Chromecast audio - can anyone comment on sound quality?

Discussion in 'Computer Audio' started by peddler, Oct 3, 2015.

  1. markbrauer
    Followed the link and it appears that this adapter only works with the video Chromcast models.
    This copied from the link
     

    Requirements


    Chromecast or Chromecast, 1st Generation




     
     
     
     
     
    Google usually is quite specific when noting compatibility.

     
    On the other hand, I see no reason it should not work with Chromecast Audio.
     
  2. dmance
    Mark,
    I have three Chromecast Audio and three Ethernet adapters. Works 100% and I think improves sync and latency when grouped. Google messed up (unusual) documenting support here...
    Dan
     
  3. hopkins
    I use the ethernet adapter and it works well. No changes in SQ noted.
     
    MothAudio likes this.
  4. rbc3585
    Anyone else have issues when streaming stuff from a phone's internal storage? Play/pause functions from my sony music app work spottily at best and sometimes disrupt the chromecast, and often when I unlock the phone after a while it says "connecting" forever and I have to restart casting for it to sync back up properly. Not sure whether it's because my phone doesn't have 802.11ac.
     
  5. SP Wild
    Weird huh. It doesn't stream what's on your phone.

    It's not perfect... Sometimes it disconnects itself. Play another track and it plays on the phone while chromecast continues playing the track you wanted to skip.


    Yeah technology.
     
  6. tmann
    I tried Pandora with the CCA the other day and wondered why it didn't sound that great, and learned that from a phone the max quality is 64kbps, even with the paid version. However, on a computer the paid version is 190kbps. 
     
    I found this as a workaround: http://www.howtogeek.com/185314/ask-htg-can-i-improve-the-quality-of-pandoras-music-streaming/
     
    Has anyone tried this? Experience with Dolphin vs. Puffer or other browsers on the phone to get Flash on Android and to mimic desktop to get the 190 quality?
     
  7. tmann
     
    Can you (or anyone) comment on the Spotify sound quality between the Dot and the Chromecast Audio when hooked up to a stereo system? (I know that the Dot is analog only and I don't have an external DAC anyway so I am interested in the sound of each of them connected directly to a stereo input.)
     
    I know the Spotify Connect stream is supposed to be 320kbps but the CCA comes with dynamic range limited which you can change to High Dynamic Range in the app settings. Wondering if the Dot is handicapped as well and you can't change it, and also the internal DAC would affect the sound as well. 
     
    Also, does the Dot hear you speak commands when you are playing music from it through the stereo? Thinking that if it is near the speakers, this could be a problem. 
     
    Had my CCA at my parents' place over the holiday and got them a Dot, kicking myself for not comparing them side to side on their stereo. 
     
  8. tmann
    Bump. Has anyone compared the Dot and CCA for sound quality into a stereo system? 
     
    Edit, found one guy on AVS who compared them and finds the CCA much better. (Would still be interested in another opinion.)
     
    http://www.avsforum.com/forum/newreply.php?do=newreply&p=48494913
     
    "I fell in love with the original Amazon Echo in my kitchen. I use it for timers and streaming with Spotify or podcasts. The voice interface is perfect for Spotify. When the new Dot came out I bought a few for the house and put one on my bedroom audio system. 
     
    Sad realization time. The audio output from it is crap as far as I can tell. It doesn't have a toslink output so I have it hooked up with a 3.5mm to RCA wire. After a short while of "wtf is wrong with this" I switched in a Chromecast audio. It's a night and day difference (once full dynamic range output was enabled). The Dot sounds like the Chromecast did before enabling full dynamic range.
     
    Maybe I'm missing something but the sole purpose of the Dot version of the Echo is to connect to external audio systems, and it sounds terrible! It's a shame, because the Echo is by far my preferred interface for streaming but it is unusable. Anyone else try this and come to any conclusions? I didn't see any Echo threads here, only Chromecast. Now I know why!"
     
  9. SP Wild
    Connected the HD800S straight to the line out of the CCA....In other words straight to the dac not designed for driving headphones with a highish output z.

    It sounded really good. A fairly neutral, not too lean sounding dac. Not as thick as other dacs either. I think the HD800S really take well to high z output!
     
  10. yay101
    Do we know what DAC the dot uses? All i can find is a unknown Texas Instruments chip.

    The CCA has a AK4430 which is known as a great chip solution.

    At least on paper the CCA is way better at audio, it has a decent DAC after all.
     
  11. tmann
     
    This teardown has it listed as 32031 TI 68k CQ61, for whatever that's worth. 
     
    http://www.allaboutcircuits.com/news/teardown-tuesday-amazon-echo-dot-v2/
     
  12. Peddler
    REVIEW
    Preamble

    Whilst I have been an audio enthusiast for many years now, I must admit I have never really been all that interested in using any kind of esoteric cables with my systems. I have always felt that as long as the cable has a good solid connection and is undamaged - then that will do. In fact, to be completely honest, in the past when I have tried slightly more expensive than normal cable, I can’t say I really truly noticed any difference. You could say that I’m a kind of ‘high-end cable sceptic’.

    One thing I do believe is that my portable MP3 players are capable of very high quality playback - assuming the file being played is of sufficient quality. I have been into high quality audio since the early 80’s and have progressed from a nasty ‘music centre’ to a really nice analogue turntable-based system - Logik DM-101, Linn Basik LVX, Nagioka MP-11 Boron, NAD 3020 and Heybrook HB1’s - those were the days. The system sounded great because I took care to set it up as best I could with a proper turntable shelf with ceramic discs underneath the shelf resting on inverted spikes (cost 75 quid if memory serves), decent shelving for the electronics and proper loudspeaker stands with the spikes. My point being that back in the day you really had to work at achieving (and maintaining) that good sound. Not to mention that the turntable was completely manual in operation and you had to get off your lazy arse every 25 minutes or so to flip sides or change the record.

    Now, all you have to do is press a couple of buttons and you get high quality sound - in fact very high quality sound, with none of the fuss and bother. What’s more, you can easily get access to all of your media and have pretty much unlimited and inexpensive storage for about the same price as my turntable and loudspeaker stands had cost me back in the 80’s - and that’s not adjusting for inflation.

    I have to admit that these days I tend to do most of my music listening through headphones - specifically the following:

    Ultimate Ears Triple Fi-10 iem
    1More 1001 Triple Driver iem
    1More iBFree Bluetooth iem
    V-Moda Crossfade Bluetooth Wireless
    1More MK-802 Bluetooth Wireless
    Audio Technica ATH M50X Full Sized Wired

    The reason why I have mentioned my old analogue system and my currently used headphones is really to show that I know what good sound sounds like. I completely understand that people have different tastes and that different genres favour different sound shapes. This is perhaps why I use so many different headphones - each have their own character and, with the exception of the bitchingly bass-driven V-Moda’s, all sound fairly flat and reasonably neutral.

    My current (and probably for the foreseeable future) loudspeaker based system is a Sony Micro system connected to the excellent Google Chromecast Audio and an old pair of Mission loudspeakers. As I do most of my listening now through portable players and headphones I feel that this is sufficient for my needs when I need to ‘rock out’ and annoy the neighbours. To be honest, the speakers are not ideally placed and the system tends to lack power (although more on this later). In its defence however, I feel the overall sound characteristic is reasonably neutral and flat.

    IMG_20170115_104649527.jpg

    Please excuse the poor quality pic - not really enough light this time of year. Will take more when I can.


    The Burson Audio Cable is much more than just a good quality length of cable. It’s designed to increase the output from portable players to that normally found on full-sized components. This, they claim, improves resolution, clarity, bass - well pretty much everything audio. Well…...it works. It definitely works.

    The cable features an active section which ‘amplifies’ the signal up - there’s no controls on the active box - just a Micro USB socket for power. The cable is reasonably unobtrusive and has enough length to effectively be hidden away. Everything about the cake screams high quality from the material used for the outer sleeve to the high quality plugs.

    The improvements made to the music isn't subtle - it’s like the system has been completely upgraded. Bigger speakers, more powerful amplifier and improved signal source. There isn't just one aspect of the sound that's been changed either. Bass is deeper and more controlled, mids and vocals are clearer and the top end shimmers with detail without becoming too bright. This cable offers my loudspeaker based system the chance to produce the same resolution and detail that I normally get with my high quality headphones. Although the cable is designed to offer more volume to the sound, the truth is that even at low volume levels the improvements are still apparent.

    Listening to familiar music is a revelation - I know of the phrase ‘hearing things I've never heard before’ is a bit of a cliche but it's totally true with this cable. Additional depth in the sound field, solidity in positions of performers and instruments (this is usually the first thing I look for when evaluating audio equipment) and micro details come through with ease. It's almost like I have found new high quality recordings of my favorite albums.

    When I was originally asked if I would be interested in reviewing Burson cable I was not overly enthusiastic about it because I've never really been interested in cables and the like because they're kinda boring and not sexy, however I'm so glad they sent it to me. This has to represent one of the most effective single solution upgrades I have ever come across in a the years I have been interested in audio. It works extremely well with the Chromecase Audio and the combination beats much of the competition which actually costs considerably more. Very highly recommended indeed.
     
  13. Ggroch
    RE- Burson Cable+ review
     
    Its great that the Cable+ you got free improved your CCA sound so much.  I had not heard of the Cable+ so I learned a lot. Thanks for posting.
     
     
     
    I do not think it is a good choice to improve CCA sound for those of us who have to pay for it.   The analog output of the CCA (which would connect to the Cable+) is highly compromised compared to the optical out which is near bit perfect.   Instead of spending $150 on a cable, spending $99-150 on a carefully chosen DAC + Optical cable would create a much more accurate source for your amp than a device that is designed to "fix" a bad source. 
     
    Does this mean the dac output will sound better to you?  No, I am sure you know what you like.  But it WOULD produce a more accurate  signal.  More like the original recording.
     
    I admit I am very skeptical of the Cable+.  I am skeptical of their explanation of how it works...not skeptical that it sounds "better" or different".  A boost in volume matched with tonal changes can often sound better.   How about this Boomcloud 360 enhancer on sale at Amazon for just $58 dollars.  
     
     
    Regardless of my skepticism, unless you get it free, there is no way a device claimed by its manufacturer to overcome problems with lousy sources will be more accurate to the original sound that switching to a more accurate source (the CCA Optical Out).  
     
    hifi808 likes this.
  14. markbrauer
    I just posted a review of the Burdon Audio Cable+ used with the Chromecast Audio. Does the Cable+ turn the CCA into a hi-end source? Read it here
    http://www.head-fi.org/products/burson-audio-cable/reviews/17844
    Spoiler - I liked it a lot!
     
  15. tmann
    Does anyone know what bitrate the paid Pandora stream is on CCA? 

    From the web: "Pandora on the Web plays 64k AAC+ for free listeners and 192kbps for Pandora One subscribers. All in-home devices play 128kbps audio, and mobile devices receive a variety of different rates depending on the capability of the device and the network they are on, but never more than 64k AAC+."

    Is it 128 or 192 ??
     

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