Roon Audio Crackles and Breaks Up Intermittently

Roon Core Machine

2019 iMac running MacOS Monterey, ver. 12.3.1. 3.7 GHz 6-Core Intel Core i5; 32 GM RAM

Networking Gear & Setup Details

Verizon FiOS high speed Internet; Eero mesh wifi system (ver. 6.10.0) (941 Mbps download; 927 Mbps upload); Roon Core (iMac) is connected by ethernet; almost all my listening is on a home theater set up over wifi.

Connected Audio Devices

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I listen on a home theater-type set up: Yamaha AV receiver; Verizon cable box; Oppo CD/DVD player; Roku box. There are no audio issues for TV or CD/DVD playback.

I stream Tidal and Qobuz to the Bluesound Node 2, and through a Cambridge Audio 200M DAC. (I removed the DAC and the problem persisted, so it’s not that.)

Number of Tracks in Library

I have no idea how many tracks are in my library, but as a practical matter 99% of my listening is streaming from Tidal and Qobuz. The iTunes library is on my iMac.

Description of Issue

Intermittent but continuous static and breakup, around every 30 seconds or so. It has made Roon unlistenable.

Here’s the key discovery after troubleshooting with Bluesound: When I listen to Tidal and Qobuz directly through the BluOS app (not Roon) over wifi, there is no breakup. (So the problem doesn’t seem to be the Bluesound Node 2.) But when I listen to the same album through Roon over wifi, I get the static-y breakup.

Here’s the second key discovery: When I listen to Tidal or Qobuz using Roon on my iMac (where the Roon core lives and which is connected by ethernet cable to the Verizon modem, there is no breakup. So there seems to be something about the way Roon processes Tidal and Qobuz over wifi that is causing this problem.

Roon’s local networking requirements tend to put more demands on your network than other music and streaming services. This appears to be a networking issue, but not sure.

Are all of your Roon devices other than the Core connected via WiFi? Are all of your Eero mesh nodes connected via WiFi or via Ethernet? How many Eero mesh nodes do you have? Also, do you know how many devices are connected to your Eero nodes across your home?

The Node 2 also connects using some older WiFi protocols, which tend to be less resilient to interruptions and higher-speed traffic requirements.

Hi, Robert,

Thanks for the prompt reply.

Yes, all Roon devices other than the iMac core (iPad, iPhone, MacBook Air) connect via WiFi.

The Eero base station (or whatever they call it) is connected directly to the FiOS router with ethernet cable. Then there are two Eero “Beacons” situated strategically around the apartment, one in the room where the stereo/home theater is located. These are first generation Eeros, from around 2016 or 17.

According to the Eero app, there are quite a few devices connected to the Eero mesh system, but it’s not easy to identify all of them since they are often identified by a number. But there are a couple of laptops, a few iOS devices, a couple of printers, and a few Amazon-related devices (a Dot, a Spot, etc.).

The Node is also, as you noted, a little old. I bought it from Amazon in December, 2017. Apart from this audio breakup issue, which started out of the blue just recently, I have in the past gotten occasional error messages that Tidal or Qobuz are loading slowly and that there may be a connectivity issue. I could live with those because they resulted in a track being skipped occasionally, rather than the constant bad audio I’m getting now.

Based on the above, what are your thoughts?

Thank you.

Larry

Lawrence, thank you. One more question: is the Core connected to the Eero base station or directly to the FiOS router?

Given the age of the Node 2 and the Eero system, this may be taxing the network given the amount of traffic on your local network, which may cause issues with Roon.

The Core/iMac is connected to the Verizon router.

When I was troubleshooting the network connection error message with Roon and Verizon last July, we decided to disable the WiFi in the Verizon router settings so that it couldn’t interfere with the Eero signal. So the Verizon router is just a pass-through to the Eero. (Because I have Verizon’s “Triple Play,” we couldn’t remove the router completely.) That seemed to help, although I still get the network connectivity error message from time to time.

That’s a good idea to disable the Verizon router’s WiFi (I do the same with my AT&T gateway, and use an ASUS mesh system for routing and WiFi).

However, it is possible that you may have two networks running, one with the Verizon router and Roon Core computer, and one with the Eero system. Is it possible to connect the Roon Core computer to the Eero base station using an Ethernet cable, and see if that stabilizes your network? Don’t know how Roon functions in the configuration you currently have, but connecting the Core directly to the Eero may help limit some of the issues.

The Verizon wireless signal no longer shows up in any WiFi settings in the house.

That said, the current configuration is: FiOS router connected to iMac/Core by ethernet cable; and FiOS router also connected to Eero router.

Are you suggesting changing that to: FiOS router connected to Eero router; and Eero router connected to iMac/Core? So instead of two ethernet cables branching off the Verizon router, there would be a straight line of Verizon router to Eero router to iMac. As I mentioned earlier, we can’t remove the FiOS router since it is needed as part of the Verizon Triple Play set up.

My concern is whether the Verizon router has to be directly connected to the iMac for the Triple Play business to work. But I guess I could try the change and see what happens. Thoughts?

(There is only one ethernet port in the iMac.)

Yes, that is what I am recommending to see if this helps. When you mention Triple Play, do you mean voice, video, and Internet data services, or something specific to how you use your Mac with Verizon services?

While the Verizon router is not providing WiFi in your home, it is providing some network services. However, connecting the Mac to the Eero bsae station (which itself is connected to the Verizon router via an Ethernet cable) may eliminate one variable in your configuration. If you are receiving video and voice services from Verizon, they should not be impacted by moving the Mac directly to the Eero base station. However, if anything odd happens, then move the Mac back to the Verizon router.

Thanks again for sticking with this.

The Triple Play means they are providing cable tv, internet, and telephone (formerly an actual landline; now VOIP but with the legacy phone number). Some day, I’ll cut the cord(s) and just go with Internet. But for now, I’ll leave that alone.

OK, I’ll give this re-cabling a whirl. Fingers crossed.

No dice.

I reconfigured the ethernet cables, rebooted the Verizon and Eero routers and the Bluesound Node2, – and sadly the crackling breakup continues.

Any further thoughts?

If you can put another Roon Ready device in place of the Bluesound device you can eliminate the Bluesound Roon implementation.

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I suppose. But the system worked pretty well until about a month ago. So I’m reluctant to scrap the Bluesound Node (although I may try an upgrade if nothing else works).

For any number of reasons, including interference from outside your home, you may need to upgrade your WiFi network to a newer system that should be stronger, allow more devices and bandwidth, and may be more resilient to interference.

Try a factory rest of the blueos I think someone else had a similar thing.

Thank you for the suggestion. For the Bluesound Node, factory reset is just a matter of disconnecting and reconnecting the power cord, which I’ve done many times. No special hold-down-two-buttons-for-10-seconds kind of thing.

If I’m going to try the upgrade route, which direction do you think would be the most likely to succeed: new Eero or new Bluesound?

Honestly, both, probably the Eero Pro 6 (a tri-band WiFi system) and the newer Node from 2021. There have been so many improvements to WiFi over the past 5-6 years both in technology, capacity, and security. I would recommend doing this in stages, first something like the Eero Pro 6, then see if the Bluesound stops crackling, and if not, then the Node (all assuming your budget allows you to do so).

I have updatred a number of family and friends to current generation (WiFi 6, typically tri-band) mesh systems. These became much more stable and provide significant improvements to everyone’s experience using their networks.

In fact, I called Eero, explained the situation, and asked for a recommendation for an upgrade. The guy thought the Pro 6 was overkill for an apartment with a dozen or so devices, so I bought the Eero 6+ (3 pack) that he recommended, which is still dual band, but rated to cover 4,500 sq. ft and 75+ devices. I had originally asked about the Pro, and was surprised that he didn’t jump at selling me the more expensive model. If that doesn’t solve the problem, it’s a good upgrade anyway (after almost 5 years for my current Eero) so I wouldn’t send it back. Then, if necessary, I’ll try the new Bluesound Node – but if that doesn’t fix the issue, I definitely would return that. I’ll let you know how it goes. Thanks again!

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Sounds like a good plan Lawrence. The 6+ should be enough for your WiFi needs. Depending on the size of your apartment, you may want to start with two Eeros as adding too many WiFi access points that are close together may degrade your WiFi network due to overlapping interference. I hope this starts to resolve your issues.

If you do a search on the forum for blueos and crackle there are a surprising, to me at least, number of posts. Unfortunately no single solution.