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EdmontonCanuck

Need Help with Roon and Chord 2Qute DAC

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I've posted in the Roon Community support forum but I think someone here might recognize the problem and point me in the right direction.

 

I'm trying to set up a Roon instance for a friend whose got a Chord 2Qute DAC. I've configured a late 2012 Mac Mini quad-core with 16gb RAM that has been bootcamped to run Win 10 Creators Edition. I’ve downloaded and am running the latest Creators version of the Chord ASIO drivers for Win10. The music is stored on a Seagate USB2 drive connected to the mini.

 

When trying to play music (they happen to be all DSD files), the music pulses on and off with about a 1 second frequency. It’s very strange, it’s not like it’s playing with occasional dropouts, but a steady 1 second on, 1 second off (approx) pulsing of the music (the music sounds mighty fine for that 1 second LOL).

 

I can't figure out what might be causing the problem. The same setup with JRiver works, but for some reason I can't get it to work with Roon. 

 

Does anyone have any ideas what I may have set up wrong?

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1 hour ago, Nikhil said:

 

The USB drive connection may not be able to keep up with the file transfer speeds needed for DSD.

Try copying a few files on to the Mac Mini to check this.

 

 

 

I can try that, but it all worked fine using JRiver so it just seems strange to me. I also turned on Roon's max buffering option, but still no joy.

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Nikhil   

 

What rate DSD files were you using and what are your Roon settings? 

Try turning off the DSP engine and send files "lossless" to the DAC 

 

Dial down the features to eliminate probable causes and then take it back up to whatever you were trying earlier.

 

 

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56 minutes ago, Nikhil said:

 

What rate DSD files were you using and what are your Roon settings? 

Try turning off the DSP engine and send files "lossless" to the DAC 

 

Dial down the features to eliminate probable causes and then take it back up to whatever you were trying earlier.

 

 

 

Yeah, I believe I've tried all that first. Single-rate DSD files (DSD64). DSP engine is disabled, and the DAC requires DOP to transmit the DSD stream to it.

 

I've tried dialing back everything I can think of (even installed AudiophileOptimizer to see if that would help with the OS processing) but it still just pulses in and out. If it was a stuttering issue, I would expect to get erratic dropouts, not the steady 1-second on then 1-second off behaviour I'm seeing.

 

I was also mistaken...turns out the Seagate drive is a USB3 drive (not USB2) and that the USB ports on the MacMini are all USB3, so I don't think it's related to the USB throughput.

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hdo   

Try playing files stored in internal disk. If it works, it can be USB bus contention problem. I used to have similar problem on my old XP laptop. I couldn't play any USB stored file to USB DAC.

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hdo   

JRiver works doesn't mean Roon should work. It could be that JRiver reads data a little by little, while Roon reads bulk by bulk. It is best to avoid to use multiple usb devices while using USB DAC. JRiver may appear to work. But may have degraded sound quality. Avoid other USB devices while using USB DAC for best sound quality.

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4 minutes ago, hdo said:

JRiver works doesn't mean Roon should work. It could be that JRiver reads data a little by little, while Roon reads bulk by bulk. It is best to avoid to use multiple usb devices while using USB DAC. JRiver may appear to work. But may have degraded sound quality. Avoid other USB devices while using USB DAC for best sound quality.

 

I understand the potential USB issue, but in this case, it can't be helped. He only has the single computer with USB ports for disk connectivity....if the music could fit on an internal disk I'd go that route, but alas, the Mini only has an SSD for boot/OS....so the music library has to be external. Not willing to encourage him to buy a NAS just to get Roon to work.

 

T'is a pity, because he really wanted to get his music player and Tidal integrated into 1 box, which is why I was pushing him to try Roon.

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33 minutes ago, hdo said:

JRiver works doesn't mean Roon should work. It could be that JRiver reads data a little by little, while Roon reads bulk by bulk. It is best to avoid to use multiple usb devices while using USB DAC. JRiver may appear to work. But may have degraded sound quality. Avoid other USB devices while using USB DAC for best sound quality.

Yes, depends on the settings used in JRiver.  If set properly can load a whole album decoded into memory.   Better than the ultimate degradation in SQ, dropouts.

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hdo   

How about using SD card slot?

I use 128GB microSD card using adaptor. It works nicely for me. Most of my favorite tracks are stored on microSD card. It avoids USB as well as hard disk contentions. My Mac Mini seems have SD card slot. I haven't tried yet as I rely on Windows PC.

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ecwl   

I think Rob Watts, the designer of 2Qute has on a number of occasions commented on some of these types of issues on Head-Fi forums. One option OP can try that Watts mentioned in his recent post is that Watts's Intel i5 laptop would sometimes drop out playing 192k with JRiver so he would change the real time process priority in task manager and set it to high for JRiver. I wonder if that would also work for Roon for OP's friend's setup. The issue is that this is not a permanent setting change and would have to adjusted with every Windows startup. I guess there are apps or other ways to set Roon as a high priority process permanently. Not sure though. But worth trying out first to see if this solves the problem...

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I’ve installed Audiophile Optimizer, and I suppose I could also throw Process Lasso on there as well to alter Roon’s priority, but it’s not the occasional dropout that is occurring. It is a steady, uninterrupted pulsing of the audio on and off that is occurring. 

 

Ive got a few more ideas to try. I’ll report back any successes:)

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hdo   

I checked my Mac Mini. It does not support SD card. Only a hole similar to SD card holes!

Next I checked is controlling sampling frequencies. No such control. It appears that Mac OS is up/down sampling to DAC's standard sampling frequency. I tested with iFi iDAC2 and Dragonfly Black. Both same. Sound is bad! Media players may be responsible for controlling output samples. I used VLC for testing.

 

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hdo   

I tested USB 2 speed on my laptop. But seems handle well playing DSD64 from USB device to USB DAC natively, using Foobar2000 on Windows 10. It must be that Roon is doing something crazy! Check CPU utilization and I/O activity from the system monitor. It can give some clues.

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ecwl   

As a total aside for EdmontonCanuck, 2Qute decimates DSD to I believe 352kHz or 704kHz 24-bit anyway before upsampling it to 104MHz 5-bit to be output through the 4-element pulse array DAC. So if you think your friend would really benefit from using Roon, just set Roon to convert DSD to PCM first so you are always sending PCM to 2Qute and your problem is solved. It’s theoretically possible that the DSD decimation algorithm is better in 2Qute than in Roon but the likelihood of there being a big audible difference is low.

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hdo   

I have trouble understanding why some people are obsessed with DSD. It doesn't have any sound quality benefits as it is mostly derived from DXD which is PCM. Moreover DSD does not provide DSP filters such as graphic equalizer, etc. Even digital volume control is not possible. It's better to do in PCM. I find DSD horrible to use. It's not convenient to use.

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36 minutes ago, hdo said:

I have trouble understanding why some people are obsessed with DSD. It doesn't have any sound quality benefits as it is mostly derived from DXD which is PCM. Moreover DSD does not provide DSP filters such as graphic equalizer, etc. Even digital volume control is not possible. It's better to do in PCM. I find DSD horrible to use. It's not convenient to use.

 

In some particular moment I was thinking DSD sounds slightly better in my setting than PCM. I was using HQ Player to turn all PCM files into DSD and it seemed to me DSD versions sounded slightly less fatiguing, more analogue and sweet. The margin was very small if any. Recently I changed USB connection between my mac mini and DAC to optical. With optical I can not play DSD (at least I was not eager enough to find out the right settings for it). What is more important, the sound now is surely less fatiguing, more natural and analogue. I use HQ Player to convert DSD to PCM mode and wtfplayer for PCM files which I have with optical connection to DAC and closed DSD topic for myself as per now.

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44 minutes ago, hdo said:

I have trouble understanding why some people are obsessed with DSD. It doesn't have any sound quality benefits as it is mostly derived from DXD which is PCM. Moreover DSD does not provide DSP filters such as graphic equalizer, etc. Even digital volume control is not possible. It's better to do in PCM. I find DSD horrible to use. It's not convenient to use.

This comment may start a DSD vs PCM discussion/argument/brawl. Let's say many people on CA work with and listen to  DSD without the problems you've noticed or experienced.

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ecwl   

I’m definitely not trying to go off topic on DSD vs PCM. My comment was specific to 2Qute design and how it handles DSD (and PCM) signals. For example, I would not give the same advice to EdmontonCanuck, AnotherSpin or One and a half because T+A and iFi DACs handle PCM and DSD signals in very different ways. 

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