Chromecast Bluetooth Audio

Chromecast Bluetooth Audio – It’s been a little over two years since Google introduced the first Chromecast, a cheap and easy way to turn your home TV into a smart TV. The tiny little dongle has taken the market by storm, selling over 20 million since its launch. Now the company has replaced it with not one, but two streaming devices: a direct successor to the original video-focused Chromecast, and a new audio-only device called Chromecast Audio.

Just like the original Chromecast made our dumb TVs smart, Chromecast Audio promises to take your old pair of speakers and bless them with the convenience of music streaming. The value proposition is simple to understand: Chromecast Audio is only $35, takes up only space, is easy to set up, and works with Spotify, the world’s most popular streaming music service. As Google says, it’s an easy way to stream music to your speakers. I’ve been testing the device since it was introduced last week to see if it really lives up to its promise.

Chromecast Bluetooth Audio

Chromecast Bluetooth Audio

Google’s focus on simplicity starts with the hardware: Chromecast Audio is a small black plastic disk no bigger than a large watch. The box it comes in is pretty small, but even the size of the box makes me think that the actual hardware is going to be bigger than it actually is. It’s a fun and portable device, but it’s not the highest quality gadget I’ve ever used. Still, it feels solid and sturdy enough (especially considering the price) and shouldn’t require kid gloves if you decide to take it out of the house.

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We are talking about only two ports: micro-USB for power and a 3.5 mm audio jack. This jack works with 3.5mm to 3.5mm audio cable, 3.5mm to RCA cable or optical audio output. The latter is especially welcome for such cheap products. Physical setup couldn’t be easier: plug the 3.5mm jack into your speaker with the cable you’ve got (Google helps with a short cable in the box) and plug the micro-USB cable into a tiny power adapter. A small LED status indicator and a single hard reset button next to the Chromecast Audio power input. I don’t need to use either with Chromecast Audio, but if your LED turns orange, you’ll know your device is having trouble connecting.

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Once you’ve placed the hardware where you want it, simply download the Chromecast app on your iOS or Android device to connect the Chromecast Audio to your WiFi network. If your Chromecast is enabled but not set up, you’ll see it in the app with a note that it needs configuration. The process is simple: the app plays a test tone through your speaker; You name Chromecast; and tells it which WiFi network to connect to. Once done, you’ll be ready to use Chromecast-compatible apps on your iOS and Android devices to stream music directly to your speakers.

Once you’ve set up Chromecast Audio, all you have to do is start playing something through a Chromecast-compatible app and tell that app to send the music to your speakers instead of your phone or tablet. You’ll usually see a small “cast” icon on the Now Playing screen — tap it asking you where to cast. Tap the Chromecast Audio you’ve set up and you’re good to go. In my testing, it worked basically every time, across a variety of apps, including Google Play Music, Spotify, Pandora, and Rdio. If this app doesn’t appeal to you, there are many more to choose from. For music lovers, iHeartRadio, Deezer, TuneIn Radio, Rhapsody and Songza are also supported (among many other lesser-known options). If you prefer spoken content, NPR One, Pocket Casts, Podcast Republic, and many other tools are also available.

Overall, Chromecast Audio streams music almost instantly most of the time. I often have problems starting a stream with Google Play Music — I have to disconnect and reconnect to the speaker to get the music to work, but for the most part it works as advertised. Then again, the same day I had a general problem with my WiFi network, so it was the result of a bad connection to my router, rather than a problem with the Chromecast itself. Indeed, rebooting the router seems to do a lot for Chromecasting consistency the next time I try to stream music to my speakers.

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Given how Google has positioned Spotify as the killer app for the Chromecast ecosystem, you can be sure that the service works perfectly with Chromecast Audio. When you are playing music on your iOS or Android device, you will see the option to stream music in the same area where you can use the standard Spotify Connect and AirPlay options. The only downside is that Spotify doesn’t let you download music from the desktop app for Mac and Windows. Fortunately, if you

You need to stream from your computer, you can do this using the Spotify web player in the Chrome browser.

It takes time to notice how using Chromecast is different from using Bluetooth or Apple’s AirPlay technology. Once you send music to your Chromecast Audio, the device will connect directly to the Internet and download the music, instead of streaming it to your phone and bouncing it to your speakers. This means that when you start streaming music, you are free to do whatever you want with your phone without worrying about the songs coming out. If you’ve been using a Bluetooth speaker, you’ve probably noticed your phone also sends notifications — that won’t happen here.

Chromecast Bluetooth Audio

There are also some theoretical quality improvements that come from using WiFi instead of Bluetooth or AirPlay. While I believe this claim on a technical level, the truth is that I didn’t notice a significant difference using Chromecast Audio compared to connecting the Apple Airport Express to the same speaker when the audio was AirPlayed through my phone or tablet.

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When it comes to audio quality, Chromecast Audio is in a bit of a weird spot in that regard. To use it, you need a pair of dedicated audio speakers to connect, something that many people today don’t consider as important as they did decades ago. For anyone spending a decent amount of money on an audio speaker, there’s a good chance that the hardware inside the Chromecast Audio isn’t good enough to warrant such a purchase.

Google says it has a “world-class” digital-to-analog converter, but how good is that for a $35 product? It’s great to have a cheap way to upgrade your stupid speakers, but I’m not sure the target market for such a device is that big. Consumers interested in high-quality audio probably already have a set of speakers and a system for receiving digital music (such as the more expensive Sonos Connect), while many others are now quite happy with a set of Bluetooth speakers. Still, there’s a big price difference between options like Sonos and Chromecast Audio, and it’s likely that enough people have bought a few good speakers over the years to make the $35 investment an easy decision.

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Take me for example: I have a pretty nice pair of Audioengine A2 + speakers attached to a stand, but I have never found a great solution to stream music to them. I Airport Express worked great, but as a daily router is not enough size, so I changed it. Streaming music to these speakers isn’t something I want to do every day, but having the ability to do it is definitely worth $35 to me – especially for entertaining guests, scrolling records every 20 minutes is a bit boring. .

The easiest way to add streaming capabilities to older speakers is probably to use a Bluetooth adapter, such as the $40 Logitech Bluetooth Audio Adapter or the higher-end and more expensive $189 Audioengine B1 Bluetooth Music Receiver. But then you’re dealing with some of the inherent pitfalls of Bluetooth audio – a disadvantage if you have high-end speakers.

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Sonos Connect is an obvious comparison to Chromecast Audio, but there’s a big immediate difference: it costs 10 times more than Chromecast. That price, however, gives you the ability to connect older speakers to the wider Sonos ecosystem, meaning they can be part of a multi-room playback system that includes other Sonos speakers. Of course, when we’re talking about multi-room playback, we’re talking about some expensive speaker sets; The cheapest Sonos standalone speakers start at $199. Again, Chromecast Audio is in a somewhat unusual space: It’s a cheap device, but you have to be at least serious about home audio to be interested in it.

There are many other options beyond Sonos

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