Chromecast audio

everett_psycho

Distinguished Member
Seems Google just got serious about music streaming.

The new Chromecast and Chromecast Audio are all about the hi-res streaming | TechRadar

Sounds very promising to me, they are saying it will even handle flac files and be able to mirror a device.

Not sure it's a complete replacement for a multi room audio system, there's no mention of sharing music with more than one at a time, but flac support for the price tag does look very interesting
 

MattDX

Well-known Member
I'm very tempted by one of these as a quick way of pumping all our music to the cinema room without having to buy another Sonos.
 

plum23

Active Member
The Chomecast isn't bluetooth unlike the Arcam units, so theoretically better? Guess it will depend on the DAC unless you're using an external one.
 

Pau1

Novice Member
If you connected the Chromecast to your Amp by the optical input would the Amps built in DAC take over before sending the signal to the speakers?
 

plum23

Active Member
Yes it will.
And because the Chromecast can grab the stream directly it should be higher quality to start with than something sent over bluetooth from your phone.
 

Pau1

Novice Member
At first looks this appears to be a great little gadget, I'll be interested to read a few reviews on it, can't find any at the moment
 

slowpoke

Active Member
if multi room is coming in a year or so then surely you can hook one up into various amps or speakers in different zones and you have what sonos gives you..
 

mrbenn

Member
Has anyone got one of these yet? Looks great for £30 - interested to know how the internal DAC is?
Currys seem to have them in stock now
 

MartinH32

Well-known Member
I would imagine no flac from Apple devices as they don't support it so I gather
 

mike7

Distinguished Member
I've got one on order. I will post a mini review when it arrives (from Ireland apparently ) I am hoping it will also stream the mp3 files on my phone and tablet.


Chromecast 2015 Teardown
 
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mrbenn

Member
My Chromecast Audio finally arrived this morning, guessing others have had theirs too today. Looking forward to seeing how it performs against the QED Uplay puck I've been using up until now for wireless playback from smart devices to in-ceiling speakers in my kitchen.
 

mike7

Distinguished Member
My Chromecast Audio also arrived today and I've had an opportunity to put it through its paces. Classic piece of packaging and minimal instructions as is usual with Chromecast devices. For the initial set-up I plugged it into a cheap powered Bluetooth speaker with a Aux input. The Chromecast Audio uses the same Control App to set it up as the Video variety. The unit detected my 5G Wi-Fi network pretty quickly. No reception difficulties as it is situated right next to the modem. Set up appears next to the two Chromecast videos I already use. There is an invitation to 'name' the device and then enter your internet code. This was followed by a short delay whilst an upgrading was loaded. Job done.

The unit comes with a very short yellow 3.5mm stereo lead, and a power supply. When operating the 3.5mm socket is illuminated by a red light (is this the optical output?). The case also has a small white light which, when steady, indicates all is connected. There is also has a small button which, if it follows the normal pattern is a re-set button. Usually a 30sec push does the trick. The unit runs slightly warm, but nothing alarming.

I had no need to download any other apps as I already had a number of audio based apps on my phone & tablet. These included Google Play, Tune-in Radio and All Cast. Even with my cheap (Tesco) speaker the sound was a noticeable improvement over its normal Bluetooth connection. I already had a 3.5mm to RCA lead to plug into my Onkyo TX-SR576 amp (CD input socket). Couldn't resist plugging in a earpiece directly into the Chromecast output socket. No problem, it worked, but I don't recommend it without knowing the exact impedance matching.

I am not one for streaming as I prefer to buy CDs or iTunes downloads and store them as MP3s on my phone or tablet. Usually at 256kbs. I played a few sample tracks of various genres and again there was a noticeable improvement over Bluetooth. The unit is very responsive to instructions.

Here's a tip. Click on the cogwheel on the Chrome Audio indicator section, under Devices, on your phone (which incidentally shows the cover photo of the album you are playing) and you will display the 'Device Info'. Scroll down and switch on 'High Dynamic Range' (For AVRs and Hi-Fi systems) The effect is very obvious and the sound becomes much more 'punchy and dynamic'. There is also a facility to turn off the 'plop' sound that indicates a connection and a volume change. The device also has a Guest Mode which allows others to easily opt into your system.

Whilst in this menu check out the 'Offers' button. Two were available. 90 days of Google Play Music and 3 months of Deezeer Premium+. Taking these offers is worth more than cost price of the Chromecast Audio. Take up these offers and you've got the Chromecast free! The Chromecast 'Get Apps' option, in addition, offers links to Spotify, Vevo (although this is a Video app!) & Musicmatch. There seems no filter in place to offer you 'audio only' apps. Obviously video ones will not work.
Used Tune-in and streamed BBC Radio 3 which is usually a higher bit rate than most streamed stations. Sounded really good and clean from a live concert.

Very satisfied with £30 well spent. The Google Play Music App will not play side loaded prerecorded MP3 tracks from your memory, but plenty of other Apps such as AllCast and Sony Music will do.

I'll be interested to see what others think and how the AK4430ET DAC matches up technically to other players. A multi-room facility is promised in the future which puts it as a very low cost contender to the likes of Sonus. I would also like to know what other formats it can manage. Happily it fulfills my requirements.

Addendum: Now connected by an optical lead, cost about £5, and sounds even better. Don't underestimate this product because it's only £30.
 
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I've been finding connecting to the Chromecast Audio a bit hit and miss. It will appear as a device to cast to from the in app* cast menu but stall or fail to connect quite often. The video equivalent has always been pretty dependable in this regard.:confused:

Have you had any issues with this Mike?

(*experienced with Spotify, Pocket Casts apps on iPhone and iPad)
 

mike7

Distinguished Member
None so far.Although I'm using Android connections and I use Allcast which I believe is also available for Apple devices. I agree the original video version was 100% reliable. My Chromecasts are very close to my router.
 
Cheers, probably my network and / or using iOS that's the issue then. I'll have an experiment with both.

Issues aside, audio quality seems decent enough through the jack without having to make use of an external DAC. I was a bit dubious given the price but it's more than enough to not be the weak link in the chain where I'm currently using it.
 

mike7

Distinguished Member
So far I have had no issues using the Chromecast Audio in spite of some people feeling the 48khz resampling rate should be 44.1khz to match sources. Can you really hear the difference? I've experienced no drop-outs or glitches and I look forward to the promised upgrade to multi-room use.

I was hoping AV Forums would do a review on this device since tech information is pretty scarce. I suspect this 'gadget' is too cheap at £30, although it might perform just as well as many overpriced streaming devices on the market which basically do the same thing.

As an incentive BBC iPlayer Radio has just been added to the list of Apps you can use with all Chromecast devices. This backtracks every BBC broadcast on all radio stations over the past 7 days.
 

larkone

Member
Just received my Chromecast Audio and connected it first by analogue and switched on HD audio and was impressed at the better sound from spotify and streaming flac from the server. Then connected by optical into my Denon N8 and there was a significant step up in quality - even spotify sound so much better.

In every respect this sounds so much better than using Apt-X bluetooth to my amp and I was using a QED uPlay Plus connected by optical before. Have now ordered a Chromecast HDMI for the sitting room AV setup.

The only issues I have experienced are related to my flaky BT Business Hub 3's wireless which is now getting the royal boot in favour of a better router.

The only plus to the CC Audio would be the ability to cast audio to the stereo on video based apps so I could watch on the tablet (Tab S 10.5) but hear through the stereo rather than the tablets scratchy speakers.

Also waiting on the multi-room capability and would prefer they introduced 44.1khz rather than re-sampling, which Google have said is on the way.

Am wondering if I could power this with a powerbank for use in the garden - so it becomes a more portable device - the next test.
 

mike7

Distinguished Member
Am wondering if I could power this with a powerbank for use in the garden - so it becomes a more portable device - the next test.
That's an interesting idea. I note that the 5V power supply is rated at 1 Amp but I wonder if the device draws that much.
 

dynacampjim

Novice Member
Mike7 said :That's an interesting idea. I note that the 5V power supply is rated at 1 Amp but I wonder if the device draws that much.

Hi,Just joined up - don't think I'm doing this properly but I have a device which measures USB power and the CCA takes 1 watt! Hope that helps.
 

mrbenn

Member
I've just picked up a second one of these today, great for £30. Streaming from deezer, free account from chrome browser (re deezer offer hadn't noticed 3 months free but will try premium - thanks mike7) free account is working great so far, also no problems streaming from youtube, playerfm and mp3's from minidlna running on a raspberry pi via upnp.

I used the trigger app and an NFC tag to open the chromecast app and open playerfm when swiped which works great too.

So much better than bluetooth receivers!
 

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