Synology vs. NUC

Hi all

I have two questions concerning upgrading to a NUC.

Question 1
I am just curious if I am not patient enough.
When playing my songs in shuffle mode and I am skipping songs it always lasts quite long sometimes very long.
I am running my ROON on a Synology 718+ with 16GB RAM and the database on a SD600Q external SSD.
When skipping songs CPU using goes up to almost 90 %.
Would this behaviour be better with a dedicated NUC ?

Question 2
In the adjoining rooms I am playing to SONOS players. SONOS with its App has known limitations when playing FLAC files to not wired players.
Does ROON us the SONOS Net or does it play directly to every player.
Could I expect better performance the the SONOS players when using a NUC?

Many thanks.

Hi, Lukas.

I currently use a Synology-based core and I don’t see long delays when skipping songs. I also don’t see my CPU spike to 90%, though my NAS is a rack-mounted RS1221+ with a more powerful processor. There are many variables in play which might impact latency and CPU usage including the resolution of the files you’re playing, whether they are local or a streaming in from a remote source, whether or not they’re MQA, and whether or not you’re doing anything with filters. Before moving to a new machine, you might try controlling some of the variables to help narrow down what’s happening.

Depending on how you configure your Sonos devices in Roon, Sonos will either use SonosNet or AirPlay. When using SonosNet, Roon will send a single stream to a group of players and Sonos will distribute that stream to all grouped players. When using AirPlay, Roon will send a unique stream to each player.

In Roon’s “Audio” settings, where you see and enable individual players, you should see each of your Sonos devices show up twice. One instance will say something like “via SonosStreaming” and the other will say “via AirPlay”. You have the choice of enabling either, neither, or both for any of your zones.

I hope this helps get you pointed in the right direction!

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Would playing to AirPlay bring better results as there are unique streams?

I don’t know enough about Sonos internals to say one way or the other. The only thing I can say with confidence is that when using AirPlay, you know that each endpoint is receiving the bitstream sent to it by Roon. With SonosNet, you know what bitstream one of the devices is receiving but, from there, it’s up to Sonos to distribute it and, depending on how you have Sonos configured and how Sonos works internally, perhaps it’s getting modified.

I’d probably choose whatever worked best in my environment with respect to stability, latency, no dropouts. Other smart folks around here may have better answers, though.

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Do you eventually know if playing to AirPlay needs more processing power as very stream is sent directly to the player?

I don’t know - even if I did have a guess, characteristics of your environment and your content might be a factor and make my guess wrong.

You could try experiments and watch your CPU level but you’re probably better off figuring out what works best, not what uses the least CPU.

I can tell you that SonosNet (at least one wired Sonos zone, often ideally exactly one wired Sonos zone) is theoretically better at dealing with / preventing dropouts. It’s also better at grouping and synchronization. But processing is probably hard to know. I don’t think any of these loads are necessarily that demanding that we benefit from trying to achieve separation of concerns / best load placement.

I think @Greg_Friedman is right. Trial and error. There are too many variables in each environment. My set up (ROCK, 8 Sonos zones including one with arc, sub & surrounds, four “hi-fi” RPi / Ropieee/RAAT zones, one Wiim, 3 Apple TVs, a HEOS A/V receiver), what has worked best is implementing RSTP in unifi, three Sonos products plugged in, Sonos streaming for all the Sonos zones, not using AirPlay for anything so ATVs are not zones. But what I’m trying to achieve is likely different than you. I want to be able to group Sonos zones when I’m entertaining or family is cruising around normally (one use case), and a totally separate use case is listing on headphones or 2-channel in my office or listening room where I’m not trying to ever group anything.

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Very intersting answer.
It is basically what I want.
I have expect two SONOS zones wired all of them. Still sometimes there are dropouts on not wired zones. But there I struggeled also before when using PLEX via SONOS App.
There was my idea coming from as SONOS support always says that you cannot not group more than 4/5 zones when playing fat FLAC files. TunIn is never a problem.
And also the sometimes long delay in skipping songs made me think that maybe a NUC and/or using AirPlay could help.

So the most useful advice I got was to set each Sonos zone to have a maximum resolution of 44.1/16 in Roon/settings/Audio so that Roon is doing the downsampling. That eliminated a lot of skips for me. And on Sonos I can’t hear the difference.

This is my experience, too. I’ve been wrestling with Sonos networking since 2008. In spite of additional wired/wireless options becoming available over the years, the “exactly one wired zone” approach has been the most reliable over time.

Oh, man. You just had to bring up spanning tree, didn’t ya? :slight_smile: Seems to be on for me in UniFi, too, but I can’t remember if that’s because I set it up that way or if that’s the default.

This is very good advice if you’re having issues.

So the trick with RSTP is not just turning it on, but manually setting the exact right weights for each of your switches, which depends entirely on how they are set up L1, L2, etc. I’m not a Pro networking guy, but I researched it. It makes things worse (for me) until I set it up exactly right for my topology, and then it allowed me to wire three zones. I wish Sonos would use STP instead, but I think SonosNet is built on top of some old school networking backbone.

Something is up with your topology if you have to do that. That “something” could easily be SonosNet. Without SonosNet in the mix, and assuming you haven’t created any cycles, it should just self manage. Especially if everything is UniFi.

I have a pretty complicated network and I don’t need to have to fiddle with weights at all. UniFi gets some of my topology wrong (a number of the devices that look like they’re connected to my root switch are actually connected to in-wall HD access points, but you’ll get the idea. In a network like this, there’s no reason for anything to fiddle with weights…there’s just one, deterministic path between any two nodes.

Sonos is unfortunately notorious for both creating cycles and trying to fix them :frowning:

Sorry yes, I created cycles intentionally (or at least knowingly) by wiring multiple Sonos zones. So I had to fix them. Which was RSTP plus carefully set weights. I think you can’t have one without the other.

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Oh…right…I’d forgotten about this scenario. It’s only the case where you have multiple hard-wired Sonos devices where this happens. How annoying.

One thing to consider, Sonos only accepts certain sample rates so if your playing higher res files they will be downsampled by Roon this will add load to the Nas especially if it’s a low end cpu. This could add significant delay when skipping. You will get the same with AirPlay and if they are all wireless this willl add greater strain on the wireless network as it’s individual streams to each endpoint. If using Sonos net it’s only one zone used the rest is on Sonos own Wi-Fi mesh.