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Hope Nobody was Planning to Build a Music System Around Chromecast Audio


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#1 upstatemike

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Posted 11 January 2019 - 09:36 PM

https://www.theverge...scontinued-sale

 

 



#2 pete_c

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Posted 12 January 2019 - 01:54 AM

Personally never purchased a chromecast widget.  Been reading now is the time pick up some spares/



#3 wkearney99

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Posted 12 January 2019 - 07:23 AM

Yet another piece of hardware abandoned by Google.  

Meanwhile Amazon introduces the Echo Input.  It's essentially a speaker-less Echo Dot.  Designed solely for use with an external speaker via analog stereo or Bluetooth.

https://www.amazon.c...r/dp/B07BFRHZLB


Personally I don't see the point of using this over the Dot, but some might.



#4 pvrfan

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Posted 12 January 2019 - 08:36 AM

I suspect they are discontinuing it so they can sell more other devices that harvest more of your private information.

 

See this naked discussion of how to make money with smart TV-collected info:

 

https://daringfireba...vizio-smart-tvs

 

Craig



#5 upstatemike

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Posted 12 January 2019 - 09:00 AM

Yet another piece of hardware abandoned by Google.  

Meanwhile Amazon introduces the Echo Input.  It's essentially a speaker-less Echo Dot.  Designed solely for use with an external speaker via analog stereo or Bluetooth.

https://www.amazon.c...r/dp/B07BFRHZLB

Personally I don't see the point of using this over the Dot, but some might.

I agree since the line-out on an Echo Dot disables the internal speaker how is this not the same thing as the Echo Input? And because there are so many sales and bundles involving the Echo Dot it is usually available at a cheaper price then the Echo Input so what is the point?
 
I don't use Chromecast but I did go ahead and order one before they are gone just to preserve my ability to play with it at some point in the future if I want to. This just further confirms my belief that buying into any ecosystem whether it be Sonos, Google, Amazon, Apple or whatever as the backbone of your music strategy is a mistake. Much better to go with more generic distribution paradigms like a multi-zone matrix amp and then plug in your Sonos Connect, Echo Dot, Chromcast Audio, Squeezebox, Audiotron, or whatever as sources to get the features of those platforms. When they ultimately let you down by changing something that is key to your setup, all you have to do is swap out the input for something else that still does what you need. 

Edited by upstatemike, 12 January 2019 - 09:03 AM.


#6 pete_c

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Posted 12 January 2019 - 04:18 PM

Yeah here have continued to utilize my Russound stuff...and now looking at turning the Echo stuff in to remote controlled or managed multimedia devices (tinkering a bit doing this with Home Assistant)...

 

Still have and I do not know why I kept it...an audiotron...(in the discarded or to be discarded pile in the basement..it was configured in the garage for local media stuff years ago)...using Squeeze server here still (years now) and DIY'd some of my Intel based touchscreens to be Squeezeplayers (even Russound remote audio sources)...whatever it plays well today with the OmniPro 2 panel and Homeseer (and other home automation tinker toys)..with the miniaturization of computers audio has been the simplest to deal with...video is starting to become that way too...currently just utilize Kodi boxes as STB's to my visual entertainment...due to WAF moved the echo out of the master bathroom and put the old touchscreen back in the master bathroom..."let's chat" on Alexa has spooked wife...



#7 upstatemike

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Posted 12 January 2019 - 05:17 PM

I haven't tried "let's chat" yet but have seen a few videos about it. I don't think I'll push that on the family just yet. I have been doing a lot of testing with different music options and that testing is pushing me in some surprising directions from what I expected. Some of what I have learned includes:

 

1 There is no reason to have a uniform solution for all rooms/zones. Some rooms are used for critical listening. Some are used for parties. some are used for background music. There is no reason to make sure all rooms can play in sync if that is only in the rooms used for parties so maybe the multi-room feature can be scaled back to just the party areas and areas that overlap acoustically. There is no point paying to include sync options in rooms that are remote from everything else to the point that sync does not matter.

 

2 Not all sources need to be available in all rooms/zones. The party areas will probably utilize 1 or 2 main sources while the critical listening areas might need many more source options.

 

3 The technophobes in the family really love Alexa. I expected it to be too techy or strange for my 85 year old mother for example to deal with voice control. Instead she love that she can just tell Alexa to play some music at it happens and if something goes wrong it is just treated as a joke that Alexa is acting goofy. What a contrast to Sonos where every time they changed the UI is was nothing but frustration and anger at me for making things so hard! Also over Christmas all the nieces and nephews took turns telling Alexa what to play and treated the Echo Show as a karaoke machine with everybody singing along to the displayed lyrics. Based on this I have to challenge why I need to include the entertainment rooms with anything more than Echo Shows or Spots driving local amps. These rooms are never used for critical listening and the Echo multi-room feature is sufficient for party purposes.

 

4 The lyrics feature is a lot more important than I expected. Not only do Mom and guests like it but I also find I miss having lyrics available when I'm listening to sources that don't support it.

 

5 I can never be satisfied with a streaming only music environment. There is actually less music that I want to hear available on streaming services than there was a year ago. Many of the songs or versions of songs I like have been dropped from streaming services while very little of the new music that is be promoted has been of any interest to me. For this reason I think I will always maintain a Logitech Media Server to play local files but I really only need to access this in a few rooms that are "mine" and I am likely to do more critical listening.

 

6 Sometimes the old fashioned way to accomplish something is still the most direct. For example, muting speakers to make an announcement with Sonos involves taking a snapshot of what the system is currently doing. pausing any playing music, changing room groupings to a single "all rooms" group, make the announcement, restore the groups to the previous configuration, resume the music that was paused. You can see how this process might not scale well! By contrast the old school way is to wire some relays in the speaker lines so they can easily be switched over to a paging amp for the duration of the announcement and then simply release the speaker relays back to the regular program. Super easy!



#8 wkearney99

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Posted 12 January 2019 - 06:02 PM

I'm grateful my wife grasps enough of the technological concepts to not develop any of her own worries about it.  If I trust it, or am willing to try it, she's a good sport about going along.

The whole house audio has been off my list of "things to do sooner than later" because it'd risk violating a key tenet of the WAF.  And that's making it straightforward and non-annoying to use. 

Amazon has gotten better at the ability to command one device to play music on another.  So it's not entirely unreasonable to entertain the idea of "Alexa play <whatever> on the House Echo" where that would connected to an input channel on the Russound.  The question then would become whether HS3 could obtain the initiating Echo device location to use that to automagically enable that room on the CAV6.6.  I've not dug into it much, so while I know the Alexa framework does have the ability to pass the calling device identifier to a skill, I don't know if the HS3 skill could utilize (or even access) that info. 

Otherwise it would then become another added step to activate a room and select the source.  Which would also impact volume control.  I could do it by making a the room an on/off/value virtual device like a light.  But then it'd be a multi-device set of names.  One, to get the playing started, another to allow for de/activating and volume control.  Hmmm, might not be 'too horrible' to have to do "Alexa, play Pandora on the House Echo" and then use "Alexa turn on Kitchen speaker" and "Alexa, set kitchen speaker to 10".  But turning things off would also take two steps.  One being muting the audio, the other stopping the source.  Now, with a bit of clever automation it might be possible to do some of the housekeeping automagically, but... sometimes trying to make it easy makes it annoying (and we're back in WAF jeopardy).

 

There's a few key pieces of added syntax that are not currently part of the Alexa smart home skills that could potentially make this easier.  And trying to work around those in the interim makes it clunky.

Thus it becomes 'easier' to just use one device for each space.  Because, really, does a whole house setup actually get used that way any near close to often enough to bother?  I know ours never did, it was almost always 'one room playing one source' and individual devices are good enough for that.



#9 pete_c

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Posted 12 January 2019 - 06:03 PM

Getting older now and we are empty nesters. Here priorities have changed a bit. 
 
The old stuff still works and trying new stuff all the time but at the same time the new stuff is only for me as my wife tells me she will unplug the home when I am dead.  (If I die before she does).

The peace and quiet here sometimes is very welcome. 
 
Son is doing all sorts of stuff to his new home while daughter just learned how to use Netflix in her new home.  (both are sort of opposite of each other relating to technology.) 

#10 batwater

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Posted 13 January 2019 - 07:35 AM

I'm grateful my wife grasps enough of the technological concepts to not develop any of her own worries about it.  If I trust it, or am willing to try it, she's a good sport about going along.

The whole house audio has been off my list of "things to do sooner than later" because it'd risk violating a key tenet of the WAF.  And that's making it straightforward and non-annoying to use. 

 

Same here. Solved whole house audio with Sonos, high WAF and it just works...



#11 Work2Play

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Posted 14 January 2019 - 08:00 PM

We've been doing the Alexa based whole house audio for the last 8 months, and it's gotten better and better.  In the beginning, it was just one echo connected to a whole-house amp - but since, we've added more, and more speaker grouping.  Places like the Master Bath that doesn't have speakers can be grouped with the Master Bedroom, or the Whole House echo and play in sync.  I also use the Announcements to tell the kids what I want them to do, like come up for dinner, or STHU even.  Most recently, Ring started working nicely with it - so a doorbell press announces through every Alexa device in the house that someone is at the door.   Hell, lately even our thermostats have Alexa - so you can walk down the hall and say Alexa, play children's lullaby on Daughter's room if I hear her struggling to get it (she's 4 - nobody understand her, not even Alexa).
 
Soon I'll expand it - I have the Monoprice zone amp which I'll combine with a 6-zone, 12 channel amp to bridge multiple zones together... but for that to work really well, I need to get some automation happening so I can override and put it into certain modes when I want, then have it reset itself back to my defaults later - like putting each channel on a separate input and putting the volume back up... that way my announcements continue to work as expected...

My single biggest complaint is that, the only way you can use different spotify accounts on different Echo devices is by having the Echo devices on different Amazon accounts - which breaks announcements, drop-in, doorbell, grouping, etc. So - I'm working to move off the family Spotify account and moving to Amazon music, which is truly inferior. Spotify with Alexa is an awesome experience if you don't need different family members to be able to listen to different streams at the same time.




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