Play issue when exclusive mode is enabled on Mac Mini M1 (2021-11-21) [Roon Investigating]

I have the same problem. My Mac mini M1 is connected to my older NAD the 765 via HDMI. Cannot use core exclusive mode…tracks don’t play and you see in the display Roon skipping over them very rapidly. Problem does not occur when I do not use core exclusive. Interesting, my Roon core used to be on a intel-9 based MacBook Pro, and I could use core exclusive with no issues. Also, when I connect to Sonos speaker in bedroom via Sonos Play wireless, I can use core exclusive. The problem must be between the Mac mini M1, which runs the core, and the older NAD 765

Hi,

The Roon @support team prefer one topic per customer’s issue… so they are able to track it and focus on each individual problem. hence I split out your topic.

In order for Roon’s @support team to better assist you, please provide a brief description of your current setup and the nature of the issue using this link as a guide.

Make sure to describe your network configuration/topology, including any networking hardware currently in use, so they have a clear understanding of how your devices are connected.

Issue: Roon Will Not Play Tracks of any Music Content to legacy NAD 765 home theatre when Roon Core Exclusive Mode Enabled. Roon skips over all tracks in very rapid order.

(Problem does not occur when NAD 765 set-up does not have Core Exclusive Mode enabled.). (Also, problem did not occur when I had an Apple MacBook Pro Intel i9 holding Roon Core). (Problem also does not occur when Core Exclusive is enabled on a Sonos speaker endpoint).

Setup:

  1. Roon Core on Apple Mac mini M1 (maxed out RAM and SSD). Headless Server. I believe M1 also employed Rosetta in order for Roon to play.
  2. Apple Mac mini connected by ethernet to a high end Netgear router to Internet, with download speeds of 200 mbs plus
  3. Apple Mac mini connected to NAD 765 via HDMI (1.1?) out (port 1 of 4)
  4. NAD 765 single HDMI out to Samsung 4K TV for video
  5. All content (burned CDs) on Apple Mac mini M1
  6. Tidal subscription (used 90 percent of time for content)
  7. Typically access Roon server on Mac mini M1 via Roon Remotes wirelessly connected to network. (either new MacBook Pro Intel i9, or 2017 iMac, or iPhone, with no issues), with each running full Roon

Summary: Problem is not urgent. I get good sound quality without Core Exclusive enabled on NAD 765, however, can’t figure out why I have described issue now that I have switched Roon Core to Mac mini M1. Could issue be that in the past, when I was running MacBook Pro Intel i9, there was no problem, but now with M1 Mac mini and Rosetta, there is an Issue?

Hey @Robert_Connors,

I wanted to thank you for bringing this up and for sharing your exact setup. It’s incredibly helpful.

I’ve notified our team and they were able to reproduce the same behavior on our end. They’re looking into this :nerd_face:

I’ll follow up as soon as there is an update :pray:

Here is some more information to assist.

  1. When playing a FLAC 48Khz, 24 bit, MQA 96 Hz file from Tidal, (example, Bill Frisell’s “Epistophy”, the album plays perfectly all tunes.

  2. However, when playing a FLAC 44.1Khz, 24 bit, MQA 88.2 file from Tidal (example, Bill Frisell’s “Valentine”), Roon rapidly skips through all tracks and does not play any.

In both cases, I have NAD 765 settings at Core Exclusive enabled, with No MQA support. I have also tried enabling MQA Decoder and Renderer, vs. Decoder vs Render, and it is not a factor in playback of either 1 or 2 as described above.

I have the exact same issues on a Macbook Air M1.
I’m using a DragonFly Black DAC.

Tested with the same examples from Tidal as Robert_Connors provided.
Works with the first example, not with the second.

EDIT: So I installed Core on an Ubuntu server and the DragonFly all of a sudden has no issues with exclusive mode on the Macbook M1.

I’m wondering if this behavior is tied to any limitations in the Rosetta translation software, which I presume Roon Core relies on, to run on a Mac M1?

Has Roon @support had a chance to look into this? I’m interested in using a Mac Mini M1 as Roon server but no exclusive mode would be a dealbreaker for me. Thank you.

I have had no response to date from Roon. However, it is really not a big issue in terms of playback quality. At least not for my 65 year old ears. I just leave Core Exclusive disabled. I’m not sure the problem described was with the Mac mini or the inability of the DAC in my old NAD to deal with the signal. I recommend you proceed with Mac Mini M1 and use Roon Server. Now, with that said, what I did yesterday is install a new Cambridge DAC Magic 200 between the Mac mini and my old NAD 765 amp. USB B from the MacMini to the Cambridge DAC, and unbalanced analog output from the Cambridge DAC to the old NAD 765 amp. It appears that now I can enable Core Exclusive on Roon with no issues, but I have not fully tested all scenarios. Just interested: what amp are you using now? I had considered ditching my NAD 765 for a new NAD C 399, but all I really needed was a DAC to achieve full MQA decoding from Tidal Streaming. So I bought the Cambridge DAC to do this. Now, if you buy the MacMini M1, which I recommend you do, you don’t necessarily need a DAC. You could connect the MacMini directly to your amp with HDMI or USB. Interested in what you may do and the results.