Roon ARC with Intermittent Dropouts using Chord Poly

Roon Core Machine

ROCK, NUC8i7BEH, Crucial 8GB Single DDR4 2400 MT/S, Transcend 128GB Nvme PCIe Gen3 X4 MTE110S M.2 SSD Solid State Drive

Networking Gear & Setup Details

Ethernet to NUC: Google WiFi, TP-Link 8 Port Gigabit Switch, Synology DS920+

Connected Audio Devices

MacBook Pro, iPhone 13 mini, Chord Mojo2/Poly, Chromecast Audio

Number of Tracks in Library

43,000

Description of Issue

I have the Chord Mojo2 and the Roon-ready Chord Poly. The pair has worked fine with Roon, but using it the Roon Arc (which is a fantastic app) leaves me with intermittent dropouts that really disrupt my music listening experience.

I believe that I have isolated these dropouts to the Poly as I don’t hear any dropouts when listening to Roon ARC directly from my iPhone.

I set my Poly to Hybrid Hotspot Mode where Network is “Poly Hotspot Mode” and Play Mode is "Everything Else”:

This is in contrast to using Roon while I am home near my core:

For Roon ARC (using the Hybrid Hotspot Mode), I further configure my iPhone 13 mini for AirPlay and then launch ARC.

Here is a clip where a dropout occurs (recorded from headphones…). Some dropouts are more repetitive and some are longer.

Is anyone else experiencing these types of dropouts when using Roon ARC with the Poly? Any solutions?

Note- I made a similar post on Head-Fi where I have more detailed configurations of my Poly.

David

It’s not quite clear to me where Airplay fits in here. I have my Poly in airplane mode and establish BT between Poly and device. Just using ARC on my iPad and BT from the tablet to the poly. No need for Airplay and no dropouts.

Edit I’ve looked at the HeadFi post and I suspect that it’s the Poly hotspot network that’s causing you issues. It’s not the greatest, but I can see your logic. Better SQ than BT if it works. If I want SQ I just tether the MoJo via a data cable to the iPad.

I am seeking better sound quality which is why I am less inclined to use BT. But I love the portability I get with the Mojo2 paired with the Poly in one pocket and my iPhone in the other. It’s just those dropouts…

And it’s really weird. Sometimes I can go for ~15 minutes or longer with nothing, and then bam! the dropouts break up the music. I thought it might be the cell signal, but beauty of the music comes right back in the same proximity where the dropouts occured.

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Roon Core Machine

ROCK, NUC8i7BEH, Crucial 8GB Single DDR4 2400 MT/S, Transcend 128GB Nvme PCIe Gen3 X4 MTE110S M.2 SSD Solid State Drive

Networking Gear & Setup Details

Ethernet to NUC: Google WiFi, TP-Link 8 Port Gigabit Switch, Synology DS920+

Connected Audio Devices

MacBook Pro, iPhone 13 mini, Chord Mojo2/Poly, Chromecast Audio, Apple TV 4K

Number of Tracks in Library

45,000

Description of Issue

This is my second post about Roon ARC dropouts while using the Roon-ready Chord Poly. The dropouts are still occurring and it really is a bummer to my music listening on the go. My original post from January can be found here.

Here is what I have learned along the way (probing the Poly thread of Head-Fi and Chord Electronics technical support). The dropouts occur when using Roon ARC and when I use Plex, however, I think it is more severe with Roon ARC than Plex. Therefore, I think it must be with, but not exclusively, Apple AirPlay. I do not experience dropouts when using Roon ARC direct from my iPhone bypassing AirPlay and the Poly.

Here are three good examples of the dropouts, all from Patti Smith’s “Twelve”:
1 Sample - Everybody Wants To Rule The World
2 Sample - Gimme Shelter
3 Complete - Changing Of The Guards

The last one, the complete recording of Changing Of The Guards have dropouts occurring at 1:17 and then again at 4:32. That occurrence is perhaps more frequent, but not atypical, of the dropouts I hear while using Roon ARC with the Poly. All three samples are from headphones, but the dropouts are pretty clear.

Any suggestions from the community or Roon Labs support?

Thanks,

David

I agree with @killdozer from your original post, looks like the poly hotspot. If I remember on release the poly didn’t work as well as people had expected in its wireless reception. Sounds like the hotspot isn’t great.

The Poly WiFi is limited to the 2.4 GHz band, which is extremely crowded and has lower bandwidth and capacity than the 5 GHz band. Without knowing more about your network and networking environment, I believe that the general Ploy WiFi capabilities may be the issue here. I also don’t believe your dropouts have to do with AirPlay directly, but more in how AirPlay must use the 2.4 GHz WiFi band.

@ged_hickman1, while true that the Poly has had a checkered history, it is my experience that the Poly has been really solid since the release of GoFigure and subsequent firmware updates. My use of the Poly and the Mojo (and now the Mojo2) is consistent uninterrupted music listening, outside of the Roon ARC dropouts that I reported.

@Robert_F, I could agree with you if I had the same experience using Roon (not Roon ARC) inside of my WiFi network. Roon in my home works flawlessly on the 2.4 Ghz band.

I have since performed a factory reset of the Poly and tested it again, this time with Apple Music via AirPlay where I got some dropouts. That is why I think it’s AirPlay. I would be happy to run any tests to try to isolate the problem as the Mojo2/Poly with Roon ARC is my main use case while on the go (and Roon while at home).

Affected Product

Roon ARC

ARC Issue Category

Description of Issue

Hello,

I am writing to see if there is a solution to a year-long struggle I have had with Roon ARC. I experience intermittent dropouts when using Roon ARC with my Chord Mojo2 DAC and Chord Poly streamer. I first posted about this on the Roon Community forum (see Roon ARC with Intermittent Dropouts using Chord Poly and Roon ARC with Intermittent Dropouts using Chord Poly - 2nd Attempt!) and the Chord Poly thread on Head-Fi at Chord Electronics ☆ Poly ☆ (wireless & microSD module for Mojo) ☆★►USEFUL INFO on 1st PAGE!!◄★☆ | Page 1170 | Headphone Reviews and Discussion - Head-Fi.org. I then engaged in a lengthy email exchange with Mitch Duce at Chord (see attached at Chord Poly Pending Service Question.pdf - Google Drive) that included sending the Poly in for a service review to be certain that it was in proper working order. Mitch then suggested it might be my mesh router (I swapped it out for a non-mesh router). I later engaged in the Plex forum on some video streaming issues and while there, I asked about my audio dropouts and the writer suggested it might be my unmanaged switch, which I also swapped out. I returned both the non-meshed router and the managed switch when each did not solve the problem.

Hence now, I turn back to Roon. I have since largely given up on Roon ARC (unless I want to experience the dropouts in order to listen to unplanned music) and now rely on music I’ve downloaded to my SD card that is inserted in the Poly. As Mitch commented on June 9, 2023 in the linked PDF, a RAAT-based system for phones, if it were developed, might appear to be a solution that would also have other benefits. Yet, the question remains- if there are dropouts with AirPlay, then what is unique to my setup (as no one else has commented as far as I can tell).

One other point to clarify- the dropouts only occur with Roon ARC. Roon in my home environment works perfectly. That is why I was suspect of any of the solutions presented to me, but I explored each with a hope that it would resolve the dropouts. I should note that I also reached out to Apple for guidance as I have an iPhone as my source Roon ARC requires AirPlay (or bluetooth which I do not want to use due to loss of sound quality) and Google as I have their mesh router. Neither was of much help there.

Thanks,
David

Roon Core Platform

Roon Optimized Core Kit (ROCK)

Roon Core Specifications

ROCK, NUC8i7BEH, Crucial 8GB Single DDR4 2400 MT/S, Transcend 128GB Nvme PCIe Gen3 X4 MTE110S M.2 SSD Solid State Drive

Connected Audio Devices

MacBook Pro, iPhone 13 mini, Chord Mojo2/Poly, Chromecast Audio, Apple TV 4K

Home Network Details

Ethernet to NUC: Google WiFi, TP-Link 8 Port Gigabit Switch, Synology DS920+

Why are you using ARC to stream to the Poly when you’re at home? Use the Roon mobile app, which uses RAAT with a single Wi-Fi hop from core to Poly. Using ARC, you have one hop from core to the iPhone, and then another to the Poly using AirPlay, again using Wi-Fi.

Moreover, with the Roon app, you get bit-perfect playback.

1 Like

I use the Roon RAAT while at home and experience perfect audio playback with my Chord Mojo2/Poly. I use Roon ARC (and increasingly music on my SD card) when out and about. I get the dropouts when using Roon ARC, but only when using the Poly. Roon ARC from my iPhone direct to my IEMs- no dropouts.

So, to be clear, you only experience issues when using cellular connections and AirPlay? What playback strategy have you set in ARC? Likewise, how is the Poly connected, e.g., hotspot mode?

Martin,

Yes, exactly. Dropouts occur only when I use cellular and AirPlay. My Roon ARC playback strategy (if I understand you correctly) is:


in order to get the best quality playback (i.e., “orginal format” or uncompressed FLAC)

My Poly is connected using the hybrid hotspot mode.

Thanks!

Since you’re using AirPlay, adjust the playback strategy to Balanced for cellular, or use automatically pick best quality.

Is that a requirement for using Roon ARC?

The reason I selected “original format” is that Roon ARC will give me the highest quality playback (based on the original format of the recording). See this comparison.

Otherwise, it’s all lossy.

You’re using ARC over cellular, and you’re getting dropouts, so use bandwidth optimized playback to see if this improves matters.

Moreover, you’re using AirPlay with the Poly, via the phones OS mixer, and the maximum sample rate is 44.1 kHz 16 bit.

1 Like

I was out earlier today for an hour or so and tried “automatically pick the best quality” and “balanced". I continued to get dropouts at about the same frequency.

.

Try CD Quality over Cellular

I did so today. Audio dropouts continued at about the same frequency using CD Quality:

.