network input of and I had thought I preferred the network input, but perhaps I’ll revisit that for a more extended comparison. I know Ayre just started offering a new usb module as well… I wonder how it compares.

Still would be interested to know if power control over network could be integrated into the deep harmony extension. That too may solve the issue if we can program that command into our harmony activities.

Here’s an idea:
To my understanding, the issue is that the QX-5 has a single on/off IR code. Neither RAAT nor Harmony has an option to bypass sending power controls to a device, so if Harmony lags behind RAAT, it’ll turn off the device. I don’t think there’s a way for Deep Harmony to fix this.

I’m not sure how many devices are involved in your Harmony activity for listening, but if they are connected via AyreLink, you need have to have the AX-5 on first, followed by the QX-5.

If you don’t use AyreLink, you could have the QX-5 go first. Maybe this will get it to see the IR toggle (on/off) before Roon sends “on” via RAAT.

In terms of Ayre/USB/the extension:
My understanding from the Ayre guys is that USB is a much better evolved technology for streaming than Ethernet, and that the new module will be a game-changer.

FWIW, the extension should be able to run on your RPi alongside Roodial. It’s entirely written in JavaScript using Node.js, and should be platform independent. I developed it on a PC and run it on Mac.

Let me know if you decide to experiment with this; I would need to add the AX-5 to the extension.

yeah if unable to bypass I was thinking I could program an extra “on” command via RAAT into the harmony activity if deep harmony had access to that function. Again, I’m not sure if there is a discrete command to power on or off via RAAT either so not sure if it would even help.

I think the most convenient solution would be to would be to use the RPi as the endpoint which removes the redundant power toggle to the QX-5. Hoping to see some more feedback on the new usb module soon before deciding to drop another $800 on just an upgraded usb board.

Neil, No need to go through the trouble of adding the AX-5. I think the RPi route will allow me to continue using deep harmony source control and there wont be any sync issues between harmony activities and Roon. I do really appreciate your help with this. Ultimately I think it would be best if Roon would just add a toggle to select device power and/or source control power.

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My sense is that the QX-5 power control through RAAT is on/off specific, not just a toggle.

Hence, if Harmony toggles power on the QX-5 before RAAT sends its code, there’s no issue.

I don’t think Deep Harmony provides that feature, however. It really is up to Roon to provide more options tor setups where there are multiple source controls for a given zone.

I’m going to get one of those USB modules as soon as they are in stock. I have a feeling that it will be the way forward.

Finally, adding new preamps to the extension is pretty trivial. Let me know if you change your mind.

Good luck!

Hey @Nicholas_Thio,

I wanted to follow up on this thread and thank you for your feedback about what would make Roon even better (functionality to choose the device and source control power).

I was also curious to see how things unfolded in the past month. Are there any updates you can share?

Hi Rebecca, Nothing to report here. Resorted to using an external Roon endpoint that doesn’t have a power toggle (Raspberry Pi) rather than the built in Roon ready network input of the Ayre Qx-5 because I can’t avoid the redundant power commands if using external source control option (through deep harmony extension in this case). Would be great if the user has an option to use only source control power rather than RAAT power command and source control.

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