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URGENTLY Need Your HELP - Bizarre Streaming Issue Driving Me Nuts

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As the title notes, I have been dealing with a streaming issue that is both extremely bizarre and frustrating for months now. I have posted about it previously in the Sonore forum, but I no longer think it is related to the MicroRendu in question.

 

About 20 hours a week, later at night,I listen to two streaming sources. One is a subscription based program called "The Hearts Of Space", which I listen to Monday To Friday, the other is "The Midnight Special" program from WFMT in Chicago, which I listen to on Saturday and Sunday nights. I listen to these sources of music via my office/den system comprised, at the moment (and for the recent months when the problems have been taking place, of an integrated amplifier,speakers, and an upgraded MicroRendu connected to a Marantz DAC via a Mutec MC3 +USB USB to SPDIF converter/reclocker. The Mutec  is necessary because the DAC cannot accept aUSB input. All of the equipment is connected to an isolate power circuit via a high quality Furman power strip designed for audio applications.

 

Everything was fine for a few months, and using the Shairport setting on the MicroRendu allowed me to stream both programs from my iPad. Then the problems started. While listening, I would get distortion disrupting the music, sometimes crackling, sometimes warbling or high pitched digital noise. It would happen for only a few seconds, other times, for a minute or more. At times you could listen to either program for an hour or more until the distortion began. At other times, the distortion could occur within the first five minutes of listening. Also, at times, during the distortion, the music would speed up, or slow down, or just stop completely. 

 

Here is the troubleshooting I have already tried. The Mutec unit was tested at a friends house connected to his MicroRendu and performed perfectly. 

 

I moved the UltraRendu and its LPS-1.2 power supply from my downstairs (main) system upstairs and used it for a week, and over 20 hours without any issue whatever. This seemed to indicate to me that there had to be some kind of issue with the MicroRendu. When I eventually reinstalled the MicroRendu upstairs after that, I could not get anything to stream using Shairport. I then took the MicroRendu, the connection cable, the Mutec unit, and the Uptone LPS-1 power supply over to my friend to test in his system (where he utilizes a MicroRendu already, as previously noted. Today, he called to indicate that my MicroRendu, with my cable and power supply worked perfectly in his system for over 10 hours yesterday, and 15 hours today streaming content from WFMT. 

 

At this point, no one involved in the process, including myself and two friends (one a data network engineer) have any idea of where to look or what could be the issue. I was certain, given the circumstances, that something must have gone haywire with the MicroRendu, possibly with the issue being contributed to by the power supply, as it does produce a red light occasionally, and has to be reset to clear it. But, everything worked perfectly at my friends home for those extended periods. 

 

Any thoughts, assistance, expertise, educated guesses or, at this point, even shots in the dark would be greatly appreciated. As I mentioned earlier, I utilize this system to wind down at night for at least twenty hours a week, and I have been unable to do that for over two months now. This has literally forced me to listen to my iPad for lack of any other option.

 

JC

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See if you can try these setups:

 

1. Computer USB output -> Mutec -> Marantz

 

2. TV toslink output or CD (or DVD PCM) SPDIF output -> Marantz


Peter Lie

LUMIN Firmware Lead

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Try taking the Furman out of the mix too and plug the MicroRendu directly into the wall or get some other cheapo power strip.  Did you take the Furman to your friends house for the testing?

 

I also like the number 2 option above of taking USB out of the mix.


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12 hours ago, wklie said:

See if you can try these setups:

 

1. Computer USB output -> Mutec -> Marantz

 

2. TV toslink output or CD (or DVD PCM) SPDIF output -> Marantz

My desktop computer does not have a USB audio output, so I can't try that, however, the Marantz performs perfectly connected to a cd/sacd player

 

JC

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5 hours ago, photonman said:

Try taking the Furman out of the mix too and plug the MicroRendu directly into the wall or get some other cheapo power strip.  Did you take the Furman to your friends house for the testing?

 

I also like the number 2 option above of taking USB out of the mix.

Thanks for the suggestion. I'll certainly try this, but, at the moment, I don't have the MicroRendu back in my possession from my friend (he's 45 minutes away). Although, the Furman is connected to everything else without any issues, and the UltraRendu's power supply was literally plugged into the same outlet on the Furman. 

 

JC

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On 11/24/2019 at 6:51 AM, TubeLover said:

and using the Shairport setting on the MicroRendu allowed me to stream both programs from my iPad. Then the problems started.

 

Hi JC

 

My suspicion would fall on the shaiport-sync third party open source Airplay audio player application that the 'Rendu devices use to provide AirPlay support. There are a number of known open issues with it regarding crackling & other audio distortion, suspected to be caused by its occasional use of interpolation and/or other techniques used to keep its audio output synchronised with the AirPlay sending device (eg, your iPad). For example:

https://github.com/mikebrady/shairport-sync/issues/852

https://github.com/mikebrady/shairport-sync/issues/720

 

Bear in mind, a poor WiFi signal could greatly exaggerate the effect as shairport-sync struggles to maintain its audio output in sync with the sender.

 

I'd test isolating the microRendu's AirPlay use from the WiFi portion of the network, by replacing your iPad with a wired network device as your AirPlay sender for the same online audio sources (simplest would be a Mac) and seeing if you get the same issues.    


We are far more united and have far more in common with each other than things that divide us.

-- Jo Cox

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13 hours ago, Cebolla said:

 

Hi JC

 

My suspicion would fall on the shaiport-sync third party open source Airplay audio player application that the 'Rendu devices use to provide AirPlay support. There are a number of known open issues with it regarding crackling & other audio distortion, suspected to be caused by its occasional use of interpolation and/or other techniques used to keep its audio output synchronised with the AirPlay sending device (eg, your iPad). For example:

https://github.com/mikebrady/shairport-sync/issues/852

https://github.com/mikebrady/shairport-sync/issues/720

 

Bear in mind, a poor WiFi signal could greatly exaggerate the effect as shairport-sync struggles to maintain its audio output in sync with the sender.

 

I'd test isolating the microRendu's AirPlay use from the WiFi portion of the network, by replacing your iPad with a wired network device as your AirPlay sender for the same online audio sources (simplest would be a Mac) and seeing if you get the same issues.    

Thank you for the insight, John. I do not believe I have any possibly poor wi-fi signal, the MicroRendu is literally a couple feet from the router (which is of very high quality) and the wi-fi tests very well.  I wasn't aware of the known Shairplay issues. I'll certainly try that out as soon as I can beg, borrow, or steal someones Mac. The only problem then, assuming it eliminates the issue, will be how I move forward permanently, without Shairplay.

 

JC

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Would an iMac desktop such as this, allow me to eliminate any need for Shairplay, or would it require a Mac laptop? I suppose I am looking for the cheapest Apple device that would let me accomplish this. I once used Airpot Express units for this purpose, but Apple quit making them, and I went through three of the refurbished units over 20 months before giving up on that. And even the Mac Mini starts at $800.00 now! Not counting a monitor. 

 

https://www.buydig.com/shop/product/APME088LLARB?omid=427&ref=email4&utm_source=Sailthru&utm_medium=Email&utm_placement=20191105_TECHTUESBG

 

And through what path would I be able to route the signal to my audio system? 

 

JC

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Any Mac desktop or laptop will do, but I didn't mean for you to buy one just for this! Macs have built-in AirPlay support via the OS X operating system, so I said it was 'simplest' because no extra software is required.

 

Seeing as you don't have a Mac to hand then you can install the TuneBlade application on any Windows computer (assuming you have one 🙂) to get the computer's audio streamed over the network via AirPlay - it should be free for streaming to Shairport & other open source AirPlay devices:

http://www.tuneblade.com/ 


We are far more united and have far more in common with each other than things that divide us.

-- Jo Cox

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19 hours ago, Cebolla said:

Any Mac desktop or laptop will do, but I didn't mean for you to buy one just for this! Macs have built-in AirPlay support via the OS X operating system, so I said it was 'simplest' because no extra software is required.

 

Seeing as you don't have a Mac to hand then you can install the TuneBlade application on any Windows computer (assuming you have one 🙂) to get the computer's audio streamed over the network via AirPlay - it should be free for streaming to Shairport & other open source AirPlay devices:

http://www.tuneblade.com/ 

Thanks again John. I do have a Windows desktop just a couple feet from the MicroRendu. However, I strongly suspect that you hit the nail on the head about the Shairport software being the issue with the distortion, etc. If that is true, using Tuneblade won't help, because the only way to get the music from my Windows computer, using Tuneblade, through to my audio system would be via Shairport and the MicroRendu? Am I correct, or have I misunderstood something? There is no other AirPlay device. 

 

JC 

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On the surface, yes. However, you are assuming that Tuneblade uses AirPlay as an audio sender, in exactly the same way as the iOS operating system on the iPad does. AirPlay audio synchronisation is fully implemented by iOS, for any audio producing app, so shairport-sync on the microRendu would be completely exposed to any issues caused by it implementing its support of AirPlay sync.

 

On the other hand,Tuneblade (and also OS X on the Mac, for that matter), has no means of getting the audio as it's produced by the computer's applications synchronised in time with the audio being played by the AirPlay receiver on the network. Therefore shairport-sync is only dealing with the potentially less stressful synchronisation of the audio as AirPlay sent by Tuneblade itself (and not as produced by the audio's originating application). This should make shairport-sync less exposed to any issues caused by it implementing AirPlay audio synchronisation. If nothing else, it would confirm the suspicion should your problems obviously lessen if not fully disappear - so definitely worth a try.

 

BTW, this synchronisation compromise manifests itself to the user as a delay between what's happening on the audio producing application on the computer (eg, pressing play, pressing pause, lip synchronisation in any videos being played, etc) and the audio being played by the AirPlay receiver on the network.

 

 


We are far more united and have far more in common with each other than things that divide us.

-- Jo Cox

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16 hours ago, Cebolla said:

On the surface, yes. However, you are assuming that Tuneblade uses AirPlay as an audio sender, in exactly the same way as the iOS operating system on the iPad does. AirPlay audio synchronisation is fully implemented by iOS, for any audio producing app, so shairport-sync on the microRendu would be completely exposed to any issues caused by it implementing its support of AirPlay sync.

 

On the other hand,Tuneblade (and also OS X on the Mac, for that matter), has no means of getting the audio as it's produced by the computer's applications synchronised in time with the audio being played by the AirPlay receiver on the network. Therefore shairport-sync is only dealing with the potentially less stressful synchronisation of the audio as AirPlay sent by Tuneblade itself (and not as produced by the audio's originating application). This should make shairport-sync less exposed to any issues caused by it implementing AirPlay audio synchronisation. If nothing else, it would confirm the suspicion should your problems obviously lessen if not fully disappear - so definitely worth a try.

 

BTW, this synchronisation compromise manifests itself to the user as a delay between what's happening on the audio producing application on the computer (eg, pressing play, pressing pause, lip synchronisation in any videos being played, etc) and the audio being played by the AirPlay receiver on the network.

 

 

John, thank you for the clarification here. I would otherwise not have known that Tuneblade interacts differently with Shairport.  I'll be trying out Tuneblade in concert with my Windows pc as soon as the holiday chaos calms down long enough to allow me to do it. The assistance is greatly appreciated, as always.

 

JC

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