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mbelanger

Tale of Two Cities: Airplay & Chromecast Audio

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This is anything, but audiophile, but I'm hoping the combined computing and audio knowledge here can help me out.

 

We have an solid pair of powered speakers in our kitchen, which is plugged into the Airplay port of an Airport Express. My wife is an iPhone user and thus quite happy. I, on the other hand, am an Android user and not quite as happy with the streaming music situation, so I picked up a Chromecast Audio with the intent of splitting the input cable to the powered speakers. Using a combination of a Monster headphone splitter, a gender changer and two short 3.5mm patch cables, I have the monstrosity rigged and working!

 

That said, working should be in quotes, as while the Airplay maintains full volume, the Chromecast Audio lowers dramatically.

 

Am I correct in assuming the only way to resolve this is with some kind of an active splitter, if such a thing even exists? Would an isolator on each input do the trick?

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Hi and welcome!  That approach to multiple inputs is common, and we often get away with it.  But you're putting a second impedance in parallel with the output of each source, so you're asking each to drive a lower impedance. This can affect everything from maximum output voltage to frequency response to device reliability, depending on how bad the mismatch is and how robust the source inputs are.

 

Do you get full volume when the CCA is connected directly? If you do, your jury rig is the problem.  If the CCA has reduced max volume when connected directly, it may be in one of your system or software settings (eg for volume control). It's also possible that you have a bad CC. I currently have 6 in my system, and one of the first ones I bought was defective out of the box.

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Check your Chromecast settings - full dynamic range should be enabled.  I think unengaged is a simple volume throttle for the convienence of the typical user casting a typical web stream not encountering an unpleasant blast of sound.

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9 hours ago, bluesman said:

Do you get full volume when the CCA is connected directly? If you do, your jury rig is the problem.  If the CCA has reduced max volume when connected directly, it may be in one of your system or software settings (eg for volume control). It's also possible that you have a bad CC. I currently have 6 in my system, and one of the first ones I bought was defective out of the box.

 

Yes, I get full sound, so I believe the CCA is fine. I wasn't surprised by the sound drop, as I've experienced that in ancient history with analog equipment, but I was surprised that the Airport Express sound didn't drop when tested.

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9 hours ago, Daccord said:

If your wife uses Spotify her iPhone can cast to the CCA.

 

I should have mentioned, whatever fix I come up with can't impact my wife's workflow, as in her mind there was nothing wrong.

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2 hours ago, mbelanger said:

I was surprised that the Airport Express sound didn't drop when tested.

 

I don’t know the specs on an AE, but it can probably push more current into the lower load than the CCA can. 

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