Amazon's response to Chromecast Audio

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Doublej

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Amazon's response to Chromecast Audio
« on: 9 Dec 2018, 02:06 am »
Though it has no digital audio out. If it sounds good I'll dump my newly acquired Chromecast Audio for this. I am sold on the voice interface though it may be worth the few extra dollars for the Echo Dot 3 which has a small built in speaker and analog out.

https://www.amazon.com/Echo-Input-Bring-Alexa-speaker/dp/B07BFRHZLB








brj

Re: Amazon's response to Chromecast Audio
« Reply #1 on: 9 Dec 2018, 07:52 am »
Both of the units you mention support digital audio over Bluetooth.  My secondary system has an Echo Dot that connects via Bluetooth to a Belkin Songstream HD, which then outputs via glass TOSLINK to my DAC.  Works well.  Once initially paired, I can tell the Echo Dot to connect or disconnect from the Bluetooth device via voice command.

Note that at the current sale prices, both the gen 2 and gen3 Echo Dots are less expensive than the Echo Input.

Doublej

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Re: Amazon's response to Chromecast Audio
« Reply #2 on: 9 Dec 2018, 12:45 pm »
Both of the units you mention support digital audio over Bluetooth.  My secondary system has an Echo Dot that connects via Bluetooth to a Belkin Songstream HD, which then outputs via glass TOSLINK to my DAC.  Works well.  Once initially paired, I can tell the Echo Dot to connect or disconnect from the Bluetooth device via voice command.

Note that at the current sale prices, both the gen 2 and gen3 Echo Dots are less expensive than the Echo Input.

Good to know they both support digital over Bluetooth. I had never heard about that feature. I expect the Echo Input to be on special for $19.99. I just don't know how long one will have to wait for it to hit that price.

Doublej

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Re: Amazon's response to Chromecast Audio
« Reply #3 on: 9 Dec 2018, 02:24 pm »
Upon further investigation I don't think Chromecast Audio supports Bluetooth.  :(
The video Chromecast does but that has only an HDMI output, no analog or toslink mini output.

cujobob

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Re: Amazon's response to Chromecast Audio
« Reply #4 on: 10 Dec 2018, 04:01 am »
I had not yet noticed this product, it’s interesting. I think voice control of the music is an amazing option (which will likely be included in all TVs in the not so distant future). The Amazon Alexa enabled products have horrible reviews outside of the DOTs and Echo speakers. As a streamer, I found the Gen 2 Dot to be pretty solid, but I’d prefer an optical audio out. The Google home Mini requires the Chromecast Audio to stream which is a bit of a nuisance. I use YouTube Music currently because I watch a lot of YouTube videos and can stream in the background without commercials and get music at the same price as Spotify, but that and Apple Music are the most limiting. This product says Apple Music is coming though we all know how they feel about Google.

brj

Re: Amazon's response to Chromecast Audio
« Reply #5 on: 10 Dec 2018, 07:05 am »
I'd prefer a wired digital output as well, though I've found the Bluetooth link to the Belkin to be surprisingly reliable.  I've had to power cycle the Belkin a couple of times in the last year, but that's it.  Perhaps something like the iFi nano iOne would be even more reliability, but I haven't had a reason to step up to that.

Apple Music will be available on the Echo series of Amazon Alexa devices starting 12/17.

Note that the base level of Amazon Music available as part of Amazon Prime is pretty extensive in its own right, and there is the Amazon Music Unlimited tier above that.  I believe that they have an Unlimited intro price of $0.99 for 3 months at the moment.

I have no familiarity with the Google family of products, and I only have the Echo Dot so that I can test things at home before I implement them for my parents.  (A voice activated digital assistant can be hugely helpful for seniors.  Just being able to set alarms via voice command beats any manual alarm clock that I've ever seen, including the average smart phone, not to mention easy access to weather, news, sports scores, and yes, music.)

Doublej

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Re: Amazon's response to Chromecast Audio
« Reply #6 on: 28 Dec 2018, 02:04 pm »
I splurged and bought the Echo Dot 3 which has the built in speaker. While it's certainly not an audiophile grade speaker it sounds very pleasant. It's warm but not overly warm like some other 4 letter speaker brands.

The voice interface is a joy to use and very well thought out. I asked Alexa to play Bruce Springsteen on Pandora. It told me that I needed to link my Pandora account to Amazon using the Alexa app. I did that, asked again and viola Bruce Springsteen on Pandora.

Right now the Echo support free TuneIn, free iHeart Radio and free Pandora!

I don't think the Alexa/Echo does it yet but it would be ultra cool if it could determine if there was an active bluetooth pair or if the analog out was live on the other side and if yes send the output to the other device and if no just play it on the unit's speaker.

The Echo supports stereo too. This thing falls into the good enough for me category that I may scrap my plans for an upgrade to my traditional two channel stereo in the kitchen and just go with an Echo setup. Sure I would prefer to spend more dollars and get better sound but there are no audiophile Alexa speakers yet AFAIK. There's something from Sonos but from reading on the web their implementation of Alexa is buggy.

bjr is totally on point for seniors (actually for everyone). One of my coworkers has one programmed to help his child with his morning routine to get him out of the house on time for school.

By FAR this is the best $30 I have spent all year on "audio".






lacro

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Re: Amazon's response to Chromecast Audio
« Reply #7 on: 28 Dec 2018, 05:43 pm »
Yeah, I went down the same rabbit hole, and I am loving it! During the Amazon holiday discounts, I picked up the 10" tablet, 3 -3rd gen Dots, 1 - smart plug, and the new version of the 4K Fire TV stick with voice remote which is way better than the previous version I have had for years. I can now turn on my receiver, and go directly to Netflix using voice.

I agree the Echo Dot 3's sound is pretty good for what it is, and the analog out connected to an external amp is really very good. I would have preferred digital out like the Chromecast Audio so I could use a DAC, but the SQ is very acceptable. Having voice control of my 100 Pandora stations (paid account) is just the frosting on the cake.

I too wish there was a work around for the analog out to leave the internal speaker in the Echo Dot to be connected even when the output cable is attached. I have considered buying an Echo Dot 2 (maybe a used one) and leave it attached to an amp permanently which would make it only available for voice commands if amp was on.

The Echo/Alexa system opens up so many new things way beyond any audio/video use. There are currently 56,000 skills, and counting.
Heck, my wife just used it to do the math while balancing her check book. :thumb:

Doublej

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Re: Amazon's response to Chromecast Audio
« Reply #8 on: 17 Jan 2019, 01:15 am »
Echo Input is $19.99 at the moment. Echo Dot 3 is $29.99 for one, $50 for two.

The now discontinueded Chromecast Audio is $15 at the Google store.

YMMV.

Tyson

Re: Amazon's response to Chromecast Audio
« Reply #9 on: 17 Jan 2019, 02:19 am »
I got one of the last Chromecast Audio units from the Google store.  I like it because you can use it as a digital endpoint using wifi, by using the optical output option to a DAC that takes an optical input.  I use an iFi iOne as my DAC in my upstairs system.  So Wifi is my default wireless streaming method and it sounds much better than the Bluetooth option (even the VERY good Bluetooth implementation). 

Put another way - Chromecast Audio -> Optical Cable -> iFi iOne DAC -> Almarro A318B -> Klipsch Heresy III

I wish the Dot had some type of digital output so this type of setup could be replicated with it.

yardbird

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Re: Amazon's response to Chromecast Audio
« Reply #10 on: 17 Jan 2019, 11:44 am »
I use it the same way (digital out) for secondary systems. Got another as well. Maybe something else is coming but for $15, I'll take the chance.

lacro

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Re: Amazon's response to Chromecast Audio
« Reply #11 on: 17 Jan 2019, 02:16 pm »
Is Chromecast Audio being completely discontinued or is there a new version? Even though the Chromecast Audio offers optical out so I can use a DAC for the best SQ I prefer the voice interface of the Echo. I have a Dot connected to my basement work area system streaming Pandora. With the Chromecast  it required me to use phone or tablet to change a song/station. With the Echo Dot all I need when I hear a song I don't like is tell Alexa to change it.

Chromecast Audio for $15 is a steal, but I bought two 3rd gen Echo Dots for $20 ea. and I think they are a better value.

Doublej

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Re: Amazon's response to Chromecast Audio
« Reply #12 on: 17 Jan 2019, 06:13 pm »
Is Chromecast Audio being completely discontinued or is there a new version? Even though the Chromecast Audio offers optical out so I can use a DAC for the best SQ I prefer the voice interface of the Echo. I have a Dot connected to my basement work area system streaming Pandora. With the Chromecast  it required me to use phone or tablet to change a song/station. With the Echo Dot all I need when I hear a song I don't like is tell Alexa to change it.

Chromecast Audio for $15 is a steal, but I bought two 3rd gen Echo Dots for $20 ea. and I think they are a better value.

Discontinued, no replacement announced. If you see Chromecast Audio pucks somewhere and you want them buy them. They are very hard to find. I too prefer the Alexa interface, though I just received an email from Google saying to try out the voice interface on Google Home. Perhaps it will allow one to control audio selections like you can with Alexa.



Doublej

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Re: Amazon's response to Chromecast Audio
« Reply #13 on: 2 Feb 2019, 04:12 pm »
Finally got around to trying to hook up my Echo Dot 3 to my JBL LSR305s and I can't get analog out to work. I thought I saw a setting for it in Alexa but I can't find it now.

Amazon's online support says to plug in the Echo, turn on speakers, connect the two and the Echo should automatically switch to analog out which it did not

Any ideas as to what to try before I reset the device and start over?

lacro

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Re: Amazon's response to Chromecast Audio
« Reply #14 on: 2 Feb 2019, 08:53 pm »
Finally got around to trying to hook up my Echo Dot 3 to my JBL LSR305s and I can't get analog out to work. I thought I saw a setting for it in Alexa but I can't find it now.

Amazon's online support says to plug in the Echo, turn on speakers, connect the two and the Echo should automatically switch to analog out which it did not

Any ideas as to what to try before I reset the device and start over?

I am using the Echo Dot 3 with my basement boom box that's powered by a class D amp. I just plugged in an 1/8" IC between the Dot and amp, turned it on, told Alexa to start Pandora. Works great. Do you have to switch something on the JBL's to connect to analog in? Do other analog sources work with the speakers? Where is the volume set on the Dot, and it is actually turned on? Another thing is the 1/8" connector barrel has to be very narrow or it wont seat fully into the jack on the Dot. The little yellow one that came with the Chromecast fits although it's pretty short.

Doublej

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Re: Amazon's response to Chromecast Audio
« Reply #15 on: 2 Feb 2019, 10:57 pm »
I am using the Echo Dot 3 with my basement boom box that's powered by a class D amp. I just plugged in an 1/8" IC between the Dot and amp, turned it on, told Alexa to start Pandora. Works great. Do you have to switch something on the JBL's to connect to analog in? Do other analog sources work with the speakers? Where is the volume set on the Dot, and it is actually turned on? Another thing is the 1/8" connector barrel has to be very narrow or it wont seat fully into the jack on the Dot. The little yellow one that came with the Chromecast fits although it's pretty short.

You nailed it. The 3.5mm connector I was using is part of 3.5mm to RCA female adapter which is a big hunk of plastic for the body. When I tried it using a different cable which has a slim barrel it worked. So it's off to Monoprice or Ebay for a couple of new 3.5mm to RCA male cables.