Trial Tribulations: Tidal distortion & Skipping, iPad constant Lost Connection

(Paul Ferrara) #1

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

Lenovo M92P Desktop. Windows 7 Professional. Intel i5 Quad Core, 3.3GHz. 12GB Memory. 500GB SSD drive, newly installed to replace original HDD to meet Roon minimum requirements for this trial.

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

Zoom 5341 DOCSIS 3.0 Cable Modem. -> ASUS RT-N66U Wifi Router. -> TP-Link TL-SG108E Gigabit 8-Port Smart Switch.
Synology DS215j NAS. Approx 5000 tracks, mix of FLAC, mp3 and m4a
Note: Desktop with Roon Core and NAS with Music Library both hardwire connected to ASUS router (not TP-Link switch).

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

Sonos, 5 zones:

  • Hardwired: Sonos Boost direct wired to TP-Link Switch. ZP80 direct wired to Boost.
  • Wireless: ZP100, 2nd ZP80, Play5(gen1), Play1
    Marantz AV7702 via Airplay

Remotes:

  • iPad Air
  • Laptop – Lenovo i5 connected by WiFi
  • iPhone 6s

Description Of Issue

We have been long time Sonos+Rhapsody users. Since hearing of Roon, I’ve wanted to give it a try but was not willing to give up the convenience of Sonos. I was very happy when I recently learned that Roon now supports Sonos as endpoints. I did some research, learned I needed an SSD upgrade to use my Desktop system as the Roon Core so I did that, and then started my Roon trial. I’m now 7 days in to my 14 day trial and still have enough issues that I don’t dare try to hand it over to my wife to convince her we need to subscribe. The 2 biggest remaining issues:

  • Using the iPad as the remote (my most common interface), I constantly (every 30 seconds or so) get a “Lost Connection” error. This would not be such a big deal since it reconnects almost instantly, except that it resets my browsing back to the beginning of the list, which can be very frustrating if I’m 10 or 20 swipes deep into the browse!
  • When streaming Tidal music, songs sometimes will start with distorted sound, burp out some digital noise, or begin playing then skip to the next song, skip many songs, or stop playing music even though the screen shows it is continuing to play. Note that Tidal is playing flawlessly when I use Sonos interface directly.
    What I have seen in Roon I like a lot, so I hope these issues can be resolved with time remaining in the trial to let my wife thoroughly test drive it and give the subscription thumbs up.

Can you help get this up and running as flawlessly as my trusty Sonos system has been?

(Dylan Caudill) #3

Hi @PrF,

Does this happen with any other remotes? When the iPad loses connection, are other remote devices able to remain connected?

If you go into your router’s settings, do you see an option called Enable Multicast Routing? If so, please enable this setting and let us know if this helps.

Does this occur for all TIDAL tracks?

Do you hear this distortion / experience these skips with all zones? If you play to System Output of the Core machine does the same thing occur?

1 Like
(Paul Ferrara) #4

Hi Dylan, Thanks for the quick response. See my replies below.

Regarding Remote connection issue:

It happened a couple of times with the laptop, but not nearly as often. I have not used the iPhone much at all so can’t say if it is happening there. I will try again tonight with the 3 remotes in use at the same time and see whether or not they drop connection simultaneously. I’ll also try using the iPhone a bit more to see if it behaves the same.

I found this tip on the forum a few days ago did enable it at that time. It did not seem to make a difference.

Regarding Tidal issue:

Not all, but more than not. The noise and distortion usually happens on the beginning of the first track I play, then it will play most or all of that track. Sometimes it will play a few tracks completely through before it starts skipping. Sometimes after skipping a few it will play a few more complete tracks, etc.

Definitely on all of the Sonos Zones. I can’t recall if I have tried Tidal on the Marantz yet. I haven’t connected any speakers yet to the Core machine, I can try that tonight and report back.

(Noris) #5

Hi Paul (@PrF),

I wanted to check in with you to see if you have had a chance to run these tests, as they would provide a valuable data point:


Does the same distorted behavior occur for local tracks as well or just TIDAL tracks?

(Paul Ferrara) #6

I was able to spend some time over the weekend trying to gather more data on the issues. Here is what I had learned:

The iPhone and laptop did not have the same issue as the iPad.
Based on advice I had gathered from this and other forums, I changed some router and iPad settings (changed channel width from Auto 20/40 to Fixed, changed DNS server to 8.8.8.8, changed iPad to 5GHz WiFi connection, enabled multicast and Snooping on 5GHz (did not originally know they had separate settings for each band). The end result is that the iPad no longer losses connection with the Core. One issue resolved, but not sure which of my changes was the real fix !

I was able to do some extensive listening with the Marantz Airplay connection and I confirm that I have dropped audio and skipping tracks on this zone. Also I did hear a burst of digital noise once on the Marantz when changing tracks.
Also, I was able to connect some cheap desktop speaker to the core. I experienced the same audio drop-out (no sound, but song time marches on), and song skipping issue on the core.
Interesting new data is that these issues are not isolated to Tidal streaming. I was able to get drop-outs and skipping even when streaming music from my NAS.

(Noris) #7

Hi @PrF,

Thanks for the update here and glad to hear you were able to resolve the issue with the iPad disconnecting!

As for the dropouts issue, since this is occurring both on TIDAL content and local content across multiple endpoints, this could point to a Core or a Networking issue somewhere along the line.

I would like to eliminate one of these variables, would you by any chance have another PC around the house you can temporarily use to host the Roon Core and connect it in the same way as the current one?

(Paul Ferrara) #8

The only other system that I have which comes close to meeting the recommended hardware list is my laptop:

  • Core i7 2.00GHz
  • 8GB RAM
  • Windows 10
  • Hybrid 500GB 5400 RPM+8GB SSHD

It doesn’t quite meet the requirement to have Roon Core installed on SSD. Would this be good enough?
Note that I just got notice that my 14 day trial is about to expire. I’m running out of time.

(Noris) #9

Hi @PrF,

Yes, please give Roon a try on that system and let me know how it goes. I will follow up via private message regarding your trial, thanks!

(Paul Ferrara) #10

I was able to get the Roon Core installed and running on the I7 laptop. Wired using the same Cat5 cable into the same router port that the Desktop system was using.

System Output:
My first experiment was playing music directly from the System Output, for about an hour. This seemed much improved, but still eventually I did experience one mid-song track skip while playing music from my NAS.

Sonos:
Initially it took some time to begin experimenting with the Sonos endpoints, because the new installation did not capture all of my Sonos zones, and my first attempt to try out one of the others gave me a “lost control” error. In the middle of trying to get this working, Sonos had an update and this seemed to wreak havoc with the Sonos system. Some resetting (and I believe a 2nd update) eventually got most of my Sonos up and running again. Note that while debugging this issue, based on some additional Sonos and Roon forum research I did do some reconfiguration of my Sonos Setup (more physical separation between my router and Boost, wired one ZP80 directly to router), which seemed to improve Sonos performance in general.

I did extended “background” listening using Roon controlling Sonos endpoints over the weekend during an exhausting 2 day attic cleaning project. Mostly with Tidal streaming but some NAS streaming. Most of this was with 3 Sonos Zones grouped (2nd floor Bedroom, Main floor Kitchen, Outdoor Patio). Performance seemed better than when I was running Roon Core on the Desktop system, but still I did experience occasional mid-song skipping, temporary drop-outs, and one time where all zones just stopped playing. I also did some listening with just 1 zone playing and also did experience song skipping.

Sorry if my feedback is vague. I don’t get much time for dedicated listening, so most of what I can report is what I recall happening while I was enjoying music while also doing other things. My serious listening, which I have had precious little time for lately, happens on a system that is not yet tied into music streaming. The hope is that a flawless Roon experience will convince me to change that :slight_smile:

Summary:
It seems improved, but still there are issues that need to be worked out. What shall I try next?

(Noris) #11

Hi @PrF,

Thanks for giving the other PC a try. Since this PC is exhibiting similar behavior even when on System Output, I do believe that this could be networking related. Let’s do this:

  1. Can you please let me know the exact local time + date in your country when you next experience and issue on System Output on the new Core (at home)? E.g. 11:21PM on 9/17/19? I would like to take a look at the diagnostics from your machine to see if we can gather any additional clues.

  2. Would you by any chance be able to bring your new PC Core to a family member or friend’s house which uses a different network setup and let it play in the background? The symptoms you are describing can occur if there are issues with the router itself and hopefully this will help clarify things a bit.