Heads up: Chromecast Audio supports Gapless Playback!

windhoek

Well-known Member
One of the key missing jigsaw pieces in my streaming setup is finally missing no more: Chromecast Audio supports gapless playback, and apparently, it has done for time!

The solution is simple: initiate casting via the Google Home app first then open your media player and play music - it's that simple! For years I've been using the PLEX app to cast to my CCA and for years (or for some time at least) I've been missing out on gapless playback.

I've tested this with PLEX and Poweramp and both options work fine. I should add, I ran into problems when I tried using an old Android device whereby the Google Home app is limited to an old, unsupported version (version 2.29.1.7); the version on my other Android device (version 2.32.1.5) works perfectly.

I don't seem to be able to achieve gapless playback from my Macbook Air using the casting option built into Chrome, and I haven't tried to achieve it on a Windows machine either, so I can't say for sure whether gapless playback is or isn't doable on those platforms.

Fwiw, I've read lots and lots of pages on the web over the years hoping to find a solution to get gapless playback on my CCA but the post I read yesterday morning is the first and only one I've ever come across stating that CCA does support gapless playback (without having to utilise third-party workarounds like HiFi Cast) and that this is the very simple way to do it :)

Well done, Xanthe, over at Naim Forums for figuring it out and for letting the people know how to do it (the post was actually from October last year)!
 

Cebolla

Member
Claiming that the Google Home app's/Android's built-in cast screen/audio Google Cast streaming method to a Chromecast Audio supports gapless playback is a bit like saying Apple's AirPlay to an AirPlay device supports gapless playback.

All you are doing is relying on the particular music app's internal audio player to do the actual gapless playback of the tracks in the playlist and then getting the resulting audio output (that would normally go to the Android device's internal DAC and then out to its speakers) to be streamed via Google Cast out to the Chromecast Audio.

So, like using AirPlay on an iPad or iPhone, it's an indirect method of streaming, with the disadvantage of networked audio file tracks actually going to the Android device to be played by the app you are using on it, rather than going directly to be played by the Chromecast Audio itself, from the internet music service's online server or your own media server on a networked device like a NAS or computer.

Furthermore and unlike AirPlay, which specifies the lossless ALAC audio encoding fixed at the CD-res of 16bit/44.1kHz for its audio streams, there's no mention that the audio being streamed will be using a lossless encoding method (so could well be using a lossy audio encoding like MP3 or AAC with a bandwidth saving low bitrate), putting the audio quality of the cast screen/audio Google Cast streaming method in doubt.

A workaround is still a workaround, even if it's not by a third party!
 
Last edited:

windhoek

Well-known Member
I'm not familiar with the Apple product/services you mention so I can't add anything there. But you're right that the gapless aspect of playback is done by the Google Home app and not the CCA - I confirmed this by streaming music from my PLEX server and then casting it to the CCA, but when I turned off my wifi on my phone, audio playback stopped instantly. Conversely, casting via the PLEX app allows me to turn off my phone's wifi once a casting connection has been made between CCA and my PLEX server, whereby my phone is no longer needed for playback to continue.

It seems then, that whether the CCA can do gapless playback isn't something I can say is currently possible. While the Google Home app is, I suppose, a first-party workaround, it's a workaround nonetheless, sadly.
 

Cebolla

Member
But you're right that the gapless aspect of playback is done by the Google Home app and not the CCA.
That's not quite what I said.

The Google Home app's Cast Screen/Audio function merely instructs the Android operating system to divert the audio output of any app, that is currently producing a sound (that would normally go to the Android device's DAC & eventually out to its speakers), to the selected Chromecast device via Google Cast network streaming.

The gapless playback is actually done (hopefully) by whatever music app's built-in music file player you happen to be using on the Android device. So in your specific case - the Plex Android app. The Plex app's media file player just happens to support gapless playback (of the music files it's playing, provided over the network by the Plex Server). So the Plex app's audio output of it playing music files will be naturally 'gapless'.

For many years it's been actually rare, if not impossible, to find any software music file players like the Plex app that don't support gapless playback. It's rather shameful that the same cannot be said of hardware music file players like the Chromecast Audio.


It seems then, that whether the CCA can do gapless playback isn't something I can say is currently possible.
It's definitely not currently possible and very unlikely that it ever will be, given that Google are no longer producing the Chromecast Audio.
 
Last edited:

Jamie

Distinguished Member
They're all defenitely work arounds and not proper gapless support. I'm not a fan of streaming the phones audio as a workaround as it's a pain, especially when you get something like a Twitter notification that pings through your speakers.

My own personal method for gapless playback is to use the Logitech Media Server running on a spare raspberry pi with the Chromecast bridge plugin. Set the direct streaming option in the CCA settings in the plugin and anything you can play in LMS will play gaplessly on the CCA.
 
Last edited:

NM20

Well-known Member
I am struggling to get gapless playback on my CCA using MConnect HD and Qobuz. Is it even possible?
 

Jamie

Distinguished Member
I had a quick play with MConnect lite using a local DLNA server and couldn't even get that to play gapless.

Hifi cast has specific "direct" setting for a Chromecast which doesn't send tracks to the Chromecast but a continuous stream with your phone handling playback which does work, similarly the Chromecast plugin on Logitech Media Server also has a similar option (called Flow) which sends a continuous stream to the CCA to achieve gapless. Both work a treat but a similar option in MConnect eludes me.

In fact I'd highly recommend LMS either running on your PC or a dedicated device like a Raspberry Pi as a brilliant companion to a CCA, the Spotify plugin certainly enables gapless to a CCA (with the above mentioned flow option selected) but I haven't tried Qobuz or the plugin.
 

Cebolla

Member
I had a quick play with MConnect lite using a local DLNA server and couldn't even get that to play gapless.

Hifi cast has specific "direct" setting for a Chromecast which doesn't send tracks to the Chromecast but a continuous stream with your phone handling playback which does work, similarly the Chromecast plugin on Logitech Media Server also has a similar option (called Flow) which sends a continuous stream to the CCA to achieve gapless. Both work a treat but a similar option in MConnect eludes me.
There isn't a similar workaround for Chromecast devices on the mconnect Player series of apps and they are certainly not advertised as having such. Not sure why @NM20 thought they could be used with Chromecast devices for gapless playback.

In fact I'd highly recommend LMS either running on your PC or a dedicated device like a Raspberry Pi as a brilliant companion to a CCA, the Spotify plugin certainly enables gapless to a CCA (with the above mentioned flow option selected) but I haven't tried Qobuz or the plugin.
Agreed. My LMS is running on an RPi and the Chromecast Bridge plugin's Flow function option definitely works as you'd expect with the Qobuz plugin. I've yet to find any playback of tracks in LMS's current playlist that doesn't work with Flow, regardless of the source of those tracks.

The only issue is that the sample rate for the Flow function is pre-set, meaning that any tracks in the playlist that are not of that sample rate will be resampled to match and therefore not play bit perfectly.
 
Last edited:

Cebolla

Member
I am struggling to get gapless playback on my CCA using MConnect HD and Qobuz. Is it even possible?

No. As has been stated before in this thread (despite its title), Chromecast devices do not support gapless playback of music file tracks in a playlist and can only be made to appear to support gapless by some sort of workaround that provides them with a continuous audio stream built from that playlist of tracks. The mconnect Player series of apps do not provide that workaround.

There is a Gapless setting in the mconnect Player apps, but that option is only for use with gapless playback supporting UPnP/DLNA streamers - perhaps that's where you are getting confused.
 

NM20

Well-known Member
No. As has been stated before in this thread (despite its title), Chromecast devices do not support gapless playback of music file tracks in a playlist and can only be made to appear to support gapless by some sort of workaround that provides them with a continuous audio stream built from that playlist of tracks. The mconnect Player series of apps do not provide that workaround.

There is a Gapless setting in the mconnect Player apps, but that option is only for use with gapless playback supporting UPnP/DLNA streamers - perhaps that's where you are getting confused.
That is exactly where I was getting confused, thank you.

Another reason to invest in a Node 2i.
 

The latest video from AVForums

Podcast: Panasonic JZ2000 Final Thoughts - TV Calibration: Should you? And More...
Subscribe to our YouTube channel
Support AVForums with Patreon

Top Bottom