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Old Schooler needs advice

Yorg

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Hi all, just discovered this forum after seeing Amir on youtube.
This is my first post.

Back in the day things seemed simpler to hook up: Sources/Preamp/Amp/Speakers.
Now there are so many combinations and permutations: Streamers with DACS, without DACS, 'endpoint' this, server that... Jeeez! :)

A few years ago, I decided to get myself a system after decades of just listening to headphones. I am now wanting to incrementally improve what I have and make it more flexible.
I built an LXmini+2 speaker kit (not that relevant except to say that ) The setup is Chromecast Audio > toslink into MiniDSP (which acts as a DAC and cross overs) > analog outputs into amps>speakers.
Issues:
1/ I use Spotify and the Chromecast only uses 256 KB AAC format, whereby Spotify Connect devices use 320KB Ogg Vorbis. So I think I could avail myself of greater signal quality.
2/ I can't access music on my NAS.
3/ I can't (I don't think) direct the sound from my fancy new OLED TV.
4/ I really value being able to control music directly from my phone, without bluetooth.
I would hate some scroll-input via remote control thing, or having to get up to go over to a touch screen just to skip a track. I don't want to wrestle with a crappy geeky UX. I don't want to have to boot up a laptop just to use a good interface.
The music apps on my phone are great.
5/ Maybe could live without this, but accessing the music on the NAS via home network wifi would be great (cos the music system and the NAS are across the room from one another).

I'd like to replace the Chromecast Audio (gotta keep the miniDSP cos it is also the cross overs for the speakers) with something that preserves the convenience of using a phone, but I'd like to be able to access the music files on the NAS. I'd live without being able to use the TV, but being able to put the TV sound through the system would be really nice.

I am moderately handy and could put together a Pi solution, but would probably pay for an off the shelf solution.
Given I'm coming from a Chromecast Audio 256KB, I don't think I'd need to spend a heap of money to be happy with something better, so I'm thinking $1,500 US or less.

I do hope the brains in this forum can help me out.
Thanks in advance.
 

linuxfan

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The setup is Chromecast Audio > toslink into MiniDSP
...
I can't access music on my NAS.
There are a few different options, but the best is probably to install (or simply enable) a UPnP/DLNA server on your NAS (check your NAS manual) then install BubbleUPnP on your Android phone/tablet. BubbleUPnP should see your CCA as a valid endpoint/renderer.

I can't (I don't think) direct the sound from my fancy new OLED TV.
Most TV's have toslink (optical s/pdif) output, which you can connect to your MiniDSP input - of course you will need a toslink switcher, since you now have two toslink sources.
If you TV does not have toslink output, you could convert its HDMI output to toslink with an HDMI audio extractor, such as this -
https://www.ebay.com/itm/122233881907
 
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Yorg

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Thanks Linuxfan for your suggestions.
 

boswell

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i use rpi4b (with cable to access nas) but also
rpi4b also has wireless 2.4 or 5 GHz (i dont need to use) to access network (nas)
i use moode audio os on rpi4b, it has spotify capability (works perfectly for me)
and can access nas through dlna/upnp (works perfectly for me)
moode audio mpd (does all the work) catalogs nas files (takes a while, but once done is seamless)
i access nas via folders (one of options)
rpi4b out puts via usb so need usb dac (minidsp has usb in?, i use topping e30)
much less than $1500 US
just one of rpi options
 

voodooless

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There are a few different options, but the best is probably to install (or simply enable) a UPnP/DLNA server on your NAS (check your NAS manual) then install BubbleUPnP on your Android phone/tablet. BubbleUPnP should see your CCA as a valid endpoint/renderer.
Moreover, I think you can run Spotify over BubbleUPnP as well. That should solve all your issues in one go :)

Depending on your NAS, it may also be able to run BubbleUPnP on it's own.
 

boswell

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ps forgot most important part, moode on rpi4, is headless(no monitor required) is controlled by web browser on phone, phone not involved in audio stream
nas->rpi4->usb dac->analogue sound system, same with spotify
 
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Yorg

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Awesome, thanks.
Looks like lots of options.
(I am now looking at the bluesound node.)
 

linuxfan

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I use Spotify and the Chromecast only uses 256 KB AAC format
No - that's not true! The Chromecast Audio device utilises the Google Cast streaming protocol, specs here -
https://developers.google.com/cast/docs/media

By all means, consider a Bluesound NODE for the future, but the Chromecast Audio is a really impressive device, and it sounds like you may not have set it up in an optimal fashion. Here's how to set it up as a Spotify endpoint, from an Android phone:

You must install the full version of Spotify on Android, not Spotify Lite.
Next install the Google Home app on your phone. From this app you set up the CCA to connect to your wifi access point ... but there's one more critical step - you must enable casting.
In the Google Home settings, click on your detected device (the CCA) and then select "Start casting" - refer image 01.

Now launch Spotify, and under "Devices" you should see that in addition to "Current device, This phone" you now also have a second listing for the CCA - refer image 02 & 03.
Notice that my device is listed as "Chromecast Audio" because I manually labelled it that way, but yours will have a default label which you selected during setup - something like "Living room speaker".
The Spotify Now Playing screen will list the CCA as output device at the bottom of the screen, in green text - refer image 04.
I'm listening to this exact setup as I write, via toslink from the CCA into my ES9018 DAC. It sounds great - much better than an Android-TV streamer which I used previously.
 

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Apesbrain

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(I am now looking at the bluesound node.)
Great option. It will play your Spotify tracks at their highest quality. It can send digital out to your miniDSP. It will automatically index the files on your NAS. It has HDMI/ARC input to receive sound from your TV. It can be controlled via PC, tablet, phone or its optional remote. It's a fraction of your budget. Good luck!
 

jae

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Wiim mini solves much of the issues with chromecast and its $99. For using both your TV on the system you can get a cheap toslink with remote for $30-40 dollars or less.
 

linuxfan

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To be clear - I'm not suggesting Yorg should purchase a Chromecast Audio in preference to those more modern streamers such as the NODE or WiiM - I'm simply explaining how best to configure and use the CCA which Yorg already owns.
As to unspecified "issues" with Chromecast - my Chromecast Audio has performed flawlessly over the last 4 years, rendering Spotify streams from an Android phone.
And to clear up any misconceptions about the CCA's technical specifications - it's compatible with all major audio codecs - arguably with the exception of ALAC - at bit-depths/sample rates up to 24/96.
 

jae

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Wiim mini solves much of the issues with chromecast and its $99. For using both your TV on the system you can get a cheap toslink with remote for $30-40 dollars or less.
This was supposed to read "toslink switcher", if that wasn't clear
 

hedrick

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Things don’t have to be complex. I use a Bluesound Powernode. It can stream, access files from a NAS, and take sound from a TV. it is controlled with an app. I use an iPad, but a phone works, too. The Powernode is just one of many things like that. Some are less expensive. Some have better specs. But this is by far the best sound Ive ever had, and Ive been at in since the 60’s.
 

NiagaraPete

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Awesome, thanks.
Looks like lots of options.
(I am now looking at the bluesound node.)
Please read the review index, search streamer and look to see what is recommended. You don’t need to spend 550.00 for a streamer.
 
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