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jimjimbo

Would like to hear thoughts on Chromecast audio

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Ordered two of these yesterday from BH Photo.  Would like to hear thoughts from those that are using them as far as perceived quality, types of cables used (toslink/coax), best practices, etc.  Also use with external DACs.  Read a ton of good reviews before I purchased, seemed like a nice toy to play with for only $15.....Thanks.

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I too would be interested in hearing what others are doing. I bought one over a year ago based on reviews and figured how could you go wrong at the price. My experience has been less that ideal, but it mostly stems around wanting to play all my FLAC files that are on my NAS.

 

The device itself seems to set up fine and no issues between my home network, phone, etc. I've gotten it to play .mp3s so I know all my connections are good and basic set up is correct. The various software/apps I've tried leave me less than impressed at best. Ultimately my goal was to test it out as a garage set up with LSIs, Carver preamp and an old AVR for power. I've got a couple of Sonos speakers around the house as wall as two Sons connects which give me access to all my music on my deck, living room (nice Klipsch set up) and dedicated music room (nicer set up). I was really hoping to not drop the $$$ on another Sonos connect for my garage system, but I just can't find any software that will 1) reliably play FLAC files and 2) has a decent interface.

 

I think ultimately if you have never used the Sonos interface you would be fine. After Sonos I'm almost at the point where the sound quality is secondary and it is the UI that matters when not sitting and actively listening. For this very reason I've not even dipped my toe into Roon. I'm afraid I'll be ruined or Rooned.

 

@jimjimbo Please keep me posted on your experience. What are you trying to accomplish with yours? If just fooling around I think you will be happy. For me I was hoping for a way to not drop another $350 for a 3rd Sonos connect which would basically just be a software package in my garage used from time to time when I'm out there messing around.

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I have it built into my receiver.  I've never used it.  Maybe I should.

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43 minutes ago, rplace said:

I too would be interested in hearing what others are doing. I bought one over a year ago based on reviews and figured how could you go wrong at the price. My experience has been less that ideal, but it mostly stems around wanting to play all my FLAC files that are on my NAS.

 

The device itself seems to set up fine and no issues between my home network, phone, etc. I've gotten it to play .mp3s so I know all my connections are good and basic set up is correct. The various software/apps I've tried leave me less than impressed at best. Ultimately my goal was to test it out as a garage set up with LSIs, Carver preamp and an old AVR for power. I've got a couple of Sonos speakers around the house as wall as two Sons connects which give me access to all my music on my deck, living room (nice Klipsch set up) and dedicated music room (nicer set up). I was really hoping to not drop the $$$ on another Sonos connect for my garage system, but I just can't find any software that will 1) reliably play FLAC files and 2) has a decent interface.

 

I think ultimately if you have never used the Sonos interface you would be fine. After Sonos I'm almost at the point where the sound quality is secondary and it is the UI that matters when not sitting and actively listening. For this very reason I've not even dipped my toe into Roon. I'm afraid I'll be ruined or Rooned.

 

@jimjimbo Please keep me posted on your experience. What are you trying to accomplish with yours? If just fooling around I think you will be happy. For me I was hoping for a way to not drop another $350 for a 3rd Sonos connect which would basically just be a software package in my garage used from time to time when I'm out there messing around.

What I was hoping to accomplish is to simplify my streaming setup, and get away from using a laptop to connect to my Oppo 105 (via USB), and also to get away from another laptop hooked to a Schiit Bifrost, to my Mac 4100 (via RCA).  Since the Chromecast has Spotify Premium support, I'm eager to find out if perhaps the streaming quality might be better, but I don't know.  Also thinking that the coax connector might be better than toslink, but again, I don't know....

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Hi Jimjimbo, I like em and recommend! I use mine to stream mainly from Google play music and use the optical out to feed the DAC on a Marantz SA8005 and it sounds better than it should! Actually I used it with the built in DAC with a vintage Kenwood and it also sounded very good to my ears. Not CD quality but perfectly adequate for casual listening IMHO - it all depends on the quality of the source, etc. There are some settings to be mindful of, there is an option to set for "full fidelity" or something similar - make sure that is on. Very cool device and I am sorry that they quit making them.

Regards,

Scott

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I have one built into my integrated amp (NAD C338).  It works perfectly fine decoding FLAC files served up wirelessly from my Linux-running laptop which is always on anyway.  I've got an external drive containing all my ripped CDs velcroed to the top of the laptop.  I'm sure it would work just as well if I plugged the drive into my router which has basically the same server software running inside.  (I've modified the software I'm running on the laptop by altering how it handles album art in the source code and recompiling it.)

 

However, I almost completely use the standard DLNA system also in the NAD (and my guess also in the Chromecast dongle), evidently giving up the ability for gapless playback in the process.  The thing I don't like about Chromecast proper is the fact that it keeps a channel open to Google.  Until relatively recently I've used Google as a search engine ever since it was at google.stanford.edu (and they had raid array housings made of Legos) but I feel they're pretty much the new Microsoft nowadays (is MS even still in business?  I haven't heard mention of them in several years it seems - and haven't used it personally since Windows 3.11 was current - been using Linux instead).

 

I don't know what information is "phoned home" and don't care.  Just to be sure, I just now disconnected the Internet feed from my router for  a test.  The DLNA system works just fine like that but Chromecast won't do jack unless it's got a channel open to Google.  Maybe it's just trying to keep me safe, I don't know, but I'm pretty sure I can keep myself safe just fine, thank you.

 

Yeah, $15 is cheap enough if you've not got the capability otherwise.  If you're only going to use it to provide a digital feed it'll cause no sonic limitations.  Its DAC is probably indistinguishable double blind ABX from whatever else you've got on hand (unless that's sub-par).  Wikipedia says just now that Chromecast Audio sales officially discontinued a week ago.  I wonder what they'll replace it with...

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I'd read things about it giving up gapless playback, too, for JRiver which is what I have used for years.  I'm hoping to use one in the living room tied into a basic amp and speaker setup so my wife can listen to her music while I'm upstairs on the big system.  The other one would be nice to tie into the garage possibly.  At least that's my thoughts at the moment.  $15 isn't a lot of money to get to tinker with something that might work for some avenues.  Since I'm Spotify Premium, it should take care of that part.

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Gapless playback of my FLAC files works just fine through the Chromecast inside my amp.  I don't know if it's the control point software on my phone or what, but while it's enabled (gapless) there's steady, continuous wifi traffic to/from the phone (actually a Verizon Moto I bought at Wal-mart for $40 and never activated - to ever be used as a nice little tablet).  I know that you can point the Chromecast to an Internet radio stream and then completely power down the tablet without loss of the feed until such time as it's explicitly stopped or replaced with other program content.  Haven't tried that under DLNA (and don't normally do it anyway - was just a test when things were new).

 

I'm sure you'll have a lot of fun with it - it sure is handy.

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ROON will ruin you!

It is a whole new experience with playing your music.  It is way beyond any other interface I've used (never used Sonos but a friend moved from Sonos to ROON recently).

My only potential complaint is the search capability but I haven't delved into that much yet.   It plays all my flac through the Chromecast just fine.  Spotify works with it great as well.   This is an area for background music so I'm not picky about sound quality as much but it is fine.   I tried one of the DLNA interfaces with it to play direct from a NAS and that didn't work as well (very slow, locked up or didn't work at all).  It's been months so I don't remember the specifics.  

 

 

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I think they are the best thing since sliced bread, for the price, even at the normal $35.00.  Very acceptable sound quality with it's onboard DAC, even better with a nice outboard DAC.  Should have bought another one before discontinued.

 

Bill

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I have a couple if anyone wants one. $30 each because that’s what I have in them. They are not compatible with my WiFi and I don’t want to make the changes they suggest to potentially make them work.

PM me if interested.

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What're you using for wifi?

Cheap netgear stuff. I cannot find the client ap isolation settings by any name, and frankly, I don’t have time to research it more right now. UPNP is on, but that’s just half the battle. I even enabled the guest network and moved things over to it (both the phone and the chromecasts), but still no luck.

Both units behave identically.

I turned UPNP off again and disconnected everything and went to bed. I’m too old for this.

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I bought one at the end of 2017 and have been using it almost daily ever since. I've never had a problem either streaming lossless locally from a PC or NAS, or just streaming lossy from Google Play Music.  I just wish I had known they were going to be discontinued and nabbed a spare at $15.

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Just bought two mini toslink to toslink cables to use with these, (when I finally get them....)  I'll be setting them up in my LR, and one downstairs.  Will report.

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I like them, I have 2 .  One one my DAC's Toslink input , and one connected to my headphone amp's 1/8 mini input.   My headphone amp is connected to my main system via XLR but the Chromecast allows me to listen to phones without turning the whole system via my tablet.    Since getting a Vault 2i I am removing the one from the main system and using it in the garage.  They are great for the money.

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I love em'. I have a few but saw one just a few days ago  somewhere, still 15.00. I hook one to a T amp, put it in a basket on front porch. Run a couple speakers on porch with it. I an sit back watch the sky and play any of 11,000 flac tunes from server. Of course youtube red, GP,  anything you can pull up on screen. I hook another to a half century old Sansui and it's even better than a new avr with all the bells. Maybe the best 15 bucks I ever spent on a new item.

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I've used them for years.  The ability to pair multiple units for whole home audio is spectacular.  I've also been a subscriber to google music-  since the beginning in fact-  still paying $6.99.  CD quality or better audio.  I use the fiber out to my dac, but the analog out is quite good. 

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I'm a little bummed that the CCA is going away.  We have several, and I have also set up a few for friends and family.  Great, cheap, little device.

 

Both FLAC on PC and Spotify Connect work very well with the CCA.

 

I use all of them with external DACs, using inexpensive mini to standard optical cables.

 

For FLAC on the PC, I've had a great experience with Minimserver (free) running on the PC, and Hi-Fi cast on the phone (a couple bucks for full version).

 

I wonder if (but doubt that) they will replace it with a new small puck that has both analog and digital output.

 

The Google Home Mini is on sale too.  Make me wonder if they might be combining the Mini and CCA in a new product that provides connectivity to an audio system and Google Assistant support (although I personally don't want or need any of these voice assistant thingies).

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Depending on what exactly is being communicated between the units and google, of course, and whether google maintains their end of the connection in the future, I hope that the devices don't end up getting stranded and effectively being shut down while waiting for something that no longer exists.  Like I'd said earlier, take away your internet connection from the in-house network and see what happens when you try to use the device.  If it can't talk to google it don't do nothin'.

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