Stuttering, dropout

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

Roon 1.7 Build 667 on macOS 10.14.6; ‘Late 2014’ iMac (specs here) with 32 GB RAM; 375+ GB free space on my all-SSD hard drive available.

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

No local network except Airport, which I don’t use for Roon or audio. All my FLAC files kept locally/internally in ~/Music on my boot volume’s HD.

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

I direct Roon’s output (using the latest version of Rogue Amoeba’s Sound Source) to one of:

The Problem

Still in the trial period - and loving Roon 99% of the time.

Except for one major flaw for which no amount of Googling or searching here seems to find a solution. It’s kind of a ‘show-stopper’.

For any file at any time I experience - say once every 30 minutes, sometimes more often, sometimes less - total distortion of the sound. Not louder, just fuzzy, indistinct and very ‘wrong’. It just comes - usually once a track has been playing for a couple of minutes:

  • Stuttering
  • instant fading/returning of sound with a ‘hiss’
  • as though the ‘signal’ were being dropped - but this is all local source, not streaming, so not a network issue
  • Dropout
  • It seems from the corrupted sound (which I cannot record in Audio Hijack, strangely enough!) as though the track is skipping. But it isn’t. The playback head continues as normal.

I’m sure my description is a poor one of a phenomenon which most of you will know immediately and have an immediate solution so… I am new here :slight_smile:

Sometimes I can remedy this by replaying - sometimes it’s necessary to replay from the track’s start.

I’ve read other posters here in threads which are now closed get success from changing buffer settings. My Audio > Advanced Setting lacks those.

Frankly, if I can’t fix this, my music is effectively unlistenable-to and I cannot subscribe to Roon - which I really want to do because it’s far superior to anything else of its kind, IMHO.

Help, please…


Hi @Mark_Sealey,

Just to confirm, this happens for all endpoints? If you bypass the Sound Source application you mention are there any changes?

Can you share a screenshot of the Signal Path when this is occurring?

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There is a network as the iMac must be connected to something. Is it wired or wireless?

Wired: AT&T U-verse fibre to the house; then Cat-5 ethernet to my Airport, thence to my iMac.

Thanks for jumping right in Dylan!

I plan to retest today (Sunday). I shall:

  1. bypass SoundSource. I was suspicious that what I was hearing via Roon wasn’t what SoundSource was capturing from /Applications/Roon. Could that be significant? So have written to Chris at Rogue Amoeba.
  2. test each endpoint in sequence

What makes this difficult is that I its intermittent and infrequent. Yes, of course :slight_smile:

I can listen to, say, a whole act of a Verdi opera. Nothing. Then it will appear. So far I have only proved to my total satisfaction that this is not an issue with a corrupted file or download - because in VLC and Audirvana the same exact place in the same file works perfectly repeatedly.

will be as described here?

The airplay router isn’t recommended for use by roon.

“Finally, we strongly recommend against using Apple network devices such as the Apple Airport Extreme and Airport Express (note: it’s fine to use the Airport Express as an Airplay device). To ensure the best performance, we recommend against using these devices.”

Thanks, Ged.

Does that recommendation still stand even though I am only using Airport it as a means to connect to the Internet and not to any ‘remote’ Roon Endpoint?

No home network which involves Roon. No Nucleus, no multi-room environment with wi–fi. One Core + all wired Endpoints.

The audio files which are exhibiting the phenomenon are on my local HD and the output to my stereo system etc all wired. No Airplay, no wi-fi?

Good to know for the future, though - if I’m understanding you correctly :slight_smile: .

I believe so. It’s still a router and Cady underpowered compared to modern devices.
Obviously I’m just another user lke you but quite often the symptoms you describe are down to a network glitch.
If you live in a market where you can buy things from a retailer with a good return policy, buy a new router and see if it cures the problem.

Thanks again, Ged. I appreciate your input. Something definitely to bookmark/remember if I ever expand; which I hope to if I can get rid of this stuttering/dropout!

Would you be as surprised as I would if I a router which only connects incoming Internet via Ethernet (not wi-fi) adversely affected all wired signal paths to devices local to my computer?

I wouldn’t be surprised at all, people post all the time that replacing their router solved issues.

Hmmm, this almost entirely defeats the purpose of having Roon. I recommend disabling SoundSource when you’re using Roon. In my experience, they are not compatible.

Your Roon core device must have a solid connection to the internet. Roon receives information over the internet to your Core. From the core, this information flows to your Roon control device to display the metadata for what your are listening to, even if local music files.

I know AT&T U-Verse is a very solid ISP. I have had U-Verse for years and it works very well with Roon. My internet service is 50/12, which is not nearly as high as some others, but it is rock solid. Do you have a U-Verse gateway? I think you must. Try plugging your Roon core device directly into your U-Verse gateway and see if that solves your problem. I have my Roon Nucleus connected by ethernet and it is flawless.

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Thanks so much. That looks like a real step forward :slight_smile: .

I see. Why? Is it because Roon needs (prefers/‘like’) to build its own Signal Path?

I’ll definitely give that a try. Thanks…

When you say ‘disabling’ SoundSource’, do you mean to Quit SoundSource altogether?
Or to leave SoundSource’s settings as ‘No Redirect’, please?

In both those cases I don’t get any sound from Roon.

In either case, I suspect you know that I have to make changes to Settings > Audio, which are like this:

But I don’t know which changes to make. And to which Device! Any help gratefully received… TIA!

Thanks, Jim!

Yes - tried attaching my iMac (and hence Roon Core) directly to the Gateway (new actually) via Ethernet. No difference so far.

Is it possible that loss of bandwidth (or similar) cases local files to flutter?

I don’t know, but it seems like a high percentage of problems with Roon turn out to be network related, even when simply playing local music files.

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Thanks, Jim… I’m getting to see that :slight_smile: !

I really need to understand Audio Devices and see which, where and how I should be controlling these in my case…

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Thanks again, @David_Snyder!

I have been experimenting and trying to make sense of Devices. This is what I have now:

But I’m not sure whether - in the case of my ParaSound - to use:

  1. Parasound
  2. System Output
  3. Built in Output

and what the implications for sound quality are… obviously I want the best I can get :slight_smile: .

And - for that matter - how to change Devices for output in Roon; they don’t seem clickable.

If I disable SoundSource by using the ‘No Redirect’ setting - and/or still use SoundSource for all my other sound sources except Roon (which I think is your advice, thanks), would I then use the macOS System Preference Sound pane?

And would the next step to be to fine tune the Device settings for 1, 2, or 3 in Roon’s Settings > Audio?

But which?

In this post I read that Built-in Output (3 above) results in better sound quality than System Output (2 above); but isn’t that using the Mac’s internal/low quality DAC?

Thanks to anyone who can help me through this little maze, please… I’m confused. But I know I can get there :slight_smile:

Choose output device (zone) by clicking in lower right corner…There, you will see all that you have enabled in Roon - Settings - Audio

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Thanks, Jim - I can see that…

Like this - Yes:


How do I actually switch from one device to another, though?

Are Devices synonymous with Zones?!

And - without SoundSource - what is the relationship with/role of macOS’ Sound > Output System Preferences and Roon’s Devices(/Zones), please?

Still not clear whether to use ‘Built in-’ or ‘System-’ output…

While something is playing, you can shift output from one device (zone) to another:

If you’re not playing anything, just choose the output (zone) you want to use. Click it.

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