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Review and Measurements of Chromecast Audio Digital Output

BDWoody

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Just got one piece of Chromecast Audio and the mini-to-normal optical cable: $30. Cable is on stock, Chromecast Audio will get delivered during 7-11 of March.
Glad you could track one down!

Wow... That's a lot for the cable.. Funny that a plastic tube is as much as the device itself... But.... Any toslink will do... Some even include a pair of adapters so you aren't limited in using it only with mini-normal...

I think these are $6 on eBay... 15472940727186826877325540516342.jpg
 

D700

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It says they are transcoded, not when, but encrypted before delivered to the platform. Lets see if we can get to the truth of it and not make it an argument
I can’t find it but I have deployed analogous solutions and concur with gvl’s reading of Spotify’s slightly vague explanation.
 

trl

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Glad you could track one down!

Wow... That's a lot for the cable.. Funny that a plastic tube is as much as the device itself... But.... Any toslink will do... Some even include a pair of adapters so you aren't limited in using it only with mini-normal...

I think these are $6 on eBay... View attachment 20267
Ya, I thought so myself, but now it's too late. I already have TOSLINK cable, all I needed was the mini adapter (2 USD actually). :)
But hey, it's yellow and it's a Google approved cable! :)
 
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Out of curiosity, why are people piling up orders on these? I have 2 already in use and 1 ordered as a back-up, but 5? 8? That's a lot of separate speaker set ups/rooms to cast to, and some speakers are already connected to a computer or, say, AVR that you can plug a player directly into. Some AVRs come with Chromecast built-in nowadays, such as Pioneer VSX-832, or with alternative receivers that work with Tidal.
 
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I ordered a few for myself from the google store in case mine fail since they are on 24/7. And a few to gift my friends
 

bigx5murf

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Out of curiosity, why are people piling up orders on these? I have 2 already in use and 1 ordered as a back-up, but 5? 8? That's a lot of separate speaker set ups/rooms to cast to, and some speakers are already connected to a computer or, say, AVR that you can plug a player directly into. Some AVRs come with Chromecast built-in nowadays, such as Pioneer VSX-832, or with alternative receivers that work with Tidal.
I already had 4 in use myself. Two at my wife's salon. The only real alternative to it's ability to cast to groups, is to hard wire speakers with speaker switches or a receiver with zones, which is a lot of work and costs. They make great, cheap gifts. I have enough stuff hoarded I could always setup and use a few more. Never know when one could fail.
 

pauze

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Out of curiosity, why are people piling up orders on these? I have 2 already in use and 1 ordered as a back-up, but 5? 8? That's a lot of separate speaker set ups/rooms to cast to, and some speakers are already connected to a computer or, say, AVR that you can plug a player directly into. Some AVRs come with Chromecast built-in nowadays, such as Pioneer VSX-832, or with alternative receivers that work with Tidal.
I have 3 in use and ordered 3 more for flexibility in expanding. 2 are currently driving small sets of speakers in the master bedroom and a living room. I plan to add more CCAs/speakers in the back yard and garage, and possibly in the kids' rooms as well. My entire family likes music, and having the flexibility to cast to the entire home group or subgroups from my phone while hosting parties or doing work around the house is what I'm after.

The speakers I'm using for these CCAs are JBL Jembe computer speakers that have an auto-off/on function and sound good enough for the money (found a deal for $18 each so I bought a few sets). I prefer this solution over buying a bunch of Google Home/Amazon Dot devices, especially since I'm not a fan of the voice-controlled home automation thing just yet.

I also have a separate CCA in my home office feeding a Topping DX3 via optical whenever I don't feel like connecting my phone to it directly. Plan to do the same at my away office at some point.
 

trl

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My Chromecast Audio gen. 2 has arrived:

WP_20190211_15_50_12_Pro.jpg



Too bad it got bricked after about few seconds, immediately after the Home App from iOS (iPhone 6) requested to do the firmware update:
WP_20190212_07_50_55_Pro.jpg

Do notice the orange LED that is not blinking, just being ON forever. Any attempt to reset to defaults failed. :(
 

M00ndancer

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Conclusions
There are a few here:

1. The CAST audio functionality of Google Chrome is horrid. There is no excuse for it to be butchering even simple 16-bit signals as it did. While audibly it is not as dire as it looks, I still would avoid it if you can.
I have done some subjective test using the analogue output of the CCA to a Sony MDR-1A, using it as a headphone amp.
Windows 10 v1809. Volume matching as close as I can.
When comparing Google Chrome to cast Google Play Music, Youtube Music and doing the same thing using an Android phone with the correnspondent app there is a difference. (not measured, subjectively tested.) So much that I prefer to listen to music via the phone casting to the CCA.

The reason I tried to test is that I switched a lot between using Chrome as caster and the app in the phone to cast. I noticed that it sounded better with the phone casting thru an app. But I thought it was only placebo and difference in volume. Now I'm not sure, especially after reading Amirm's tests

Is there anyway I can test this cheaply? Null testing? I do own a Zoom H4 recorder.
 
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I have done some subjective test using the analogue output of the CCA to a Sony MDR-1A, using it as a headphone amp.
Windows 10 v1809. Volume matching as close as I can.
When comparing Google Chrome to cast Google Play Music, Youtube Music and doing the same thing using an Android phone with the correnspondent app there is a difference. (not measured, subjectively tested.) So much that I prefer to listen to music via the phone casting to the CCA.

The reason I tried to test is that I switched a lot between using Chrome as caster and the app in the phone to cast. I noticed that it sounded better with the phone casting thru an app. But I thought it was only placebo and difference in volume. Now I'm not sure, especially after reading Amirm's tests

Is there anyway I can test this cheaply? Null testing? I do own a Zoom H4 recorder.
I'd definitely love to get an update for the original review comparing Google Music casting from a phone to casting Google Music from a Chrome browser on the desktop. My significant other and I are almost always casting from our phones to the living room speakers via Chromecast Audio.
 
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For the record, I did hear different between CCA when compared with USB (Macbook or Pi) using the Spotify app.
The low end sounded more loose in CCA. I sold my CCA after few days.

Technically it is possible because I was using two different input method. Also CCA might not be bit-perfect internally when using certain app.
 

gvl

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Spotify app likely isn't bit perfect too as it sends audio through the system mixer, definitely so on Windows. CCA optical output to a DAC is your best bet to get best quality Spotify playback short of using more expensive streamers.
 
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