I posted this thread a month and a half ago and wanted to thank everyone above who responded and helped me with suggestions, including even the most basic things like how to access help from the Roon team. Since the last post on September 9, I have been in almost daily contact with Roon through PMs with Eric and Mike. I also recruited help from the tech support teams at Synology, Apple, Netgear and dCS. The skipping or drop outs problem I had was extremely difficult to troubleshoot and I was very happy when we finally did find the cause of the problem.
Although letting you know what we tried and what it turned out to be (a bad Seagate 3TB drive in the NAS that has a 60% failure rate and is the subject of a class action lawsuit) may be interesting to some of you, a much more important lesson I would like to talk about is how close I came to giving up on Roon, only to be comforted in the end by the extreme level of customer support they provide, so long as you are patient at times, and willing to roll up your sleeves and work with them as a troubleshooting partner. In some ways, knowing that I am not alone if something goes wrong is the very best part of the Roon product and I am here to tell you that the customer service is fantastic!
I am a pretty dedicated audiophile and when I upgraded my dCS equipment a couple years ago to the Vivaldi, I thought the physical CD or SACD disc was on the way out and decided it was time to focus exclusively on computer audio as the source of my digital music. Because I loved the Roon interface, I was an early adapter. But the NAS/MBP connection was never that stable and I frequently would have to reboot one or more things to get the NAS content re-scanned/imported into the system or to fix some other problem. I’m talking about at least once a week for two years, I had to do something like this just to be able to listen to any of the 3,000 albums stored on the NAS.
This aggravation (which is simply unknown to most audiophiles because no other piece of equipment acts like this) turned to something much worse when the drop outs started and it turned out that no reasonable amount of effort was sufficient to fix the problem. I followed every single troubleshooting step that Roon suggested and nothing fixed the issue. I even learned how to enter computer code in an effort to address the drop out issue. It got to the point in my PMs with Roon that I quoted another Roon user who said he was spending most of his time fixing glitches and not listening to music. I got angry, very frustrated and thought seriously about abandoning the entire Roon set-up. Even though I sometimes had to wait a day or two for a Roon response, they never gave up on the process and so I didn’t give up on them. In fact, in an effort to help solve the problem Roon was working so hard to fix, on my own I contacted the makers of my computer, NAS, router and DAC to see if this could help in some way. That turned out to be the key.
Roon’s own considerable experience with troubleshooting drop outs had never suggested that NAS drives were a likely source of the problem. But I was able to get Synology to remotely access my NAS and after a week or so they were able to find signs that the drive in one of the bays had “bad sectors,” meaning it could be in the process of failing. That turned out to be the case and as soon as I replaced that drive, the playback on Roon was fine again.
When I think about the amount of effort Roon put in to one person’s system, it is truly stunning for a product in this low price range. Basically Mike and Eric told me they were going to see this through however long it took and they kept that promise. In fact, their customer support was nearly perfect if you think about what you would get for any other product remotely close to this price range. Folks, they have real passion about their work and about this product, and their goal is nothing short of finding solutions for every single user if needed. Bravo for that kind of service! Most people I know agree Roon has the best interface in computer audio, but I learned they also have the best service after you become a member. For anyone (like me) who is not that computer literate, this lesson should be very reassuring.
I am happily enjoying Roon again, and I recently eliminated the MBP entirely from the audio signal by utilizing the new Roon endpoint in my dCS Upsampler. Thanks again to all who helped out.