Chromecast Audio

New toy, Chromecast audio, a great little device to connect an amplifier (and speakers) to your home network to enable music streaming all controlled from a phone, tablet or computer.

Works great and take only a few minutes to setup, then when you want to cast you tap or click the icon to connect to it. What’s great is that the Chromecast audio connects to your network or the internet to grab the stream, leaving your phone, tablet or pc as just a remote. So start playing on a phone, pause on a tablet and stop on a pc.

This ifixit article confirmed the internal DAC is an AKM4430ET (also used in Apple Airport Express), which Hydrogen Audio forums seem to think is reasonable and sounds pretty good to me. The device also includes an optical out so a 3.5mm toslink connector can be used to take digital audio out to go to a external DAC/AV receiver if required.

I have been using it to stream from the following:

To make it faster I have also written an NFC tag (cheap from ebay) with the trigger app to open the chromecast app (to make sure there connected) and then open player FM, one swipe and ready to go. Its easy to add a final tag to continue playing but I have lots of podcasts I dip in and out of so leave this bit off. I plan on writing some more to auto open BubbleUNPN and start playing next.

All in all its a great device for £30, thread on the AV forums here too.

Here’s the google product page link

Making Speaker Jumper Cables

Making Jumper Cables for speakers with bi-wire terminals

In Situ

This is a quick upgrade for speakers with bi-wire terminals. My stereo amp only has one speaker stage (eg: one set of speaker terminals) and my speakers have bi wire inputs (eg: 2 sets of terminals), so I replaced the crude metal washers with a short length of speaker cable to bridge the signal. I am sceptical whether it makes much difference as with most things in hi-fi there is a lot of snake oil, but it was quick and very cheap.

Regarding speaker cable I use Vandame Blue 2.5mm (this is studio quality speaker cable and can be sourced quite cheaply online. Personally I do not see any need to spend more, this is very good quality copper cable with a durable jacket to protect the cable).

To make just take an extra piece of cable, remove the outer protective layer to split the red and blue cables. Then strip the insulation on both ends and fix a banana plug to one and leave the other end bare wire. You could attach a spade terminal if desired (the bare copper will tarnish in time).

Then just connect up, not sure if it sounds any better but it does look better.