Best Sounding Roon Endpoint - Raspberry Pi (w/o "Hat") vs Google Chromecast Audio

Which is the best sounding Roon Endpoint - Raspberry Pi without “hat” or Chromecast Audio. Raspberry PI - would be connected via ethernet connection or wifi into USB external DAC. Chromecast Audio - using UGreen USB to Ethernet Adaptor and connecting Chromecast Audio to external DAC via optical cable. Appreciate your thought on which would be the best sounding Roon Endpoint. Also appreciate any comments on how to better set either of these endpoints. Thanks for your consideration to help.

Greg

Going to depend on the DAC you use…a $20 DAC might be similar…$4000 DAC well no point to compare

CCA can only support certain DAC with Optical inputs limitations. RPi has no Optical output

Also and this could be a biggie … CCA doesn’t run RAAT like the RPi can. I can run DSD512 on USB from my RPi

No experience with ChromeCast but I am using two RPi’s - one for headphones 800S to a Klipsch DAC/AMP with great success. Ethernet to the RPi and optical to the DAC/AMP. Clean, easy and sounds great. The other setup to powered Audio Engine A2’s off DragonFly Red. Again, sounds great. Ropiee as the OS.

I have not tried chrome cast either, but have been pleased with RPi. I started with an Audioengine D1 USB DAC, later switched to an Allo Boss DAC, then later added an iFi power supply. Each change showed an improvement (clarity with Boss, extended bass with power supply). I use Volumio and installed the Roon bridge plugin.

The Raspberry Pi is your best endpoint, without doubt, as it runs Roon Bridge natively. With the Chromecast, Roon has to translate its communication into something the Chromecast can understand, and laying protocols in such a way is never ideal.

Thanks everyone for the input. Your comments were extremely helpful.

Greg

I have done both but settled on Chromecasts on everything. RPi’ are fine, have done with and without hat’s and roopie handles all beautifully. With CCA I run digital direct into Genelec’s in main system and analog elsewhere if SQ is of less concern. Can not tell any difference in SQ either way on the Genelec’s.

For me the CCA’s compatibility with other sources made the choice obvious. I can now stream anything from everything. Tidal, Spotify, SoundCloud, Mixcloud, Radio, the list goes on forever and the choice is yours.

Content is king!

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Joachim thanks for the additional insight. It was helpful.

Greg

CCA’s are discontinued so might be hard to find now unless in the preloved market, retail is probably not going to turn up much. Australia shops still had some (jb-hifi) and I grabbed a couple but just for fun. With USB booster pack and a pair of cans can use as mobile headfi setup in the house I guess.

Mr Fix It - thanks for the additional input. Able to obtain GCCA in US for around $45 new. Seem few vendors have them. They are available through eBay. Plan to try on in my garage stereo setup and see how they go. Assume your are very Australia from your note. I am retired now but use to get to Australia once in awhile in my travels with business. Really enjoyed Australia.

Greg

Joachim,

Did you try using ethernet input into CCA or different PS (if so which PS did you like)? Did you ear difference in sound if you tried these alternatives? Thanks again for your input.

Greg

Joachim,

One other question. Can you recommend a optical cable to use with the CCA?

Thanks

Greg

Only used CCA’s with WiFi, then again that is what I also did with the RPi’s so I can not really recommend WiFi over Ethernet based on personal experience. However as they TCP/IP protocol is designed to transmit without data loss it should not matter as long as you do not have dropouts due to really poor WiFi signal.

Did some initial testing with different sources both analog and digital when I got the Genelec’s. Could not detect any difference in SQ from various digital sources, while a good analog source was on par with digital. Seems the developers at Genelec knows their stuff. After that I never bothered with PSU’s, cables and other tinkering as it did not alter the SQ.

Other gear may obviously give other results. As usual you just need to try what works in your room with your ears.

I’ve used the AmazonBasics optical cables with good results. Whoops, those were TosLink. You want mini-Toslink to Toslink, I think, like these: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B00JLTUOLG BlueJeans Cables also has optical cables.

This is really just a commodity standard, no need to think too much about it. The real issue with optical out from the CCA is that the mechanical coupling via that dual-use jack is not as good as with a TosLink connector, so moving the cables can cause alignment problems.

Bill,

Thanks for info on the TosLink cable.

Greg

I’m in Singapore but have family in oz and lived there many years ago too. I’m back there 2-4 x a year

Mr. Fix it,

I lived in Singapore in the late 90’s for 2 1/2 years. Lived near Holland Village. Thanks for your help.

Greg

Note that the DAC question is really important here and did not get answered (that I saw). CCA’s have pretty bad signal jitter on output. Some DAC’s handle that well, others don’t. I tried a a Benchmark DAC3 with CCA and it was solid, yet the same CCA with an Oppo was really bad relative to the Oppo’s native Tidal streaming.

I just spent a bunch of time on Roon endpoints myself and I know you did say no hats, but the Allo DigiOne Signature (which does have a hat) using coax output seems to be the best-recommended option I could find. It does sound better into that same Oppo than the native Oppo streamer, and thus much better than the CCA.

Using the CCA as a bridge feeding a well-designed DAC should be fine; jitter should be filtered out. IIRC there are measurements on ASR that also praise Roon’s implementation.

Edit: Here’s the link.

Noah,

All USBridge Signature (new all in one box), Have you looked at this option?

Thanks again for your comments.

Greg