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Chromecast Audio

Batears

New member
Perfect Bluetooth

Perfect Bluetooth

I haven't used BT extensively, but from many accounts the sound quality now can be quite acceptable. But the problem still remains if one is streaming from a phone that the phone needs to be within 10-20 feet of the receiver and music is stopped each time the phone is used as a phone - I hear that even notifications sounds on the phone are broadcast. And of course the phone battery is used for music transmission to the receiver.

For the use you have referred, it seems very well suited though. Separately, it is amazing what the kids will do with iDevices. My still to be 3 year old granddaughter effortlessly navigates the interface, calling up music, photos, nursery rhymes on You tube and loves making the app icons wiggle. Unfortunately she also makes them disappear that way. We will very soon have to figure out the parental settings to restrict site access.
For several weeks I have been listening to music via an inexpensive bluetooth tablet an a bluetooth receiver connected to a pair of active speakers and a sub. I have also been busy converting some of my CD's to mp3's (192kbps) and then onto a 64gb micro sd card.

We have a Samsung tablet with aptx bluetooth for which I purchased an aptx receiver board, but I notice no difference between aptx and bluetooth 4.

Bluetooth works flawlessly for me for both streaming internet radio and mp3 files from a distance of about 18ft.
 

Kumar Kane

New member
Proxy problems

Proxy problems

that proxies may cause problems, which is a massive problem for a lot of people like me who are running them for privacy and getting around geographical restrictions.
That is probably the reason for your streaming instability - I doubt that moving it around is going to change things compared to keeping it on a shelf directly below which ought to give adequate signal strength. Easy enough to try that of course.
 

learning

New member
Latest firmware

Latest firmware

Full reinstall with firmware update and better stability. When it works I love this thing.
 

Kumar Kane

New member
Auto-updates?

Auto-updates?

Is there a firmware update already? That is news to me - I just read that updates are automatically done and a periodic reboot is needed to get them to become operational.

Since at my install location there isn't any big concern about privacy or defeating geographical restrictions, it is a so far so good story, ten days down the line.
 

learning

New member
Louder streaming?

Louder streaming?

For some reason my device didn't update on start-up properly. Surely it couldn't have been user error :)

I've been looking at new streaming services to replace my existing provider which has gone bust. Tough market. Streaming the same tracks from Deezer and Spotify through the Chromecast, thought I looked at the peak level from the tracks on my Behringer DEQ2496, which performs room correction duties.

There was a consistent pattern of Spotify being louder on peaks. Perhaps streaming services have the option of bumping up/changing the dynamic range of the digital output at source. This was a 320kps MP3 stream on both services. True, a poor experiment, but there is an incentive to make "your" streaming service a tad louder and therefore "better".
 

willem

Well-known member
Loudness

Loudness

Interesting. In my case too Spotify is considerably louder than NPR or BBC 3 radio.

{Moderator's comment: If you are able to record the same track off Spotify and other streaming services, we can compare by analysis dynamics, frequency response etc. Suggest: TotalRecorder or similar}
 

Kumar Kane

New member
Sound level differences

Sound level differences

Rdio, that has just folded as well, plays at lower levels on my system compared to ripped CDs and iTunes purchased music on a NAS - both playing through a 2 volt output Sonos Connect. That is a problem when it comes in the way of making mixed source playlists.

I haven't done any direct comparisons with other services, but I would not be surprised at some playing the louder is better card, if they are able to. There is little to differentiate between them really, and I expect more to follow the Rdio path to going bust. Apple, Google and maybe an independent like Spotify may be all that remain at the end of the shake out.
 

willem

Well-known member
Chromecast experiences

Chromecast experiences

Now that I am back in Holland I have added Chromecast to a few systems in the house. Installing them was a piece of cake, and so is using them. Today my son got the multiroom facility running for the New Year's Eve party he is throwing in our house.... Note, however, that this only works on the Chromecast Audio, and not the video version, so you cannot use it to direct the movie audio to your stereo system. You still need to extract that in some way from your TV.

As for sound quality, I am not quite convinced that the inbuilt Chromecast DAC is as good as can be, but I need to sit down for some more controled comparisons. I did set it to High Dynamic Range. Contrary to some reports I do not think this is just a louder level. Google says it is more dynamic and I think that it is indeed precisely that. The analogue output is pretty hot, and I needed to adjust the tape input sensitivity of the Quad 33 that I use. I might even add an inline attenuator as well.
 

IMF+TDL

Active member
Same DAC chip used in some Pioneer DVD players

Same DAC chip used in some Pioneer DVD players

Finally the first proper measurements have been published: http://archimago.blogspot.nl/2016/02/measurements-google-chromecast-audio.html In short, the DAC does not measure as well as some far more expensive units, but better than probably any human can distinguish.
FWIW, the AK4430 DAC is also used by Pioneer in the audio section of several of their DVD/Blu-ray players.

So, if you happen to be using one of those units for CD playback,then you're getting the same quality of audio signal conversion performance.
 

willem

Well-known member
Measurements of Chromecast digital output

Measurements of Chromecast digital output

After the analogue output of the Chromecast Audio, the mini Toslink digital output has now been measured as well:

http://archimago.blogspot.nl/2016/02/measurements-google-chromecast-audio_27.html

In sum, it delivers a bit perfect signal. The only downside is a relatively high level of jitter, though unlikely to be audible. This is largely a characteristic of the optical interface, even if there is room for some improvement. To put it in perspective, the Chromecast's performance is notably better than that of some $10000 audiophile components.
 

learning

New member
Chromcast Ethernet adaptor

Chromcast Ethernet adaptor

Having had ongoing issues with the two Chromecast Audio devices I have, I purchased the Google Chromecast ethernet adaptor for £15. I plugged in my most problematic Chromecast via Ethernet to the Powerline extender ethernet port I have downstairs and it has made that Chromecast a lot more stable.

It has also allowed me to use the "group" function which was virtually useless prior to this. I will probably buy another ethernet adaptor for the other Chromecast. At £45 for each CC and an Ethernet adaptor, it's still good value.
 

Jeff_C

Member
On Sale

On Sale

Chromecast Audio is just 15 GBP for a short time only at Currys / PC World. I've decided to take a punt, and have a tinker with one. I will see if I can make use of one in any music playing system I have.
 

Jeff_C

Member
NAS based music playing to Chromecast Audio

NAS based music playing to Chromecast Audio

Ok I've got my Chromecast Audio (CCA), and have set it up. I was intrigued to see if it could be useful to me. It is currently connected to a Bluetooth speaker in the kitchen via its 3.5mm line-in jack. First off I was not surprised to find that very few apps support the CCA (I already knew that). It is supported via a plug-in to the Chrome Browser (windows version - chrome browser on android does not support chromecast - go figure). The downside is that the browser tab needs to remain open to maintain casting. Not ideal. However it could cast Amazon Prime Music for which I have a subscription.

Spotify requires a premium subscription to use the casting feature, so again not ideal for testing purposes.

I then found that the BBC iPlayer radio app is very good for casting to the CCA, as is the tune-in radio app. Once casting there is no need for the tablet and/or app to be running which is how I had hoped it would work following comments from Kumar and Willem earlier in this thread.

Then I found the best use of all for me as it can easily integrate into my existing NAS and HDD based XBMC music playing set-ups. I found that I can cast from XBMC using the Yatse app which is an XBMC/Kodi remote control app for Android. The app is free and I have been using it for over 2 years believing it to be far more advanced at that time than the official android app which is now Kore. (I believe Kore has been improved immensely more recently). All I needed was an unlocker which I bought from the app store for GBP 2.69 to utilise the casting feature of Yatse. It works like a charm. A few touches on Yatse touch screen diverts the Music from my S/PDIF input to main amp/speakers to the CCA kitchen speaker. Once the music is queued up and playing I can exit the control app and even shut the tablet down. If I want to amend the queue I can fire the tablet up again and load the Yatse app again. I see the existing queue of music and can amend it as desired. I am so chuffed that it was this easy to integrate it into my main system that I've ordered another CCA to see if I can get multi-room synced music working. I doubt I will ever want multi-room synced music in reality but I am just intrigued that it can be achieved at very low cost so I wanted to try it out.

Here are the set-ups where I have directed the music stream to the CCA connected to the speaker in the kitchen

Windows Media PC running XBMC 13.2 remotely controlled from android tablet running Yatse. Music files are on the PC's HDD and usually played via S/PDIF into my main Yamaha AV amp and speakers. Music is easily diverted to CCA using Yatse remote control app.

Raspberry Pi running Kodi 15.2 remotely controlled from the same android tablet running the same instance of Yatse. Music files are on a WD NAS and usually played via USB DAC > S/PDIF into a second Yamaha AV amp and speakers. Music is easily diverted to CCA using Yatse remote control app.

Amazon Fire TV running XBMC 13.2 remotely controlled from the same android tablet running the same instance of Yatse. Music files are on a WD NAS and usually played via S/PDIF into the second Yamaha AV amp and speakers. Music is easily diverted to CCA using Yatse remote control app.

The next step is to try the CCA's S/PDIF output directly into one of my AV amps, and then when the second CCA arrives synced multi-room music.
 

Jeff_C

Member
Too hasty - no gapless playback

Too hasty - no gapless playback

I was too hasty posting my positive results with the Chromecast Audio (CCA) playing local files from a NAS. When I queued up an album of flac files requiring gapless playback the playback chain ending with the CCA failed to give me gapless playback. I have since tried substituting BubbleUPnP app for android in lieu of XBMC and Yatse but get the same results with no gapless playback. More testing is needed. I cannot load BubbleUPnP server onto my WD-NAS but that may be the way to go and may work.

I have read that Spotify gives gapless playback to CCA, but only because Spotify cleverly repackages the albums or music requiring gapless playback into a continuous stream somehow. Does anyone know more? How are those of you who stream to CCA using Tidal or Qobuz get on with gapless playback?
 

Jeff_C

Member
Gapless playback - there is a way

Gapless playback - there is a way

The CCA device itself does not handle gapless playback. So far I have found just one way to get the CCA playing gaplessly. Here's how, you need :-

A local area network (wifi connection for the CCA is convenient, but some may need Ethernet)
A windows PC running Foobarbar2000 (free audiophile music player software)
A component UPnP plug-in for foobar (foo_out_upnp) available here http://www.foobar2000.org/components/view/foo_out_upnp
BubbleUPnP Server (free software) which you use to create a DLNA renderer with the CCA.
(It seems sensible to have BubbleUPnP Server installed on the same PC that runs Foobar2000)
Configure Foobar2000 so that the output is set to 'CCA_name_(DLNA)'
Hey presto gapless playback

I think this works where other methods fail because Foobar2000 maintains the playback queue rather than passing control of the queue to the CCA. It then outputs a gapless stream of PCM to the CCA device. It seems to me the CCA is then acting more like a dumb DAC rather than a full blown renderer. I would be happy to learn of a more technical explanation than I can muster

I would be pleased to learn of any other methods to get gapless playback witht the CCA
 
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