Anyone had experience with the Google Chromecast Audio?

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Thermionic Idler
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Anyone had experience with the Google Chromecast Audio?

Post by Thermionic Idler » Sat Jan 27, 2018 11:58 am

This looks like a stonking bargain - allegedly supports up to 24/96 files, will work with services like Qobuz, has an optical digital output that can be used with a decent DAC. To me this looks like quite an easy solution to a problem I've been trying to solve for some time - how to play back our ripped CD collection AND access streaming services without a lot of faffing about.
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simon
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Re: Anyone had experience with the Google Chromecast Audio?

Post by simon » Sat Jan 27, 2018 2:07 pm

No but John Broskie has written about them quite a few times on Tubecad Journal - he's a fan.

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Re: Anyone had experience with the Google Chromecast Audio?

Post by CageyH » Sun Jan 28, 2018 10:22 am

I have one to stream Spotify from my mobile devices through my system.
Awesome bit of kit for the money.

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DSJR
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Re: Anyone had experience with the Google Chromecast Audio?

Post by DSJR » Sun Jan 28, 2018 6:00 pm

I'm not up to date with my home IT and this laptop keeps dropping out if I ask it to stream YouTube to my Chromecast Audio. As a stand alone unit, if it'll accept the stream over the wireless network, it *sounds* very good for something so simple, surprisingly so and it was this that made me take my ten quid eBay DAC a little more seriously.

I have an android tablet and have downloaded the Spotify and 'cast' apps for it. Getting the two to work should be fun but I'm not losing sleep if I can't...

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Thermionic Idler
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Re: Anyone had experience with the Google Chromecast Audio?

Post by Thermionic Idler » Wed Jan 31, 2018 11:54 am

Thanks for the input everyone!

I decided to pull the trigger on one at the beginning of the week and it arrived today. Quite surprising how good the onboard DAC is for £30! I've currently got it streaming some lossless Mendelssohn choral music via Qobuz and I'm really impressed with it.

It also works well with Plex, which I've picked for our CD archive - hopefully soon we won't need space for a CD player in the rack. Just need a NAS thingy now so we can drop files in from both mine and Meredith's computers. Oh, and cross-convert the CD's we've already ripped in Apple Lossless to FLAC instead, so that Plex/Chromecast will play them natively.

Oh how I love how the world ended up with two lossless file formats, and never the twain shall meet on the same device without a lot of faffing about. Thank you Apple.

I've also bid on a DacMagic which finishes tonight. Two SP/DIF TOSlink inputs, so the TV's digital output can go to one, and the Chromecast to the other. Sorted!
Deck: Garrard 301
Audio Origami PU7
Van Den Hul Black Beauty
Phono: Whest PS30RDT
Pre-amp - Scratch built AMB α24/LCDuino
Amp - Transcendent "Son of Beast" 15W OTL
Speakers - FF225WK Metronomes

simon
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Re: Anyone had experience with the Google Chromecast Audio?

Post by simon » Wed Jan 31, 2018 2:29 pm

Really interested to see how you get on with it. Is Qobuz plain vanilla "CD" FLAC or HD?

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Thermionic Idler
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Re: Anyone had experience with the Google Chromecast Audio?

Post by Thermionic Idler » Wed Jan 31, 2018 5:40 pm

simon wrote:
Wed Jan 31, 2018 2:29 pm
Really interested to see how you get on with it. Is Qobuz plain vanilla "CD" FLAC or HD?
It depends on the service you sign up for - there are four tiers. The bottom tier is the same price as Spotify and you get 320kbps MP3 for that. The next one up is the one I have, and that's 16-Bit 44.1 kHz FLAC. That's the highest you can go and still pay monthly after a 30 day trial period, the next two levels above that require a year's subscription up front. "Sublime" is still 16-Bit 44.1 kHz FLAC but you get discounts on high-rez album purchases. "Sublime+" is where you get the high-rez streaming (where available).

So far I've been very impressed with it - it seems to be run by adults who actually care about proper music.
Deck: Garrard 301
Audio Origami PU7
Van Den Hul Black Beauty
Phono: Whest PS30RDT
Pre-amp - Scratch built AMB α24/LCDuino
Amp - Transcendent "Son of Beast" 15W OTL
Speakers - FF225WK Metronomes

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DSJR
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Re: Anyone had experience with the Google Chromecast Audio?

Post by DSJR » Wed Jan 31, 2018 6:28 pm

I bet the Chromecast Audio analogue output won't sound so different from the Dacmagic if levels are matched...

It would be nice to stream my FLAC and WAV files from the PC upstairs to the main system via the Chromecast Audio, but I think I have to download SlimServer or similar and do a lot of faffing about to get it to happen. If I connect the laptop to the main system via a USB DAC I can do it this way and just use Foobar or similar, but I was trying to get rid of wires and in any case, the main stereo gets little use now for family reasons (I get little time on my own to enjoy the music I love through speakers :()

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Re: Anyone had experience with the Google Chromecast Audio?

Post by shane » Wed Jan 31, 2018 6:44 pm

Thinking of replacing my Squeezebox 3 with one of these. Anyone know how the DACs compare in each? What’s the least you’d need to spend on a DAC to give a significant improvement?
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Thermionic Idler
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Re: Anyone had experience with the Google Chromecast Audio?

Post by Thermionic Idler » Wed Jan 31, 2018 7:16 pm

DSJR wrote:
Wed Jan 31, 2018 6:28 pm
It would be nice to stream my FLAC and WAV files from the PC upstairs to the main system via the Chromecast Audio, but I think I have to download SlimServer or similar and do a lot of faffing about to get it to happen.
Have a look at Plex - I've got this installed on my iMac desktop in the office at the moment so that's acting as a sort of test server - eventually we'll want to get a proper NAS. I use the Plex app on the phone to 'cast' to Chromecast - this way the phone (or tablet) is acting as a remote control, the audio isn't going through the device and draining it's battery - Chromecast talks directly to the iMac via WiFi. Setting it all up is actually quite straightforward although some of Plex's default settings for tags and artwork are a bit odd.

I was listening to some high-rez files this afternoon and yeah - the Chromecast Audio analogue output is no slouch. I would like to take advantage of the DACMagic's balanced outputs though, having gone to the trouble of building a fully balanced linestage.

Shane, I'd say just go for it, for the outlay it's really quite surprisingly capable.
Deck: Garrard 301
Audio Origami PU7
Van Den Hul Black Beauty
Phono: Whest PS30RDT
Pre-amp - Scratch built AMB α24/LCDuino
Amp - Transcendent "Son of Beast" 15W OTL
Speakers - FF225WK Metronomes

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shane
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Re: Anyone had experience with the Google Chromecast Audio?

Post by shane » Thu Feb 01, 2018 2:35 pm

Well, I’ve answered my own question, or one of them anyway. Popped into Maplin this morning, and came home thirty quid lighter with a small box with the most unlikely looking bit of hifi gear I’ve ever seen. Looks like a miniature ice hockey puck with a 3.5mm socket on one side and a mini usb on the other. That’s it. Nothing else. The instructions consist of one line directing you to a website. From there, I downloaded Google Home to the iPhone, followed the setup and had it playing from my NAS via LMS in about three minutes (if you discount the half hour soldering up a 3.5mm to Phono lead). Amazing.
Sound wise it’s slight more forward, immediate and detailed than the SB3, which I prefer. Definitely an improvement, and it seems to be improving after the first hour or so.

I’ve now downloaded Creation 5 to control the NAS and access internet radio, which is a lot nicer than iPeng on the SB. I’ve also got a trial sub for Idagio, and I’m thinking about whether to subscribe to one of the Roons, Tidals or whatever of this world.

Anyone want to buy a Squeezebox?
Time flies like an arrow.
Fruit flies like a banana.

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Thermionic Idler
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Re: Anyone had experience with the Google Chromecast Audio?

Post by Thermionic Idler » Thu Feb 01, 2018 11:19 pm

It's a nice little device isn't it? I've had way-worse sounding CD players.

I'd really recommend giving Qobuz a go - you get 30 free days trial so can cancel if it's not for you, at no cost. The audio quality leaves Spotify in the dust.
Deck: Garrard 301
Audio Origami PU7
Van Den Hul Black Beauty
Phono: Whest PS30RDT
Pre-amp - Scratch built AMB α24/LCDuino
Amp - Transcendent "Son of Beast" 15W OTL
Speakers - FF225WK Metronomes

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Thermionic Idler
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Re: Anyone had experience with the Google Chromecast Audio?

Post by Thermionic Idler » Mon Feb 05, 2018 11:41 pm

The DACMagic arrived today, this one came with an aftermarket power supply which I assume to be a linear one given the size and weight of the case it's in.

I don't know how much of a contribution the power supply is making, but it's quite a significant step up from both the Musical Fidelity V-DAC Mk I that I was using before, and the Chromecast's analogue outputs. So I'd rate the Chromecast's standard output as about as good as a first generation V-DAC. Yesterday I actually tried the Chromecast with the V-DAC and there was almost nothing in it.

High rez files with the DACMagic are spectacularly good, and both ripped CD's via Plex and lossless CD-quality media from Qobuz sound better than I've ever heard them before. Meredith commented when we fired up the TV that dialogue seemed a lot clearer too. I was a little worried about whether the re-clocking and up-sampling that the DACMagic does would result in excessive latency and lip-syncing issues, but it's all fine.
Deck: Garrard 301
Audio Origami PU7
Van Den Hul Black Beauty
Phono: Whest PS30RDT
Pre-amp - Scratch built AMB α24/LCDuino
Amp - Transcendent "Son of Beast" 15W OTL
Speakers - FF225WK Metronomes

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Re: Anyone had experience with the Google Chromecast Audio?

Post by Nanook of the North » Sat Apr 14, 2018 11:04 pm

excessive latency and lip-syncing issues...........

God forbid...Glad you've got it all under control.
Play TOTP Franky goes to Hollywood 88 (Two Tribes) just to be sure.

:D

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