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Chromecast Audio

willem

Well-known member
Two CCs

Two CCs

I find it a bit unfortunate that there are two CC's. The audio CC lacks the video output, and the video CC only has hdmi output. So unless you have an AV receiver, you need an hdmi extractor to extract a digital audio signal from the CC.

I have seen a few of them on the web, and I wondered if there can be any quality differences between them (is it just a cable thing?) Alas, it is also yet another set of cables and yet another little power supply.
 

Kumar Kane

New member
CC thoughts

CC thoughts

Which program in OSX could i use to send music to CC ?

Which program in iOS to send music that is in my device to CC ?
I am getting my CC only next week, for casting music apps from Android, but research tells me that CC isn't very Apple friendly. I suspect you can send music only using the Chrome browser on a PC. Chrome on a Mac? I don't know.

Likewise, any app that has casting will send music from iOS handheld devices where they are hosted. But not from the native Music app or from Apple Music.
I wondered if there can be any quality differences between them (is it just a cable thing?) Alas, it is also yet another set of cables and yet another little power supply.
I see no reason for there to be a quality difference. And since you need a CC per receiver, why does having two models add to cables and power supplies - you would need those anyway for each AVR/stereo amp.

What I don't know is if a CC video wired via HDMI to an AVR can be set up without a TV screen. I also see no reason why such a CC once set up won't play music from Rdio sent to it by a handheld, in addition to playing video streams from a server/internet.
 

Jeff_C

Member
Limitations of Chromecast

Limitations of Chromecast

What I don't know is if a CC video wired via HDMI to an AVR can be set up without a TV screen. I also see no reason why such a CC once set up won't play music from Rdio sent to it by a handheld, in addition to playing video streams from a server/internet.
I think audio would would work without a TV screen, but you need to be aware of any shortcomings.

My understanding about the Chromecast (original version) and the Chromecast 2 2015 new version is that there has to be a media device, (PC, Mac, tablet, smartphone etc), playing, or streaming, the media which is then cast to the Chromecast which acts as a receiver and plays video and audio through the connected TV, or audio to an AVR connected via HDMI.

My preference is for the TV dongle thingy, (or the AVR dongle, let's call it, if it is first connected to the AVR), to also be the playing device. This is how the Amazon Fire TV stick works, (and the larger Fire TV boxes). When the dongle is the media player, it can be controlled by a tablet or smartphone remote controller which can be switched off (saving battery), or completely freed up for other duties once the media has been queued up. In the case of Amazon Fire TV devices there is a bundled dedicated handheld remote controller, which can be used in addition to smartphones and tablets. Total flexibility and no dependency on other hardware.

My understanding is that the Chromecast Audio works somewhat like the Amazon products, yet I would have to see it in action to fully understand how it works and what other hardware it may need.

The Chromecast Audio also differs in that the DAC has (or will have) the capability to play 192/24 audio media bit-perfect with synchronised multi-room ability. I get the feeling that an original Chromecast (and Chromecast 2) will limit or resample the audio output because it has been built primarily for connection to a TV. That does not mean it cannot sound OK connected through an AVR, just that it cannot be considered audiophile.
 

Jeff_C

Member
Specifications may be a gamble

Specifications may be a gamble

I find it a bit unfortunate that there are two CC's. The audio CC lacks the video output, and the video CC only has hdmi output. So unless you have an AV receiver, you need an hdmi extractor to extract a digital audio signal from the CC.
Even when manufacturers think they have all the angles covered there are usually some shortcomings. I have been thinking of taking Alan's advice from another thread and getting a new AV amp (which will have HDMI inputs which I currently lack) along with all the latest audio codecs DTS-HD Master Audio, Dolby TrueHD, and Dolby Atmos. I have often been wanting a HDMI input(s).

I have seen a few of them on the web, and I wondered if there can be any quality differences between them (is it just a cable thing?) Alas, it is also yet another set of cables and yet another little power supply.
You will need to ensure that all sample rates are passed by the audio extractor, unless you are comfortable with everything getting resampled to say 48kHz through its S/PDIF. If you just want audio RCA connectors then you will wonder about the DAC quality. You may also want HDMI 2.0, 4K, for the video signal. I do not think they are all the same specs.
 

willem

Well-known member
Unpowered HDMI extractor

Unpowered HDMI extractor

The device like a smartphone or a tablet is not in fact streaming the signal to the Chromecast. So once the program has been chosen, the CC gets the music or video itself, directly from the wifi/internet. It means you can then turn off your phone/tablet.

I have been looking a bit more at hdmi extractors, and what struck me is that all of them seem to have not only an optical and/or coax digital output, but also an analogue one. And they (therefore?) need electricity. I do not need an analogue output, so I am looking for something with only a digital output (optical or coax). I am even vaguely but perhaps naively hoping that I can find one that does not need electricity. Any suggestions?
 

Kumar Kane

New member
Replacing traditional systems

Replacing traditional systems

My understanding about the Chromecast (original version) and the Chromecast 2 2015 new version is that there has to be a media device, (PC, Mac, tablet, smartphone etc), playing, or streaming, the media which is then cast to the Chromecast which acts as a receiver and plays video and audio through the connected TV, or audio to an AVR connected via HDMI.
[/QUOTE]
There is no change in the casting concept - the handheld has always been just a controller and once the CC starts the streaming, the handheld could be powered off as long as no control inputs were needed. That is why it was better than Airplay that needs the handheld to do the streaming, eating up the battery charge while doing so. Or better than bluetooth that interrupts music play if the handheld is a phone and used for making calls.

The 2015 device for video is round shaped, and only has upgraded dual band wifi capability. And of course, there is the dedicated version for pure audio needs.

As long as music play stability is robust, I see these selling in the millions just like the video dongle has, with 20 million sold in two years. Either as they are, or built into active speakers that will deliver DSP tuned high quality audio in homes. Except for enthusiasts, almost no one is buying separate boxes containing amplification, CD players and DACs anymore. The world has moved on, as it moved on from vinyl. I expect even a new company like Sonos that has risen to dominate its market having started from zero in as recently as 2005, to feel the heat as Google gets its act together. And what Google can do, so will others even if not on the same scale. Or even Amazon, on as large a scale.

Legacy kit music play stability can also be obtained for such systems in homes that have ethernet cabling laid in every room along with the mains power distribution cables - even in India that is now becoming the norm in new apartments, I was surprised to see. My daughter moved into a new apartment she just bought, and only came to know of this when she was installing WiFi there. It hadn't even be sold as a feature of the apartment.
 

Jeff_C

Member
Thanks for the correction

Thanks for the correction

There is no change in the casting concept - the handheld has always been just a controller and once the CC starts the streaming, the handheld could be powered off as long as no control inputs were needed. That is why it was better than Airplay that needs the handheld to do the streaming, eating up the battery charge while doing so. Or better than bluetooth that interrupts music play if the handheld is a phone and used for making calls.
Thanks for explaining and correcting me on this Kumar (and Willem). Although I have never owned a CC it has just become a more attractive device knowing this. I think I had become confused because reviewers seem to have been making such a deal over this functionality of the CC Audio device and I had inferred (incorrectly) that it was not a feature of the original CC and CC 2.

If you know how to play my NAS based music collection via a CC Audio then I will be ready to buy one.
 

Kumar Kane

New member
Can't decide

Can't decide

If you know how to play my NAS based music collection via a CC Audio then I will be ready to buy one.
Again from research - I believe this is simple to do if you have a DLNA compliant NAS. All you then need is an app that will sit on the handheld, and allow you to select music from the NAS and have the CC start pulling it. Check BubbleUPnP on Google, or even Local Cast. If your NAS isn't compliant you need to have interface media server software on that as well. The search engine bit of Google can help you with more information on this.

In my case, the device is for my daughter who is perfectly happy with just Rdio streaming via CC into a decent legacy 2 channel set up, and has no desire for a NAS.

My needs are well covered by Sonos and I see no reason to jump ship because there would be no benefit in doing so. But if I was buying new, I would probably not go the Sonos route now. I would put down the USD 35, play around with the CC, wait for the soon to come multi room update and then decide.
 

Jeff_C

Member
Research needed

Research needed

Again from research - I believe this is simple to do if you have a DLNA compliant NAS. All you then need is an app that will sit on the handheld, and allow you to select music from the NAS and have the CC start pulling it. Check BubbleUPnP on Google, or even Local Cast. If your NAS isn't compliant you need to have interface media server software on that as well. The search engine bit of Google can help you with more information on this.
My NAS is a WD MyBookLive. It came bundled with Twonky server (and a generic DLNA server which can be activated in lieu of Twonky). The only DLNA client I have tried with it is a very basic one that is bundled within my Sony Blu-ray player. The main problem is that this set up does not play gaplessly. There are other shortcomings to do with poor navigation of media.

I think I have read in the past that BubbleUPnP does not play gaplessly, but the latest versions may do gapless. I will indeed research things as you suggest.
 

Kumar Kane

New member
NAS + Chromecast

NAS + Chromecast

I look forward to your findings. Do post them here, because exactly how a CC will work with a NAS is something about which I would like know more.
 

Kumar Kane

New member
The highest value in home audio today?

The highest value in home audio today?

Consider the options available for just USD 35, in terms of providing a high quality source of digital music, both owned and streamed, by using it as the front end for:

1. A 2 channel legacy stereo set up of any kind, including one that has multiple boxes for a DAC, preamp, amp and passive speakers.
2. A pair of passive powered speakers.
3. A pair of active speakers that have state of the art amplification and room response DSP built into the box, including those that provide digital inputs to allow the use of a built in DAC.
4. A digital age boom box that isn't wifi enabled.

And any of the above at any price point that can be afforded.

The beauty of the solution is that Google can keep adding features to the front end - like multi room play - via software upgrades and even hardware changes in future asking for another investment of just USD 35, without asking for change in the downstream hardware allowing what then can be significant investment in that to be protected. And a CC working life of 2-3 years is also perfectly acceptable, so post warranty hardware support worries are non existent.

The only thing that is against the CC is how cheap it is. How many people with a downstream system costing in excess of 5 digits, or even 4 digits, will believe that the device is a perfectly adequate front end for the apple of their eye?

If the device succeeds as its video cousin has, I'd say it thoroughly deserves to do so.
 

ssfas

Well-known member
Qobuz-Chromecast

Qobuz-Chromecast

I've been looking to find an excuse to spend $35 on this Chromecast device, just out of curiosity. It certainly seems very clever.

In my office P3ESR/UnitiQute2 set-up I stream using Qobuz from the computer. The Chromecast is apparently Qobuz-friendly, so it seems I can stream Qobuz from my phone if I connect the Chromecast to the UnitiQute2 using the optical mini-Toslink connection option. This saves the need to turn on the computer.

Is that good enough reason?

The UnitiQute2 does not have an HMDI input, but the Chromecast could be connected either via optical at the back or a 3.5mm jack at the front. Seeing I have a spare $5 Toslink cable, that seems to be the way to go.
 

willem

Well-known member
Chromcast without HDMI

Chromcast without HDMI

Yup. Use the Chromecast audio model if you do not have an hdmi input.

Using the Chromecast instead of the computer will also be quieter if your computer has a fan, and save a bit on electricity. If your wifi is problematic, there is an ethernet adapter for wired connection.
 

willem

Well-known member
Caution! Chromcast audio dynamics setting

Caution! Chromcast audio dynamics setting

One thing to pay attention to is that apparently (from what I read) the
Chromecast has a setting for dynamics: full dynamics is not the default setting, I assume because compressed dynamics are deemed more appropriate for basic speaker and table radio systems.
 

ssfas

Well-known member
Ongoing repairs

Ongoing repairs

Yup. Use the Chromecast audio model if you do not have an hdmi input.

Using the Chromecast instead of the computer will also be quieter if your computer has a fan, and save a bit on electricity. If your wifi is problematic, there is an ethernet adapter for wired connection.
The computer was connected with a mini-Toslink as well. It is an Apple iMac, so is quiet. The screens do consume loads of leecy.

I've just had to wipe the computer hard drive and reinstall everything as it went snail slow and lots of things stopped working. I think this was due to a power-out that also caused an SQL crash on my music server.

I was advised to get a continuous power supply - basically an 8-way multi-socket with a massive battery in it. It seemed like a very good idea and I have also bought some for the office. It has 4 sockets with battery backup and surge protection, the other 4 are surge protection only. I would recommend these for computer audio, as it seems computers do not like power loss.

http://www.amazon.co.uk/APC-BE400-UK-Interface-Power-Saving-Back-UPS/dp/B000GL19BW
I got it a bit cheaper elsewhere. It is big and ugly, mind you, but it sits under the desk.

(The mac mini went back to Apple. Nice idea, but can't screen share from a restart. It also had a RAM crash on an OS upgrade, so would have had to be replaced anyway.)
 

Kumar Kane

New member
Output voltage adjustment

Output voltage adjustment

This saves the need to turn on the computer.

Is that good enough reason?
I think so. Far better to use a small, dedicated computer such as the CC Audio than to leave the general purpose jack of all trades, higher power consuming device on for just music. In addition if the latter did not give you remote control of your music via a handheld, this is now free as a bonus with CC! The other neat trick that CC does - which you may or may not care for - is allowing guests to cast music via their handhelds on your system without giving them your WiFi passwords or any other access to your home WiFi. You have to select the option that lets them do this, so this is optional.
One thing to pay attention to is that apparently (from what I read) the
Chromecast has a setting for dynamics: full dynamics is not the default setting, I assume because compressed dynamics are deemed more appropriate for basic speaker and table radio systems.
I have learnt on Hydrogen Audio that this setting may not do quite what it is said by Google to do - all it apparently does is change the output signal voltage of 1.4 volts in the off position to 2 volts in the on position. 2 volts sounds better being louder at the same volume control setting of connected amp - so long as the higher voltage does not drive it into clipping. 1.4 volts is also stated to give a more usable volume control range - all of this should be familiar to recent HUG readers!

Since it is easy to switch back and forth, the advice is to try both and let your sound level needs and your ears decide what setting is best for you. Some people find better sound quality even with hifi systems with the 1.4 volts setting, which is the compressed dynamic setting, for just this reason of a more usable volume control.
 

willem

Well-known member
Chromecast audio quality

Chromecast audio quality

I am reading different reports on what that High Dynamic setting actually involves, other than that it is the only possible setting on the digital output: if you choose analogue out you can choose, but not if you use the digital out (and that makes sense in either interpretation of what it is). Some say it is just a higher output voltage, but others (including google itself) maintain that it is truly a difference in dynamics.

I was also wondering if anyone has already seen proper testing of the analogue sound quality. Digital output seems fine according to all reports, and that does not surprise (it should be bit perfect). Reports on the analogue quality that I have seen are only subjective - are there any serious measurements yet?
 
Not good

Not good

Bought the cc audio last weekend. often problems with the wifi and the sound is disappointing . cc is connected directly with the amplifier.
 

willem

Well-known member
Setting?

Setting?

Did you use the High Dynamic Range setting? For bad wifi connection there is also a special net adapter with ethernet wiring.
 
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