Please suggestions to solve time lag on track and album changes

Roon Core Machine

Mac mini M1 8gb, headless, fully dedicated to Roon. Mac OS Monterrey 12.3.1
Library on HDD connected through Thunderbolt to Mac mini

Networking Gear & Setup Details

Unifi UDM (latest firmware), Google DNS, all end points wired Cat 6a, 1 Tb internet connection

Connected Audio Devices

Matriz Audio Element X (wired); Naim ND5XS (wired, through Sonore bridge); Mu-so Qb (wireless)

Number of Tracks in Library

+/- 150k, 120k local library, 30k Tidal

Description of Issue

When playing music, when I try to jump to next song on queue and/or change track or album, there is usually a gap (not always, but say 80% of the time) of 4-7 seconds until the track plays. This happens both for local stored music and Tidal. Not related to CPU or RAM usage (happens when both are in low usage). It is happening more lately,

I’ve tried rebooting everything (Roon, Mac mini, router, etc); deleting orbit_V3.db file on Roon Database; etc but the problem comes back.

I had this issue a few months back when using a Mac mini 2012 and an Apple router. Based on Roon support advice, I changed both to current set up and the problem disappeared. But it has come back in the last +/-4 weeks, not sure if because updates to Roon, OSX. iOS or UDM firmware.

As the first 3 are not under my control and likely not the root cause of the issue (I haven’t seen similar issues to mine in the forum lately), I would appreciate some advice from you guys on how to correctly set up UDM for Roon… Please note that I’m not a proficient IT guy.

Thanks!

The very first thing I would suggest would be to slip in a cheap unmanaged switch and see if the issues persist. If they do it isn’t necessarily Unifi. Secondly, can you add memory to your core or is Apple still doing the ‘what you buy is what you get’ thing? 8gb seems a little miserly for such a big collection in addition to running an all purpose OS.

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I’ll try what you suggest.
Unfortunately the RAM can’t be upgraded in the new Mac Mini. Yes it’s a little “tight”, but I don’t usually get RAM pressure levels beyond “green” (low). My bad I should have bought a 16gb, but now too late…

I had my Mac mini connected directly to the UDM router. I have now connected it to my Netgear unmanaged switch (which is connected to the UDM router) and I seems it’s working much better. I just tested it for a few minutes, though. Let’s see how it behaves over time.

As I said, I’m not an IT guy so it is puzzling to me that now it works better…

So I guess something is wrong with the UDM set up, right?

Ps: Thanks Henry!

It is possible there is a setting that could improve it but I’m not an IT guy either! Time will tell if you need to do any more.

Unfortunately, the issue came back after a longer listening period. It goes away restarting Roon, but comes back after some time

Your track count is fairly high, it may be a RAM issue on the M1 Mini. As our library is on an external drive, is it possible to tempoarily move your Core to another Mac or PC with more RAM to test whether it may be the server?

Another factor may be the speed of your library’s drive. Is it an SSD or a traditional spinning disk hard drive?

What the issue looks like is as if Roon takes its time to “load” the song into a buffer and then plays it.

Yes I know more RAM might help, but Mac’s activity monitor shows very low RAM usage (“green” all the time) and CPU usage of 11%.

Mac mini has an SSD. My external drive where the music is, has a traditional spinning disk, but an extremely fast thunderbolt connection.

The thing is that this problem didn’t happen some weeks ago, with same library size and set up. As over this time period there’s been a number of upgrades to Mac OS, iOS, Roon and UDM firmware, my hypothesis is that’s where the root cause lies. But who knows…I’m puzzled

Hi Ricardo,
Since you are using a spinning disk for storage, I believe it may be a macOS issue, that is currently putting external harddisks to sleep - så what you are waiting for is the hdd waking up and getting ready to provide the data.

Link to thread on Apple support website: https://discussions.apple.com/thread/253434491

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Thanks JCSkov!

It makes a lot of sense what you are pointing to. Yes that may be it…

Now, let’s see if Apple solves the issue…

I’ll download the app suggested in the thread and will keep you guys posted

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The problem persists after installing Amphetamine (an app that allows to keep external HDD awake). So it doesn’t seem to be the Mac OS Monterrey sleeping HDD issue…

Playing around and doing trial and error, what I’ve found is that if you allow a song to play for just a few seconds and then change tracks or record, everything works flawlessly, w/o any lag But if you allow for the song to play +/- >1min, then advancing and/or changing tracks or albums takes some lag (3-5 seconds, sometimes more). This happens both with local stored music as with Tidal. If you allow an album to play on, no issues from song to song. Changes from playing an album to the next when both in a queue, the lag also appears.

Really puzzling…and annoying

Changed the tittle of the thread as issue root cause might be different than router

I’d appreciate some comments from @support

Myself being a lifetime member, I hope this issue doesn’t become a lifetime one. It makes Roon quite non-functional

There have been reports of slowness when changing and pausing/starting that the Roon team has said they are checking into.

It sound like your issue might fall under that. If so, I assume a fix will be released as soon as it is done and tested.

Keep in mind I am a fellow user like you, not, official Roon staff.

Hi @Ricardo_Damborenea ,

There were some changes in this area in our recent update which may help with the issue you were experiencing, can you please confirm if you’re still seeing this in our latest release?

Hi Noris,
I have not had the opportunity to play music for a long time yet.
My initial impression is that it has improved quite a lot, but not 100%.
It used to be +/- 7-10 sec when changing tracks or albums once a song had played for +/- 1 min or more and mow is down to +/- 2 secs.
I’ll get back to you with more definitive comments after more continuous use.

Thanks for asking!

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Hi @noris

The problem persists. It seems more acute the longer the music session and for sure the lag when changing track/album increases the longer the previous song has been playing. As an example, change of album after 6min play of a song has taken 15 sec right now.

Changing track after a few seconds of play of a song is almost immediate and change of album in that situation takes a couple of seconds, which is ok.

Hey there @noris

The problem is just getting worse and worse. Now it takes up to +20sec to change tracks or albums after a song has played for > 1min and I have been listening to music for a couple of hours. No problem if a full album is played, all song play back w/o lags between them.

Lags seem to increase the longer the Roon session and seem to get reduced if I restart Roon.

This is making Roon quite useless. I’m desperate

At this stage it’s a bit difficult to work out what the issue might be, so it might be a good idea to check specifically if it is the hard drive that’s causing the problem. What I’d suggest is that you create an additional watched folder on the Mac mini’s SSD and add a bunch of albums (just copy a selection from your HDD). Once you’ve done that, check if you have the same problem by changing tracks, jumping to the next song in the queue, and so on. Just make sure that you’re playing the tracks you copied to the SSD, not any that are on your HDD. This will either confirm that it’s the HDD that’s the problem or rule it out.

Thanks @DaveN

I’ll try that but the issue happens both with local music as with Tidal, so my guess it’s not HDD related. Also, I have Plex in the same Mac mini and use it for video and works perfectly when changing, skipping, fast fwding, etc.

I’ve tried Tidal-to-local changes, local-to-tidal, local-to-local and tidal-to-tidal and the same lags happen and they are time sensitive (length of time a song has played AND length of Roon session). The longer the time, the bigger the gap.

When it happens, there are no RAM or CPU usage issues that I can see in the Activity Monitor. RAM is the low green area and CPU <10% usage

The symptoms -to put it graphically- are similar to some kind of buffer getting bloated over time, then getting back to “semi normal” if I restart Roon.

It didn’t happen a couple of months ago with the same hardware. In that period, there’s been upgrades in Mac OS, iOS, Router firmware (Unifi UDM) and Roon Core, so a lot of moving pieces…but hardware

To me this looks like it was running Roon server on Linux, before the port to .NET 6.0. The longer the session, the more RAM was being used, and the slower all interaction became. Clicking to start a track would become unbearably slow. Only solution was to restart Roon server. Since the release for Linux based on .NET 6, things are much better, with good performance and stable RAM usage.

Roon is porting Roon server to .NET 6.0 on MacOS, too, but this is still some time away, as .NET has not yet been fully released for Mac. I would monitor RAM usage on the Mini, and simply restart Roon regularly…