Chromecast Audio sound quality

There should be no difference in SQ between your Meridian and Chromecast Audio. If they measure the same, all should sound the same.


You need to come over and listen lol Don’t forget all the other benefits that one has to pay for :sunglasses:

1 Like

Anyone here using Chromecast audio for 24 bit 96 and 192 and not getting dropouts at least now and then? Even with ethernet now it still drops now and then. The iMac it streams from is not running any other stuff to strain CPU

1 Like

Sorry I know you’re looking for people without the dropouts, but I get them too. I think it has something to do with the Chromecast, because I was using a Sonore MicroRendu with separate DAC on the same network and there were never dropouts.

Well, something to do with the CCA and your network, perhaps. Probably different buffering strategies in the microRendu and the CCA, so given a particular network you might get dropouts with one and not the other. Diffferent protocols, too, I think. I see no dropouts with a WiFi-connected CCA, but I only (mainly) do 16/44, and it’s 8 feet from my pretty powerful WiFi modem.

1 Like

This thread about Chromecast Audio Dropouts from last summer indicates the dropouts using the CCA’s toslink ( optical ) output are due to a bug in Google’s code.


1 Like

Perhaps the very new DACs have perfected jitter rejection. However, my somewhat old Dangerous Music Source and Emotiva DC-1 sound different between inputs and transports used. I think these were launched around early 2010s. With both of these, I definitely prefer my Bryston BDP-1 feeding AES over the optical output from various Samsung TVs, IPTV, or PS3, or Marantz CD5004 coax output. The BDP sounds slower and locked in and lets me listen longer without fatigue. The other devices including USB from MacBook Pro and iMac with or without Jitterbug doesn’t quite get there in long term listening. They get fatiguing or I lose interest over time.

1 Like

I (inadvertently) made a comparison.
In a secondary room I have a fairly old Bel Canto DAC, with very limited USB capability because in those days USB was just emerging.
I feed it with an even older Meridian MS600, and have to use coax SPDIF.

I tested with the CCA optical, and it was noticeably worse.

But then I tried the CCA with my modern Chord Hugo 2, optical, compared with a MicroRendu over USB and found no differences.

My theory is that the old DAC is more sensitive to jitter than the new one, and the MS600 is better in that respect than the CCA.

Btw: why does jitter matter? When they invented digital music and SPDIF connection, they made the bad engineering decision to let the source control the timing. Probably influenced by turntables, where you invest in fancy mechanical engineering for stability. So people bought expensive CD players with heavy platter mechanisms. You have a digital technology, sensitive to timing at the picosecond level, and you try to solve that with a mechanical device? Stupid. Everything should be asynch, like modern USB and networks, and the DAC is responsible for its own timing. Anyway, in a classical DAC design, timing errors translate directly to amplitude errors (distortion) because they work with ramped signals — I remember reading this some twenty years ago, don’t remember exactly how.

How doesn’t matter. Jitter matters for SPDIF (including optical), more or less depending on the DAC design. Not for USB or network because they have no jitter. They cannot, because they are asynchronous. Wikipedia: jitter is the deviation from true periodicity of a presumably periodic signal. The network is not presumed periodic.

1 Like

My opinion is, in this age, we can effectively forget about jitter, especially over a 1m interconnect. It’s hardly measurable, let alone auduable. The slight differences are heard in the analogue domain, not digital.

1 Like

Thanks @anon97951896 for directing me to the thread about the dropouts. It’s clearly a problem with high-res files only, and perhaps improved by adding a UGreen ethernet adapter, although that doesn’t seem to have worked for everybody (see Chromecast Audio dropouts), because a buggy firmware update looks to be the root cause.

I purchased a Chromecast while it was on sale before Christmas. I figured because I was simply plugging it in through my Anthem MRX710 I wouldn’t hear a difference between streamers.

The sound was a bit thin with the chromecast, so as an experiment I purchased a demo/close out bluesoind mode 2 from a local dealer and connected it via coax to the Anthem.

Now, I like to play a game with unsuspecting guests who are not “into” audio. I invite them to sit in the living room, and while I make a drink or get a snack for them I ask them to choose a song they like on my tablet. I wait until the.misoc starts to go to the kitchen. I return with drink and/or snack. After I hand it to them I take the tablet and switch the endpoint from the chromecast to the bluesound.

Without exception and without solicitation they will ask something like, “Whoa - what did you just do?”

It’s a fun game. I suggest it to all here!

1 Like

Are you saying Bluesound Node 2 sounds better than CCA as a streamer, connected via digital to the DAC?

Aren’t bits just bits? Zeroes and ones. No?

I have the Beolab90 speakers from B&O and have tried the following:

  • Roon through CCA connected with optical
  • Roon through Bluesound Node 2i with optical
  • Oppo 105D directly to BL90s with optical

Streaming Tidal (either directly or via Roon). I have to say that the difference between the CCA and Bluesound was marginal. I like to use Carla Bruni for these tests as her voice just shines on the BL90s, and all the beautiful facets sounded 99% the same. I do not have an optimal listening setup (speaker placement) these days, but really - it was odd to see this little thing feeding a set of $80K speakers so brilliantly.

The Oppo105 has become my main source of music, and to me it is superior to the two options above. If only the UI/UX of the Oppo was a bit better … their app is such a pain.

Roon tech told me stutter is a known issue for CCA at 96.

Here are some measurements which say Roon and Chromecast are excellant but use on its own is terrible

1 Like

Cool, thanks.

1 Like

Yup. I reluctantly use the Roon signal processing to downsample everything to 41 or 48 KHz so I don’t get stuttering.

Anyone still experiencing pops with Roon on CCA through the digital out? It seems to have gotten worse for me since about a month ago.

In case this hasn’t been posted yet, a very thorough review.

Very detailed including how great the implementation of roon is with it (optical out).

1 Like

Just got a CHORD Qutest DAC so no longer want to down sample or put up with GCA stuttering. Looking for a reasonable streamer solution to replace GCA.