*Official* Google Chromecast AUDIO owners thread - AVS Forum | Home Theater Discussions And Reviews
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post #1 of 587 Old 10-06-2015, 09:12 AM - Thread Starter
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*Official* Google Chromecast AUDIO owners thread

Since the standard Chromecast and Chromecast Audio have different enough purposes, I thought it might be helpful to give the Chromecast Audio its own thread.

My Chromecast Audio units arrived yesterday, and I've been having a lot of fun playing with them. I purchased 2 to start, but I'm quickly realizing that I would like to add one to each stereo around the house. My experience with them is limited, and unfortunately I don't have an measuring equipment to give you raw data, but so far I'm pretty impressed. Here's what I've learned so far.

-The form factor is awesome! With its diminutive size, you could slap these things in any nook and cranny. Seriously. You can put these things pretty much anywhere. If you're talking multi-zone functionality, this could be really nice if space is an issue. Also, compare the heat output of having something like 6 Sonos Connects (which is actually put out quite a bit of heat even when not in use) vs 6 of these. Size and heat wise, there's no comparison.

-Optical out is a go! It's easy to use with S/PDIF digital optical using a simple converter. I'm using these: http://www.monoprice.com/product?p_id=2671 At, $0.89 a piece, there's no excuse NOT to if you have an optical input and a spare cable. You can also buy a mini-toslink to toslink cable for dirt cheap, too. I did a side by side comparison of the sound quality using the standard 3.5mm jack versus the optical, and as anybody could have predicted, I perceive less noise and the volume is much better on the receiver end using the optical cable.

-Unbelievably easy and quick to setup. I was expecting the setup to be at least a LITTLE bit more involved. Nope. It took me MAYBE around a minute each to get them connected to my wifi, set up, and updated.

-Usability doesn't get much easier than this. My technologically impaired wife had zero problem getting her tunes to play in our livingroom, and we're both enjoying "Casting" our audio streams to the stereo of our choice, at this time, simply labeled "Living Room" and "Basement." More to come for sure.

-Sound quality is actually better than I was expecting. According to one review I read, as well as Google Support (https://support.google.com/chromecas.../6279377?hl=en), Chromecast Audio supports 24-bit/96kHz audio. VERY nice!!!

-The included USB power cable was much longer than I was expecting, at a healthy 6 feet. I had no problem placing it anywhere I wanted to. I just stuck one behind one of my TVs for now, and the other is just sitting next my old receiver.

-Wifi connection is superb. I have a pretty good size house. One of the units is in the far reach of the basement, is on the opposite side of the house from the router, and the wifi signal there is not great. I've had no dropouts or lack of sound quality. I remember reading that Google was apparently pretty proud of their wifi technology in both of their new Chromecasts. I'd say they were right. It really is very good.

Now, one of my biggest questions was how would it compare to the excellent Sonos Connect? I've been wanting to implement a 6 Zone WHA system at my house, and have been looking into every option out there. At $35 versus $350, I have no reason to complain, BUT I will at least give my thoughts. As of today, there is no room grouping, but Google says they will be releasing an update this Fall that will address that. That is my biggest issue with it at the moment. Also, where I will admit that Sonos is better is the App in which you can login to your various streaming accounts directly within the app, keeping you from having to use multiple apps. It's definitely simpler in that regard, but then again I must remind myself...Thirty...Five...dollars. On the flip side however, to be able to stream audio from just about anything using certain apps is also pretty cool! This opens up a LOT of flexibility, especially with the use of something like Plex, which I still need to try and use in conjunction with the Chromecast before commenting further on that. One of the things I'm seeing it be BETTER than Sonos on is when it comes to multiple users. With Sonos, I've experienced serious control issues when trying to go from one phone or tablet to another. I'm pleasantly surprised in that I've found the Chromecast Audio to actually function better and more seamlessly on that front, but then again, perhaps those issues aren't that widespread and more just anecdotal.

Here's hoping that Google will remain solid with the support and updates going forward. So far, they have a serious contender on their hands. For the price differential, everybody else had better be on their toes! I'm hoping that this will help spur on some more innovation from the competition, which is long overdue for some. I'll make sure and keep commenting on my experiences as time goes forward. So far, so good! Heck of a great device at just about any price, let alone $35!
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post #2 of 587 Old 10-06-2015, 06:06 PM - Thread Starter
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Well, woohoo! Right now, I'm playing 24/96 FLAC files (downloaded from HDTracks) like a champ on this thing from my local network via Plex. Looking more and more like I'm gonna have to part ways with Sonos.
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post #3 of 587 Old 10-07-2015, 04:07 AM
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Thanks for the review.

Can you post some screenshots of the app UI for music selection and playback. Does it discover wpl playlists? Also is there a way to point at a folder and play all the tracks in that folder?

I tried to see the compatible files formats, but could not find much info.

I presume it works with other UPNP software like twonky.
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post #4 of 587 Old 10-07-2015, 04:54 PM
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I got mine this morning and got to play with it about two hours before I had to come to work. I am ADHD when it comes to selecting one product line for entertainment. I have a Windows machine, Google accounts, Apple iOS devices, Plex, Rokus, and AirPlay devices. So I've always been looking for a devices that's friendly to all of them.

Here's a couple observations:

1. Setup easy. However, my AirPort express required a firmware rollback to work. Luckily, I found this out on the Google product info page before I pulled my hair out. Reception great.

2. From my iPhone, quickly installed the Chromecast app. Found my device right away. Streams google music like a champ, super fast and great quality. Again, you can

3. Unable to stream local music from my iPhone to the Chromecast. I was surprised by this, because I thought it could do that.

4. Plex streams wonderfully via iOS or from the Windows interface. Streamed a 24/96 file instantly. I'm assuming this wasn't transcoded down, so now I'm excited to acquire some more high res files and see if I can tell a difference. (I was using the optical out on the device into my AVR).

5. Youtube did not offer casting to me, which is strange, because I thought I saw a guy on the internet cast with his Android phone. I know they really don't want Youtube casting because of sync issues between Audio & Video. I get that.

6. Spotify: Weird. Spotify program for Windows doesn't offer casting. Spotify for iPhone works, but ONLY if you have a premium account, which I don't. Thankfully, the Spotify extension in Chrome casts just fine.

7. Subsonic: A program to I use to stream all my music to anywhere. Works great in Chrome, but my iOS app doesn't support it. Hunting now for an app that might. This would really be killer if I could just stream my local collections around the house from my phone. I didn't get a chance to test streaming high res FLAC.

8. SiriusXM: No casting from iOS, but casting from a Chrome tab works great.

9. Pandora streams great from iOS and Chrome.

So in quick conclusion, I suspect that more and more apps will offer Chromecast support as they come out, but will Apple? Highly doubt it, as they don't want anything competing with AirPlay. Otherwise, they'd be encouraging you to buy a $35 Google product over their $99 AppleTv.
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post #5 of 587 Old 10-12-2015, 11:27 AM
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How does the DAC in the chromecast audio compare to the DAC in an older (2012 DENON)? Should one go optically to the denon or rely on the built in DAC which (being more modern) could be better?
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post #6 of 587 Old 10-12-2015, 04:16 PM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by raoul View Post
How does the DAC in the chromecast audio compare to the DAC in an older (2012 DENON)? Should one go optically to the denon or rely on the built in DAC which (being more modern) could be better?
I'm not sure about an internal DAC, but after trying both connection options side by side, I can say with confidence that you should be better off going with the optical cable if you have that available.
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post #7 of 587 Old 10-13-2015, 12:05 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Montucky View Post
I'm not sure about an internal DAC, but after trying both connection options side by side, I can say with confidence that you should be better off going with the optical cable if you have that available.
Did you enable the "high dynamic range" option on the analog out?
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post #8 of 587 Old 10-15-2015, 10:17 PM
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I have wanting a Sonos or a blue sound , but I might have to try this out , would a external dac sound better or just use the dac in my marantz 7008?
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post #9 of 587 Old 10-16-2015, 07:06 AM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by nesto719 View Post
I have wanting a Sonos or a blue sound , but I might have to try this out , would a external dac sound better or just use the dac in my marantz 7008?
I have yet to test it with an external DAC, but since it can output at 24-bit/96KHZ, I doubt that at least I would be able to discern any audible difference. Thus, I'd suggest just using the interal DAC in your Marantz.

At 1/10th the price of a Sonos Connect, definitely try out the Chromecast Audio first. I have lots of first hand experience with both, and I've moved on from Sonos altogether. I just can't justify the price any more now that this has come out. The biggest difference is the interface. Sonos works really well, but is it worth paying 10x as much to have one app handle it all? For me, it was not. I'm actually starting to even prefer the added flexibility of being able to use whatever app I want to. Once Google comes out with the update to group units, then it's game over for the Sonos Connect once the word really gets out about these handy little CC Audios.
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post #10 of 587 Old 10-16-2015, 07:11 AM
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I like using the analog out for two reasons

1) I can overlay music from it with video from my htpc. Good for playing music before a football game

2) Being an analog source means I can use it at zone 2. I can "cast" music from Plex to my htpc, but thats a digital source.

I will be interested in getting a second one for the living room and a third for the patio/dining room once they update their software.

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post #11 of 587 Old 10-16-2015, 07:57 AM
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[QUOTE=Montucky;38117521]I have yet to test it with an external DAC, but since it can output at 24-bit/96KHZ, I doubt that at least I would be able to discern any audible difference. Thus, I'd suggest just using the interal DAC in your Marantz.

At 1/10th the price of a Sonos Connect, definitely try out the Chromecast Audio first. I have lots of first hand experience with both, and I've moved on from Sonos altogether. I just can't justify the price any more now that this has come out. The biggest difference is the interface. Sonos works really well, but is it worth paying 10x as much to have one app handle it all? For me, it was not. I'm actually starting to even prefer the added flexibility of being able to use whatever app I want to. Once Google comes out with the update to group units, then it's game over for the Sonos Connect once the word really gets out about these handy little CC Audios.[/ so with a chromcast will you be using the native app from the phone ,or is it a dumbed down version , like Spotify is in Roku, Sonos????? How is the app on Sonos better??
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post #12 of 587 Old 10-16-2015, 07:59 AM
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[QUOTE=Montucky;38117521]I have yet to test it with an external DAC, but since it can output at 24-bit/96KHZ, I doubt that at least I would be able to discern any audible difference. Thus, I'd suggest just using the interal DAC in your Marantz.

At 1/10th the price of a Sonos Connect, definitely try out the Chromecast Audio first. I have lots of first hand experience with both, and I've moved on from Sonos altogether. I just can't justify the price any more now that this has come out. The biggest difference is the interface. Sonos works really well, but is it worth paying 10x as much to have one app handle it all? For me, it was not. I'm actually starting to even prefer the added flexibility of being able to use whatever app I want to. Once Google comes out with the update to group units, then it's game over for the Sonos Connect once the word really gets out about these handy little CC Audios.[/ so with a chromcast will you be using the native app from the phone ,or is it a dumbed down version , like Spotify is in Roku, Sonos????? How is the app on Sonos better??
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post #13 of 587 Old 10-16-2015, 09:56 AM - Thread Starter
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so with a chromcast will you be using the native app from the phone ,or is it a dumbed down version , like Spotify is in Roku, Sonos????? How is the app on Sonos better??
No dumbed down versions. Just the native apps. Lots of them have already incorporated Chromecast support, which is basically the addition of a "Cast" button within the app. I wouldn't say the Sonos app is "better" per se, but many people do understandably like having one simple interface to be able to control all of their preferred streaming services. That is nice. However, like you say, it can be dumbed down essentially. Using native apps definitely can give you superior control over your streaming. There's a case to be made for both. I can see why the masses like Sonos for sure. Like many here though, I'm the oddball that doesn't mind things a tad more complex if it means more bang for the buck. And by "more complex," I simply mean having to use different apps for the different streaming services. Not hard for the majority of us, but hard enough for the types of people who can't figure out how to do anything remotely technical. Haha.

There's another really nice feature I've played with a bit: Guest mode. You can let your guests share their tunes on your stereo WITHOUT having to give them access to your wifi. While usually we don't have a problem sharing our wifi, sometimes we may not want to...especially at a party. Either way, this is a way easier to share access to your Chromecast Audio without having to worry about sharing a convoluted password, or compromising your security at all. https://support.google.com/chromecas.../6279388?hl=en
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post #14 of 587 Old 10-18-2015, 04:54 PM
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Does anyone know anything about this DAC (AKM AK4430 192kHz 24-Bit Stereo DAC) in the Chromecast Audio?
I'm not too familiar with the world of DACs so I'm unaware of AKM as a manufacturer on the whole.
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post #15 of 587 Old 10-19-2015, 08:51 AM - Thread Starter
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Does anyone know anything about this DAC (AKM AK4430 192kHz 24-Bit Stereo DAC) in the Chromecast Audio?
I'm not too familiar with the world of DACs so I'm unaware of AKM as a manufacturer on the whole.
Here is everything you'd ever want to know about that chip. Happy reading!
http://www.akm.com/akm/en/file/datasheet/AK4430ET.pdf

This was also a fun read: The teardowns of both Chromecast versions. The Audio is remarkably similar internally, but minus the HDMI and plus the addition of the DAC.
https://www.ifixit.com/Teardown/Chro...Teardown/50189
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post #16 of 587 Old 10-19-2015, 09:12 AM
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If I had to make a totally uneducated guess about that DAC manufacturer, I'd guess their products show up in cell phones, tablets, and other portable digital media players.

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post #17 of 587 Old 10-19-2015, 03:50 PM
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Picked on up today and started fiddling with it. Analog sound quality is quite good (use high dynamic range setting). Hooked up to an amp in my Garage, it about blew me out starting with volume at 100%! The audio out is powerful enough to drive a pair of headphones with no additional amp.

Bubble UPNP on my android tablet works OK, but it seems a little buggy. Very long pause between hitting the play button and getting audio. Also a long pause when hitting 'next track' button. I'll have to look around for other control options. Volume seems to always start at 100%... that is annoying. It would be nice to have a setting on the Chromecast itself for initial volume level. Also for some reason I kept having 'browser errors' when trying to browse my Serviio music server, might just be my tablet or the app.

I tried the Chromecast app's 'audio mirror' function, which routes all tablet audio to the Chromecast. That resulted in a muted sound, maybe just a lower volume but I don't think it is an optimal way to use it for now.
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post #18 of 587 Old 10-20-2015, 12:44 PM
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Thoughts on turning this into a poor-man's Sonos setup? Could you pick up a handful of these, along with some powered speakers, and stick them in different rooms around the house?

I think the styling of the Sonos speakers is pretty good. What options would you suggest for powered speakers that would work well in a system like this?
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post #19 of 587 Old 10-20-2015, 12:55 PM
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The Chromecast app needs an update to get syncing around the house working. As far as I can tell you can only "cast" to one target at a time now.

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post #20 of 587 Old 10-20-2015, 04:13 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by amheck View Post
Thoughts on turning this into a poor-man's Sonos setup? Could you pick up a handful of these, along with some powered speakers, and stick them in different rooms around the house?

I think the styling of the Sonos speakers is pretty good. What options would you suggest for powered speakers that would work well in a system like this?
Grab any decent bookshelf speakers and a Lepai 2020 amp and you are off to the races....cheaply. Of course, as was mentioned, you will not have syncing for multiple rooms. Google is working on that and I wouldn't hold my breath.
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post #21 of 587 Old 10-22-2015, 07:39 AM
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I had started building a collection of LG music flow speakers when this was announced. So far, those just show up like regular Chromecast targets and are not integrated into the Chromecast app. I'm hoping they will update the software for the speakers to act more like the Chromecast audio (controllable through the Chromecast app and streaming separately from the device) and also to integrate into the upcoming multiroom solution with Chromecast audio (and spare me from the LG Music app...)

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post #22 of 587 Old 10-30-2015, 06:22 AM
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Got the Chromecast audio and it is the biggest peace of junk ever. I hooked it up to my boombox and ran the terrible Chromecast app on my Nexus 6 and it did not find it. Even deleted the data and reinstalling it found nothing. I then went on my PC and I was able to set it up but my phone did not find it again until I turned off the Wifi and turned it on again. Casted the audio through the phone with RadioTunes and it worked fine but battery life sucked. 7 minutes of streaming drained it 2%. Another 15 minutes about 4%. This rate it is over 10% a hour. So then I tried Play Music using the built in casting feature on the app and it sounded great but battery life was not great. Listened to a album and the battery drained 2% which is what I get with a direct connect. The I tried TuneIn playing music but I could not control the volume. iHeart radio would not even play certain stations either unless I uncasted them. They just loaded a spinning circle. All it did was control the notification volume and made my phone go into vibrate mode. Googled it which was a waste of time. Crap old results, reviews and Chromecast TV links with there own crappy search engine. Then I tried other apps same thing could not control the volume without the screen on and in the app. Even if I go into another app the volume controlled only my phone. Meanwhile my battery life went down 10% in less than 30 minutes. After rebooting my phone I had a battery gap which meant sudden wakelock causing battery drain.

Also I nearly blew out my boombox speakers 3 times when the volume defaults to 100% after casting something which is the stupidest thing ever. Even Bluetooth defaults to at least 40% volume.

Disconnected, hooked up my aux cable to my phone headphone jack when I use it and packed this thing up again. I can't return it as I bought it from Google Play. Also Amazon does not sell it which is why you can't find crap on how horrible it is. Googling just gets me paid shill link reviews not mentioning chit about not being able to control the volume with the phone, massive battery drain and poor performances in apps. Google search is as smart as a cockroach when the words are too common like "chrome" "cast" and "audio". Bing was a bit better giving me a link on XDA Forums with some issues but not mine.

Also forgot to say the only reason why I bought this thing was because when plugged into the headphone jack hooked up to a stereo I get annoying popping sound everytime I change tracks. I can deal with that if it means reliable audio.

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post #23 of 587 Old 10-30-2015, 06:39 AM
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Does this setting help with the ultra loud volume?

https://support.google.com/chromecas.../6290498?hl=en

Quote:
Note: Many common speaker systems such as desktop computer speakers, docking speakers, portable and Bluetooth speakers are not built to support such a high dynamic range, causing the volume level to be very loud and sound to be somewhat distorted. Please avoid turning this setting on in those cases.

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post #24 of 587 Old 10-30-2015, 06:44 AM
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Got the Chromecast audio and it is the biggest peace of junk ever. I hooked it up to my boombox and ran the terrible Chromecast app on my Nexus 6 and it did not find it. Even deleted the data and reinstalling it found nothing. I then went on my PC and I was able to set it up but my phone did not find it again until I turned off the Wifi and turned it on again. Casted the audio through the phone with RadioTunes and it worked fine but battery life sucked. 7 minutes of streaming drained it 2%. Another 15 minutes about 4%. This rate it is over 10% a hour. So then I tried Play Music using the built in casting feature on the app and it sounded great but battery life was not great. Listened to a album and the battery drained 2% which is what I get with a direct connect. The I tried TuneIn playing music but I could not control the volume. iHeart radio would not even play certain stations either unless I uncasted them. They just loaded a spinning circle. All it did was control the notification volume and made my phone go into vibrate mode. Googled it which was a waste of time. Crap old results, reviews and Chromecast TV links with there own crappy search engine. Then I tried other apps same thing could not control the volume without the screen on and in the app. Even if I go into another app the volume controlled only my phone. Meanwhile my battery life went down 10% in less than 30 minutes. After rebooting my phone I had a battery gap which meant sudden wavelock causing battery drain.

Also I nearly blew out my boombox speakers 3 times when the volume defaults to 100% after casting something which is the stupidest thing ever. Even Bluetooth defaults to at least 40% volume.

Disconnected, hooked up my aux cable to my phone headphone jack when I use it and packed this thing up again. I can't return it as I bought it from Google Play. Also Amazon does not sell it which is why you can't find crap on how horrible it is. Googling just gets me paid shill link reviews not mentioning chit about not being able to control the volume with the phone, massive battery drain and poor performances in apps. Google search is as smart as a cockroach when the words are too common like "chrome" "cast" and "audio". Bing was a bit better giving me a link on XDA Forums with some issues but not mine.

Also forgot to say the only reason why I bought this thing was because when plugged into the headphone jack hooked up to a stereo I get annoying popping sound everytime I change tracks. I can deal with that if it means reliable audio.

Seems like its a problem with your phone, not the chromecast itself. Are your phone and the cast on the same Wifi band (2.4GHz / 5 Ghz) ? Some routers dont play well with CC devices on different bands. A quick google shows that you arent the only one having issues with CC and the Nexus 6. Do you have another phone you can try? I have none of the issues you experienced using my CCA with my Droid Maxx and Droid Turbo. It works flawlessly.
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post #25 of 587 Old 10-30-2015, 07:43 AM
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Mine works flawlessly with a nexus 6 running stock. Once the music is started I can exit Google play music on my phone and it will keep playing on the CCA and I can control it via Chromecast app on my tablet. No battery drain on my phone. Not sure why you're having such a bad time with it...

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post #26 of 587 Old 10-30-2015, 09:36 PM
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Google Play Music is the only app that works flawless on the Chromecast audio. The other apps won't let me control the volume unless I have the screen on and I am in the app and some station don't play when casting.

Quote:
quick google shows that you arent the only one having issues with CC and the Nexus 6.
Not me when I search all I get are paid shill reviews saying the new Chromecast audio is the best device ever.

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post #27 of 587 Old 10-31-2015, 05:30 PM
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Got the CC Audio hooked up to my receiver's analogs today. Just in time to pipe out some scary sound effects streaming from Songza app. Great little device and sure to get the hairs standing on end tonight as they come up to the house for candy. Have a safe Halloween everyone!
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post #28 of 587 Old 11-01-2015, 06:26 AM
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Hooked up the Chromecast audio yesterday and used it all day on Google Play Music. It worked great. Last night I wanted to listen to Slacker Radio which has Chromecast support and for the life of me it refused to show up on the Chromecast audio. It only showed up on Google Play Music. I had to disconnect it again and connect it back using the AUX cable. The issue with this thing is that the apps don't have proper support for the Chromecast audio.

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post #29 of 587 Old 11-01-2015, 07:23 AM
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That, and you can't stream spotify unless you're a premium user.

I've mirrored my phone as a workaround, but that negates the benefits of being able to cast music and take a phone call if needs be.
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post #30 of 587 Old 11-01-2015, 10:45 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by amatuerholic View Post
That, and you can't stream spotify unless you're a premium user.

I've mirrored my phone as a workaround, but that negates the benefits of being able to cast music and take a phone call if needs be.
Thank you a real honest comment. I too can use the mirroring feature but what is the point if I take a phone call. Also the battery drain is much worse when mirroring so I rather just do what I normally do and just plug the AUX cable into the headphone jack which gives me the same results with phone calls but the audio quality is more reliable.

Also the most honest YouTube reviewer actually having problems with the Chromecast Audio. Skip to the 10 minute mark for the honest Chromecast Audio review.
He does say that it is more of the apps fault which I agree and that the product is too new. I will wait a few months too see if the device matures more with updates but right now I don't recommend for people that have easy access to a using a AUX cable on the headphone jack.

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Last edited by reddice; 11-01-2015 at 10:49 AM.
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