Roon seems to be very greedy with my bandwidth & system resources

I’m not sure if this is to do with my set-up, the seek times of my external hard drive or some such, but the main app will very often pause, give me a warning about an audio file loading slowly and then (rather puzzlingly) skip on to the next track. Or, it will just stop playing altogether and I have to push the play button to get it going again.

This will usually be either:

a) When my laptop is doing something else. Right now, I’m using Handbrake to batch process a load of video files in the background which I would imagine is using a load of system resources.

b) When my laptop is using my internet connection for something other than Roon.

It’s not always possible to go in & tailor those other resources so, for example, I can tell Roon how many cores to use for analysing. I can tell Dropbox (or Megasync / Transmission or similar) how much bandwidth to devote to their tasks.

The fact is that when I have anything at all happening alongside Roon, it will occasionally stumble & stutter. I almost never get uninterrupted playback unless I close all other functions and just let Roon run all by itself.

To be fair, the bandwidth issues are the most troublesome. I just played a whole album while Handbrake was doing its thing & Roon only stumbled once but you can bet your bottom dollar that if I’d left Dropbox syncing the new files that Handbrake is creating, Roon would’ve become effectively unusable, even with Dropbox’s bandwidth throttled.

I guess it’s not possible to make an app that can realistically ‘speak’ to the OS or other apps & “arrange” how they’re going to work together. To have Roon say to Dropbox, “wait a sec while I buffer some more of this audio… Right, I’m good for another few minutes, you carry on”.

I also gather that there are rights issues over how much audio can be buffered with streaming services.

Personally, it would suit me if Roon just paused for a few moments after I hit play and buffered the whole CD before it started. Or kept an eye on bandwidth availability and grabbed more audio whenever it was able to do so, in order to keep the buffer above a certain level, rather than just grabbing the next track as the previous one ends (at which point, the signal may have dropped off for some reason & Roon is screwed).

Obviously I don’t know how Roon actually works, from a programming point of view, but I would’ve expected it to have “seamless playback” at the heart of its functionality and to be able to deal well with all of the other things we each need our computers to do while we’re listening to music.

I suppose my questions are:

Is it my set-up?

Is there anything I can do to help this situation?

Why would Roon elect to give up & move in to the next track? However slowly the audio is loading, is this something that’s going to be solved my moving on to the next track, which will surely be most likely to be affected by the same thing, would it not? Suffice to say, I never, ever want Roon to skip to the next track. I’d rather it just stopped (like it sometimes does anyway) and I just hit play again.

My set up, for reference:
Apple MacBook Pro (15" 2017)
Catalina 10.15.7
3.1 GHz Quad-Core Intel Core i7
16GB 2133 MHz LPDDR3

Western Digital 18TB Elements Desktop External Hard Drive (Music library storage)

*Virgin Media Hub 3 connected to laptop via ethernet using Powerline plugs. *
M350 Fibre Broadband (362Mbps down, 36Mbps up)

Raspberry Pi 4b with Allo BOSS DAC connected to router via ethernet & to analogue amp via standard phono.

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It’s probably your setup that somehow makes this a frequent occurrence.

But when the Roon remote does not get data fast enough (whatever the cause), it skips to the next track instead of temporarily pausing the current one. Many people find this annoying and the feature suggestion thread is here:


Other questions around this subject…

Can Roon tell the difference between streaming services & my hard drive? If it can, could there be an option fro me to give it permission to buffer more &, if so, would this help?

I gather that Roon only buffers the next track. What if I were to take all my albums into Audacity & make them all one track long? Or whole operas? Complete Ring Cycles? Would Roon encounter a “ceiling” or would it buffer the whole thing?

Where does Roon put the buffered data? Is it using the RAM on my laptop & will therefore struggle if something else is arguing over the same RAM at the same time? If so, could I be offered an option similar to Photoshop where I can allocate an amount of RAM that is dedicated to Roon while it’s running?

I would try to temporarily removing the powerline adapters and hardwiring as I have had poor experience with Roon and these.

I can’t deduce from your post but if your core is running on your laptop and the music is on your WD drive then the powerline adapters are in effect having to move the file from your WD to your laptop and then stream it to your endpoint. A cable for a short period will
identify if this is your issue!

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The WD drive is connected to the laptop via USB. The core is on the laptop. The laptop is connected to the router via the power line adaptors, if that clarifies anything?

If you still think it’s worth a try, I still could try connecting to the router directly. Unfortunately, there is a door between my workstation and the router (with no alternative route available), so I wouldn’t be able to have that as a permanent solution.

First thing I would do would be to bypass the powerline plugs and run a Cat 6 cable to eliminate this from the equation.

If it works, get a network installer to route a cable to the other room.

(I cabled most of my house, but it did take a combination of drilling, lifting flooring and carpets to do it so the cables are not intrusive.)

As Carl suggests I would eliminate them as the first point of call as it’s a pretty easy one to try.

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As others have mentioned, the power line plugs are the most likely cause, but I’d also add that it may be related to the Virgin Media Hub 3. I have exactly the same setup as you - M350 Fibre - and had all sorts of problems with the router: dropouts, weak wifi, intermittent problems, and so on. The only way I could solve it was by switching it to modem mode and installing a bunch of Deco M9s. I haven’t had any problems since switching to the Decos, so that’s another option you might want to consider if you can’t directly hardwire your core.

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As I say, I can definitely try the hardwiring as a temporary option.

Sadly, I live in a small rented flat so any kind of permanent wiring work will have to wait until I get into a house, partly because this is not my place to do building work in, secondly because I can’t go into the solid floor & upstairs might not like it if I run cables up through their living room & I’d rather save the money & put it towards the aforementioned house.

But, they’re great suggestions & it’s good to know that the issues I’m having are solvable.

Question (which I’m sure I could look up but): What are Deco M9s?

A mesh wifi system. In a nutshell, they provide a much more robust wifi network than the Virgin Hub.

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You could always try a flat ethernet cable in lieu of anything more permanent. You can run these round the skirting board, or tuck them down the edge of a carpet - much easier to handle than a standard round cable.

Hardwood floors. But I’ll give it some thought. Thanks.

Up the wall and over the ceiling :slight_smile:

As I say, it’s a rented flat. I ain’t going there! :rofl:

(I mean, to be fair, a couple of pins into the top of the door frame & I could probably hook a cat 6 cable up & over, but it would look pretty unsightly & I really don’t want to have to spend the time & money fixing the place up when we leave because I’ve drilled the wall to pieces.)

The flat cable sounds promising, though. :slight_smile:

The mesh wi-fi system seems little over the top for my current situation. I’m I’m a 2 bedroom flat & my Core is literally three metres away from the router. There just happens to be a door in the way.

What’s the deal with the Virgin Media hub though? If my core was hardwired to it with a cat-6 cable, would I still benefit from having a better router?

The Virgin Media hub is a fairly typical ISP supplied device, i.e. it does the job it’s supposed to do, mostly, but on a budget. 3rd party routers are generally better spec’d with better performance. If you hardwire your core to the Virgin hub you probably wouldn’t benefit from a better one. Try it out and see how you get on.


Virgin media hubs suck. The 3 has really bad Wi-Fi implementation that has loads of issues with the the puma chip it uses. Not sure they ever sorted it out as I only use mine in modem mode as it was that bad.

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Do I need the VM hub to plumb my TV into or can I get other hubs to do that?

EDIT: Okay, I’ve had a quick look at “modem mode”. So I can keep the TV going into the VM hub & pass the rest of the signal through to a better router?

Yes. A new router will allow you to create a more robust wired/wireless network, which you then connect to the internet via the VM hub (running in modem mode). The TV connection will continue to run as normal.

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Cool. Is there a “best” router or make of routers? (The ones you mentioned before being specifically on the subject of a better wireless network.)