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Google pulls plug on Chromecast Audio

By | January 12th, 2019|Categories: DAR|Tags: , , , , , |

Do you want the good news or the bad news?

We’ll start with the bad: citing weaker sales figures than its video-capable counterpart, Google is discontinuing its Chromecast Audio streamer.

The Chromecast Audio was launched in 2015 to overnight become the most affordable music streamer this side of a Raspberry Pi. It was even made Roon capable last year to become the cheapest Roon endpoint available.

The sound quality of the Chromecast’s internal DAC is exactly what we might expect from a US$35 device – nothing special – but for a better-sounding Chromecast experience, we tap the 3.5mm socket’s mini-TOSLINK digital output for connection to an external DAC.… Read the full article

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The talking heads of RMAF 2018: Katie Springer

By | October 7th, 2018|Categories: DAR|Tags: , , , , , , , , |

Astell&Kern is not only about to introduce a new portable audio player in the SP1000M but is in the process of reworking the firmware on many of their existing models to add a pseudo-app store that allows users to optionally add streaming services such as Spotify, Soundcloud and Pandora to their player. Along for the ride come native interfaces – including Tidal – and offline support.

Also coming to Astell&Kern players in the next few weeks is MQA support. It is not restricted to locally-stored files (on a microSD card) but adds Tidal streaming and Tidal offline mode to the deal.… Read the full article

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We eat first with our eyes

By | August 20th, 2018|Categories: DAR|Tags: , , , , , , , , , |

What’s the biggest problem with digital audio? For this audiophile, it’s that there’s nothing to look at whilst listening. Vinyl playback gives us the turntable and its rotating record plus a large sleeve with liner notes. But with music streaming from across our home network or from the cloud, from server to streamer, the format itself is invisible. We can’t look at a FLAC file – only its metadata.

Some streamers address this issue. Both the Naim Uniti Atom and AURALiC Aries G1 show metadata on their front panel; as did the Logitech Squeezebox Touch (RIP).… Read the full article

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The Music-First Audiophile, SoundCloud & Google Chromecast

By | July 1st, 2018|Categories: DAR|Tags: , , , , |

Music streaming that’s smartphone app-controlled from the listening position?

For Tidal, I use Roon; its smartphone app directs the stream to a wide variety of third-party endpoints. For Qobuz, AURALiC’s Lightning DS app tells the Aries Mini what to pull down from the cloud. For Spotify, the native app’s Connect service, like Roon, talks to a number of different endpoints.

Missing from this picture is SoundCloud.

Despite recent attempts to become a streaming service like any other, one that would rival Apple Music and Spotify, SoundCloud’s user base is rooted in fans of electronic music and hip-hop.… Read the full article

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