Some Live Radio stations playing in mono

I checked a number of stations and found that most of the low-bitrate AAC streams (less than 100 kbps) were mono. If the station offered a higher bitrate AAC stream (the ones I checked were 256 or 320 kbps) it always came over in stereo. I am using 1.7, so maybe it is a problem with how the individual stations are doing their streaming?

I don’t see this, and I don’t think you should either. So some low rate AAC streams are mono and some are stereo? Is there a cut-off point below which all are mono?

Can you share another mono stream please?

Here’s an example of a station with two AAC streams, 48kbps and 128kbps:

The lower bit rate stream looks like this in the signal path:

… while the higher rate stream looks like this:

There are numerous other examples. If the AAC bit rate was lower than about 80-100 kbps, it shows as mono in the signal path.

It’s seriously odd!

And wrong. I see stereo for both.
Silly question, but have you rebooted everything? If you have, and still have problems we’ll call in the experts.

Hi Brian - I am installing a new core machine today (something I was planning to do anyway) to replace the 2009 Mac Mini I was using. The new machine is a 2018 Mini, which will run Roon much more smoothly. I will let you know whether the mono/stereo problem is solved by this change.

Well, I’ve installed my new Mini, and I am still getting only one channel from a number of radio stations including KUAC. But there is some inconsistency; some of the stations I checked before are coming through as two-channel at the low bit rates, and others are still one channel. So it doesn’t appear to be an issue with my set-up.

If you want to escalate the problem to the experts, I could provide a list of stations that are showing the problem. Thanks for all of your help!

Well, it’s beyond me. Let’s escalate. @support can you help please?

Hi @Douglas_Braddock,

So we can better assist you, please provide a brief description of your current setup using this link as a guide.

Make sure to describe your network configuration/topology, including any networking hardware currently in use, so we can have a clear understanding of how your devices are communicating.

If you play to System Output do you see this same issue?

Hello Dylan -

Here is my current setup:

  • Late 2012 Mac mini running MacOS Sierra (10.12.6). 2.5 GHz Core i5, 8GB RAM.
  • Roon 1.7 (build 511).
  • Mac hardwired via Ethernet cable to router/switch. 100mb/sec internet connection.
  • Local music library on external USB 3TB spinning drive. Approximately 35,000 tracks in library.
  • Mac connected via USB to a Schiit Eitr USB to SPDIF converter, then via coax to a Peachtree Nove125 amp with integrated DAC.
  • TIDAL is used as a streaming service.

Here is an example of a low bitrate stream (from my local public broadcasting station) playing to system output. Same channel mapping issue occurring. As I mentioned to Brian, this happens most often on low bitrate AAC streams. Stations with AAC bit rate options above 128kbps don’t show this anomaly (at least the ones I’ve tried). This is the same thing that happens when playing to the Schiit Eitr/Peachtree combo.

Thanks for your help. Let me know if you need more info!

Thanks, @Douglas_Braddock!

We’ll do some testing here and I’ll let you know what we discover.

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