So you bought yourself those fancy speakers...How are they going to to fit in your entire media setup

Dinther

Novice Member
Hi, my name is Paul van Dinther and I have spend the best part of a year agonizing over the many details that make up a good all round audio system.

But I am not going to talk about hifi speakers or state of the art amplifiers. No, I am much more interested in

C O N N E C T I V I T Y

You see, like many people, space in my apartment is at a premium (As is money) and I want the best bang for my buck.

Also a disclosure, I am a total fan boy for Google's Chromecast technology and have exclusively consumed media via those devices for many years.

To give you some idea of my situation. I live in a 50 square meter apartment, yet, I do posses a 4 year old 65" Panasonic TV Model: TH65dx740U I just bought it on a whim because despite a great picture, the IO is sh*t.

In addition I have a powerful desktop computer, a laptop, an Android tablet and of course a smartphone. Galaxy S7 in my case.

My house is decked out with Philips Hue lamps and my Google Home Mini tries her best to be my assistant. As far as media is concerned, this works quite well as I have a Google Audio Cast, Google Chromecast and Google Chromecast Ultra. Oh ... and ... I have a very cute Laserbeam Pro C200 720p projector.

The whole damn lot is tied together with a cheap ISP provided wifi router but with unlimited fiber speed to the internet. 1 Gigabit up and down.

Notable exception in this list of goodies is audio equipment and that is what this post is about.

You see, using Google Chromecast for absolutely everything made the need for remote controls obsolete. I don't even use the one that came with my TV (I never watch live TV)

I simply flick whatever media I want to consume to my TV and the TV turns on and everything just works...
Well, except audio that is. Panasonic in all their wisdom decided to only provide toslink optical audio outputs but not analog audio outputs.

I want great audio quality in my house. Obviously the puny TV speakers won't do. And here is where I had a major issue. Every box pusher assumes you either buy a hifi system or a home theater system. They kind of expect me to have two sets of speakers... NO

And guess what? I want one sound system. Not two but one, and personally, I despise the fake whooomp surround sounds effects in consumer grade home theaters. Gimme a decent stereo any day. And if it isn't too much to ask? I want to be able to hear what the actors say without at the same time get a conviction notice of the building manager for excessive noise during action sequences.

So I started looking around. "Smart speakers" Yes baby, bring it on.... NOT. Idiots like Sonos, pride themselves on having few or no audio ports at all. WTF. Other brands don't fare much better.

The audio from my TV will come from either a early VERSION OF HDMI ARC or TOSLINK. And guess what, All the HDMI ARC sound bars I could find would not allow me to feed in high quality audio feeds from other sources. And definitely not with automatic source switching capability. I want one speaker solution dammit. And I won't take no for an answer.

Many months, frustrated sales men and lots of lousy Chinese devices went by till I finally started to see what I needed.

I wanted several Chromecast devices. Each specialized for a specific task. Whatever data they produce would need to be converted to the best possible signal. So, I use the Google Chromecast Ultra for my video needs. It plugs directly into my 65" TV and that has already been satisfactory for years.

However, sometimes I want to listen to a concert published on Netflix. LISTEN. So I want audio without a distracting 65" TV inducing epilepsy. As my TV has sh*t speakers anyway, it was obvious I needed a good quality no frills audio system.

I found this in the Rokit KRK 7 G4 powered speakers. Yes, they are monitors, but I like their flat frequency response. My son had them for years, and believe me, you won't have lived till you heard those babies. However, Rokit KRK 7 G4 speakers take analog input only. Which is pretty dumb by the way because internally the G4 range has a DSP build in. This means going from digital to analog to digital to analog. Can't win them all I guess.

So, all my media comes in digital format. Streaming from Youtube, Spotify, Netflix and Amazon video Prime. Did I mention, I haven't used an antennae cable on my TV for 5 years? Local TV makes me want to break my beloved TV.

So, here we are, on one hand we have various digital streaming media sources while on the other hand we have excellent analog monitor speakers. (Oh, I got the Rokit S10 sub as well)

The other thing what really get's me riled up are remote controls. Two is worse then one and three remotes is beyond criminal. It baffles me that modern consumer electronics designers still thing that a remote control or special app is a feature! Any soundbar designer who thinks his sound bar should come with any controls should be fired

I want ZERO remote controls. I never EVER want to have to turn a device on or off. It should just bloody work. Do you hear that GOOGLE!!! Your stupid ambient feature in Chromecast prevents my TV from going to standby. I kinda mitigated that by creating a slideshow album with black images but make sure to set "Personal photo curation" to "Live albums only" in the Chromecast Ambient settings otherwise google will decide that your black images are not worthy for the slideshow. I wish I made this up but it's real. I am sure at this point you recognize a lot of the agony I have been painting here, but there is a solution to the pain.

First of all, sell your Google Chromecast Audio. It's useless and doesn't do anything your regular video enabled Chromecast can't do. Chromecast owners, just for fun. Navigate to Youtube on your phone and try to cast your favorite track to Chromecast Audio..... You can only do it on the Chrome browser on your Desktop PC but not on the mobile app. What gives Google!

Google cheerfully suggest you subscribe to Youtube Music. I have two words for that one starts with F and the other with O. Let's take this a step further. Hop on Netflix and find yourself a nice concert to listen to. I SAID LISTEN TO. Yeah, you can't. The Android apps including Netflix and Amazon Prime won't let you cast to an audio only device such as Chromecast Audio.

You need a video capable Chromecast for that. A 1080p video capable Chromecast will do. Then we feed the HDMI data from the Chromecast into a high quality HDMI Audio extractor and take the audio signal to the fancy speaker system.

Life would not be complete without a high quality Bluetooth link. I am talking about a bluetooth receiver at least capable to support APTX which is a hifi quality , low response audio format. I might throw in a second one later that will handle audio transmission at the same time to other speakers and headsets around the house.

So, as you can see, we end up with at least 3 different audio sources (TV, Chromecast 1080p video and Bluetooth receiver) and all of those sources are digital.

I picked components of course that would provide outputs in digital format such as Toslink. The DAC's on most cheap audio devices tend to be rubbish which is a waste of a good analog speaker system.

But how do you specify which audio source needs to be fed to the speakers? Well, personally, I don't think switching between inputs in a user friendly solution. That is actually more an engineers point of view. And since I do not want any remote controls in my system... Switching inputs is simply not an option

To the rescue a brilliant electronics engineer from Austria. You see, all the audio sources I am dealing with can be supplied in digital optical form (Toslink). As it happens Beni Skate designed an automatic toslink switch from 4 to 8 inputs. This switch uses some logic to select the highest priority input and then.... uses a high quality ES9023 DAC (Digital to Analog converter 192khz sample rate at 24 bit resolution) so I can send the final analog signal to my preferred audio system.

Note: Myu Rokit 7 G4 monitor speakers have a standby feature build it, which I highly appreciate. They go to standby after 30 minutes silence and wake up in seconds when a signal is presented. Perfect.

So, this is one hell of a lot of text. But I want you to understand that modern consumer electronics is off the rails! It is silly, no, it's stupid. Don't buy onto one manufacturers infrastructure. Take Sonos. I guess they make nice plastic speakers.... but when they advertise those speakers to have NO input ports.... WTF! Take a Google Max speaker.... Same deal, one measly unbalanced 3.5mm analog input. Every one of these silly bullsh*t "SMART" speakers only ever cater to one task.

My solution allows me to use one set of great speakers for both audio or Video and send any media from any device as you can see in the picture.

My current audio solution consists of:

- Automatic SPDIF (Optical/RCA) Audio Switch (The heart of the solution)
- CYP CLUX-11CD HDMI Audio Extractor, 1x HDMI-in, 1x HDMI-out
- Google Chromecast Ultra
- Google Chromecast 1080p (used for Audio only)
- Dynamix BLUECAST-2 Bluetooth 4.1 Transmitter Receive (Aptx capable HiFi )
- Chromecast Audio (No longer available)
- Rokit 7 G4 speakers
- Rokit s10 sub

Once again, the key to make this all work is the Automatic SPDIF Audio switch. It takes optical digital toslink inputs which it converts to a stereo high quality analog signal using a ES9023 DAC 192khz 24 bit

And if you managed to read this far...you may still wonder, what the heck is this all about. Why are you doing this. Well, first of all, it's a challenge. But this is the best user experience. Not buttons, no remote. I can open any Chromecast enabled App (Youtube, Home, Netflix, Amazon Prime, Google Photos, Hifi-cast and hundreds more... And I can simply send the media to either "Video" and view them on my big screen and hear them on my super fancy audio system. OR send them to "Audio" and just listen on that same fancy audio system.

Don't worry, if you are American the concept of turning off a TV is foreign but trust me, most people don't want their TV on all the time.

I am trying to convince my friend who created the toslink switch to drop the idea of switching. Just mix the audio sources instead. This would enable me to listen to my favorite playlist on Spotify while having epic 4k ocean footage playing on my big screen.

Paul van Dinther
 

Attachments

  • Frankenstein Audio.png
    Frankenstein Audio.png
    1.5 MB · Views: 143
  • cast.png
    cast.png
    459.9 KB · Views: 134
  • Remotefree Audio solution (1).png
    Remotefree Audio solution (1).png
    32.6 KB · Views: 117
Last edited by a moderator:

Hixs

Distinguished Member
I think that wall of text needs some bullet points to highlight what you actually want/hope to achieve. I got bored 1/3 the way through.

Too much waffle...
 

Dinther

Novice Member
I think that wall of text needs some bullet points to highlight what you actually want/hope to achieve. I got bored 1/3 the way through.

Too much waffle...

In the bright light of day. I agree. I set to chopping it to size soon
 

larkone

Distinguished Member
I'd want paying to read that much.
 

BlueWizard

Distinguished Member
The problem is, I don't see any question marks anywhere.

What is the core question you are asking?

As others have said, give us a bullet point list of what you want to accomplish.

To connect the TV to an Amp or Active Speakers, you simply need a DAC (digital to analog converter). These can run from £25 up to about £250, though you can certainly spend more if you want.

The advantage of ChromeCast-Audio is that you don't need the TV on to use it. But, you are right, you can get the audio features in the ChromeCast-Video version.

I did find one question, though the context is blurred -

But how do you specify which audio source needs to be fed to the speakers?

That depends on what the source are. If they feed HDMI In, then you simply pick a different HDMI Channel on the TV.

If you have pure Analog sources, then you need a means of feeding Analog sources into the system. Some TV have Analog Inputs. There are legacy inputs paired with Analog Video inputs. But in general this implies some degree of Pre-Amp with multiple inputs.

I also think you might be making your system more complex than it needs to be. For example, why do you have THREE ChromeCast Devices, when by our own apparent admission, one will do the job?

Doesn't the ChromeCast-Ultra (audio/video streaming) give you the same access to the Streaming Services you use as the other two ChromeCast devices?

So -

Give us the RELEVANT Bullet Points?

What problem are you trying to solve?

How much are you willing to spend to solved it?


Steve/bluewizard
 

b1g1an

Well-known Member
Think he's saying he's cured all his issues and was just sharing in case anyone else was interested.
 

BlueWizard

Distinguished Member
Think he's saying he's cured all his issues and was just sharing in case anyone else was interested.

I'm still inclined to ask -

I also think you might be making your system more complex than it needs to be. For example, why do you have THREE ChromeCast Devices, when by our own apparent admission, one will do the job?

Doesn't the ChromeCast-Ultra (audio/video streaming) give you the same access to the Streaming Services you use as the other two ChromeCast devices?


THREE ChromeCast Streaming device connected to one system?

Steve/bluewizard
 

The latest video from AVForums

Podcast: Cleer Audio speaker + HiFi Rose Streamer Reviews & Movie/TV Show talk
Subscribe to our YouTube channel
Support AVForums with Patreon

Top Bottom