Originally Posted by pjp
Truer words were never spoken. I love, love, love Chromecast Audio -- have it on a tube-based two channel system, a theater system, and (soon to be) a deck system. Better sound quality than bluetooth, you control it with the convenience of your phone as a remote, and (unlike bluetooth) you can walk away with your phone and it just keeps on playing. Also (although I haven't tried this yet), you can group CA's to play the same content for whole-house audio or partial house audio. I'm using the optical out on one CA into a DAC and that works great also.
As much as I love Chromecast Audio, I'm not sure what bit rate you get out of it for either Tidal or Spotify Premium. Spotify Premium will go up to 320kbps on a smartphone when you select extreme mode, but there are no sound quality controls when streaming through CA and it isn't clear what the default bit rate is (my ears say it's less than 320kbps for Spotify Premium, I don't have Tidal, so can't comment on that). I wish my DAC displayed bit rate, then I would know, but it does not.
All true, it is useful for more than just “adding wi-fi audio capability to non-wireless speakers.” I don’t know the specs, but you can enable “high quality audio” on a CCA in teh Google Home app; “high quality audio” is enabled automagically if you use the TOSlink connection. Both my 1gen CC and CCA send PCM to my AVR and the AVR doesn’t indicate bitrate. :-\
You can group a CCA with other speakers in Google Home, but that capability was extended to all but the first gen of Chromecasts last year. The CCA, for the same $35, was an economical way to provide multiroom wi-fi playback to older speakers, absolutely agree with others on that. I got one for $15 over the holidays from Google, I now wish i’d bought a few.…
Originally Posted by _tk
You'd be better off paying a slight premium for a CC Audio on ebay though. Once you figure in the cost of the CC, a decent HDMI to analog converter, you'd have more plugs, more wires and more cost. And I'm not sure if sound would be any better as the DAC in the CC Audio wasn't horrible.
The market is ripe for a CC Audio replacement. I don't think people realized how nice and easy those things really were.
Perhaps, but if the cost of a CCA from some vendor exceeds a Chromecast and DAC from Monoprice ($15 when I was considering one last year), then I’m skeptical. An HDMI CC can be repurposed, while a CCA is pretty much single purpose. YMMV.