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RPI 3 Audio stutter and dropouts

My RPI 3 experiences significant audio dropouts.  

I mostly play FLAC files, often high resolution.  It sounds great but I cannot get through a song without at least one stutter or period of silence, usually more than once.

I am using Openelec 6.03 from the latest Installer (RPI 3 compatible).  

The RPI 3 is connected via Ethernet, through Broadband Over Powerline, to my Windows (Samba) server.  I connect the Raspberry Pi 3 to an external DAC.

Previously I used an XBOX 360 running Plex with the same connections, using optical out to the external DAC, and did not have dropouts.

 I was using the Pi 3 USB digital out to my external DAC and the problem was terrible.  I purchased a Digi + (fast delivery time by the way!) and loaded that up connecting to the external DAC through the coaxial with transformer, and the problem seems less frequent but I still have never made it to the end of a FLAC song without at least one dropout.

I have a large audio library although not sure if that should matter.  I tried using a different external USB dac and the problem was there also. 

It is not the audio files themselves as they play perfectly through an external DAC hooked directly into my computer server's usb ports.

Leaving the dropouts aside, the Rasperry Pi 3 and the Digi + are great.  But the dropouts are ruining an otherwise fine experience.  Could it be a software issue with the new Pi 3?

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