Chromecast Audio 23-Zone Whole House Conversion Project - Page 2 - AVS Forum | Home Theater Discussions And Reviews
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post #31 of 70 Old 04-05-2018, 06:12 AM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by madbrain View Post
I received my new Asus ZenPad 10 Z301MF about an hour ago. Just finished with all OS updates and my initial testing.

Good news : was able to do audio casting to CCA just fine with the Google Home app. And the Dish Anywhere app works on it, too. Same time delay as I get on my phone, seems to be 1-2s, not too bad . This is mostly to listen to recordings of TV comedy programs when I cook or do chores, at which point I'm not looking at the screen most of the time. Sometimes I glance a bit.

The screen is a bit dim even at the highest brightness, but I guess that's because it's IPS. The 1920x1200 resolution and 16:10 aspect ratio is pretty good for video - I can watch a program and still have the Android home/back buttons at the bottom due to the extra lines .

Good to see it has a USB type C connector like all our 2 phones - no need to carry micro USB cables anymore . No QuickCharge as it uses a MediaTek chipset. It came about 60% charged and I haven't charge dit yet.

Wifi is only 802.11n and not AC, but still supports the 5 GHz band. That part is a bit disappointing, but it was in the specs. I just tested it near my hot tub (on top of the closed cover) and it still got 3-4 bars of Wifi and 135 Mbps link rate. It was able to stream HD from Dish anywhere and send the sound to the CCA from there. Might be a slightly different story once it's in the waterproof case. Hope it will still be good. Even Wifi AC phones will lose Wifi when inside a case, and completely submerged underwater. That's not a common use case, though

The cameras are the worst I have seen in any device in a very long time. Especially the horrible front camera that not only maxes at 1600x1200 for stills, and 640x480 for video, but also has a horrible amount of noise, rendering most of those pixels useless. Might as well not have a front camera at all. The rear camera may be 5MP, but probably compares to my 2008 T-mobile G1's 3MP camera. Really not a device you want to use for shooting any stills or video. I have used my old iPad 2 for Skype calls before and the cameras were much better on it, and that was a very old device already. I gave that iPad 2 to my mom last Xmas.

Thanks for doing the testing and pointing me in the direction of the ZenPad ! I was really getting desperate that this was ever going to be solved with the poor Samsung tablet support & Google Home support situation. I hope this tablet will last. It's a little pricey for what it is. The Galaxy Tab 10.1 at Costco had a comparable price tag, and was comparably better in terms of display, Wifi and especially cameras. Just couldn't handle Google home casting, which is why it went back, along with the Tab S3.
Great review on the ZenTab 10 and I'm really glad it worked for your core CCA apps! It's crazy that the other tablet options wouldn't play well with casting. I was OK with the price point on the 8" since I'm mostly using it as a glorified remote for the CCA system (and some occasional video), but I would also have flinched a little at the $$$ for the 10. I can't believe in today's world that a major tech company would send out any piece of gear with lousy cameras ... makes no sense!

I forgot to mention that I had actually demo'd a Fire HD 8 that I hacked to get access to the Google Play Store. I wish now that I had hung on to it longer so I could do additional testing on some of the apps we've been talking about. It was working fine for me for basic CCA casting, but I just couldn't get past all the Amazon junk loaded on the device so I sent it back. There also wasn't really a compelling price gap between the HD 8 without ads vs the ZenPad 8.
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post #32 of 70 Old 04-05-2018, 03:01 PM
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Madbrain, did the device switch also fix your reliability problem with casting itself? I know you had issues with lots of hardwired chromecasts, and was wondering if they all are solid now that you are using the Asus?

Also, was the galaxy tab A running Marshmallow or Nougat?

thx
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post #33 of 70 Old 04-05-2018, 04:47 PM
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Originally Posted by MikeSM View Post
Madbrain, did the device switch also fix your reliability problem with casting itself? I know you had issues with lots of hardwired chromecasts, and was wondering if they all are solid now that you are using the Asus?

Also, was the galaxy tab A running Marshmallow or Nougat?

thx
mike
The main problems I have had are with Tidal. I haven't tried them on the Asus tablet yet. JRiver had problems but I abandoned that app.
Device audio casting works fine on the Asus.

I did see an oddity last night when the list of CCAs was refreshing very slowly and it took a long time to show them all - 20 total (15 + 3 groups + 1 Chromecast Ultra + 1 more that I think is from another device, not quite sure which).

As far as the Galaxy Tab A, it was running Nougat with latest updates (as of January). So was the Galaxy Tab S3 I also tried.
There was just no way to get device audio casting to work on those tablets, and Samsung would not help and claimed they don't support it. Google pointed to a 2-year old list of supported devices that only included very old models of tablets and phones.
Tidal worked as good or as bad on those tablets on it as it does on my smartphone (Note 8).

I think the iOS version of Tidal was actually more stable back when I had my iPad 2 and using CCA.
I just didn't want to keep a tablet that no longer had security updates, and that did not do device audio casting to CCA, since that was the only way to get audio from the Dish anywhere app to my WHA system.
Only Android can do device audio casting to CCA, not iOS. And then only very few tablets actually can, per my experience.

BTW, for those who are not aware, using Firefox with an extension on the mobile device allows you to play Youtube music videos, and let them play in the background, when combined with device audio casting.
No need to pay for Youtube red.
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post #34 of 70 Old 04-05-2018, 04:53 PM
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Originally Posted by fhcraig View Post
Great review on the ZenTab 10 and I'm really glad it worked for your core CCA apps! It's crazy that the other tablet options wouldn't play well with casting. I was OK with the price point on the 8" since I'm mostly using it as a glorified remote for the CCA system (and some occasional video), but I would also have flinched a little at the $$$ for the 10. I can't believe in today's world that a major tech company would send out any piece of gear with lousy cameras ... makes no sense!
Yeah. Just curious, how are the cameras on your ZenPad 8 ?

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I forgot to mention that I had actually demo'd a Fire HD 8 that I hacked to get access to the Google Play Store. I wish now that I had hung on to it longer so I could do additional testing on some of the apps we've been talking about. It was working fine for me for basic CCA casting, but I just couldn't get past all the Amazon junk loaded on the device so I sent it back. There also wasn't really a compelling price gap between the HD 8 without ads vs the ZenPad 8.
How hard was the hack ? There is probably a way to remove apps you don't want. I managed to remove the Samsung browser and Chrome browsers on my Note 8, without rooting the device. Just had to install some driver and part of Android SDK on my PC and run a command to remove them. These apps could not otherwise be removed in Play store or Settings/apps (and no, my ongoing CCA problems with some apps aren't caused by this, it was always messed up even before that).
Hardcore Firefox user and former developer on it. Old habits die hard.
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post #35 of 70 Old 04-05-2018, 05:18 PM
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The Zenpads certainly are a good deal for the $$. I've got three Z300M pads, bought two for my kids a while back then got one for myself. Zero problems with any of them although I'd say wifi connectivity is a bit weaker than I'd like. But nobody is complaining.

I don't use mine for casting often, usually use my phone, good to know its been handling it well.
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post #36 of 70 Old 04-05-2018, 06:45 PM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by madbrain View Post
Yeah. Just curious, how are the cameras on your ZenPad 8 ?



How hard was the hack ? There is probably a way to remove apps you don't want. I managed to remove the Samsung browser and Chrome browsers on my Note 8, without rooting the device. Just had to install some driver and part of Android SDK on my PC and run a command to remove them. These apps could not otherwise be removed in Play store or Settings/apps (and no, my ongoing CCA problems with some apps aren't caused by this, it was always messed up even before that).
Hardcore Firefox user and former developer on it. Old habits die hard.
The Amazon Fire hack was super easy. I got pointed to this "how to" https://www.howtogeek.com/232726/how...n-fire-tablet/ It worked perfectly for allowing installation of the Play Store. Once that was in place I could download all the normal apps I use (Google Home, Pandora, Spotify, ...). Granted my testing was somewhat limited and not as exhaustive as what I've done with the ZenTabs, but I didn't find any obvious CCA app integration issues.

While I was able to strip off a lot of the app "clutter", I couldn't find a way to disable / hide the underlying Fire user interface "architecture". For my use I didn't want any of the menus or apps that fall under the main Fire navigation tree "Home | Books | Video | Games | Apps". The device is intentionally Amazon centric and there was just a lot more "stuff" than I wanted visible to users. By comparison I've stripped my ZenPad down just to a very basic set of apps on a single screen. Others may like and use the other Amazon apps / features of the Fire. It just wasn't for me.

To be honest I haven't even used the cameras on the ZenPads for very much! I'm using them more as "kiosks" to provide a richer / larger user interface for more intensive music browsing than we might do on our phones. That and I swipe one of them occasionally when I want to stream Netflix if I'm travelling or somewhere in the house without a TV.

Rick

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post #37 of 70 Old 04-05-2018, 07:17 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by fhcraig View Post
The Amazon Fire hack was super easy. I got pointed to this "how to" https://www.howtogeek.com/232726/how...n-fire-tablet/ It worked perfectly for allowing installation of the Play Store. Once that was in place I could download all the normal apps I use (Google Home, Pandora, Spotify, ...). Granted my testing was somewhat limited and not as exhaustive as what I've done with the ZenTabs, but I didn't find any obvious CCA app integration issues.

While I was able to strip off a lot of the app "clutter", I couldn't find a way to disable / hide the underlying Fire user interface "architecture". For my use I didn't want any of the menus or apps that fall under the main Fire navigation tree "Home | Books | Video | Games | Apps". The device is intentionally Amazon centric and there was just a lot more "stuff" than I wanted visible to users. By comparison I've stripped my ZenPad down just to a very basic set of apps on a single screen. Others may like and use the other Amazon apps / features of the Fire. It just wasn't for me.

To be honest I haven't even used the cameras on the ZenPads for very much! I'm using them more as "kiosks" to provide a richer / larger user interface for more intensive music browsing than we might do on our phones. That and I swipe one of them occasionally when I want to stream Netflix if I'm travelling or somewhere in the house without a TV.

Rick
Seems like the Fire HD 8 goes for $95 which is $30 less than you paid for your Zenpad 8s. And those seem to be going for more now.
Fire HD 10 is $165 which is significantly less than the $219 I paid for my Zenpad 10 . Wifi is AC on it, though USB is micro, not type C. Funny that Amazon calls it 1080p when it's 1920x1200.
The camera specs for both Fire tablets look horrible - VGA front-facing, 2MP rear.

I don't suppose you tried device audio casting when you had your Fire tablet ?
Was the display any better than the Zenpad or comparable, especially in terms of brightness ?
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post #38 of 70 Old 04-06-2018, 02:58 AM
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The 23 CCA conversion is a fantastic story and I am sure that it works great!

ChromeCast Audio is revolutionary and I am a great fan, but I would humbly like to provide a different approach if you already have a WHA system installed: using a home automation hub and only a few CCAs:
https://www.avsforum.com/forum/36-hom...l#post55983992
Cheers,
Bob

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post #39 of 70 Old 04-07-2018, 11:54 AM - Thread Starter
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Seems like the Fire HD 8 goes for $95 which is $30 less than you paid for your Zenpad 8s. And those seem to be going for more now.
Fire HD 10 is $165 which is significantly less than the $219 I paid for my Zenpad 10 . Wifi is AC on it, though USB is micro, not type C. Funny that Amazon calls it 1080p when it's 1920x1200.
The camera specs for both Fire tablets look horrible - VGA front-facing, 2MP rear.

I don't suppose you tried device audio casting when you had your Fire tablet ?
Was the display any better than the Zenpad or comparable, especially in terms of brightness ?
No unfortunately I was so turned off by the Amazon UI stuff with the Fire tabs that I didn't give them a thorough "shake down"! I'm sure you don't want to test drive and return yet another tablet solution , but Amazon does make it super easy ...
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No unfortunately I was so turned off by the Amazon UI stuff with the Fire tabs that I didn't give them a thorough "shake down"! I'm sure you don't want to test drive and return yet another tablet solution , but Amazon does make it super easy ...
I may end up giving it a try. I have had some issues with my Zenpad 10 unfortunately, related to Wifi.
Sometimes, it just finds only 1 or 2 of the 20 Chromecast devices (actually 15 CCA , 1 CCU, 4 groups of CCA). And of course it's never the one I want to cast to.
If I disconnect and reconnect Wifi inside the house, it sometimes solves it, but sometimes not.
I had a terrible experience with it in my outdoor hot tub today with this. After I turned off Wifi, it wouldn't reconnect to the AP when I turned it back on.
I then rebooted it, and it automatically reconnected to Wifi, and then Google home saw all the CCA and I was able to begin streaming with Tidal.
I was getting a suntan, and the screen, even at max brightness, is extremely dim. I was able to change the Asus wallpaper to a brighter one to make it at least a little bit readable. But the Tidal app UI has a black background, and was hopeless. I had to wait for some clouds to do anything with it at all. The cast icon is very small and invisible when sun shines on the dim display on black background inside of a waterproof case. This is an issue with Tidal and all tablets in the sun, but especially this one. With my Note 8, the screen is brighter and more manageable, though icons are even smaller.
But at least the Note 8 has Wifi AC and never needs rebooting to see all the CCA.

After an hour in the hot tub, I got out with the tablet. Tidal could no longer see any CCA again. Turned off Wifi again, and then couldn't reconnect back to Wifi.
I rebooted the tablet one more time - then it got back on Wifi and saw all the CCAs. I started streaming on the "Master bathtub" CCA while taking a shower. But the sound on the outside zone (Hot tub) kept playing too, and both could be heard together through the wall. I finally ended up going to the Google Home able and was able to stop streaming on the Hot tub zone. This is unfortunately still quite flaky.
I think the Wifi in this tablet is still problematic. In my spot in the hot tub, the tablet was probably about 40ft from the nearest Orbi AP. When I got back indoors, maybe 20-25ft, and with just one wall in between the master bathroom and master closet where that Orbi AP satellite is. It's really strange that the tablet couldn't reconnect to it at that distance and with so little in between.
There is definitely something wrong with both the CCA discovery and Wifi stability on my Zenpad 10. Not sure how to fix it
Maybe it would work better if I turned off my 2 Orbi satellite APs, but then I wouldn't have any Wifi signal reaching my hot tub at all anymore - the main router would be >130ft away with many walls in between. Basically the distance between the hot tub and the main router is the longer possible distance between 2 points in my home.
And the master bathroom is nearby and far too.
Once I set a complex passphrase on my Zenpad 10 (I'm a security person after all!), rebooting it frequently just to get CCA working will no longer be an acceptable solution. I think I won't be able to see the virtual keyboard in the sun to type on, but that depends on the color scheme Asus chose for boot time. Not sure what it is but if it's on a black background, I'm screwed.

This may be partly a problem with the Wifi N support on the Netgear Orbi, but clearly it has something to do with the Zenpad too since a tablet reboot fixes things systematically every time. Most of our other Wifi devices (3 laptops, 2 smartphones) use wireless AC. The only ones that still use Wifi N are 2 Juicebox EV charging stations, and my new Panasonic DMC-GX85 MILC camera. None of the other N devices have problems, but the Juiceboxes are stationary in the garage. I have not tried the GX85 in any other area than my home office, 12ft from the main AP. It didn't have any problem transferring files over Wifi onto the wired desktop PCs. Though popping the SD card out is much faster than Wifi N. 4K videos shot in 100 Mbit rate download at about 0.25x on Wifi N with it. Vs about 8x with the SD card.

It could be that the Ethernet/Wifi MAC bridging support in the Orbi is broken on Wifi N, but works OK on Wifi AC. That would explain why the smartphones that are on Wifi AC see the CCAs. Since the Amazon tablet claims to have Wifi AC support, it may work better. That's assuming it can cast device audio at all ... Display is IPS and likely similarly dim.
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post #41 of 70 Old 04-09-2018, 10:27 PM
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OP, will your setup allow you to use a TV signal (from a cable or DirecTV box) as an input source that can be pushed to any zone?
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post #42 of 70 Old 04-10-2018, 12:14 AM
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OP, will your setup allow you to use a TV signal (from a cable or DirecTV box) as an input source that can be pushed to any zone?
I'm sorry, we are talking about a whole house audio solution, not TV. Or do you mean the audio signal from a TV?

No, my approach is not about switching video or audio around. For example, in our house, I have small STB's on all the TV's, and they are all connected by ethernet, so there is no need to switch the video from a central hub of STB's.

DirecTV has a remote STB protocol that is supported by many TV's directly, so no need for a box at all, and the Nvidia shield can act as a client for cablecard equipped DVR's from Plex, Sage, silicondust, etc... As well as being able to play almost any streaming source including amazon video.

Now, in this set up, I route audio from the TV back to the central chomecast and amplifier hub, and use a sound sensing audio switch so that when ever the TV is generating audio, that taks priority over the chromecast feeding the amp inputs. After a few secs of silence, it switches back to the chromecast audio.

Back in the days when STB's were big, and no one streamed, but had a central jukebox of DVD's or a central HTPC, video switching was important. But with streaming IP connections from central DVR's, it's easier to distribute the video hardware and avoid switching completely.

thx
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post #43 of 70 Old 04-10-2018, 06:42 AM - Thread Starter
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OP, will your setup allow you to use a TV signal (from a cable or DirecTV box) as an input source that can be pushed to any zone?
Mike is correct - this thread just documents what I did with the Whole House Audio side of my system. I've gone through a similar migration with the video side of the system - starting out with a complex centralized matrix switch driven by a bank of DirecTV receivers, DVD Jukebox, and a home theater PC playing ripped video files. Like with the audio project, over time I've ripped all of that out. I've "cut the cord (satellite), and now use all Roku's to stream video. These are either dedicated players plugged into my A-V receivers in surround sound zones, or they are simple Roku sticks plugged directly into other TV's used for more "casual" viewing. I still have a DVD player around somewhere, but it has been ages since we have actually watched physical DVD's.

Rick
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post #44 of 70 Old 04-10-2018, 03:00 PM
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Oops, sorry for answering the question directed to the OP - I thought I was in the "modern" thread!

thx
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post #45 of 70 Old 04-13-2018, 02:10 AM
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I gave up on the ZenPad 10 . Was going to return it as I could not resolve the issues with the CCAs not showing, forcing a reboot.
2 days ago, after a reboot, it was happily casting device audio to my "dining room" zone. And then, suddenly, audio stopped. And then, it could not see any CCA anymore. I think the problem is when it switches between different Orbi AP.
I never have this problem with my Note 8 even when it switches AP. The only thing that I can think is really different between the 2 networking wise is Wireless AC vs N. Maybe it is an Orbi bug with the N support. In any case, it wasn't meant to be.
Earlier today, my ZenPad 10 fell on the floor face down, and the screen cracked in several places. It won't work at all anymore. I have put in a claim on my credit card for purchase protection which hopefully will cover it.
Maybe the multiple Orbi APs just won't work properly with all wired CCAs with a wireless N client. I would need an AC tablet. The Samsung tablets I tried have wireless AC and could see all the CCAs at all times. They just couldn't cast device audio at all ...

I note that the OP is using Ubiquity Wifi. AFAIK, they don't have a mesh solution that works unless the APs are wired to each other. My Netgear Orbi APs are not, they are using wireless backhaul (on a separate 5 GHz band). I don't have Ethernet in any room upstairs.
Orbi supports wired backhaul, but the only way it would work for me would be with powerline adapters in between to simulate ethernet backhaul. That would slow things down tremendously, by at least 5x. The Powerline AV1200 really only performs at 120 Mbps by my measurements. Whereas the Orbi on AC with wireless backhaul can do 500 Mbps effective for wireless backups of my PCs.I doubt the wired vs wireless backhaul is the problem with the Orbi vs Zenpad anyway. More likely to be an issue between Orbi and Zenpad than Orbi to Orbi backhaul.
If Ubiquity introduces something that works with AC speed and wireless backhaul, I would love to switch away from Orbi, as I have had other issues with it in the past (forced firmware updates causing regressions).
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post #46 of 70 Old 04-13-2018, 07:39 AM
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Just to relay my experiences... i put my smaller write-up above, running 7 CCAs via wifi (they are all located within 10 feet of an R8000 router). Still having great luck with my setup. I was having issues with one of the channels on my Niles 1230 staying hot at all times, but figured that out...

From a tablet perspective. I purchased 3 Zenpad 8's (Z380m i believe). I picked them all up used from either craigslist or Ebay. To date, they have worked flawlessly. I have one in the kitchen, one in the living room and one in the master bed. This allows us to control the speakers from the main areas where we will be listening. I also use them to control our Roku TVs. We watch mainly on YouTube TV and the interface is great to select shows, movies, watch live.

From a CCA casting perspective, all we use is Spotify and its been flawless. My only complaint, was until recently, I had issues having volumes matched when i switch to a group. Ie. each zone keeps the last volume level it was played at, so if we were partying in the living room with loud volume, and i switched to a group including that zone, other zones would be quiet and that zone would blast. I've figured out that easiest thing to do is when i open up a group, open each zone up, and set to zero, then i can adjust for the entire group. This was an issue for me as i matched the gain meticulously in my zones so that from the amp perspective, everything matched and you didnt get loud and soft zones as you move around the house... not sure i explained this well, but anyways.

All in all, CCAs, via strong WiFi and my Zenpad 8s has been great. My kids will also cast using their ipads, and we havent had any issues with that either, and sometimes i will use my phone (Iphone 8) if i'm out and dont have a zenpad on me... all work great with spotify

From a network perspective, we have an R8000 router set up in the utility closet in the basement, this give great coverage in the basement and 1st floor. On the second floor i have a R7000 set up as an Access Point. This gives us full coverage anywhere in the house and we get great reception outside as well. I had a 3rd R7000 set up as an AP, but eneded up having issues with so much going on, i decided to try without the other R7000 AP on the 1st floor and its flawless wifi for us now. At any time we have 25-35 devices connected without issue... CCAs, Phones, Tablets, Smart Switches, Hubs, etc...

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post #47 of 70 Old 04-13-2018, 12:07 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by madbrain View Post
I gave up on the ZenPad 10 . Was going to return it as I could not resolve the issues with the CCAs not showing, forcing a reboot.
2 days ago, after a reboot, it was happily casting device audio to my "dining room" zone. And then, suddenly, audio stopped. And then, it could not see any CCA anymore. I think the problem is when it switches between different Orbi AP.
I never have this problem with my Note 8 even when it switches AP. The only thing that I can think is really different between the 2 networking wise is Wireless AC vs N. Maybe it is an Orbi bug with the N support. In any case, it wasn't meant to be.
Earlier today, my ZenPad 10 fell on the floor face down, and the screen cracked in several places. It won't work at all anymore. I have put in a claim on my credit card for purchase protection which hopefully will cover it.
Maybe the multiple Orbi APs just won't work properly with all wired CCAs with a wireless N client. I would need an AC tablet. The Samsung tablets I tried have wireless AC and could see all the CCAs at all times. They just couldn't cast device audio at all ...

I note that the OP is using Ubiquity Wifi. AFAIK, they don't have a mesh solution that works unless the APs are wired to each other. My Netgear Orbi APs are not, they are using wireless backhaul (on a separate 5 GHz band). I don't have Ethernet in any room upstairs.
Orbi supports wired backhaul, but the only way it would work for me would be with powerline adapters in between to simulate ethernet backhaul. That would slow things down tremendously, by at least 5x. The Powerline AV1200 really only performs at 120 Mbps by my measurements. Whereas the Orbi on AC with wireless backhaul can do 500 Mbps effective for wireless backups of my PCs.I doubt the wired vs wireless backhaul is the problem with the Orbi vs Zenpad anyway. More likely to be an issue between Orbi and Zenpad than Orbi to Orbi backhaul.
If Ubiquity introduces something that works with AC speed and wireless backhaul, I would love to switch away from Orbi, as I have had other issues with it in the past (forced firmware updates causing regressions).
Sorry to hear that the ZenPad didn't work out! At this point I would also suspect something in the mesh network network isn't fully maintaining the session handshaking between the CCA's, internet, and end point devices. Based on your detailed diagnosis up to this point, unfortunately I'm guessing it is happening at a pretty low level and won't be simple to mitigate. I wish I could help more with the issue, but I don't have any way with my setup to replicate any kind of mesh topology using any mfg's equipment to see if it is inherent to all mesh nets or if it is something unique to the Orbi's. Admittedly I'm "spoiled" by having fully wire AP's at home, and as stated I've had particular success with Ubiquiti's equipment (I also use it in a large enterprise at work).
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post #48 of 70 Old 04-13-2018, 12:15 PM
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I think anytime one wants to cast mobile device audio, versus true casting where the CCA fetches the audio file/stream directly, there will be issues. I don't think many (or possibly any) Android devices have an adequate level of 'server' capability between actual processing and wireless connection and network interface in general.
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post #49 of 70 Old 04-16-2018, 12:33 AM
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I think anytime one wants to cast mobile device audio, versus true casting where the CCA fetches the audio file/stream directly, there will be issues. I don't think many (or possibly any) Android devices have an adequate level of 'server' capability between actual processing and wireless connection and network interface in general.
I'm not sure exactly what you mean by that. Modern Android devices have plenty of CPU power to run servers. Certainly for a server with a low number of connections, they should be more than capable. Wireless AC is enough also. It's possible to stream TCP at hundreds of Mbits/s from my Galaxy Note 8 running iperf3 .That is vastly more than the amount required for an audio stream. I don't think horsepower or bandwidth is the reason these devices fail to work. I think the protocols chosen by Google for the Chromecast are the problem. Things like UPnp, MDNS, etc. just don't seem to work very well when certain networking devices are in the mix, and particularly not with multiple APs and some mesh systems. I would blame that design, wireless routers & APs in that order, before I would blame the phones. I don't think modern Android devices are the bottleneck by a long shot.

Disclaimer : I have been working on server software for several decades as a developer. Not on smartphones, mind you, but the CPUs of current mobile devices certainly are faster than the 33 MHz CPU 486 machines of 25 years ago, and those could run some servers already. I also wrote streaming audio code that could run on lowly 8 MHz 8086s a little bit before that. It may not have been 96 khz 24-bit stereo at the time, but the situation we have with computers that are tens or hundreds of times as fast and can't keep up with a single audio stream is pathetic. This is just poor design and compatibility issues, not problems that stem from lack of CPU cycles.
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post #50 of 70 Old 04-16-2018, 06:22 AM
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I'm not sure exactly what you mean by that. Modern Android devices have plenty of CPU power to run servers. Certainly for a server with a low number of connections, they should be more than capable. Wireless AC is enough also. It's possible to stream TCP at hundreds of Mbits/s from my Galaxy Note 8 running iperf3 .That is vastly more than the amount required for an audio stream. I don't think horsepower or bandwidth is the reason these devices fail to work. I think the protocols chosen by Google for the Chromecast are the problem. Things like UPnp, MDNS, etc. just don't seem to work very well when certain networking devices are in the mix, and particularly not with multiple APs and some mesh systems. I would blame that design, wireless routers & APs in that order, before I would blame the phones. I don't think modern Android devices are the bottleneck by a long shot.

Disclaimer : I have been working on server software for several decades as a developer. Not on smartphones, mind you, but the CPUs of current mobile devices certainly are faster than the 33 MHz CPU 486 machines of 25 years ago, and those could run some servers already. I also wrote streaming audio code that could run on lowly 8 MHz 8086s a little bit before that. It may not have been 96 khz 24-bit stereo at the time, but the situation we have with computers that are tens or hundreds of times as fast and can't keep up with a single audio stream is pathetic. This is just poor design and compatibility issues, not problems that stem from lack of CPU cycles.
I believe its more to do with the architecture of many mobile devices, they tend to share resources as much as possible and therefore tend to not be good at handling multiple active services simultaneously. (in my opinion)

They can be very fast at processing a video or audio stream, but ask it to parse it and serve it, all the while doing its other background networking stuff, and things seem to bog down. Even when doing a standard screen mirroring I've never seen it work perfectly smoothly. I have a high end android phone and it still occassionally has that momentary pause when doing failry simple tasks. It can handle high bitrate video stored on the phone, but try to play it via a wifi connection and it can get glitchy. Those types of process interruptions seem like they'd be problematic for casting device audio.

That's my impression. I am no expert on mobile device architecture so I could be wrong, but mobile devices aren't necessarily designed with multitasking in mind. I have a fairly old PC and it does much better at anything like that.

As for device casting in general, Chromecast wasn't originally intended to screencast or device audio cast. Those features weren't even available in the first releases, Google added that functionality over time because they could. It can be useful for certain things like presentations or picture shows, but it seems to me its never really worked that well for active video or audio even on PCs. So add that limitation to mobile device limitations and I would conclude that mobile device audio casting is not likely to be something that works that well.

Last edited by DanPackMan; 04-16-2018 at 11:59 AM.
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post #51 of 70 Old 04-26-2018, 04:53 PM
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Sorry to hear that the ZenPad didn't work out! At this point I would also suspect something in the mesh network network isn't fully maintaining the session handshaking between the CCA's, internet, and end point devices. Based on your detailed diagnosis up to this point, unfortunately I'm guessing it is happening at a pretty low level and won't be simple to mitigate. I wish I could help more with the issue, but I don't have any way with my setup to replicate any kind of mesh topology using any mfg's equipment to see if it is inherent to all mesh nets or if it is something unique to the Orbi's. Admittedly I'm "spoiled" by having fully wire AP's at home, and as stated I've had particular success with Ubiquiti's equipment (I also use it in a large enterprise at work).
FYI, to follow up on my Zenpad 10, Citi cc damage insurance asked me for a repair estimate. I went to uBreakIfix who supposedly fixes everything. Well, it turns out there are no parts for Asus Zenpad 10, either OEM or third party. So, the device is actually unrepairable. I don't know if the situation is the same for the Zenpad 8, but this may be something you want to look into. Maybe buy one or two spare devices if you want the same user experience throughout your home, in case one of them breaks.

I think there is a good chance the problems are with my Netgear Orbi mesh sytsems, but no way to prove it.. I have done tests before by turning off the 2 satellites, and things were much better. That was when my CCAs were still running Wifi, a while ago.

I would love to be running Ubiquiti, but not sure that they offer a solution for wireless backhaul at AC speed.
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post #52 of 70 Old 01-18-2019, 01:27 PM
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Thank you for outlining your system - this is the exact solution I am working to implement. Currently doing a full house reno and just wired the following zones with home runs:

1) screen porch
2) patio
3) garage
4) kitchen
5) dining room
6) living room
7) hallway bathroom
8) bedroom 1
9) bedroom 2
10) bedroom 3
11) master bedroom
12) master bathroom

and I just realized I forgot to wire my powder room!

Already have the multichannel amps and the chromecast audios - had 3 before my renovations began, and purchased a bunch more when target had them on clearance months ago. Come to think of it, I need to double check exactly how many I have!

Also, thank you for confirming the chromecast ethernet adapter works on the audio, I wasn't sure if those only worked on the regular chromecast, or if they were also compatible with cca.

I'm excited to move forward with this project now, knowing the end state I desire is possible!

It's a shame they've now decided to stop making/selling the cca, but hopefully it remains supported for a while.....
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post #53 of 70 Old 01-18-2019, 11:55 PM
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Thank you for outlining your system - this is the exact solution I am working to implement. Currently doing a full house reno and just wired the following zones with home runs:

1) screen porch
2) patio
3) garage
4) kitchen
5) dining room
6) living room
7) hallway bathroom
8) bedroom 1
9) bedroom 2
10) bedroom 3
11) master bedroom
12) master bathroom

and I just realized I forgot to wire my powder room!

Already have the multichannel amps and the chromecast audios - had 3 before my renovations began, and purchased a bunch more when target had them on clearance months ago. Come to think of it, I need to double check exactly how many I have!

Also, thank you for confirming the chromecast ethernet adapter works on the audio, I wasn't sure if those only worked on the regular chromecast, or if they were also compatible with cca.

I'm excited to move forward with this project now, knowing the end state I desire is possible!

It's a shame they've now decided to stop making/selling the cca, but hopefully it remains supported for a while.....
Our "lower end" whole home system: Use Google Mesh wifi over 2300".
1. CCA connected to hardwired AVR
2. Google Mini on main Balcony
3. Google Home in one end of long kitchen
4. CCA connected to small soundbar in desk area
5. CCA to soundbar in Master Bedrm
6. Mini in master Bath
yet to come
7. Mini or soundbar in 2nd bdrm
8. Mini at other end of long balcony
9. Mini on small 2nd balcony.
10. Maybe Mini in entry way
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post #54 of 70 Old 02-10-2019, 09:23 PM
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Looking to possibly setup similar system a few questions,

Now that Chromecast audio is discontinued is there any way to do this with regular Chromecast

When you steam audio to a zone does it come on full volume?
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post #55 of 70 Old 02-13-2019, 02:51 PM
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Looking to possibly setup similar system a few questions,

Now that Chromecast audio is discontinued is there any way to do this with regular Chromecast

When you steam audio to a zone does it come on full volume?

Take a look at your other thread. I mentioned in there how to do it with the regular Chromecast.


Google updated all of the regular Chromecasts in Oct 2018 so that they can stream audio and be placed into groups.


Pick up an HDMI audio extractor such as this one: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B00BIQER0E...v_ov_lig_dp_it, and connect the Chromecast to it and then connect it to your amp.


When you cast audio to a zone/room the audio will come on at the volume you've selected in the app you're streaming from.

XBL: Stunt1on1
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post #56 of 70 Old 04-17-2019, 03:06 PM
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Read you post with great interest, very cool. I’d like to know more about your findings when you tried the same using an Echo instead of chromecast? I know you mentioned it a little in your post. Im not sure when you looked if Room awareness or multi room wasn’t as developed as it might be today, or were their other reasons you didn't choose echo? maybe it just didn't work ?

I’d like to duplicate your set-up to power 12 zones, I have invested in Echo Dots around the house already, including some integration into the home automation with NodeRed. So im trying to avoid moving off using Alexa or having two separate voice solutions, I was considering using the Echo Input into the Amp as the substitute, but realize that I would need to connect via WIFI vs Ethernet.

I would use 2 Dayton MA1260 12-Channel Amps as you have done.

Thx in advance
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post #57 of 70 Old 05-29-2019, 07:52 AM
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Great write up. I am totally with you on decoupling the equipment so that you can upgrade parts of it as it the technology gets better. Thanks for proving my theory about Chromecast Audios as well. I am just getting started on my first ever whole home audio video solution and after exploring other options (Sonos/Bose/Denon HEOS), I have decided to go the chromecast solution as I love the flexibility it provides in terms of being able to create groups and I already have google minis spread around the house that we have been using to play music for the last year or so after we moved in and we love it. I want to ask you that now that google has discontinued the CCA, should I still to try to find them (from eBay etc.) and use or should I look into using Chromecast (if that is possible) or some other solution?

Also, do you have a guide on speakers, amps and other av stuff that you would recommend.
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post #58 of 70 Old 05-29-2019, 10:42 AM
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Great write up. I am totally with you on decoupling the equipment so that you can upgrade parts of it as it the technology gets better. Thanks for proving my theory about Chromecast Audios as well. I am just getting started on my first ever whole home audio video solution and after exploring other options (Sonos/Bose/Denon HEOS), I have decided to go the chromecast solution as I love the flexibility it provides in terms of being able to create groups and I already have google minis spread around the house that we have been using to play music for the last year or so after we moved in and we love it. I want to ask you that now that google has discontinued the CCA, should I still to try to find them (from eBay etc.) and use or should I look into using Chromecast (if that is possible) or some other solution?

Also, do you have a guide on speakers, amps and other av stuff that you would recommend.
I would also like to know if you can use a "regular" (video) CC in place of a CCA.
We have 1 GH and 5 minis and 2 CCA.
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post #59 of 70 Old 05-29-2019, 03:19 PM
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I would also like to know if you can use a "regular" (video) CC in place of a CCA.
We have 1 GH and 5 minis and 2 CCA.
You can, but you need to use an HDMI audio extractor to get the audio out - Chromecasts only come with HDMI outputs, no stereo analog support. And the DAC's in those are probably not as good as the original Chromecast audio, and it'll cost more than even inflated Chromecast Audio prices. I would keep it simple and buy the Chromecast Audio units off ebay and call it day.

thx
mike
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post #60 of 70 Old 05-29-2019, 04:47 PM
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You can, but you need to use an HDMI audio extractor to get the audio out - Chromecasts only come with HDMI outputs, no stereo analog support. And the DAC's in those are probably not as good as the original Chromecast audio, and it'll cost more than even inflated Chromecast Audio prices. I would keep it simple and buy the Chromecast Audio units off ebay and call it day.

thx
mike
I do have 1 CCA left. Wonder why they stopped selling them or why some Chinese "copy" didn't come on the scene?
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