Chromecast Audio - Tell us you success stories

Discussion in 'Digital Sources' started by arbalest, Dec 15, 2017.

  1. jcg1112

    jcg1112 Active Member

    Messages:
    110
    Have one in my setup and it works just fine. I cast from iPhones, iPads and a Galaxy Tab tablet. Haven’t bothered with my laptop yet. Very convenient to carry around my “source”. I just stream Spotify and Pandora. I use the optical out to my Onkyo amp.
     

     

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  2. gvl

    gvl Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    886
    I'm retracting this, based on further experiments with a recently acquired modern USB->SPDIF XMOS DDC the reason for the differences was the SPDIF output out of a Sound Blaster sound card in my laptop that made the sound brighter with more emphasis on details but it wasn't the true sound. The Sound Blaster was a always a suspect despite offering the "bit-accurate" mode and comparing the DDC over coax and CCA over Toslnk they sound much closer and the differences are on par with those when using coax and Toslink out of my Denon CDP, with coax sounding is a tiny bit more airy. My bad, viva the CCA!
     
  3. heyraz

    heyraz AK Subscriber Subscriber

    Messages:
    1,722
    Location:
    Long Branch, NJ
    I'm streaming Tidal to CCA into my Adcom GDA700 (optical, of course) and think it does a better job than when I listen to Sonos (coax out to same DAC).
    So....I've switched camps and prefer CCA over Sonos.
    Fuller, deeper and more enveloping sound.
     
  4. GChief

    GChief AK Subscriber Subscriber

    Messages:
    1,050
    Location:
    Eastern NC
    Came to the same conclusion when comparing both at my sisters house last weekend.
     
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  5. robert_kc

    robert_kc AK Subscriber Subscriber

    Messages:
    698
    Location:
    Midwest USA
    I have whatever router Google Fiber installed. (I don’t know anything about it.)

    I have 4 Chromecast Audio, and I’ve just started experimenting with Chromecast (video).

    I use the CA for casual background listening to internet radio (Tune-In), plus Spotify Premium. I stream from the app, so that my Samsung tablet is strictly a “remote control”. (Music is not stored on the tablet, or “hair-pinned” through the tablet.) I sometimes stream from the Spotify app on my Windows 10 PC, and occasionally from the Chrome browser.

    IME, sometimes CA installs without issues, sometimes it’s an hour-long headache – going around in circles – and then suddenly it works.

    Casting will work OK for a while, then suddenly it doesn’t, and I must reboot everything.

    I’ve recently added Google Home, and I can use my voice to turn on a vintage vacuum tube amp, and cast music to it. (Voice control works for some types of music, not others. http://audiokarma.org/forums/index....-spotify-and-now-google.801777/#post-11138076 ) Pretty amazing technology for a cheap price. Considering the cheap price, I accept the limitations and occasional hiccups.
     
    Last edited: Dec 23, 2017
    arbalest likes this.
  6. gvl

    gvl Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    886
    A bit more detail I found about Spotify on Chromecast vs. Desktop. Turns out for Premium the Chromecast pulls a 256kbps AAC stream while the desktop app does 320kbps OGG Vorbis at the highest quality setting. One is not necessarily better than the other, but given they are different lossy encodings it is likely reasonable to expect them to not sound the same. Also Spotify upped the web-player's bitrate from 160 to 256kbps AAC for the premium subscription, I got excited thinking I could now use Chrome browser's support for exclusive audio mode and get the same SQ as with CCA, alas, it seems to be broken in the latest versions. Sigh.
     
  7. Wildcat

    Wildcat Audio Sommelier

    Messages:
    4,426
    Location:
    SCS, MI (near a lake)
    Due to an experience I had with a supposedly "high end" Sound Blaster card many years ago, I learned not to trust their products. I had purchased a really early digital input card for my computer back in the late 90s, which meant I had to run the optical output of my Sony DAT machine to the computer. It worked fine with that card--heck if I can remember the name, but it was one of the best at the time. When I built a new computer, I noticed Sound Blaster had this "premium" sound card that also offered a digital input. Cool--I could transfer stuff over and burn CDs without needing the old card (as the drivers had long been abandoned by then).

    Something sounded way off. Then I watched the sound level meters both on the DAT deck and in Sound Forge (when being fed by the optical input via the Sound Blaster)--they did not match. The Sound Blaster was actually compressing the digital audio's volume levels! When I used the old card, the levels matched exactly (or as closely as they could). No matter at what level I tried adjusting the Sound Blaster, or the input signal (even overdriving it insanely), it always read in the same range. And the resulting sound was as I expected--the Sound Blaster was actually messing around with the volume. Certainly not the high quality their top of the line card advertised!

    I had to wait another couple of years before I bought an M-Audio Audiophile USB outboard converter. And nowadays I just use a TASCAM digital recorder at the audio rack instead. ;)
     
  8. Wildcat

    Wildcat Audio Sommelier

    Messages:
    4,426
    Location:
    SCS, MI (near a lake)
    That's strange, as we have three Google Home Minis hooked up and they have not hijacked anything. If anything, these little pucks are now additional Chromecast renderers, so I could send music to them rather than to the CCAs. I only have to be careful in naming things so that others in the house don't get confused.
     
  9. bigx5murf

    bigx5murf Super Member

    Messages:
    1,083
    Location:
    Las Vegas
    I discovered the same issue trying to use my soundblaster with my first MD player back in highschool. I ended up getting a vortex2 card which didn't have the issues, and was even better than the sound blaster in games. Unfortunately Creative sued the company that made vortex2 into oblivion, then bought their IP, then shelved it all. Sometimes I wonder if Creative single handily set back PC audio for decades through litigation.
     
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  10. Wildcat

    Wildcat Audio Sommelier

    Messages:
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    Location:
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    They were definitely the "McSoundcard" of the industry back then--not surprising they would sue or buy others out of business. Kind of ironic now that I'm using a motherboard with an optical digital output, and don't even have need for a dedicated sound card anymore. ;)
     
  11. Erik Tracy

    Erik Tracy Super Member

    Messages:
    1,519
    I have a semi-success story.

    I'm still struggling with some mysterious issues.

    Got my CCA setup on our wifi, was successful in casting to it from my laptop, still experiencing droputs, so I got it to cast from my smartphone (setup to wifi connect to our in-home wifi router) and the dropouts aren't as bad.

    But now, the laptop can't see the CCA even when I stop casting from the smartphone.

    I've reset the router and the laptop and the CCA casting app within my Chrome browser just doesn't 'see' the CCA (no devices found).

    But, I can ping the CCA (cuz I know the MAC and IP address of the CCA) from my laptop.

    So, right now I can ONLY cast from my phone.
     
  12. Wildcat

    Wildcat Audio Sommelier

    Messages:
    4,426
    Location:
    SCS, MI (near a lake)
    One thing I noticed every so often--on my desktop computer, not all of the Chromecast devices would show up all the time. I occasionally had incidents where my old Chromecast would not appear in the list and a couple of times over the past several months, where the CCA in the kitchen would not show up. There are also somewhat rare occasions either one would not show up on mobile, yet for the most part, they seemed to be there most if not all of the time. The old Chromecast (which I had connected to an HDMI input on the Oppo 105) was powered by plugging into the 105's USB port (rather than its own AC adapter), so it did not show up when the 105 was not powered up.

    In the browser, I open Pandora, right-click anywhere on the page, choose "Cast...", and it pops open a window of places to cast to.

    upload_2018-1-3_14-16-59.png

    Today it seems to be cooperating. ;) All of the audio devices are shown there. My original Chromecast is currently offline (as I am moving it to another room), but I see that all of the audio-capable CCAs are showing up (the "Oppo 105" is the CCA I have connected via optical cable to the Oppo's DAC), plus the Google Home devices.

    If I go to YouTube and do the same (right-click, "Cast..."), it shows me the CCAs plus the (now disconnected) Chromecast and the Nexus Player on the TV (which has Chromecast built in):

    upload_2018-1-3_14-21-50.png

    ("All Rooms" is a group of the three CCAs--Kitchen, Living Room, Oppo 105.)

    Yet when I click the "Cast" button on YouTube..

    upload_2018-1-3_14-22-36.png

    ...I get this, only the video-capable CCs:

    upload_2018-1-3_14-22-59.png

    So somehow, the Cast feature built into Chrome somehow (and sometimes) knows which devices are capable of playing the content.

    So after all this, I probably don't have much to offer, beyond my experience with device detection being a little more spotty in Chrome than on my mobile devices. The only other thing I can offer is that I have set up all of these using the Google Home app on my primary phone. (The original Chromecast used an earlier app that was a lot more fussy about setup, and eventually morphed into the Google Home app.)

    I will know more in a few days, because I am converting my network over to an all-new WAP (wireless access point) and new router/switches/etc., and am going to consolidate everything back down to one SSID, meaning that I'll probably have to retrain all of the CCAs and Google Home pucks for the new wireless. For now, though, despite setting up everything on my 2.4GHz SSID on my old WAP, I can reach all of these devices no matter which WAP or SSID I am attached to (my old 2.4 and 5.0, plus the new one). It seems to be fussy only during setup in that regard.

    For now, I do not have the newer CCAs mapped to any specific IP address (using static DHCP in the router). My desktop though is always assigned the same IP as are the laptop and my tablet. The two phones I use are still not assigned an IP. So the Google Home/CC/CCA system seems to accommodate dynamic IP addresses.

    If I can think of anything else, I'll let you know.
     
  13. Erik Tracy

    Erik Tracy Super Member

    Messages:
    1,519
    Appreciate the shared experiences.

    I'm baffled.

    I reset the router, I unplugged/plugged in the CCA power, I turned off my smartphone, I rebooted my laptop.

    But I still can't cast anymore from a Chrome browser on my laptop (which I was able to do before).

    I used the run/cmd command and did an arp -a to find the IP and MAC of the CCA.

    Yup, router sees it.

    And if I do a ping to the IP from my laptop I get a reply back.

    But Chrome doesn't "see" the CCA (No Devices).

    ???

    And I'm chasing other issues.

    When I do have my smartphone connected to my in-home wifi and start a cast session via the jazz88.org listen live link - it'll work for about an hour, maybe more, then begin to sputter and stop altogether.

    I then have to disconnect the cast session and restart it again, listen some more, sputter, disconnect.

    About as much time troubleshooting as listening.
     
  14. Wildcat

    Wildcat Audio Sommelier

    Messages:
    4,426
    Location:
    SCS, MI (near a lake)
    Off the wall question, but...how is your router speed for wireless or wired (Ethernet)? Is it consistent? Or do you ever find the speed fluctuates throughout the day (or slows down with extended usage)?

    My first wireless router, a D-Link, died a slow death. (This goes back a decade when it failed, and further still from when I bought it.) I noticed on a remote computer that it began to download anything slower than it had before, yet I figured it was just interference. But when it reached the point in mid 2008 when it was working slower than dial-up after being connected for a while, I knew I had a problem. I bought a used Linksys and everything popped back to normal, speed-wise.

    If you're on Android, check this out: https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.farproc.wifi.analyzer It's a signal strength app for WiFi. It's not perfect (like a dedicated pro-level device would offer), but it's good to get a rough idea of how strong the signal is at any given point. Note that the signal strength can change in as little as a foot in any direction. It also has a graph showing all of the neighboring WiFi traffic around you, and lets you pick 2.4 or 5.0 to detect. (Generally, there is a lot less traffic on 5.0.)

    Trying the CCA temporarily in another location (even in the same room with the router) might help determine what the issue is.

    I think I also tossed the idea into the ring that maybe your CCA is defective. I'm sure it can happen, out of how many hundreds of thousands that were made. A WiFi radio or antenna that is a little wonky certainly could cause a problem, as could some sort of defect in the CPU where it's just not working right. I've run my CCA literally for hours in the kitchen and the only time it would stop is when Pandora thought I wasn't listening, and paused the channel.

    At any rate we've kind of hijacked another CCA thread. :D
     
  15. bigx5murf

    bigx5murf Super Member

    Messages:
    1,083
    Location:
    Las Vegas
    I had a similar issue getting CCA to work at my wife's salon. At first I installed a spare router I had that I knew was working, since it was using it at home up until I upgraded. Problem was, the salon is in a commercial area, and literally fighting with over 50 other networks for bandwidth in the air. I went and purchased a top of the line netgear router (R8000), and used the smartphone app "wifi analyzer", and setup the router on the least congested 5ghz bands. This solved the problem mostly, once every other month the issues would start again, and can be fixed by resetting the router. I imagine if you live in an apt building, you'll likely have the same issues.
     
  16. Wildcat

    Wildcat Audio Sommelier

    Messages:
    4,426
    Location:
    SCS, MI (near a lake)
    I still have to find my old version of InSSIDer (which I used to run on the laptop--the mobile version is long gone), but WiFi Analyzer (which I linked above) definitely shows me that a lot of neighbors with WiFi are using the 2.4GHz band, many on the same channel. On the 5.0GHz band, for some reason they are also lumped on the same channel--I have mine alone down in the lower channels (in the 40s, vs. being in the 150s). Seems that must be a default for cable company WiFi. I also seem to be the only one running two bonded 2.4GHz channels.

    Looks as though there are at least three apps called WiFi Analyzer BTW. They're all rated fairly high.
     
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  17. ldatlof

    ldatlof We are all steak Subscriber

    Messages:
    2,730
    Location:
    Las Vegas
    For 2.4GHz band channel 1 is no different than channel 2 due to overlap. So you need to set the router to one of the following least used channels 1, 6 or 11.
     

     

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  18. gpouch

    gpouch New Member

    Messages:
    1
    I have two CC audio's. one in the living room using just a 1/8 to dual RCA's and one in the vintage listening room ( down stairs )connected up to a Marantz1060. Using a optical output from the CC to a Topping D3 DAC and in to the AUX of the Marantz. I use Spotify Premium as the source. For the money invested I could not be happier. IMG_1817.jpg
     
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  19. Wildcat

    Wildcat Audio Sommelier

    Messages:
    4,426
    Location:
    SCS, MI (near a lake)
    MY CCAs are tucked out of sight. The kitchen CCA is in a cabinet with the JVC mini-system, with older Boston A40s on top of the cabinets. The CCA on my Oppo is tucked behind the rack, connected via optical cable. The CCA in the living room is on top of the receiver on a lower shelf, so it's not even visible.
     
  20. arbalest

    arbalest Active Member

    Messages:
    133
    Location:
    Chicago
    Cool how that Topping matches the Marrantz so well. It looks like if it could be attached/stacked (vertically) to the left of the Marrantz and appear to be part of it
     

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