Stream/cast audio from web browser to HiFi

PK0001

Novice Member
Hi all. I'm trying to find a solution to something which really shouldn't be beyond the realm of modern technology. I've spent a while searching for solutions but it seems that the only real option available is Google Chromecast. Anyway, to the issue...

One of the ways I like to enjoy music is to play audio a from a web browser from my laptop (which, critically, is in the same room as but not situated near the HiFi). I use Google Chrome for playing BBC Sounds (for Radio 3 and 4) and for SoundCloud (for electronic music). My current rudimentary setup is my laptop plus Meridian Explorer 2 USB DAC connected to my HiFi via a long and inconvenient physical cable (3.5mm from the DAC into the analogue RCAs in the HiFi). I would very much like to achieve this wirelessly. Bluetooth is out of the question as I want a high-quality solution. I understand there used to be a way to stream/cast from Microsoft Edge to a UPNP/DLNA renderer on the network, but I understand this function has been discontinued. I understand that Chromecast will do the trick, but really want to know if other solutions are available.

Many thanks
 

RBZ5416

Distinguished Member
Bluetooth is out of the question as I want a high-quality solution.
APTX transmitter & receiver can deliver the equivalent of CD, so BT doesn't have to be low quality. But that's likely to be around twice the price of a used CCA. I can't think of any reason to look beyond CCA for what you want.
 
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bodas73

Active Member
I am using CCA as an interim measure to my Nait xs3 with HDR audio enabled. In truth I am blown away by how good it sounds, In the main I use it to cast to a Marantz CR603 and again SQ was very good for a £30 piece of equipment. I think you would be surprised in truth
 
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PK0001

Novice Member
Thanks both RBZ5416 and bodas73 for your responses. I gave in and acquired a CCA from Ebay. I must say it's a breeze to set up and - forgetting about the lack of gapless playback for a moment - generally a superb little piece of kit. Why did Google discontinued this product.... (actually, we all know why - in order not to cannibalise potential sales of their own lifestyle speaker products).

I've known about the CCA option for a while, yet I am just generally curious to know if any other solutions are available. Forgetting Bluetooth as an option, I know of one other: a Raspberry Pi with Raspbian OS installed, using Chromium web browser and controlling via a VNC remote desktop on my Window laptop. I fully acknowledge that this is somewhat un-slick, but with a JustBoom DAC HAT installed, it works surprisingly well.

If anyone else has any other ideas - or who can further develop my small-board computer "solution" - than please chip in.
 
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stevoknevo

Active Member
Thanks both RBZ5416 and bodas73 for your responses. I gave in and acquired a CCA from Ebay. I must say it's a breeze to set up and - forgetting about the lack of gapless playback for a moment - generally a superb little piece of kit. Why did Google discontinued this product.... (actually, we all know why - in order not to cannibalise potential sales of their own lifestyle speaker products).

I've known about the CCA option for a while, yet I am just generally curious to know if any other solutions are available. Forgetting Bluetooth as an option, I know of one other: a Raspberry Pi with Raspbian OS installed, using Chromium web browser and controlling via a VNC remote desktop on my Window laptop. I fully acknowledge that this is somewhat un-slick, but with a JustBoom DAC HAT installed, it works surprisingly well.

If anyone else has any other ideas - or who can further develop my small-board computer "solution" - than please chip in.
I'm currently using a RPi 4 with Allo Boss DAC v1.2 running on moOde OS - access for radio and onboard FLACs is via any web browser on the same network to Pi ip address - theres well over 200 radio stations, including BBC radio 1-6 in 320 AAC-LC - I'm listening to Radio 2 currently and it sounds very good indeed.
I use Qobuz and have to use the mConnect or Bubble uPnP apps for that via my phone, which suits me as a means of control, but the mConnect app UI/UX isn't the best due to being based on an older version of iOS.
moOde is capable of a lot more, like streaming from NAS, Spotify renderer. bluetooth etc etc, but what I need/use it for suits me perfectly well. There's plenty of other music OS options for the Pi however I'd read good things about moOde and it supports my current DAC natively (Topping E30 due to arrive on Friday to replace the Allo :) ) But a few 8gb micro SD cards and vou can try out a variety easily and see what suits your requirements best.
 
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wizball1974

Active Member
As per stevoknevo, plenty of options using the Raspberry Pi. I have Logitech Media Server (LMS), which has plugins for both BBC Sounds and SoundCloud. You could install PiCorePlayer then enable LMS Server if you want to run it on a single Pi.

Once it's up and running, everything is controlled from web browser, be it on your phone or laptop.

There would be a fundamental shift in the overall control process - instead of opening BBC or SoundCloud directly in your laptop browser, you tell the Pi - via the Moode or LMS interface) how to log in (eg to Sounds), then browse to the Pi (which is running a 'web server') and tell it which service to connect to. There would be no VNC to contend with.

Strictly speaking you can do install of LMS and a player through Raspbian (I have on one Pi), but a preconfigured image does make it all a little easier.
 
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PK0001

Novice Member
As per stevoknevo, plenty of options using the Raspberry Pi. I have Logitech Media Server (LMS), which has plugins for both BBC Sounds and SoundCloud. You could install PiCorePlayer then enable LMS Server if you want to run it on a single Pi.

Once it's up and running, everything is controlled from web browser, be it on your phone or laptop.

There would be a fundamental shift in the overall control process - instead of opening BBC or SoundCloud directly in your laptop browser, you tell the Pi - via the Moode or LMS interface) how to log in (eg to Sounds), then browse to the Pi (which is running a 'web server') and tell it which service to connect to. There would be no VNC to contend with.

Strictly speaking you can do install of LMS and a player through Raspbian (I have on one Pi), but a preconfigured image does make it all a little easier.
I got LMS via PiCorePlayer up and running over the weekend. It was a little bit of hassle to set up, but it seems to be running just fine. So far at least I'm quite impressed with it.
 
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PK0001

Novice Member
Are there any generally received tips and tweaks to settings to ensure I'm getting the best possible sound quality from PiCorePlayer/LMS?

I have a Qobuz subscription which ends soon. I'm going to investigate Tidal for content and sound quality (as compared against Qobuz) which will form the basis of which one I go with definitively. I have integrated the Qobuz app with LMS. Looks and works fine - just not as slick as I'd like and not great for classical (which is a limitation I just have to accept with both Tidal and Qobux). I have a few questions:
  • Which one of these 2 streaming services integrates best with LMS?
  • Is there a third-party player/skin which will make the Tidal/Qobuz LMS integration look slicker (for both Windows web browser and Android phone)?
  • Is there something better than PiCorePlayer/LMS out there which integrates them better (apart from Roon and completely closed-ended hardware streamers)?

One other query: is a NAS drive a good way to go to stream files over my local network? Because it's essentially not a vary powerful device, my thinking that a straight hard drive into a RP or an Intec NUC may increase optionality.
 
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Sleuth

Active Member
Are there any generally received tips and tweaks to settings to ensure I'm getting the best possible sound quality from PiCorePlayer/LMS?

I have a Qobuz subscription which ends soon. I'm going to investigate Tidal for content and sound quality (as compared against Qobuz) which will form the basis of which one I go with definitively. I have integrated the Qobuz app with LMS. Looks and works fine - just not as slick as I'd like and not great for classical (which is a limitation I just have to accept with both Tidal and Qobux). I have a few questions:
  • Which one of these 2 streaming services integrates best with LMS?
  • Is there a third-party player/skin which will make the Tidal/Qobuz LMS integration look slicker (for both Windows web browser and Android phone)?
  • Is there something better than PiCorePlayer/LMS out there which integrates them better (apart from Roon and completely closed-ended hardware streamers)?

One other query: is a NAS drive a good way to go to stream files over my local network? Because it's essentially not a vary powerful device, my thinking that a straight hard drive into a RP or an Intec NUC may increase optionality.
I have a similar setup (PiCore Player & LMS via a Raspberry Pi 4 & I have all of my FLAC files on a 500Gb SSD plugged into the Pi via USB caddie. It's not much bigger than the Pi & works really well. It avoids the need for a NAS
 
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wizball1974

Active Member
Are there any generally received tips and tweaks to settings to ensure I'm getting the best possible sound quality from PiCorePlayer/LMS?
  • Is there a third-party player/skin which will make the Tidal/Qobuz LMS integration look slicker (for both Windows web browser and Android phone)?

One other query: is a NAS drive a good way to go to stream files over my local network? Because it's essentially not a vary powerful device, my thinking that a straight hard drive into a RP or an Intec NUC may increase optionality.

I do not believe there are any software tweaks to improve the sound. You mentioned a JustBoom DAC - Allo Boss or external USB may provide incremental improvements.

The Material Skin plugin offers a much better interface than the LMS default.

I do the same as Sleuth and have a drive attached directly to the Pi.
 
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jamieu

Active Member
  • Is there a third-party player/skin which will make the Tidal/Qobuz LMS integration look slicker (for both Windows web browser and Android phone)?

Just to repeat what was said above, if you haven't already done so, enable the Material Skin in plugins (Server Settings->Plugins in LMS)

There's also a Android 'web wrapper' that turns it into an app.

  • One other query: is a NAS drive a good way to go to stream files over my local network? Because it's essentially not a vary powerful device, my thinking that a straight hard drive into a RP or an Intec NUC may increase optionality.

A NAS is fine for audio, audio isn't particular bandwidth or CPU intensive unless you're transcoding and I assume you're not if you're just streaming over a local network (there's no benefit/need to). LMS is pretty lightweight too. There might be some benefit to a more powerful CPU if you were transcoding to a lower rate so you could stream music (from LMS) outside your home and only had a very limited bandwidth upstream connection (as the CPU on NAS devices can be a limiting factor when it comes to transcoding).

But if you don't already have a NAS and don't need one for any other use, then LMS on PiCorePlayer is fine with an external USB drive — at least with a modest sized library. No point in spending out more if you don't need to, you won't gain anything.

  • Is there something better than PiCorePlayer/LMS out there which integrates them better (apart from Roon and completely closed-ended hardware streamers)?

Not really in terms of a client/server architecture that's free. Roon is the obvious paid option/replacement, but as you said you're not looking there.

Volumio is another option and supports Tidal/Qobuz (there is a small cost to to enabling it, as they are seen as premium features) but no GoogleCasting. It also supports Internet Radio and a free Soundcloud plugin. You can see the other official and un-official Volumio plugins and services here. But it's more of a single device RPi streamer than a muti-room (client/server) setup. I'd try the Material Skin on LMS first and see how you get on.

Plex/PlexAmp supports Tidal and can stream to a CCA. But you have to have a premium PlexPass sub to use PlexAmp. You'd also need to find somewhere to install the Plex servers, which feels like overkill if you dolt have a local music library.

I suppose you could install Ropieee XL on the RPi to act as a UPnP/DLNA supporting endpoint (it also supports LMS's Squeezlite protocol, AirPlay, BlueTooth, Spotify and RAAT and switches between them automatically) and then use a 3rd party DLNA app (like mConnect player or BubbleUPnP) on your phone or desktop to send music to it from Tidal/Qobuz. The Qobuz desktop app also has beta support for UPnP/DLNA although I have never got it to work reliably myself (do post back if you have success there). Audirvana (desktop/mobile) supports Tidal/Qobuz and can also stream to a DLNA endpoint like Ropieee XL. You could then fall back to Bluetooth on Ropieee XL (RPi4 only) for web streams or Soundcloud that will be low quality audio to start.
 
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Sleuth

Active Member
Just to repeat what was said above, if you haven't already done so, enable the Material Skin in plugins (Server Settings->Plugins in LMS)

There's also a Android 'web wrapper' that turns it into an app.
It's definitely worth trying the Material LMS app, you need to download it from a browser on your phone and then install. That confused me at first but it works pretty well - especially given it's free. I'm finding it better than using a Browser on a laptop/PC
 
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[email protected]

Active Member
To play from a Window system, you can install,Airplay. That assumes your hifi can accept Airplay. It’s a common feature of networked hifis, bit I’m not sure what you have.
 
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PK0001

Novice Member
I do not believe there are any software tweaks to improve the sound. You mentioned a JustBoom DAC - Allo Boss or external USB may provide incremental improvements.

The Material Skin plugin offers a much better interface than the LMS default.

I do the same as Sleuth and have a drive attached directly to the Pi.
Yes, my plan is to get a HAT with a digital output and drive an external DAC for superior sound. In fact, I have a Topping DAC arriving today!
 
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PK0001

Novice Member
It's definitely worth trying the Material LMS app, you need to download it from a browser on your phone and then install. That confused me at first but it works pretty well - especially given it's free. I'm finding it better than using a Browser on a laptop/PC
I'm already using the LMS Material Skin plug-in on the browser actually. Completely agree with all above posts - it does look better and responds quicker.

I'm a little confused about this Android Material Skin 'web wrapper' app (as described in an earlier post) - isn't this just the LMS web page using Material Skin but just working as it should on a browser being controlled from an Android device? But you mention that it's a download, which suggests that the Android Material Skin is not quite how I'm describing?

What about just using OrangeSqueeze or SqueezePlayer?
 
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PK0001

Novice Member
As per stevoknevo, plenty of options using the Raspberry Pi. I have Logitech Media Server (LMS), which has plugins for both BBC Sounds and SoundCloud. You could install PiCorePlayer then enable LMS Server if you want to run it on a single Pi.

Once it's up and running, everything is controlled from web browser, be it on your phone or laptop.

There would be a fundamental shift in the overall control process - instead of opening BBC or SoundCloud directly in your laptop browser, you tell the Pi - via the Moode or LMS interface) how to log in (eg to Sounds), then browse to the Pi (which is running a 'web server') and tell it which service to connect to. There would be no VNC to contend with.

Strictly speaking you can do install of LMS and a player through Raspbian (I have on one Pi), but a preconfigured image does make it all a little easier.
I got SoundCloud integrated with LMS and playing just fine - but it doesn't seem to be possible to skip forwards / backwards along a track's time duration. Has anyone figured this one out at all?
 
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PK0001

Novice Member
Just to repeat what was said above, if you haven't already done so, enable the Material Skin in plugins (Server Settings->Plugins in LMS)

There's also a Android 'web wrapper' that turns it into an app.



A NAS is fine for audio, audio isn't particular bandwidth or CPU intensive unless you're transcoding and I assume you're not if you're just streaming over a local network (there's no benefit/need to). LMS is pretty lightweight too. There might be some benefit to a more powerful CPU if you were transcoding to a lower rate so you could stream music (from LMS) outside your home and only had a very limited bandwidth upstream connection (as the CPU on NAS devices can be a limiting factor when it comes to transcoding).

But if you don't already have a NAS and don't need one for any other use, then LMS on PiCorePlayer is fine with an external USB drive — at least with a modest sized library. No point in spending out more if you don't need to, you won't gain anything.



Not really in terms of a client/server architecture that's free. Roon is the obvious paid option/replacement, but as you said you're not looking there.

Volumio is another option and supports Tidal/Qobuz (there is a small cost to to enabling it, as they are seen as premium features) but no GoogleCasting. It also supports Internet Radio and a free Soundcloud plugin. You can see the other official and un-official Volumio plugins and services here. But it's more of a single device RPi streamer than a muti-room (client/server) setup. I'd try the Material Skin on LMS first and see how you get on.

Plex/PlexAmp supports Tidal and can stream to a CCA. But you have to have a premium PlexPass sub to use PlexAmp. You'd also need to find somewhere to install the Plex servers, which feels like overkill if you dolt have a local music library.

I suppose you could install Ropieee XL on the RPi to act as a UPnP/DLNA supporting endpoint (it also supports LMS's Squeezlite protocol, AirPlay, BlueTooth, Spotify and RAAT and switches between them automatically) and then use a 3rd party DLNA app (like mConnect player or BubbleUPnP) on your phone or desktop to send music to it from Tidal/Qobuz. The Qobuz desktop app also has beta support for UPnP/DLNA although I have never got it to work reliably myself (do post back if you have success there). Audirvana (desktop/mobile) supports Tidal/Qobuz and can also stream to a DLNA endpoint like Ropieee XL. You could then fall back to Bluetooth on Ropieee XL (RPi4 only) for web streams or Soundcloud that will be low quality audio to start.
I actually already own a QNAP TS-251A NAS. But I see it as an over-expensive, slow and not particularly versatile way of just holding some music files which doesn't really do much for the physical space it uses up. Plus, I've heard that a NAS can be a security risk (but limitations in my technical knowledge are such that I don't understand why this may be the case - something about the NAS keeping ports open on the primary gateway/router). I'm seriously considering selling the QNAP.

Can an alternative, more powerful and usefully versatile small form computer (like a NUC), be set up such that a hard disk be made available to many devices on my home network (so, in effect, to create a server - but with the ability to use execute other tasks too). I'm not looking for detailed explanation here, just some pointers (I'll go and research solutions off this).
 
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stevoknevo

Active Member
Yes, my plan is to get a HAT with a digital output and drive an external DAC for superior sound. In fact, I have a Topping DAC arriving today!
I'd skip the HAT and just go USB A from the Pi into USB B on the Topping DAC (that's exactly what I done last week with the Topping E30, and the reason my Allo Boss v1.2 is in the classies)
 
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jamieu

Active Member
I actually already own a QNAP TS-251A NAS. But I see it as an over-expensive, slow and not particularly versatile way of just holding some music files which doesn't really do much for the physical space it uses up. Plus, I've heard that a NAS can be a security risk (but limitations in my technical knowledge are such that I don't understand why this may be the case - something about the NAS keeping ports open on the primary gateway/router). I'm seriously considering selling the QNAP.

Can an alternative, more powerful and usefully versatile small form computer (like a NUC), be set up such that a hard disk be made available to many devices on my home network (so, in effect, to create a server - but with the ability to use execute other tasks too). I'm not looking for detailed explanation here, just some pointers (I'll go and research solutions off this).

A NUC is just a PC (or rather an Intel motherboard in a small case), so you could just install Windows on it and use as a 'server' to store files.

The main advantage of a NAS like the QNAP — as you probably know already as you have one — is that it doesn't need a monitor/keyboard. You can certainly install a 'headless' operating system on it (ie. no monitor needed/web based interface). But then you're effectively back to having a NAS - albeit probably one even more complex to keep secure (as QNAP OS simplifies a lot of that for you).

If you only need storage of your music files then PiCorePlayer (or a RPi) can act as a file server for those files (on an attached USB drive) using SMB/SAMBA so you can add and remove file to it over the network. But I don't think there's a direct equivalent to PiCorePlayer for a NUC/Intel. Daphile is probably the closest to that, although I have never used or installed it myself so can't comment much further than "It might be what you're looking for' .

You can also get commercial music software/operating systems like Roon (RockOS) that only do one thing ie. turn a NUC into a network file store / music server for use with Roon — but there are additional costs involved and like PiCorePlayer it's only really suitable for storing your music library.

So yes, no issue using a NUC as a file server, but unless you install a specialised (headless) OS on it it's just going to be a standard Windows PC acting a file server. Nothing wrong with that esp. if your more comfortable managing a PC than a NAS. You could always use Remote Desktop to get around the need for a monitor/keyboard.
 
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wizball1974

Active Member
I actually already own a QNAP TS-251A NAS. But I see it as an over-expensive, slow and not particularly versatile way of just holding some music files which doesn't really do much for the physical space it uses up. Plus, I've heard that a NAS can be a security risk (but limitations in my technical knowledge are such that I don't understand why this may be the case - something about the NAS keeping ports open on the primary gateway/router). I'm seriously considering selling the QNAP.

Can an alternative, more powerful and usefully versatile small form computer (like a NUC), be set up such that a hard disk be made available to many devices on my home network (so, in effect, to create a server - but with the ability to use execute other tasks too). I'm not looking for detailed explanation here, just some pointers (I'll go and research solutions off this).
I mentioned I plugged external drive into Pi. That Pi runs Raspbian and LMS is installed. It also has a media server running and file sharing - so it acts as my NAS 'replacement'. If you have Pi, it's just a case of getting it all set up. It's a Pi 4 so seems plenty powerful for all it is having to do.
 
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BlueWizard

Distinguished Member
How much are you willing to spend for a Point-to-Point Solution?


Just so we are clear, this is a Wired Network Device, not Wi-Fi or Bluetooth. It connect from the source to the Audio system using the Home Electrical Lines as Network Cables.

Obviously from the Photo, this is a USA Version, but AudioEngine is sold in the UK/EU so there might be a UK/EU version of it.

Bluetooth is not quite as good as CD, but neither are most Streaming Services. Unless you have one of the Premium HD Streaming Services (TIDAL), the best Bluetooth is probably good enough.

There are Transmitter/Receivers have have APT-X-HD which is currently the highest level of Bluetooth; the "HD" standing for High Definition. But you need Apt-X-HD on both end to get full benefit. The tend to have Low Latency (delay), and the best have extended range.

Here is one example, I'm not necessarily recommending this, it was just the first one I found to use as an example. Note you will need TWO of these, one to be Tx and one to be Rx -

Amazon product
Taking it a little higher in the food chain, this is both Transmitter and Receiver, and has APT-X-HD, but you will need TWO of them. One set to TX and the other set to RX.

Amazon product
It is really down to how far you want to take it.

Amazon-UK Search - Bluetooth APT-X-HD Transmitter Receiver

The problem with most Network Streaming Device is that they are not Point-to-Point. That is they are not from Computer to Stereo, they are Internet/Network to Stereo, and for most, you only have easy access to the Streaming Services built-in.

I did find this using Amazon Search, though I don't know how good it is. Again, just the first thing that came up. But at £25, it is not that big an investment. This is NOT Bluetooth, this is Wi-Fi 2.5Ghz Network Connected. This is probably as close to what you were asking for as I was able to find in my limited search time.

Amazon product
I'm sure there are other similar devices, it is just a matter of knowing what to search for. I searched - Audio Wifi Transmitter Receiver - but others or you may be able to refine that more.

Many of those I found were HDMI wireless Trans/Rec/Extender devices. I'm not sure those are useful.

Something like this might be helpful, it has Analog Audio and Video, which makes the video aspect pretty much worthless, but it could work OK for Audio -

Amazon product
A modern version of this would typically have HDMI In and on the other end HDMI Out. But then you would be forced to convert the HDMI Audio into Analog Audio which is another expense, though there are many devices to do that - HDMI Audio Extractors.

Amazon-UK Search - HDMI Wireless Range Extender


Amazon product
The HDMI to HDMI Range Extenders would require your Computer to have a free HDMI Output.

Just a few options I was able to search out as potential solutions.

Steve/bluewizard
 
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