Gaia and the Chromecast Audio

Chromecast Audio: An Affordable Sound Upgrade

I mentioned on a previous post about buying a Chromecast Audio unit. Well, after a couple of weeks testing at my living room at my new apartment, I am quite enjoying my hi-res streaming on my system! And it took only $35.00 USD to do it.

Small, easy to hide, and only needs to get plugged in a power jack and an audio jack, you can easy stream your music without loss of quality (up to 24-bit/96kHz). You also need wireless internet setup in your place for it to work. If you have a hybrid wire and wireless system (like for gaming), it still works, I tried connecting my wired PC and wireless Chromecast and everything runs smoothly!

Wireless Streaming in HiRes?

There are other systems, like the Sonos System that is designed so that you can stream in high quality to all over your place. But for most people the price tag is rather high ($200 for just a speaker to start). You would also need to buy their equipment for wireless playback, so what about your system that sounds just fine?

Also, I like my music, but I also like to eat and pay for rent while I am at it. I have spent much on Blu-Rays, Video Games, HiRes albums and CDs, and the list goes on.

Enter the Chromecast Audio, where all you need to do is plug in to your existing system and instant wireless streaming. Mine is just plugged into my Yamaha receiver and now my basic home theater is ready for music playback from my computer or my smartphone.

I can even use my phone as a remote, playing music from my PC or from my phone, complete with album art and information. Before I would need to attach a cable from my phone to my home theatre unit, and would need and extra-long cord. But now I can just place my phone anywhere in my place and not worry about disconnections.

Chromecast Audio hooked up

So small, so easily hidden!

Setting Up

Setup is pretty straightforward, just follow the directions for setting up on your Chrome browser, which will also tell you when your Chromecast is ready to go. You would just need to know your network login credentials, and give a unique name to your Chromecast, and test the sound output.

I am very glad Google did not over-complicate this nifty device. Making it easy and affordable was my biggest draw.

Workaround for Foobar2000

I mainly use Foobar2000 as my default player for music playback, but setting up to stream is not automatic. Sure from the previous step you can stream whatever is played on your Chrome browser. Youtube and streaming services are fine, but what about your HiRes collection?

Fortunately I found way to stream via a program called BubbleUPnP. Here are the steps you need in order to stream your music files from your Foobar list on your Windows machine (assuming your Chromecast Audio is already setup for your system):

  1. Setup BubbleUPnP on both your Windows PC and your android device (I used my smartphone).
  2. Get the UPnP plugin for Foobar, and install it (will require to restart Foobar).
  3. Once setup, run both programs on both your PC and android device.
  4. On your android, make sure your renderer (where the sound will go to) is the Chromecast Audio.
  5. Tweak some settings (otherwise the default output will be CD-quality), up to 24bit/96kHz.

Difference in quality streaming

(make sure your HiRes files has 24/96 as output)

What About Video?

I have thought about getting the regular Chromecast, but since the announcement for the 4k-capable Chromecast Ultra, I decided to hold off on that. The main reason I want the audio was so I can stream in HiRes (as opposed to Bluetooth) while I was away from my room, such as cooking, or making model kits in a larger area, or just playing my stuff for friends in a bigger area.

I have a computer as well as a PS3 and 4 in the living room in case to play streaming video or blu-rays. Getting a Chromecast would make the effort much easier. But after seeing how well the Chromecast Audio device works seamlessly with mys system, perhaps I will get the 4k Chromecast later when it becomes available (well I would need to get a 4k TV first though).

Satisfactory Audio Upgrade

Wireless streaming HiRes audio in my living room is such a great and convenient experience, and just using my smartphone as a remote. But best of all, it was just a $35.00 expense! Glad I didn’t break the bank just to upgrade my system (like with spending more than $1000 on a Sonos system).

Get one yourself, and hear how such a small device can improve your listening experience.