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Not as the artist intended: Google Chromecast Audio w/ Tidal

  • Got the Bluetooth blues? Google’s Chromecast Audio (GCA) is not much bigger than a Checker’s piece but brings streaming service integration to any device with an analogue input, all for just US$35.

    Hook-up is as simple as 1-2-3: connect the GCA to an amplifier or pair of powered loudspeakers (a 3.5mm-to-3.5mm fly lead is supplied); join the GCA’s microUSB port to the mains with the supplied SMPS; download the Google Cast app to an iPhone or tablet and run the one-time setup procedure that joins the GCA to your wireless network (there’s no Ethernet here).

    The final piece of the puzzle comes from the streaming app itself, which must be Google Cast enabled. At product launch, Cast-supported apps included Spotify, Google Play Music, YouTube and Pandora. Lossy services all. Wot no Tidal? (no Qobuz, no Deezer either).

    With the GCA dongle tucked away out of sight, any Cast-compatible app’s audio stream can be handed off to the GCA leaving the phone or tablet to function as a glorified remote control.


    Were it not for the GCA’s 3.5mm socket doubling as a mini-TOSLINK output, audiophiles like me (and you) might have let Google’s new device drift through to the ‘keeper.

    This week’s update to the Tidal iOS/Android app adds Google Cast support and thus provides a timely opportunity for a more in-depth look.

    I’ve been giving the GCA a run around the block with a selection of Tidal Hifi’s lossless streams from Prince, Objekt and Aphex Twin. How would the first “CD quality” streaming service to land on Google’s super affordable hardware platform fare as an audio source?

    As one might expect, the internal DAC isn’t much to write home about. Tapping the 3.5mm socket’s analogue output with the Mytek Brooklyn DAC’s analogue input via an AudioQuest Golden Gate 3.5mm-RCA cable revealed a somewhat lacklustre handling of microdynamics and a porridge-smeared window on the music. I’m dramatising a little with the breakfast cereal analogy but consider this: the iPhone 6S Plus’ headphone socket sounds better.

    The bad news doesn’t end there. As a digital deliverer the GCA is also quite weak. Despite the electrical isolation of a TOSLINK connection, the Google puck serves up more treble glare than an unmodified Sonos Connect. Playing catch on an Airplay stream, the 3rd Generation Apple TV sounds better.


    The upshot? A S/PDIF re-clocker is required to take the GCA’s digital output up to – and beyond – an acceptable level of audible quality. The GCA as bit provider is markedly improved by the Wyred4Sound Remedy interceding between it and the Mytek Brooklyn DAC‘s digital inputs. However, dropping several hundred bucks to elevate the performance of a US$35 device makes little financial sense.

    What do to? A richer sounding DAC like the PS Audio DirectStream Junior helps some. Its presentation is tonally richer than the Mytek decoder. The treble glare doesn’t distract quite as much from the listening experience.

    IFi Micro’s more affordable and more visually discrete S/PDIF iPurifier reclocker lands at DAR HQ soon – we’ll see how it fares in due course – but the application of downstream healers might still be moot.

    Why so? The GCA’s hardware shortcomings can be corrected or forgiven but the software compromises heard right here, right now, cannot.

    The GCA offers no gapless support for Tidal or Spotify. This might not be an issue for the compulsive track skipper or playback shuffler but for the album lover the GCA renders thousand of long players as unlistenable.


    From DJ mixes to classical pieces, not to mention the countless rock albums whose artist-intended seamlessness is fundamental to the immersive nature of the listening experience, the GCA’s insertion of split second gaps between tracks is a most unwelcome addition.

    This isn’t a codec issue. Spotify’s streams are carried via Ogg Vorbis and Tidal use FLAC, both of which offer native gapless support (unlike MP3).

    It’s not a smart device issue either. The gaps evaporate once playback is returned to the host Android/iOS app, thus defeating the GCA’s intent to stream directly from Tidal’s servers.

    It’s clear: playback gaps are introduced by the Chromecast Audio itself – not something we hear from vinyl, CDs or even Bluetooth transmission.

    It might be tempting to point to the GCA’s asking price and shrug one’s shoulders — but does that not imply that the mainstream, at whom this streaming device is largely aimed, care not about gaps? Of course they do.

    For those willing to invest mote in the streaming experience, Tidal’s Hifi tier promises “CD Quality playback”. CDs are gapless. The GCA is not. Therefore, the in-home CD store as ordinarily heard via Tidal’s own desktop and iDevice apps isn’t forthcoming.

    Furthermore, Tidal’s own FAQ claims: “…delivering the music to your ears the way the artists and producers intended it to be heard” come back to bite them at the hands of the GCA. Did those same artists and producers intend (longer) intra-track gaps? Unlikely.

    At a time when the the world’s music fans are surrendering catalogue control by waving a long goodbye to the CD, the omission of gapless playback on ANY streaming device is a backwards step on the now outmoded shiny silver discs.

    To quote Benjamin Franklin: “The bitterness of poor quality remains long after the sweetness of low price is forgotten”. In other words, you don’t get what you don’t pay for.

    Further information: Google Chromecast Audio


    John Darko

    Written by John Darko

    John currently lives in Berlin where creates videos and podcasts and pens written pieces for Darko.Audio. He has also contributed to 6moons, TONEAudio, AudioStream and Stereophile.

    Darko.Audio is a member of EISA.

    Follow John on YouTube or Instagram


    1. In other words – S/PDIF output on the Chromecast sucks. The software on the Chromecast sucks too.

      That’s too bad … on the plus side the latter can be remedied.

      • P.S. when I post a comment, from the US Eastern timezone, it shows up as “Vlad – about 14 hours ago” . Not a particularly big deal, of course.

        • That’s because DAR exists in the future (ie Australian time zone difference).

    2. The question is then what are the options for streamers for those on a tight budget??

      • I’d say that conversation stars with the Sonos Connect – its interface is FLAWLESS, it integrates a gazillion streaming services and does gapless without a hitch. Otherwise, for those with an iPhone/iPad, perhaps an Apple Airport Express .

    3. John,

      I really enjoy the wordsmithing 🙂

      I updated the TIDAL app for iOS earlier today and was going to check it out later.. Thanks for writing about the experience so I don’t need to try myself. I think the bigger value proposition for the app’s Chomecast support is more intended for the TIDAL Music Video and Movie streaming for the GCA’s video enabled sibling so that the video content can be appreciated on bigger screens.

      WRT audio quality, does this reveal a weakness in the Brooklyn’s ability to re-clock the S/PDIF stream? I would like to read about what variances in sonic character can be heard with other DAC’s that do include outstanding re-clocking capabilities; The Shiit Iggy or even the Benchmark DAC2?

      On the other hand, should we be more skeptical as to whether the Chromecast is actually pulling the HIFI FLAC content from TIDAL?

      • On your final question: no! I turn my iPhone off and the music keeps playing.

          • I chose albums that I know stream in Hifi (lossless) on Roon. Furthermore, Spotify 320 streamed using Airplay to an Apple TV sounds better to me than a Tidal Hifi lossless streams spilling outta the GCA.

            • Ok, I had to give it a try…. With the TIDAL App set for HIFI and I start casting to the GCA, it looks like:
              1. the GCA is actually pulling a HIFI version (hint: spectral analysis performed)
              2. the GCA is applying a digital volume control…. for me the volume level was very low until I realized I had to turn the volume control up for the GCA in the Google Cast app.

              My experience tells me that any digital volume attenuation of 16-bit audio will damage the audio quality and when using the digital out the volume control should be set to full.

              So, even with the GCA volume at full, aside from digital volume control there appears to be some other GCA DSP function being applied to the audio and I suspect that this is mangling the quality of the audio.

              Just a quick test tells me that IF the GCA is getting a FLAC stream from TIDAL, then whatever is being presented to it’s optical out is not likely a bit perfect representation of the FLAC stream.

    4. The CCA can be a good “gateway drug” to streaming though. I started with this, which led to microRendu and Roon.

      I did have a spare Remedy reclocker and toslink though, so it was probably as good as it was going to sound. But Roon/Tidal/AirPlay to a Apple TV gen 2 kills it. microRendu a whole other level…

      • It’d be a good gateway drug IF it did gapless. Until it does, it’s a step behind the same app outputting via the smart device’s own headphone output.

    5. I don’t know about Tidal, but I use my Chromecast Audio with Spotify and it does play gapless. I have played numerous classical pieces where there is no pause between movements and the playback is flawless. Ditto on live pop where the applause between tracks suffers no gaps. I start the stream with the Spotify Android app which has the gapless setting enabled (it was disabled by default). You might want to check the Tidal app for such a setting.

    6. I am pleased to hear that Tidal have (finally) added GCA support to their app. I didn’t know that had been done and I was beginning to think they really just couldn’t be arsed. I have a couple of GCA dongles and I use them where convenience trumps sound quality. They have replaced Bluetooth 4.0 receivers. The GCA units are definitely cheap but it is nonetheless disappointing that they have not done a better job of implementing some features like gapless playback. I see the lack of gapless as a slightly jarring and unnecessary oversight rather than a deal breaker. Definitely in the ‘first world problem’ category but clearly not everyone feels the same way.

      I use Roon so I would like to know if it is now possible to stream Roon playlists to GCA?

      Regards David

    7. Wow. What a douche author.

      There’s no better guarantee that a person has nothing to offer personally than how they present themselves.

      This is my first visit to digital audio review. Its also my last. Get some folks on board that don’t relate to the adjective hipster, let alone those who take it to a verb.

      • I don’t follow your logic. Is it that you want to read articles written by people who don’t relate to those with more mainstream (and less audiophile) music tastes? (PLENTY of those out there already). Or is it that your tastes don’t align with my own? (Fair enough but hardly cause for name calling). Or maybe you’re a Google developer not liking my calling the lack of gapless support? (An incontrovertible fact here). Thing is, we’ll never know as this, your first visit to DAR, you have already promised to be your last.

      • Hi Mike. I’ve generally found this site to be ‘on the money’, so to speak.
        If I want to read accurate and honest views on audio products, I have found I have two choices. If I want truthful and concise with no BS, I visit What HiFi.
        If, on the other hand, I want truthful (given the vagaries of subjectivity), the joy of good prose, a chuckle and no BS, I visit Mister Darko.
        I’d imagine that is what draws the majority of regular visitors back time after time.

        • I read What Hifi quite a bit myself and like you, I enjoy its no nonsense approach.

    8. Unfortunately this article is true. I was so hoping that the GCA would be a real heavyweight killer but can’t even compete wit my PC going thu HDMI into reciever. Anyway for $60 it’s still an awesome multi room streamer and awesome for background or audio out the back padio.

    9. Hi John,

      Apart from IFi’s SPDIF Ipurifier, I hope you can do an Ipurifier 2 USB review soon too..


    10. I really love the Chromecast. I have noticed lately that my picture quality has been showing more noise and poor color and contrast. I don’t have the Chromecast Audio, and after reading this I doubt I will get one. Maybe the 3rd gen will address these issues.

    11. Interesting… I just did a blind blind test of this at my neighbor’s house and there was no discernible difference between GCA and using a Mac book pro USB to DAC. The interesting thing is we also tested the optical out on the MBP and it was the worst sounding output of them all.

      With the chromecast version of Tidal you do have to make sure you actually change the quality manually in the App otherwise it will just do the normal bit-rates, unlike the desktop version. If you don’t do this even if you pay for the higher bit-rate the GCA will pull the lower-one (normal).

      I just find it interesting how negative this review was based on what I just saw on a blind blind test…

        • Gapless support has nothing to do with gca though. This has to be handled from the app and with the gca APIs. Spotify, Google play music, and a few others all support gapless playback. The Gca supports gapless, tidals implementation does not.

    12. Tidal’s “…delivering the music to your ears the way the artists and producers intended it to be heard” is of course misleading hype. What the artists and producers want is generally of no concern to the labels who control the mastering process. What Tidal is constrained to deliver is “… music to your ears the way the labels have decided it is going to be heard”.

      These days only classical music fans and devotees of obscure musicians on specialty labels ever get to hear anything close to what the artists and producers intended.

    13. Hi

      Gapless is KO, OK.

      Did you try to put the CCA far enough from any other electronics, and not on top of it? No shielding…

      Absolutely not the same conclusions as yours here, compared to other drives as Lumin U1, Bel Canto Refstream or Totaldac d1-server, on different DAC that reclock all their inputs with “not quick and dirty” toslink input. Not as good, but with quite tiny differences, and far better than AE Airplay.
      Lifatec optical fiber. But less expensive fibers are OK.

      Kind regards

      • Thierry – only took photos of the GCA with Brooklyn on desk. This combo also did time in rack with GCA dangling off back. But as I said in the piece, SQ conclusions are moot in the face of an absence of gapless support.

        • Hi

          I fully agree with you that no gapless is pain in a non sense.

          There were already requests about gapless here where I have made some contributions:

          The reason of no gapless is because there is no playlist management on the CCA side. Currently, the only way to get gapless is the server building a unique track to stream from the entire playlist (a joke!).

          I prefer not to write publicly which DAC have quick and dirty toslink inputs but there exist a lot of them with Toslink receivers that are noisy as hell.

          My listening experiences with CCA (exclusively digital output) have been made with several products from the NAD M2 FDA to the Audio-gd 19 DAC.

          Only 16 or 24 bits tracks, local from a Jriver server or Internet from Qobuz.

          You can find Chromecast measurements, analog and digital, here

          Kind regards

      • Which DAC do you use and which DAC has a “quick and dirty” TOSLINK input? Pretty much every DAC that I’ve had here reflects upstream digital source changes.

        • My Chord Mojo has such an input, and I’ve used it with the GCA to good effect. I think it’s pretty much ok.

    14. Treble glare is a great descriptor. It ended up being such a disappointment that I sold my pair of GCA’s to a friend. I don’t know how this passed listening tests at Google or if budget simply dictated this sonic characteristic.

    15. Hi John,

      Did you get a chance to try it with a better power supply? I wonder if it would improve noticeably (in sound quality, not gapless playback obviously) with higher quality power.

      Gapless is a deal-breaker for me too, but I tend to think Google will figure it out eventually.

      Love your work.

    16. John,

      I am quite intrigued by the fact that gapless playback is so important to you (and others) as I have never really given it much thought. I do notice it but it occurs to me as a minor niggle rather than a deal breaker as it really only seems to impact some albums and some genres some of the time. And if you are listening to a playlist then it even seems appropriate that there is a thousand-and-one length gap before the next track. So what it it about the lack of gapless that grates with you?

      • No gapless ruins the flow, especially of DJ mixes where ANY disturbance to a 4-4 rhythm makes enjoyment impossible. I know I’m not the only and I’ll be digging into this issue more deeply in a separate article. However, think of it this way: the CD is gapless so why with streaming are we as consumers expected to eat these imperfections that didn’t previously exist, particularly from hosts who promise “CD Quality”. For me, gapless playback is one feature of CD quality.

    17. Did you change the setting on the Chromecast Audio to full dynamic range? I found music sounded garbage before Adjusting that setting.
      I’m no audiophile but I do enjoy a lot of music on my pioneer and with jamo speakers.

      When I did AB testing on with albums I own on CD versus the Chromecast I found it pretty hard to pick the difference once it was switched to full dynamic range.

    18. Tidal support just made me love the GCA more. I’ve been using Bubble UPNP as a work around until now.

      I find the sound quality of the GCA connected to a PS Audio PWD mk2 to be fantastic. I’ve listened back to back with my mac mini connected by USB to the same PS Audio Dac using Audirvana and Tidal and think I slightly prefer the GCA. Maybe my ears are broken, or we have different preferences. As far as I’m concerned, the GCA is a bargain and the analog output sounds better than I expected for multi room background music.

      Gapless is a non issue for me, but I can understand it is important to others. I don’t see why gapless couldn’t be added in a future update.

    19. Your “review’ contains errors and omissions:
      – as mentioned previously, lossless streaming is available with Spotify and Qobuz
      – no mention of Guest mode (which gets you so excited when writing about the Blink)
      – no mention of bit perfect settings in the Chromecast

      If lack of gapless is a showstopper, why not just stick to that instead of writing about SQ without even bothering to check your settings?

      Moreover, you are reviewing the CCA using a DAC which you previously qualified as lacking in ‘bass presence and all around avidity” according to your “subjective performance metrics”, yet you now seem to blame the CCA for exactly that?

      • Errors, huh? Not quite.

        Spotify does NOT offer a lossless tier. Its streaming service is lossy only.

        Qobuz offers a lossless “hi-res” tier like Tidal but Qobuz isn’t available outside of its own somewhat limited Eurozone. That’s probably why it’s not listed as Cast-approved app in Australia (where I live).

        As per the above text, this commentary was initiated as a result of Tidal’s newly minted Google Cast support. In fact, this piece started out as a news announcement – “Tidal comes to GCA” – but the more I listened, the more I wanted to expand on the resulting SQ and gapless-less and how it fails to properly align with Tidal’s own marketing spin re. “CD Quality” playback.

        Yes, gapless-less is the main thrust of my complaint. Why not simply stick to that being a showstopper? Because, if I did, people would ask “yes, yes but how does it SOUND?”.

        I absolutely did NOT say that the the Brooklyn was lacking in bass presence and all around avidity. Here is what I wrote: “where two DACs like the INVICTA and Brooklyn sounded more alike than different, subjective performance metrics relating to bass presence and all round avidity could be narrowed with the introduction of the Wyred4Sound Recovery playing USB standover man between Brooklyn and Macbook Air.”

        The CCA still sounds anemic as a digital transport – but slightly less so – with the PS Audio DSJ.

        The Bluetooth ‘guest mode’ of the Blink is a fundamental part of its utility (otherwise you’d buy a Remedy). Guest mode on the GCA is a nice-to-have bonus but tough to recommend it when the unit doesn’t sound good in the first place. The Blink’s guest mode excites me because it *does* sound good.

      • > – no mention of bit perfect settings in the Chromecast

        Where are these “bit perfect settings” defined?

        When I used the Google Cast app to set the Device Settings of a CCA, the only ‘technical settings’ I am exposed to are:
        – Playback sounds
        – Full Dynamic Range
        – Group Delay Correction (defaulting to 0mS)

        For full dynamic range, the (i) help information indicates that when the CCA is connected through the optical interface it will always use Full Dynamic Range.

      • Stephane, Spotify doesn’t do lossless streaming – period. You might want to get your own house in order before you starting lobbing grenades about errors and omissions.

    20. If stating that you need a 400$ added to the USB chain to bridge a gap in bass and aviditiy is not stating that the Mytek lacks in bass and avidity, then you are just playing with words… which is clearly your forte.

      • Given that you previously thought Spotify offered lossless streams I wonder if your lack of clarity with my Mytek discourse might be more than a matter of my writing style.

        Also, don’t forget, DAR is not Consumer Reports or Which? magazine.

        However, in the spirit of those publications, let’s make things simpler: bass avidity on the Mytek scores a 7.25/10 compared to the Resonessence Labs’ 8.35/10.

        • I don’t see the relationship between my error Vis a vis Spotify and misinterpretation of your pedantic prose.

          7.25 versus 8.35 – really? wow, now I understand what you mean by “subjective performance metrics”!

          You recommend using a 400 $ gadget to improve the USB input of a DAC, which clearly for its asking price should offer a well implemented input, yet you don’t see the benefit of spending the same money to improve a 35 $ piece of gear? If the end result is the same, I see it as a “no brainer”.

          For 35 $, the CCA offers tremendous value, and if well implemented can rival some pretty expensive gear.

          As for streaming lossless, any service that offers lossless streaming through Chrome, Bubbleupnp or LMS will work with the Chromecast.

          • Yes, I would recommend spending $100-300 on a USB re-clocker to improve the input of a DAC but probably only when this additional spend is a fraction of the DAC cost – e.g. Schiit Wyrd added to Schiit multibit Gungnir – and not a 10x multiple as it is when dropping W4S Remedy cash ($399) on a S/PDIF re-clocker for the GCA, after which a DAC is STILL required. Why? Beacuse when you’re wallet is looking at spilling over $400 on a streaming solution, you may as well look at a Sonos or, better still, an AURALiC Aries, which does Bluetooth, Airplay has gapless Tidal baked into its Lightning DS platform and also has a quite a good internal DAC.

            Yes, the $35 GCA *is* good value *if* you can tolerate the lack of native gapless support with Tidal and Spotify – I cannot as it renders to many albums as unlistenable. As is probably clear by now, I believe gapless playback should be standard – as it is with CD and vinyl – and not one that requires workarounds, especially for a more consumer oriented product like the GCA.

            The Bubble UPnP workaround is (as far as I understand it) Android only.

    21. I do stand corrected vis à vis Spotify. I am not lobbing grenades about errors and omissions… It is just good journalistic practice to present facts first, and then provide your subjective evaluation after.
      The fact is, Chromecast does provide bit perfect lossless streaming on a variety of platforms and services (not limited to Tidal) with guest mode.

      • “The fact is, Chromecast does provide bit perfect lossless streaming on a variety of platforms and services (not limited to Tidal) with guest mode.”

        A variety? Tidal yes. Qobuz yes (but not in USA or AU/NZ). Who else?

    22. Did anyone know if the sound quality of Chromecast (HDMI) vs Chromecast audio it’s the same?
      I have the Chromecast (HDMI) connected to a Sony Receiver, but I’m in doubt, if I should use Chromecast audio instead (I’ve a Spotify premium account)

      • I would like to know this as well. My understanding is that the original chromecast (hdmi) doesn’t have a DAC.

    23. After a few days of reflection about this review, I have some further thoughts.
      The complaints regarding poor sound quality is an indicator of improper configuration. There is no need whatsoever to use the DAC in the CCA unit. It is used to get the audio stream to your home network. Even if you decide to use it, its not that bad. Unless you’re looking for something to piss and moan about.
      The lack of support for gapless playback would never have occurred to me had I not read it here. I don’t get it. I’ve been doing pc based audio as long as it has existed and there must be gaps between selections. There are gaps on every LP I own.

      • Improper configuration? The GCA was tested using its own internal DAC AND with an external DAC. Which config did I miss?

        As per the video, there are literally thousands of albums out there that rely on gapless playback for proper intra-song flow. If you don’t own any, then you’ll not ming the GCA’s lack of gapless support one bit.

    24. THANK YOU for this review. It’s the first one that seriously evaluates the SQ of CCA from its S/PDIF. For various reasons, including my belief that TIDAL is not financially viable and will collapse, I’ve stuck with Spotify, which may also not be financially viable but seems more secure for now. Anyway, USB out of my laptop and into my DAC sounds noticeable better than CCA into my DAC, but not dramatically. I have one CCA and use it for casual listening, and another is on the way for the same purpose. (House party!) For their intended purpose and for the money, they can’t be beaten, but audiophile they ain’t. Still, call me impressed.

    25. sonos; v chromecast ,well, have both,..had a sonos conect for 8 years plus , running into marantz pm 6004 amp and old recon marantz LS-17A speakers sound fair- , interface great ,bloody great , am able to pull flac files ( nothing higher) from small bussiness server using wired only , can not pull flac files wireless. use this in my party/bar room(playroom) but ,but ,but, lately the thing is useless. try googling pun intended sonos spanning tree drop outs , sonos network loops , sonos causes my whole network to cash over and over again. this has been happening since last sonos update. sonos is causing broadcast storms thru network,. sonos knows this but gives the brush off , take your sonos off network , get new switch ( our switch is not one of the many that does not work with sonos) ( try googling equipment that does not work with sonos.) it now just does not work or i have to set up sub network to run sonos , but will not be able to pull from server. one of the only faults with digital music/ and streaming is no one can search your music or see what tastes you have ,( flick thru cds) having all my 1000 cds on sever in flac or wav file is a thing for me , and i am playing flac/ wav file in cd quality . this is good . i am into cd quality or better digital files, and the convenience of stored in one place and be able to pull that file to any system ,anywhere on my network or be able to copy in flac/ wav hi res dsd to my phone is great – storage is cheap as now not reason to have mp3 or the like anywhere. no more damaged cd, or vinyl for that matter- dont get vinyl is does not sound better on same cost system. and it is fiddly, maybe that it , but each to their own.
      chromecast is 50 bucks v 500 for conect -chromecast is playing direct thru redgum amp and vaf dc-7 gen4 speakers sound about the same as sonos , (different systems) plays spotify as you would on your phone , i have no problems here, user interface well not flash, but works, it is just casting what is on your phone , but for the money this is good . i am using chromecast while i decide what i should spend on network streamer . looking at a ps audio junior, i have though about adding dac to chromecast, and to sonos for that matter.
      BUT i have not trouble playing thru chromecast using htc m9 phone , or sony z5 table. ..
      also have oppo 105(used as preamp, and streamer) playing direct to redgum home 6 channel ht power amp and vaf speaker, pulling flac, wave, hi res 192,dsd from server, now that sounds good real good really good. sonos well now i am looking at bluesound, and throwing sonos in the bin.
      you know what works amazing, usb audio pro on htc m9 to oppo ha-2 into above systems direct – plays anything thing up quad dsd. way way better than sonos in sound way better, will stream dsd over wireless net work wow. sound it is up there , way way better than sonos, or you can store as much as you like on sd card ( htc takes up to 2tb card) except you can only get 200 gb card – you can put a lot of music on 200 gb playing direct to amp or thru the following headphones fostex th900 or akg k7xx or xiaomi piston gota be the best value out there( thanks john for the tip)
      love your work.

    26. Are you saying that the GCA’s DIGITAL output has a “sound”? Or that it alters teh sound vs another digital output? What aspect of the TOSlink output do you feel is degrading the sound. It’s a direct digital connection to the DAC.

      • I find the TOSLINK output to sound congealed. In other words, it lacks separation and air.

        • But the connected DAC for the most part determines the sound yes? Do you suspect it’s jitter on the part of the CCA’s digital output perhaps?

      • I heard GPM play gaplessly some months ago now but haven’t tried it since so the reliability of that observation isn’t as solid as my hearing/saying that, as of this very day, Tidal leaves large gaps betweens songs and Spotify smaller ones when heard through the GCA.

    The host with the most: Mytek Digital’s Brooklyn

    A new normal?