Sound Quality Issues

Core Machine (Operating system/System info/Roon build number)

iMac Big Sur os

Network Details (Including networking gear model/manufacturer and if on WiFi/Ethernet)

iMac is on wifi wireless; Asus AC2900 router - hard wired via Ethernet

Audio Devices (Specify what device you’re using and its connection type - USB/HDMI/etc.)

Auralic Vega G2

Description Of Issue

I signed up for a year Roon membership that is going to expire Feb, 2021. So far, I’m not going to renew unless I can get the sound quality to improve.

My Roon core is on my iMac. My iMac is NOT ethernet hard wired; I’m running it via WiFi.
I’m having two issues:

  • overall sound quality (when it’s working properly) is not up to par compared to when I’m streaming via the Auralic Lightning App (hard wired Ethernet cable); the sound seems muffled…less detail, less air, etc
  • I’m experiencing a huge number of “dropouts” in the music stream periodically; it’s like a weak signal…only parts of the music are coming through…

For the above two reasons, I haven’t been using roon at all the last year. I figured I would give it a try again before my year membership expires.

Any suggestions would be welcome. I really like the Roon platform, but unless the quality of the sound improves, I won’t be renewing. On the Auralic forum, many people say the SQ of ROON is amazing, so I’m thinking I’m doing something wrong.


Try by using wire instead of wireless from the machine with Roon Core.
Best will be wiring all for testing, making sure that your network is not the bottleneck as it often is the case.
The symptoms you describe point at network problems.

Your Roon core should be connected by ethernet, NOT WIFI. That would probably solve your drop-out’s. As far as sound quality, there is something wrong somewhere.

Thanks for the message. Unfortunately, my router is located in a different room, and it’s not feasible for me to run an ethernet cable directly to my computer (where my Roon core is located). If I purchased the Nucleus and hooked it up hard wire Ethernet as my core, would that solve the problem?

Well, before buying more equipment I would first test the setup. I own an iMac (not Roon Core) and therefore know that it isn’t hard to carry it temporarily for some hours or a day near the router and wire it with Ethernet. This would allow you to test the effect (less dropouts, better sound??) of connecting a wired core vs having the core on WiFi like now.

If this test satisfies you, then go on and decide upon some suitable device for running the Core. Doesn’t have to be a Nucleus; could be a Mac mini or any PC with Windows/Linux and Roon Server. Some device you could place near your router and have it connected with an Ethernet cable.

As others have suggested, try moving the Core onto a wired ethernet connection. I use a iMac as my Core. No problems.

Hi @Tony_Yip,

I’d definitely like to echo the above points — We always recommend an Ethernet connection whenever possible. That should help with the dropouts you’re experiencing. A dedicated server like Nucleus could certainly help, but a quick test with any machine you have available that you can connect via Ethernet would be a good way to be sure!

As for sound quality, we have some information about that here:

If you have any questions about that just let us know! A screenshot of Device Setup and your Signal Path would also help so we could get a better idea of how you’re playing to your endpoints.

Hi Dylan,

Thank you for your reply.
So I pulled my computer into my living room and connected it using a decent grade Audioquest ethernet cable. Sound quality was definitely better, however, the dropouts were still occurring only on specific songs. Your reading links were very helpful. No where was I able to find “exclusive mode”; can you provide me specific instructions as to how to find this option?
The Signal Path took me a while to find! The dropouts seem to be appearing on anything that is being MQA Core Decoding to 96 kHz 24 Bit…Any suggestions?

Hello @Tony_Yip, you can check out our article on exclusive mode here. Please let me know if you have any questions!

So I’ve spent the last half hour looking all my general and audio settings looking for anything that allows me to choose “exclusive mode”. I can’t find it. Can you guide me through it? I’ve read all the articles talking about exclusive mode but NO WHERE does it tell me HOW to access or turn this feature on. Please help!..Update: I found exclusive mode on the “built-in output” vs the “system output”. I turned exclusive mode on…but I’m not exactly sure what I’m supposed to be using…built in output or system output. When I disable both, the system still plays, but again, I’m experiencing major dropouts on select tracks…Is there someone I can call to sort this out? Or is there this online support only? So frustrating

5 hours later…of researching and tinkering…and I’m really, REALLY lost. I’ve tried everything. I did searches on built-in output and system output…read articles that are supposed to help but don’t…I just want great quality sound that doesn’t have severe dropouts. I even searched for “telephone support” that I now discovered Roon doesn’t offer…You have to realize that not everyone that subscribes to this service is a computer wiz kid…If it’s too expensive to offer phone support, then charge me for the call…It’s 1am now…and I’m extremely disappointed that Roon hasn’t been able to help me out.

Please help me. I feel like I’m like Linda Blair in the original Exorcist movie. :frowning:

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Your symptoms are those that commonly appear with networking problems. Check ethernet cables, try a different router if you can, contact your ISP to see whether they are experiencing network problems. Aurilac pretends to do MQA but doesn’t really. So many things to check out before blaming Roon.

Thank you for responding. I really do appreciate it. I know Auralic does not do MQA. When I set this up this device, I selected that it doesn’t do MQA. The dropouts only occur on those tracks that are MQA…and are what I thought were first processed (for lack of a better word) by the Roon program to 96khz, 24 bit. There are absolutely NO dropouts on any other tracks. My router is brand new…I had to replace the cheap ISP router to this ASUS model. My ethernet cables are top quality (Wireworld, and Audioquest Diamond for my Auralic…only using the Cinnamon AQ for my computer…to get a hard wired Ethernet connection). Thanks again for replying; maybe Roon support can provide some more possible answers…

Is your iMac running a lot of other processes besides Roon?

If the drop outs only happen when the core has to decode MQA, this might be (part of) the issue.

On the other hand, I am not a Mac user, so I’ve no idea of the processing power of an iMac, so I might be barking up the wrong tree.

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Tony, how old is your iMac. Big Sur iOS could be taxing it, if its an older iMac…especially when things like Time Machine are running in the background…

Just a thought.

Hi Tony

did you ever check the Activity Monitor (Applications/Utilities) on your iMac while you had Roon running?

My computer was purchased in 2015…

Should be fine then. 2014 iMac is the cutoff

Update Jan 12, 2021
I decided to purchase the Roon Nucleus from my local dealer.
The Nucleus is co-located with the new Asus Router and his connected via a Wireworld Ethernet cable.
I have disabled the Roon core that was previously my iMac via WiFi.
So, I’m still getting the stuttering and dropouts on specific MQA tracks. See screenshot below.
The sound on these specific files is even worse that before…Not only am I getting dropouts, I’m also experiencing total white noise at times (sounds like loud wind).
I went into my Auralic Vega G2 settings and set everything to NON MQA mode (since my Vega G2 does not support MQA).
I’m on EXCLUSVE MODE as well in Roon.
Any suggestions for me? I think I’ve exhausted everything now…at a extreme cost as well…buying a Nucleus wasn’t inexpensive…Do I need an even better router???