Synology's new DSM7 no longer supports audio playback via USB

Last December Synology published DSM7 beta. In this new version of Synology’s operating system it is no longer possible to playback music via the USB port of DiskStations. That’s because the necessary audio drivers (ALSA) are no longer availlable in DSM7.

I am very disappointed about this. The last 2 years I use Roon on my Synology NAS to play music to a USB DAC. It sounds so well that a few month ago I decided to buy a new and faster Synology NAS. With the coming of DSM7 I now should have been looking for a Roon endpoint for playing music to my USB DAC.

I have created a feature request on Synology’s website (see this link). If you are also disappointed fill in this feature request too. My experience is that Synology listens to wishes from their customers.

The abandonment of ALSA drivers in DSM 7 was announced early on, so it should not come as a surprise. Still, I can see how this will adversely affect some users of Roon. That said, a network streamer does not necessarily have to cost a fortune, and it may come with additional perks, such as integration with Spotify Connect and other streaming services not natively supported by Roon.

I’m pretty sure it is possible to install ALSA drivers on DSM 7 with a terminal and some tinkering, but any DSM update down the road will probably necessitate a reinstallation of these drivers.

I know it’s not normally expensive to add a network streamer, but I fail to see why I should have to. My USB DAC sits next to my Rackstation so it’s easy to for me to listen to Roon via USB to my headphone amp. Connecting a streamer won’t be so easy as the connection from the Synology is a 20Gbit LACP fibre LAG to a switch 40 metres away in a different building!

I don’t understand how Synology can just decide to remove a previously existing hardware function without consulting its ownership base.

Fair point - I didn’t know about your network topology. I can recall having seen a comment on why Syno decided against including USB audio drivers, but I can’t seem to find it. In the process they also dropped support for all other usb devices than storage ones as well. While I can see the challenges of maintaining drivers for a plethora of devices, including generic usb audio drivers really should be a no-brainer. Perhaps they will lend an ear if many users complain on their forums😊

@Graeme_Finlayson and @oafrenning, thanks for your replies. Please fill out a feature request form: https://www.synology.com/en-global/form/inquiry/feature. This is by far more effectieve than complaining on fora. With creating a feature request you are sure that Synology reads it.

P.S.
@oafrenning, you wrote that the disabeling of ALSA drivers was announced early on. Where have you read that? Before the publishing date of DSM 7 beta I have never seen such a message. If I had seen it before I prossibly shouldn’t bought a new DiskStation a few month ago.

@oafrenning, you wrote that it is possible to install ALSA drivers manually. Can you post the exact steps how to do this? I think it is not simple because the drivers has to be compiled specific for each update of the Linux kernel in DSM. Installing drivers in Linux differs from installing drivers in Windows (where you can install the same driver on different Windows sub-versions).

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I think I may have come across the ALSA omission on a youtube video from NASCompares where they reviewed the earliest limited DSM7 beta program, but I can’t be sure.

Manual ALSA drivers: I’ve not tried this myself; and it’s definitely not for the faint of heart. If you could get your hands on the source code (assuming it’s open source) you may be able to build a working set of drivers yourself. On the flip side, even assuming you DID get it to work, any future DSM updates are likely to undo your changes.

Bottom line: Get as many people as you can to back the request for ALSA inclusion in DSM.

I filled out a feature request form and have already received a reply, which is sadly disappointing news:

Dear Graeme,

Thank you for contacting Synology!

Regarding your suggestion on USB audio support, we’ve confirmed in previous tests that the drivers in DSM 6.2 are not compatible to DSM 7.0,

and due to the fact that most USB DAC/speaker vendors do not provide drivers compatible to Linux environment,

we can only stop supporting USB audio devices in DSM 7.0.

Please do not upgrade to DSM 7.0 if you’re to keep using the USB audio feature.

We would like to apologize for any inconvenience caused, and should you need further assistance, please don’t hesitate to let us know.

Thank you very much!

Best regards,

Synology Product Management Team

@Graeme_Finlayson, thank you for fill out the feature request!
I do not know what you asked for but I think the request should be for generic audio (ALSA) drivers. Perhaps you are willing to respond that way on the reply from Synology.

My request was as followes:
"Hello,
I noticed that In DSM 7 the use of USB will be no longer supported for playback music with Audio Station or any other music app, I do not understand why.

A few month ago a bought a brand new DS920+ especially for running Roon software (music streaming) on it and playback music via USB. With the coming of DSM 7 this will not be possible anymore. I think this is not fair because I invested heavily in a buying a DiskStation and in running music software as Roon on it.

Please bring back the support for USB DAC’s in DSM 7 and rollback the decision to phase out the use of USB!"

After that I got the following response:
"Dear Alfred,

First of all, I would like to thank you for using Synology products and for reaching out to us.

We value the feedback of our users, which allows us to continually improve our products.
I will forward your request to our development teams to study the possibility to add this feature.

Feel free to send us any other suggestions you may have.

Best regards,"

Hi Alfred,

I have responded to Synology’s reply and requested that they provide generic USB audio (ALSA) driver support. I also mentioned my sizeable investment in Synology products (RS3617xs)!

Graeme

Hi Graeme,

That’s top! Thanks. I hope it helps.

In the meantime I have responded to Synology on my earlier feature request. In short, I’ve written that it’s strange how they responded to your feature request.