Chromecast audio - can anyone comment on sound quality?

Discussion in 'Computer Audio' started by peddler, Oct 3, 2015.
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  1. Baroninkjet
    I looked at a lot of those. Most are no longer available, or not in the US. And only one or two would work for what I was looking for -- a car setup.

    Spotify content is all CD quality or compressed from CD quality, hence 44.1 sampling rate.
  2. gibby
    By the way, I have this $20 DAC connected to my CCA and it works perfectly.
    jgazal likes this.
  3. Ggroch
    No, about a year ago Chromecast had a firmware update that now passes through the Spotify 44.1 signal, it does not convert to 48K
    jgazal likes this.
  4. almarti
    Spotify is not CD Quality as the format of song files is AAC or MP3, I mean, compressed and with losses. I use CCA with Tidal (that it's CD Quality in FLAC format) and I get bitperfect digital output to Mojo. It sounds impressive
  5. rkw
    Was that concerning Chromecast, or Chromecast Audio? I saw this article, which is not about Chromecast Audio, where the issue was reported to be fixed.

    Earlier in the thread, @almarti said he uses Chromecast Audio with a phone hotspot, and I posted in post #318, that I tested it and it worked.

    All Spotify streams are lossy compressed data, not CD quality. Its maximum data rate (Extreme Quality on Premium) is only 320 kbps, far below CD quality. For streaming to Chromecast, maximum rate is 256 kbps:

    Which output do you intend to use on the Chromecast Audio (analog output from its built-in DAC, or toslink output to an external DAC)?

    What phone do you have? If you have an Android phone that supports Bluetooth aptX, I would just use that with a Bluetooth aptX receiver. How good is your car stereo?
    Last edited: Dec 18, 2017
  6. Baroninkjet
  7. rkw
    I've been following it ever since reports first appeared. I have both Spotify and Tidal subscriptions and would be happy to ditch Tidal if Spotify offers lossless.

    Spotify was primarily doing market research and trying to gauge interest. The problem is that the demand for lossless streaming is relatively low. Spotify will be busy in the coming year (including an IPO) and lossless will be low on their list of priorities.
  8. Hikoki
    The problem is that as you get older and your hearing gets inevitably worse, you are hard-pressed to discern any difference between a well recorded high bit rate mp3 (or even ogg, for that matter) and a CD quality track. This has been covered a zillion times. So I wouldn't be surprised if Spotify ditched the whole flac thing altogether.
    Last edited: Jan 1, 2018
  9. gvl2016
    Apparently Spotify is bleeding money, rolling out lossless doesn't sound like a good way to help with that. Big investment low return. Heck, they can't get bit-perfect playback in their desktop app working, thankfully CCA is a reasonable workaround for that with Connect.
  10. gvl2016
  11. maxh22
    Just finished reading this entire thread. I have to say that I'm really impressed with the optical out of the CCA and its analog out is quite good for the money as well.

    I've read a lot of conflicting information about this product but it seems a lot of that is irrelevant since the firmware updates seemed to improve the sound quality.

    The first thing I noticed when listening to the CCA as a source into my Hugo TT and Mojo is the amount of clarity it provides, nothing sounds congested or cluttered, it sounds pretty transparent tbh. After some nitpicking and several hours more listening I determined it sounded leaner than some of my other sources and the sound sometimes had an edge to it. So I plugged out the wall wart, took out my portable 3000mah battery and plugged it in. This eliminated most of the edginess I was hearing and calmed the sound down, definite and worthwhile improvement. Next came the cables.

    I have been experimenting with different cables and adapters powering the CCA and to my surprise they all have an effect on the sound. The stock cable sounds neutral but a little bit lean, the cable that comes with my Mojo sounds more full bodied and warmer but comes across as a little less dynamic, I tried using an Uptone Audio USPCB adapter along with an AQ adapter to power the CCA and the sound had the best PRaT by far but came across a little edgier and more brittle than the other cables. I then tried adding a jitterbug prior to the USPCB and once again it affected the sound and brought back some body and warmth but some brittleness remained (RFI entering?) More experimentation is needed...

    The EQ is also interesting, lowering the treble and increasing the bass helps compensate for other issues in one's setup and I'm glad they recently added that.

    I'm surprised no one has tried modding the CCA, if you remove the AK 4430 and the Texas Instruments DRV632 stereo line driver from the circuit, the sound of the optical output may become more transparent because less componentry is adding it's own sound to the circuit. Interesting stuff to consider :)
    Ggroch and gibby like this.
  12. Ggroch
    Good Points maxh22. The CCA sounds great to me, both using the optical out with my DAC, and pretty fine with the analog out also.

    Question on removing things from the circuit (from one who is relatively ignorant on much of this stuff). The ability to change volume and adjust tone, (including through the optical output), means the CCA is not just passing on an unaltered digital signal it receives. I would guess that volume and tone adjustments occur entirely in the digital domain which is then fed either the optical output or the DRV632.

    Regardless of how it works the result is to my ears excellent, and I think they did a great job of providing very subtle tone adjustment steps so that the result is still very hi fi.
    maxh22 likes this.
  13. maxh22
    I saw a few posts from several users recommending the IFI SPIDIF iPurifier, I might pick one of those up later on to further refine the sound but for now I am happy with the performance of the device :)
  14. gvl2016
    I'm lazy to confirm it but based on what I read about Chord designs they should take care of jitter internally, no need to waste your money on iPurifier.
  15. maxh22
    Yes I'm aware, unfortunately for my wallet, I can very easily hear the difference between different quality optical sources, some being better than others. I'm not sure if the differences are down to Jitter or something else entirely, but if there's one thing I know for sure it's that everything sounds.

    For example: The toslink out from my PC motherboard sounds warm, a little euphonic , but also smeared in comparison to the CCA. The CCA sounds more transparent, neutral and less confused in comparison.
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