Chromecast Audio x RaspberryPi SQ

How much of a difference would there be in sound quality terms between a RaspberryPi versus the Chromecast Audio? The latter seems cheaper (there are plenty for sale on Ebay) and more convenient (no assembly, though less flexibility/upgrades).

I’ll be using it with the optical input of the Chord Mojo and will basically be listening to Tidal and some 16/44 stuff I have downloaded. No need for MQA/hi-res/DSD etc.

Any comments highly appreciated!


Hi Sergio. Since both the Pi and Chromecast are just digital transport in this setup, I don’t think there’ll be any differences between the two. This assumes the Chord handles USB and optical equally well.


Chromecast Audio is limited to 24/96, and, 24/96 can be flaky on some of them.



if you can swing the cost for the RaspberryPi I would definitely choose that over the Chromecast.

Not because of the sound quality as @Marian has pointed out, but for a few other reasons including stability as eluded by @Rugby.

The RaspberryPI will provide you so many more options, configurations and compatibility longterm and works great with the Chord Mojo.


Summary conclusions…

  1. The CAST audio functionality of Google Chrome is horrid. There is no excuse for it to be butchering even simple 16-bit signals as it did. While audibly it is not as dire as it looks, I still would avoid it if you can.

  2. Roon’s implementation of Chromecast streaming is superb. It is bit accurate up to 24 bits and 48 kHz that I tested. Congratulations to Roon for job well done. I assume they received support from Google to implement it as the protocol otherwise is not open to the public.

  3. The Chromecast output has more jitter than an audiophile/instrument grade Toslink output. This is evident when used with low quality DACs like Schiit Modi 2 Uber.

  4. Using a well-designed Dac like the Topping D50, there is no difference at all between Toslink from Chromecast or higher fidelity sources. All the jitter is filtered out resulting in the performance of the DAC itself being the limit.

#4 is a great news here. It means that if you have a good DAC and use Roon, you can turn your DAC into a streamer/renderer using the Chromecast Audio. For just $35, that is a superb addition. As such, the combination of Roon and Chromecase audio is highly recommended!

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I see. It’s less a matter of cost and more of simplicity, really. I’ll use it in my headphone system, which is modest (as is my living room one), so I’m leaning towards the CCA. Also, I’m beyond hopeless in terms of putting things together.


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A problem with Chromecast Audio is that it doesn’t support gapless playback (ability to play continuously from one track to the next without interruption). This makes CCA a showstopper for me except for playing internet radio and podcasts. I listen primarily to classical music, and record labels sometimes split long movements into multiple tracks. Playing a CD, or streaming directly on the Qobuz or Tidal app, it will play through continuously. However, played on CCA (including through Roon) there is a brief pause between tracks that interrupts the music. The problem isn’t limited to classical music. Some artists such as Pink Floyd and the Beatles have albums where some songs run together without pause. Audio should also be continuous in many recordings of live concerts.

The notion that all sources sound the same is not true, its going to depend on how well your DAC handles noise and jitter.

I corrected my post because ASR shows ‘OK’ measurements for the Chromecast via Roon > analog. But its DAC dependant.

I would personally use a RPI4, for added functionality, lower jitter, the ability to run open source software, and the ability to add HAT’s if you need.

If you run a CCA, make sure your DAC has good immunity to jitter and noise.