Help needed to sort out an annoying crackling/static issue with streamer

Hi all, I'm experiencing a frustrating problem playing music with my new Musical Fidelity MX-Stream.  

My hi-fi system comprises:

MX-Stream > Innuos PhoenixUSB > Chord M-Scaler > Chord Qutest > Musical Fidelity M6si amp.

In general, it works fine but every 30 seconds or so there's an annoying crackling (static) sound, or sometimes it's fine for a few minutes or more.  Unfortunately, it's not a reproducible issue using the same piece of music, i.e. it occurs randomly.  I've tried a million solutions but here's a summary of what I've tried so far:

1. If the MX-Stream is removed from my hi-fi system, there's no issue.  So it appears to be the main culprit.

2. MX-Stream's firmware is updated to the latest version.

3. I use Roon (on a dedicated ROCK server) along with Qobuz for my music.  Playing the music directly via the MX-Stream iOS app gives the same issue.  Using Airplay instead of Roon/Qobuz also gives the same issue.

4. Replacing all the USB cables, network switch, including a new power conditioner, and replacing all the ethernet cables doesn't help.

5. No such issue when my iPhone or iPad is connected using a USB cable.  This issue only occurs wirelessly.

6. High speed internet (>100 Mb/s).  Problem occurs using either WiFi or ethernet.

7. It's got nothing to do with switching of bitrates/music.

8. Removing other components (e.g. M-Scaler, Qutest, Innuos) from the system doesn't help.

9.  Directly connecting the MX-Stream to my MF amp's internal DAC using a high-end USB cable also shows this issue but it sounds different (not so much of a static sound but almost like a transient loss or warped type of sound, if that makes any sense!).

10. Interestingly, when controlling Roon using an iPhone instead of an iPad, the static sound appears more often.

11.  Altering the buffer size, etc in the MX-Stream (Volumio) app (or Roon app) doesn't seem to help.

12.  Yes, I've tried connecting different sets of speakers.  Same issue.

Thanks for reading this far!  Any advice would be appreciated (also currently waiting on a replacement power supply for the MX-Stream - but I've completely run out of ideas!).  



Not sure what I'm missing.  YOu bought a new piece of equipment and it makes static noise.  It isn't any other of your equipment. the new piece of equipment is defective.  Am I confused?

To confirm this replace the new streamer with your old streamer and confirm no problems.


Yeah but I don't have an old streamer to check things, and would prefer to solve this matter myself as it's a huge hassle to return the unit. It's also unclear to me that the unit is truly defective. Clearly, it works fine under certain circumstances (e.g. hardwired to an iPad/iPhone) but wirelessly is another matter (my big preference). If this issue can't be solved then of course it'll be returned to the manufacturer.

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I would get a wall wart WiFi extender ($59). Plug it in next to your system and connect this to your streamer via Ethernet cable. I operate my $150K system this way and the sound quality is the same as my high end analog rig. 

It sounds like a buffering issue but it’s difficult to see where. There’s a lot of upscaling and conversions going on in your system. 

If the iPad and iPhone truly make a difference, and you’re not tricking yourself, then there must be app specific settings in those devices (which seems unlikely). 

if it were me I’d factory reset everything. Set the output signal of the streamer to CD quality test it out for drops. Then move to the next output quality and test, etc etc.

if it’s a network problem you should see worse signlas as you move higher up the quality path.

if it’s different using local files vs streaming - then suspect  internet somewhere.

all in all - step 1 call your dealer or the manufacturer ….. you could just have a lemon. 

IF you still get stuck ….. buy a WiiM mini ($90) and test with that to prove its your device. 

Sorry just guessing now - I also remember another forum thread talking about power grounding being a problem. Is everything on the same outlet / loop?

Hopefully you just got a defective unit.


I see the MX Stream uses a CM3 / RPi 3 based module. I’ve actually had audio glitches when using a stock Raspberry Pi 3 B+ with some versions of the Linux kernel. That might be what’s at play in your situation.


If the replacement unit exhibits the same symptoms, I’d look at a different streamer altogether.

Thanks to everyone who provided advice!  Much appreciated. 

To answer some specific queries above:

@ghdprentice: the WiFi extender was an excellent suggestion. I did purchase one and, indeed, it appears the static sound isn't occurring quite as often as before but it doesn't completely eliminate the issue, sadly.

@kiwiscott: I did change the output signal of the streamer to CD quality and tested it. Then moved to the next output quality and tested again.  No change.  But the local file comment is a good one, so thank you!  Local (FLAC) music files connected to Roon on the network don't appear to show this issue, it's only Qobuz (via Roon) and Apple Music (via Airplay) that are problematic, so it's internet related in some way.

@kiwiscott: Yes, everything is plugged into the same outlet.

@steakster: Yes, definitely rebooted the modem/router many times!  No change.

Also, changing the stock 18V power adapter for a more decent model doesn't change anything either.  I'm largely out of ideas now...but perhaps @yage is correct - I'll contact the local distributor and see if the item can be inspected/replaced as it might be either a defective unit or the design itself is flawed (hopefully not).  

Just an update - my streamer issues are now fully resolved. The unit was swapped with a new one thanks to a sympathetic local distributor. But, unfortunately, the same crackling static sound was apparent in the new unit. So it’s clearly some compatibility issue with my system or perhaps even a design flaw (e.g. see point #9 above). Perhaps @yage was onto something? Thanks to everyone for the advice and also to my local MF distributor for allowing me to return the unit for a full refund. I am now the proud owner of an Innuos Pulse. And yes, it works perfectly and sounds amazing! Highly recommended (and the Innuos Sense app is so good I may even get rid of Roon).

Every Musical Fidelity product I ever came across had some issue.  I think that they have new ownership now, but it seems the black cloud remains…