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Chromecast Audio vs Gramofon
Originally posted over on the Orbitsound blog.

Which is the best WiFi streaming device? - A critical listen to today’s mainstream streaming technology, by Dan Fletcher, June 2016
There’s a lot of chatter around high definition audio, and audio quality generally at the moment. Also, people demand great audio conveniently, usually via WiFi. Multiroom audio has become a buzzword with some substance. Sonos of course is the dominant force, but more recently a couple of devices have caught my attention as claiming to deliver the same or more than Sonos for a fraction of the price. So, I thought to take a fresh look at the streaming products out there today, to see how they compare, and where the limitations may be, and give them a critical listen (and measurement) for quality.
[Image: chromecast.png]
Chromecast Audio
Diminutive in size, the Google offering has impressed from the start. Low cost, easy to set up, and sounding fantastic, the Chromecast Audio promised much. At it’s launch, it was a single point audio solution, with a promised update during December 2015. Sure enough, late December, an update was automatically applied, enabling you to play music or radio to groups of Chromecast Audios around the home, beautifully in sync.
[Image: gramofon.jpg]
Somewhat larger than Chromecast Audio, the Gramofon is based on the Qualcomm Allplay system. As such, it promises interconnectivity and compatibility in the future with all kinds of devices and existing multiroom speakers. The look is considerably more ‘HiFi’, intended to stand out rather than to hide away. The circle on the top illuminates to show what's happening. You can press it to quickly play/pause playback, which is a nice touch - although there is no volume control as might be suggested by the circular ID.
[Image: chromecast-gramofon-tidal-spotify-setup.jpg]Pictured is my listening/testing setup.

Chromecast Audio vs Gramofon audio quality - does the listening device actually make a difference?
In short, no. There is no difference whatsoever in terms of audio quality with any of these devices. And, yes, they are all excellent.
From an audio perspective, the difference between these devices is not noticeable at all. For comparison, I tested in critical listening across a variety of material the Chromecast analogue and optical output (using a professional DAC), the Gramofon, and a Focusrite 2i4 semi-pro audio interface. The comparison shows that both the Chromecast and Gramofon contain very high quality DACs, meaning great audio quality through their 3.5mm jack outputs. Using a test tone and my distortion measurement equipment revealed extremely low levels of distortion. These devices can be used with confidence to deliver the highest quality audio playback in any situation - don’t let their low cost fool you!

Read the rest on the Original Blog post.
Simon D
Orbitsound Staff

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