How to avoid stuttering when listening to online radio thru Synology and USB speaker

I use a Synology DS213 server as my main multimedia box. It holds all of my music, videos and naturally I use it also to stream online radios. I have a USB Speaker plugged into the NAS and hooked up to my AV receiver.

I decided to subscribe to the excellent TraxxFM feed (http://www.traxx.fm) after having tested their free offer. The subscription brings 20+ channels of excellent curated music. They have everything from Classic to Rap, Deep, Classic Hits, Trance etc. Enough to satisfy the various moods I may be in during the course of a day. Anyway, something interested happened when I switched from free to paid radio : the streams were all in better quality and with no ad but after 20 mns or so of streaming, the sound would start to stutter, stopping for a few milliseconds and restart again. It quickly became super annoying and nearly made me regret the free offer which didn’t suffer from this.

First I thought it had to do with my Internet bandwidth being shared by a download or someone watching YouTube or a general network issue. So I made sure my QoS settings were correct and that the online traffic for the radio was correctly prioritised : it was. The strange thing was that the stuttering occured after 20 mns or so of streaming, sometimes more but never less than 20 mns. It seemed like the Synology couldn’t keep track of the amount of network traffic that Traxx was sending, but I looked at the various stats in the control panel everything was normal (DSM up-to-date, no overheating, LAN ok,…).

I Googled far and wide but nothing… nobody reported anything similar. I nearly gave up and even thought of dedicating an old Android phone to Traxx streaming until I decided to check every single setting available in the Synology control panel and stumbled upon the Hardware option. In there there’s and HDD Hibernation setting that was set to… 20 mns ! Hmmm…. interesting. There’s another option underneath : “enable advanced HDD hibernation to minimize power consumption” which was checked. I changed it the Hibernation time to 5 hours and unchecked “Enable Advanced HDD….”. I launched Traxx FM and this did it ! No more stuttering and lag !

I confirmed this by reenabling both settings and setting the Hibernation to 10 mns and… the stuttering reappeared.

 

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