I was looking for an easy way to add network capabilities to my HiFi amplifier. There are numerous options in different shapes and price ranges. The one product that stands out as probably the most compact and affordable of them all in Google Chromecast Audio. It fits in the palm of your hand and costs less than 40€!
Google Chromecast Audio is a tiny network audio player that has been released in 2015.
- Power supply: Micro-USB (5V)
- Digital output: optical (Toslink)
- Analog output: 3.5mm jack (192kHz 24-Bit DAC)
- WiFi: 2.4 or 5GHz (802.11ac)
- Dimensions: ~5.2 x 1.4cm
- Weight: ~30g
- Release: September 2015
- MSRP: 35$
The Chromecast Audio comes with a tiny 3.5mm audio cable and an AC adaptor with a Micro-USB cable (~1.5m).
If your stereo doesn’t have a 3.5mm audio input, then you may need to buy a 3.5mm to RCA / Cinch adapter cable (available for less than 3€ on eBay).
In order to use the optical output of the Chromecast Audio (which is integrated into the 3.5mm jack), you will need a mini Toslink cable. Those are also available e.g. on eBay for a less than 2€.
The installation process was straight forward and super convenient, just as it should be in 2018. No need to read a manual, press weird button combinations or enter a WiFi key. Plugin the power supply to the Chromecast Audio, make sure you are connected to your home WiFi with your smartphone and that location services are enabled, then just open the Google Home app and it will do the rest. In less than 5 minutes, the Chromecast Audio is installed and ready to use!
What I really like about Chromecast is that several smartphone apps support it, e.g. Spotify or BubbleUpnp to just name a couple. This means you can select the audio files on your phone and send them to the Chromecast receiver for playback.
So far the Chromecast Audio receiver has done its job without any issues. The device reacts quickly, the WiFi connection is very stable and the audio quality untainted. Two thumbs up!
- easy to install and use
- supports highres / lossless audio playback
- analog and digital (optical) output
- can be controlled via BubbleUpnp or Spotify
- supports 2.4 and 5GHz WiFi
- excellent price
- can’t stream audio from Youtube
- Google collects data
Rating: 9/10 highly recommended!
Value: 10/10 (reviewed at 35€)