Ow! What made you try that install? Are you sure that it never worked without (reproducibly) and always works with?
We have really a lot of nodes available for testing overhere, I have that one intact, I will test this for you once again in more detail but I am positive when I install these three (gnome-core xorg gdm3) on top of the mate desktop the latest two versions work.
I had already planned to test which one makes the difference by removing them and test it one by one after which I plan to install in live and upgrade to auto eq when bass eq comes available. I will let you know.
Since you read this, when I ship you an Orange PI PC2 (that will take about 14 days because I have to order it in China) is it possible to have a ST image for this singleboard available in the Raspberry section. If so set me the shipping address in the mail. It uses the Allwinner H5 processor therefore it is not compatible to your RPI 3 version but pricing is much much better and it's faster.
Currently live processing ST 9.02 , testing upgrade to auto equalizer offline using slightly modified 3 FM settings Bojcha