Poor Sound Output Using Apple MacBook Pro, i9 HDMI output to old NAD 765 Home Theater, for any content on Apple MacBook Pro SSD

I have a Mac i9 running the Roon Core. I can output content to my old NAD 765 home theater (which is connected to 7.1. surround speakers) via HDMI or Apple TV. However, I am getting very poor sound output, full of clicks and pops, using HDMI, only when the source is my own ripped or downloaded content, which resides on my Mac i9 SSD (as does the Roon Core).

The HDMI output from the Mac is actually done through a USB to HDMI adaptor. I also know the old NAD only supports HDMI 1.1.

All of my content (ripped CDs) resides on the same Apple MacBook Pro SSD as does the Roon Core.

What is perplexing though, is that when playing a Tidal stream, the HDMI output is spectacular, and there are no issues.

Using HDMI output is important to me, because the NAD is also connected to my Samsung TV, wherein I can see the Roon application and all of its functionality.

Using Apple TV gives good sound for any content or stream, but you see only the album and name of performer…you don’t get any lyrics or can’t see any of the Roon application on the TV.

As as an example of my frustration, I just downloaded the Chesky 35th anniversary content from HD Tracks to my Apple MacBook i9 SSD, and it plays terribly via HDMI. (Any of my 500 ripped CDSs on that SSD have poor sound as well when played via HDMI.)

I used to be able to play any source via HDMI to NAD with no issues; this leads me to believe some update in Roon or Apple iOs caused problem(?).

But playing any content on my Mac Core to NAD 765 via Apple TV works fine. There are some advantage of using the Apple TV to get sound to the NAD…in this mode the NAD surround sounds such as NEO Music and EARS are available. HDMI output from Mac to NAD does not allow NAD surround processor to function.

I’ve experimented with different audio settings and it makes no difference if I use core decoder or have MQA options turned on or off, with respect to getting better sound from HDMI for my own content on the Apple SSD.

Any ideas on what is causing the poor HDMI output sound from my own content?.

Has your Roon completed analysis? If not, try different settings for Background Audio Analysis Speed.

Try putting your music files away from the Mac i9 SSD. If you have a network share on another computer or NAS, use that. If you have no network share, try using a USB drive temporarily.

Moved thread.

Peter: thank you for the reply. I have narrowed the problem down to stored media files on my MacBook i9 SSD that have high re-sampling and high bit rates. The problem of poor sound does not exist with 16 bit, 44.1 files (and possibly higher bit/frequency sampling). However, when we get up to a 24 bit, 192Khz file, like the Chesky 35th Anniversary, the sound is not good. Since I can stream such a file from Tidal with no problems, the problem is definitely in the SSD-HDMI connection on the Mac. I believe your recommended solution of moving media to a NAS or USB external storage might work, but what I did to resolve is more interesting…I used DBPower Music Converter to convert the Chesky File to 16 bit, 44.1 Wave, and I even added 7.1 theater sound. I can now play this file directly from my SSD to my NAD, and even employ the NAD EARS sound shaping with no issues.