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Review and Measurements of Chromecast Audio Digital Output

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The frustrating thing is that Google is discontinuing the CCA because they see it as a redundant device (with all the smart speakers flooding the market right now with Google Assistant built-in).


It's frustrating because Google advertised the CCA for this use case (thus the digital output feature). I guess the market for this use case simply isn't big enough for Google to maintain....sigh...
I absolutely agree. Roon/Tidal/CCA=lossless bit perfect. Amazing value for $15. Would have helped had they included even a 20 cent mini-tos adapter so those who had relevant systems could use optical. Most don't even know it's there...

I just bought up a handful more of them... Most places are already out. Staples online I just got 4. $15 each free delivery.

Bargain of the year.
 

GGroch

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I also agree. I love the thing.

But the tiny CCA made a very small impression on the market...especially the audiophile market.

Amir's recent analysis is one of only a couple I know about. Plus...when CCA first came out it was not bit perfect...it evolved into something pretty great. Head-fi has hundreds and hundreds of threads on amps, dacs, vinyl...but just one small thread on CCA that got maybe 2-3 posts a month.

How could anything the size of a silver dollar, weighing less, and selling for $30 be serious audio?
Why should Google promote it when lacking a mic and voice recognition...it cannot monitor your preferences or help you buy things.

Fortunately...I have 3 active and 3 backup.
 

Willem

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I wonder is they will make the technology available to other manufacturers just like they facilitate CCA compatibility to manufacturers like Naim or Sony?
 
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Has anyone used a Raspberry Pi Zero W for this purpose? Either connected to a USB DAC or with a USB to SPDIF converter. Seems like it could be a good open alternative.
Yes, you can certainly set up a Raspberry Pi connected to a USB DAC or even a Pi Board such as a Hifiberry DAC, but what about software for streaming via a Music Server to your Raspberry Pi setup? The great thing about the CCA is that you have a good selection of really good Android apps (I use Hi-Fi Cast) that facilitates the streaming, while keeping the app and your android device as a controller only. Not sure if you can find a suitable substitute for the Raspberry Pi.
 

gvl

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CCA is/was the only reasonably priced and easy method to get "bit-perfect" Spotify to an external DAC.
 

Willem

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Indeed. So let us hope somebody else can/is allowed to produce an alternative with the same Google cast protocol.
 

RayDunzl

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How could anything the size of a silver dollar, weighing less, and selling for $30 be serious audio?
I wonder what would be some combinations of size, weight, and price, that would form the demarcation line above which we find serious audio?
 

GGroch

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I wonder what would be some combinations of size, weight, and price, that would form the demarcation line above which we find serious audio?
I wonder if someone just bought up the remaining CCA's and will put them into a nicely finished black metal case with gold RCA outputs to sell them for $500 ;) There would have to be a profit incentive...which with the CCA there apperantly was not.

Compatible modules to build a device exist already. I mentioned Linkplay earlier. Their A98 Module is Chromecast Compatible (I do not know if it has digital outputs). Their new A76D module has all the right specs (but is perhaps not CCA compatible.

I would hope a company like Schiit or JDS will see this as an opportunity to create a $100-$200 compatible device they could sell a lot of.
 
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Does anyone know if the standard video Chromecast (or Chromecast Ultra) up-converts or down-converts all audio to 48 Khz / 16-bit? From what I read somewhere (and in the past), that is what the standard Chromecast does, which means it doesn't do bit-perfect audio streaming like the CCA.

The current reference for Google Cast supported media (https://developers.google.com/cast/docs/media) states that Google Cast supports FLAC up to 96/24, but again, does this mean that the implementation of the standard Chromecast is the same as the CCA, allowing for bit perfect streaming with no conversion?

If so, then you could in theory substitute a regular Chromecast or Chromecast Ultra for the CCA, and use an HDMI-to-USB cable to feed to your DAC (assuming your DAC accepts a USB input).
 

pwjazz

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I feel almost as betrayed as when the Pebble series of watches was discontinued. Well, not really. Still, maybe someone will make a Rebble for CCA :)
 

graz_lag

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... Why should Google promote it when lacking a mic and voice recognition...it cannot monitor your preferences or help you buy things ...
Many of these are installed in the bedrooms ... try to imagine for a second who's on the other side within the Google mega-PCs listening to our bedroom intimate activities ... :cool:
 
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I wonder what would be some combinations of size, weight, and price, that would form the demarcation line above which we find serious audio?
Well, given that with my recent hoarding based on them being discontinued, I have 9 total...6 of them being for $15...

Not just useful for an outboard DAC, but what about all those old receivers you have sitting in closets? Plug one of these into an optical in and you've got a new network streaming node in the garage, the basement ... Oh.. And you can group them all together and sync the music throughout.

One of the slickest little anti-audiophool piece of kit I have.

RIP

I hope I have enough to last me...
 
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RIP...
 

Soniclife

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Bugger.

Let's they keep doing what they currently do without needing Google to keep some server online.
 
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Why should Google promote it when lacking a mic and voice recognition...it cannot monitor your preferences or help you buy things.
There's still the paid Google Music subscription service. I'm sure Google has done their calculations based on sales statistics and subscription statistics and decided that they want to sell smart speakers rather than dongles for any speakers using some market research to back them up. It's unfortunate that we won't see more hardware upgrades for CCA. Hopefully there will be software updates for streaming quality though, without resorting to third party apps.
 

D700

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Logitech completely screwed the pooch on Squeezebox...just...ugh. They had chance to be "the" portal to all the music services and blew their lead focusing on that damn music server software. Edit: To me, there's still no better UX for listening to music than my trusty SB3 scrolling playlists. I hear the Touch was even better.
 

D700

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If roon or tidal were smart, they'd clone that CCA and give it away with subscription.
 

graz_lag

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Logitech completely screwed the pooch on Squeezebox...just...ugh. They had chance to be "the" portal to all the music services and blew their lead focusing on that damn music server software
I have sold my last SqueezeBox network receiver last week for $90 ... a 10 years slice of my life gone ...
Yeah, LMS sucks, but interestingly, there is still a troop of aficionados out there.
The hardware was excellent though.
 
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