Need some advice on Roon End Points

I had the following setup

iMac (Roon core) → 20 ft USB cable → Gustard X16 DAC → Marantz 6013 as preamp → Emotiva 200W/ch amp → KEF metas w/ KC62 sub (low level from Marantz sub out) [Audyssey room correction]

I got crackling noise and dropouts frequently. I bought a better USB cable and there was an improvement but it was still there. Also I didn’t like the Marantz converting my DAC back to digital and then audio again. So, I got rid of the cable and the Marantz.

iMac (Roon core) —>WiFi—>Raspberry Pi 3A with DietPi–> short USB —> Gustard X16 DAC -->Sabaj A10h preamp → Emotiva 200W/ch amp → KEF metas w/ KC62 sub (high level from speaker wires) [REW room correction]

which was a tremendous improvement. My WiFi is the Google Mesh and a strong signal. The dropouts and crackling are 99% gone and now every once in a while. Maybe once a day, I hear a short dropout. And since I’m anal about this —I want to fix it.

So — I was thinking of doing this:

iMac (Roon core) —>WiFi—>Raspberry Pi 4 or 3B with Volumio–> Appo DigiOne —> S/PDIF coax cable → Gustard X16 DAC–> Sabaj A10h preamp → Emotiva 200W/ch amp → KEF metas w/ KC62 sub (high level from speaker wires) [REW room correction]

Comments welcome.

Why not try different OSs on the RPi while going thru USB first, like Ropieee or straight RPiOS with Roon bridge install, to see if dropouts are gone.
Costs nothing but time - just an idea…

Yep. Worth a try. I’ll need to do some research to figure out Ropieee (no experience here).

But I heard the Digione is a major improvement - especially with the Signature model…

…and I also heard the Gustard and other high end DACs have really good USB inputs.

Although this Ropieee user log 91bd294c5966e3cb also has pops

I just happened to have moved my Roon Core to a Macmini M1 from a fanless Acer touchscreen netbook. But I am still using the Acer netbook as a Roon endpoint, via USB into a Chord DAC. It’s been working absolutely fine, via wifi too. Although I normally use an iPad as a control point, it is also occasionally convenient to use the touch screen on the Acer to control Roon. So, given that you can get decent modest windows fanless netbooks for £200/£300 - same as a pimped up Raspberry Pi - might it be worth you considering one of those as an endpoint?

Can you lash up an ethernet cable as a test and see if that helps.

On this community it is common to see dropout complaints most are down to WiFi even with high signal strengths

You can’t beat wire


You won’t need anything else than ropieee-guide-for-beginners.pdf from our exquisite member @Nathan_Wilkes.

If I went wire with my modem on the other side of the house, I’d have to purchase a google wifi node with ethernet……but the google nest nodes would still be talking wirelessly to each other. Running wire from my modem /router is possible but a chore.

But isn’t that a bit like a USB cable from my PC? That was all wired.

USB has length limit which is quite sort, Ethernet is good up to 100m

Even trying it will eliminate WiFi as an offender

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I can attest to the fact that Ethernet Wired connection is a good idea - worked for me at least.
I use Mac mini (core) > Raspberry Pi 4 with Allo DigiOne Hat > Dac.
I was getting “dropout” / “Tidal media loading slowly”message followed by track skipping when using WiFi (especially with Tidal “high res” tracks). Switching to Ethernet connection between the Pi4, Allo combination and my router/modem solved my issues - no more dropouts.

I dunno. You’re adding more stuff, switching protocols from USB to S/PDIF, but you’re still on WiFi. I think if you really want to get rid of the dropouts, you’ll need to run an Ethernet cable to the Pi, and you probably don’t need the Allo device. (Presuming you mean “Allo DigiOne” instead of “Oppo”?)

Max length for a USB cable is 16 feet, if I recall correctly. So a long USB cable is wired, for sure, but it brings its own baggage.

But presumably they know how to do that really well. Probably better than the Pi knows how to talk WiFi.

WiFi isn’t recommended for Roon (it’s network heavy) - there are numerous posts where users have seen dramatic improvements in performance with a simple ethernet cable.

Yes, there are those who manage to get WiFi to work well, but they’re in the minority and most who do really know what they’re doing in terms of layout, configuration and backhaul.

I had endless problems loading speeds, drop outs, buffering errors (all via wifi) finally I ran in 30M of ethernet connected up and all the problems disappeared.

Just try with a temporary ethernet cable to prove/diagnose the problems you’re having.

I just ordered the necessary stuff to go ethernet. I haven’t crimped an RJ45 in many years, I’ll need to research.

I suppose the unanswered question is — Will a Digione be a cheaper solution?

What is the sample rate that you are streaming to the DAC and have you experimented with a short USB cable to see if that solves the problem? If it is the length of USB then you may try a USB repeater or a powered cable that’s built for long cable runs. Not sure if the, “better”, cable you tested was better constructed or of the powered variety. The processing speed indicator on Roon can help you figure out if it’s Core processing power related.

I’ve only experienced drop outs when the device connected to the DAC can’t keep up. I’m using a CORE computer that’s a little low on horse power. I can create drop outs if I’m trying to stream DSD or 352khz files over ASIO or if I’ve got a weak WiFi signal to some other raspi streamers I use.

The architecture work around that cured this was to connect my core machine and Raspi via ethernet to a cheap Netgear ethernet switch and USB from the Raspi to the DAC. You can also connect the Google mesh device to the Netgear switch via ethernet too. That way you’ll remove a couple of WiFi legs.

Long usb is a no no,use the shortest cable possible

The Digione is a means of allowing a Coax connection. I use a Pi4 with Allo Digione simply because my DAC limits to 96 on USB and optical but is 192 on Coax . The 2 units are side by side so short cables.

I suspect, but have no data, that a long Coax is OK but how long I couldn’t comment on .

USB is certainly NOT an option for long runs although there are cables with “Built in Amplifiers” t a cost

Ethernet is certainly the answer , its robust and cheap. I ran one cable from my study (Router and fibre input) to a switch in the lounge (HiFi , Video etc) and have not looked back.

I would not even consider running Roon on WiFi certainly in my house which is all Brick & Plaster walls which absorbs everything. Also don’t forget how many other appliance interfere eg Microwaves

One option I have used in the past is a WiFi extender with a Ethernet port and then a patch cable to a switch. A bit like a beefed up Antenna. It works but again depends how good a signal you get to the extender. It also drops the transmission rate by half. When I did this it managed Netflix quite happily so music would be OK I guess.

Just a note as the OP appears to be trying different DAC types, as I recall the Pi3 sometimes encounters cracks and pops when using ethernet and USB connected DACs due to a shared bus. The Pi4 does not have this problem.

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Yes the pi3 is noted for that, more so if using its network port as it’s using the same bus. Pi3b+ is better with USB when wireless is used I found . I had it pops and clicks with several well known DAC on mine, it only worked successfully with one. WiFi can and does work perfectly fine for endpoints as long as core is hard wired that’s the important part. But trying a cable won’t hurt but might not be the issue either.


I have a Pi4 laying around doing nothing…

Maybe I’ll run a test.

Maybe with the Digione…and kill two birds ( I don’t think the Digione fits on the Pi 3A I have)