Tidal Dropout Problems

@support, the problem is happening again, quite badly. I need to investigate this issue with you. Please set up a support ID and look into it.

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As much as I enjoy the new 1.5 with MQA playback with Tidal tracks, a new problem developed. As you may recall, my core MacPro is connected to the music library in thunderbolt HD, and the main audio system is fed by another MacPro remote machine that accesses the core through the internal campus network (LAN connection within a subnet).

Now occasionally the MQA track play stops, giving the network connection error (in orange letters). Once this happens, after a pause it moves to the next track, plays for a while and stops again. While this thing is happening, the signal path analysis shows that the processing speed is less than 2-3x, so it’s clearly a slow processing problem. Once this happens, I turn off Roon and restart on both core and remote, then the problem seems fixed for a while. This problem happens sporadically, but I doubt that there is a network issue as the usual internet and file access are perfectly normal. And I never had this issue with Tidal whatsoever until this 1.5 upgrade. Once the problem starts, it happens with both MQA files as well as regular 16/44 files in Tidal.

Is the new MQA processing in Roon much more demanding for a usual network bandwidth? My speed test yields about ping 150ms, download at 60 Mbps, upload at 19-30 Mbps. I believe this should be more than sufficient for music streaming. Can it be some internal program error that accumulates over time? I need someone to shed light into this.

On my NUC MQA uses around 0.5x CPU cycles. 1.4 gets the job done, 0.9 does not. But MQA isn’t that expensive so it is unlikely MQA alone is the problem. I am getting more examples of individual Tidal tracks being skipped across different end points but the usual suspects like router reboot have not been tried yet. Your ping response is high. I am used to around 30ms so it may be not capacity but speed of response is the issue. A touch too much latency has an impact on the user experience.

Thanks for the analysis. What is still puzzling is that I never had this experience for the entire year that I subscribed to Tidal and Roon for much longer, making me suspect that something needs to be improved in Roon 1.5.

I can confirm the same is happening in my setup as well. I am into my second year as a Roon/Tidal user. At any given time I’ve got at least 6 endpoints, a mix of Squeezeboxes, PI’s and computers. Never had any kind of problems with Tidal before I upgraded to 1.5. Internet line is a 100/40, which also has been rock stable for years, and still is. The computer running Roon server upsamples nicely to DSD256 through either Roon DSP or HQPlayer. Never had any problems with this either. Now after I upgraded to 1.5 tracks are skipping rapidly now and then, and no sound. Only cure so far has been to restart Roon server/log out of Tidal and log in again. That seems to fix things foe a while, until the same thing happens again. I am streaming without any problems from any other source I try. I have done absolutely zero changes to my network, or any of the endpoints or computers involved other than restarting all of them several times after this problem started to show.

Hello @hgim82 — Thanks for your report, I appreciate you providing these details here.

To start, can I kindly ask that you provide a bit more information on 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.

Can I kindly ask you to verify what the experience is like if you play directly out of the Core MacPro’s internal speakers via the “built in output” with “exclusive mode” enabled? This should provide some additional insight here as to where this behavior may be occurring.

Since noticing this behavior, have you attempted to reboot your Core, remote, and networking devices? Did you notice any change in behavior after doing so?

Regards,
Dylan

@dylan, the problem happened very badly this morning. I came back home now, didn’t reset anything. Computers have been on all day (I never turn them off). I just turned on the stereo system, and everything seems ok now. The speed test results were the same as in the morning, so there was no change in the overall network connection situations during the day. As I write this, I have been playing four MQA songs smoothly so far, at the processing speed of 10-13x.

When it runs normally, the Roon processing speed is over 10x. When the number goes down to 1-5x, that’s when the problem starts.

My tentative non-expert diagnosis is that Roon 1.5 somehow introduced some inefficiencies in the DSP processing (not just MQA, but in general) routine that pushes the overall processing demand closer to the borderline of the usual network bandwidth, possibly depending on the Tidal server status. I live 7 hours ahead of US eastern time, so it is possible that I encounter the problem late at night or in the morning when the internet traffic gets busy in California. Please check the possible areas in the code to speed up the process.

I will continue to monitor the situation and will keep you posted. As for the details of my system configuration:

Core: MacPro 2013, OSX 10.13.4 High Sierra.
Remote (driving the main stereo to USB DAC - Luxman DA-06): MacPro 2013, OSX 10.13.4 High Sierra. Identical hardware/software with the core.

Both core and remote are under the campus subnet. The core is directly plugged to the wall LAN cable. The remote is plugged into the back of Apple Airport Extreme router (circa 2015), which is also plugged into the wall LAN (a different port). The two MacPros access each other through file sharing, disk mount, remote desktop, etc. all flawlessly.

@dylan, I’ve been playing Tidal this evening, and staring just now (15:30 EDT US), the problem is happening again.

After restarting Roon on core, it’s working again (processing speed at 13x).

At 16:00 EDT, problem occurs again. Rebooted core, restarted Roon on both core and remote, still the same problem. Played Roon through core system out, same problem. Played the same song with Tidal player directly to system out without problem.

Albums tried: Van Morrison “Keep Me Singing”, Supertramp “Crime of the Century” both MQAs

But just as I was making the conclusion, Tidal player also started dropping out. So it appears that Tidal has some issues now.

At 17:00 EDT, back to normal. Both Roon and Tidal player are functioning properly.

Today’s experiment indicates that Tidal has had some streaming issue. I will keep monitoring and update the experience tomorrow.

Hi @hgim82 — Thanks for the updates, it’s truly appreciated!

Based on what you’ve said, it sounds like TIDAL is experiencing this behavior both in and out of Roon. When you noticed this behavior with TIDAL, were you on the same network as when you tried within Roon? Since the issue isn’t related specifically to Roon, I’m wondering if there may be a networking issue at play here.

One thing I noticed is that you mentioned you have an Airport Extreme. We’ve had a lot of bad experiences resolved by replacing Airport Extremes, and we generally recommend against them. You can find some good information about resolving that in this post. If the issue persists, you may want to try removing the Airport Extreme from the equation and see if you continue to experience these problems.

@dylan, As I described above, as far as yesterday’s situation is concerned, it led to Tidal. Each time I compared Roon and Tidal, they were both on the same machine. Each time, they both failed simultaneously and came back up simultaneously. Airport Extreme is ruled out at the moment as I was facing the exact same issue on core only, which is not going through the Airport at all. Please stay tuned as I will keep you posted, along with Jan.

Was it just a coincidence that Tidal went bad on the day Roon 1.5 was released? Hard to know but then again, I was not listening to Tidal so much until Roon 1.5 upgrade… We’ll see.

As of now (midnight EDT, 9pm PDT), problems continue, both on Roon and Tidal player, through both core and remote.

Hey @hgim82

I just wanted to check in and see how things are going. Has your TIDAL experience improved or are you still experiencing the same behavior?

Regards,
Dylan

Hi @dylan, thanks for reaching me out. I did contact Tidal, and their suggestion is to use Google DNS server. See below for their exact response. I was on trip and just got back. After adding the Google DNS address (cannot replace the existing DNS as I need to have some other internal access). @Jan_M_Thorsen may also follow the tip and see what happens. So far my problem has been alleviated, if not completely resolved (because I didn’t have time to listen extensively). I will continue to monitor and keep you posted of further progress.

===== Tidal’s Response =====

Thanks for reaching out.

Based on the information you provided, this issue may be resolved by making some adjustments to your device in question.
Please change the DNS settings on your device by following this guide:
https://developers.google.com/speed/public-dns/docs/using?hl=en

Also, please recycle the power of your network equipment (WiFi router, modem, etc.) for 1 minute (powered off).

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@dylan, this is an update. I have been traveling so I didn’t listen extensively the past few weeks. But this morning I experienced the same problem. Below is the email I sent to Tidal support. Again, I still suspect that this is the Tidal server issue, but there is also a chance that the new Roon version slowed down and contributed to the problem. I am saying this because with Roon 1.5 everything seems a bit slower (start up, playing a new album, etc.). Is there any way you look into this issue in cooperation with Tidal?

Thanks.


Dear Daniel and Tidal Support,

I’m afraid that the problem still persists, albeit sporadically. As of now (Saturday June 2, 3:50am EDT, I am in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, 7 hours ahead of EDT), I am facing the same issue of Tidal tracks dropping while playing into 10-20 seconds. Roon settings indicate the processing speed less than 1x. When this happens, the problem occurs in both Roon as well as on dedicate Tidal app on the same computer (MacPro with OSX 10.13.4). Interestingly, at this moment only MQA tracks are dropping while other regular 16/44 files play properly, but at the speed of 5-7x instead of usual 10-20x. This suggests that the connection speed is dropped to a marginal level.

I have changed the DNS settings as you suggested, either complete replacement or adding the google DNS to the existing ones. It didn’t help the problems.

Please continue to look into this and let me know what you find.

Hong

I’ve been having the same issues as you. I have a Raspberry Pi setup as a Roon Bridge, connected to my Moon 240i AMP via USB (which does not support MQA). I have noticed if I mess around with MQA settings the reliability improves.

Please note I ONLY have the drop out reliability problems with playing Masters quality files on TIDAL. Either of these below configurations are fine when playing normal FLAC hifi quality - no drop outs.

This works reliably (even though this DAC does not support MQA)

image

If I change my setup to be as it probably should with software based MQA decoding, it keeps seizing up every 20 seconds and skipping to the next TIDAL song.

image

So for now I have to tell Roon my AMP can support MQA just so it works reliably.

At @dylan should I perhaps post this in a new thread?

Actually if I hard wire my Raspberry Pi with Ethernet instead of wifi it no longer happens. I’ll keep playing.

I think your diagnosis is pointing to the same thing. The connection speed is marginal so that if Tidal/Roon doesn’t do the unfolding of the large MQA files then you’re ok. In the meantime, my situation seemed improved. I’m playing a 24/192 MQA album now, which used to be the bad time, without problems (at 12x speed).

I suspect it’s the problem with the Tidal server unable to handle the bandwidth. Have you tried with Tidal app on your computer when this happened?

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Experiencing tidal dropouts when using Tidal in Roon. Even when I stream my own local music using Roon you see the occasional Tidal message that connection has been lost. Strangely enough when I use dcs Mosiac and Tidal I do not experience any issues streaming Tidal MQA (even when download internet speeds are low). i can only conclude that the Tidal and Roon combination are experiencing some conflicting issues.