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Why does a Chromecast audio sound so much better when streaming to Beolit 15 than an Apple Airport Express second generation?

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Irvine
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Irvine posted on Wed, Sep 30 2020 2:51 AM

I have four Beolit15s. I use them equally with Bluetooth and with streaming audio. I have tried for over a year to get a quality audio streaming signal into the 3.5 mm port from an Apple airport express and failed. I have purchased two Chromecast audio dongles and have had absolutely excellent results with both. Neither of the Chromecast devices will work with Airplay but I have found that I can find other streaming services that will compete with Apple’s Apple Music. Does anyone know why this is?  Is the digital to audio converter so much worse in the Apple product? I really like Apple products but the sound difference is quite striking; the fidelity is quite poor and in particular the upper registers come off as dull and very flat.  I would appreciate any insight as to the technical reasons, if there are any, for why this is the case.

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leosgonewild
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In my opinion the DAC in airport express is very bad.

I also find the analogue audio from a Chromecast to sound better than the analogue audio from an Airport express.

When it comes to the digital signal, there is a thread about that on the forum. Spoiler: Airport express does a better job.
Michael
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Very different products.

Airport express is a WiFi router, access point and has an audio output as an extra feature. It uses airplay to transmit data from a device to the airport. What that means in this case is that the sound is converted to Apple lossless and then send further on its way and then played back.

Chrome cast however grabs the source and plays it itself without any re encoding. This takes less effort and usually gives a better representation as no conversion is made. However the lossless format is supposedly “lossless” and the effect should not be dramatically but the step is there. It’s also an older product. It does have a pretty stellar DAC for its price and very low noise floor as well so usually it is pretty good.

I would probably change the beolits to devices with built in capabilities for streaming such as the m5 or m3 or more expensive devices or even Sonos.

Beolab 50, Beolab 20, Beolab 8000 x 2, Beolab 4000 x 2, 
BeoSound Core, BeoSound 9000, BeoSound Century, 
BeoLit 15, BeoPlay A1, BeoPlay P2, BeoPlay H9i, BeoPlay H6, EarSet 3i, 
BeoVision Avant 55, BeoPlay V1-40, 
BeoCom 6000 and so much else :)  

Millemissen
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Indeed there are different views on the sq of the APE .

have a look here:

https://kenrockwell.com/apple/airport-express-audio-quality-2014.htm
Or just read what Ken sums up:

At any price, the Apple AirPort Express is a great DAC. It sounds great, with a completely silent background, full 2 V output, smooth detailed sound and full infrasonic bass response.

For best results, leave your player's volume at its maximum for maximum output from the AirPort Express, and then vary the playback level with your Hi-Fi's volume control.‘

 

MM

There is a tv - and there is a BV.

Millemissen
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Also Archimago did some measuments/testing with the Chromecast Audio.

Here is the first part:

http://archimago.blogspot.com/2016/02/measurements-google-chromecast-audio.html
Feel free to read....and to test on your own.

MM 

There is a tv - and there is a BV.

Andrew
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Andrew replied on Wed, Sep 30 2020 9:40 AM

I found that you can get excellent results with an AE if you feed the output to a DAC - the audio out also serves as a SPDIF (optical digital) output and you can feed that into a DAC and then into your audio system. It is very very good dependant on the DAC you are using. The built in AE Dac is poor,.

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