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Chromecast Audio to BeoLab volume

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depe
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depe posted on Fri, Jan 1 2021 5:06 PM

Anybody using Chromecast Audio dongles to drive Beolab speakers? I use them with Beolab 4000 and Beolab 4. This setup has served me well for a few years now, but I noticed a minor problem. 

It appears that the audio signal delivered by the Chromecast Audio is larger than a 'standard' BO signal. To deal with that situation, the volume setting in the streaming application (Deezer, Google Music) must be extremely low, otherwise the speakers play way too loud. 

I researched this phenomenon on the internet. I believe to understand that the the Beolab speakers are designed for a 1V signal, i.e. maximum loudness corresponds to a 1V signal. The Chromecast Audio, on the other hand, delivers up to 2.8V.

I often wish to reduce the volume but the setting is already at the minimum. Also the volume 'granularity' is coarse since the majority of the settings are excessively loud and therefore essentially useless. Not to mention what happens if the setting is accidentally high when the speakers turn on. 

I am wondering if others have observed the same and found a solution to the problem. Is there a way to attenuate the Chromecast Audio outputi n software? Or should the signal strength be reduced by an additional attenuator? Can the Beolab sensitivity be changed?

Just in case it matters, I deliver the audio signal to the Beolab's via the RCA input rather than Powerlink. 

Any feedback is appreciated. Thank you 

Dirk

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Millemissen
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Pretty hard to control a setup like that!

Best use a preamp for volume control - when you use Beolab speakers, a B&O sound system is predestined for that task.

I can be any with Powerlink outputs.

I know....many want to avoid this to get a ‘slim’ setup - but if you want the optimal handling of the volume controlling nothing beats a Beosystem as the preamp.

 

P.S. You describe the problem as ‘minor’ - hoever, what I read in your post, is that it bothers you quite a lot.

 

MM 

There is a tv - and there is a BV.

Puncher
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Rather than criticise your setup I suggest you try turning off "Full Dynamic Range" before parting with any money on extra stuff you may not need/want.

Ban boring signatures!

Ravsted
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Hi,

I also use CCA as multiroom audio solution in my home with BL3 + Sub, 2 pairs of BL4000 and BL4500.

Had same issue as you, but solved by adding this in-line volume control between all CCA's and the BL's

I cannot hear any degrade in sound quality.

https://m.aliexpress.com/item/33002289520.html?spm=a2g0n.productlist.0.0.5187398cmHAQtq&browser_id=c7d6d7cb43184b8e85b18798d67ea969&aff_trace_key=&aff_platform=msite&m_page_id=gmgfzmrxr8cadrwl176c3e5d627610cbfbc1172943&gclid=&_imgsrc_=ae01.alicdn.com%2Fkf%2FHc945c1f55bcd40cf8567ca01310a46bbV.jpg_640x640Q90.jpg

 

 

depe
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depe replied on Sat, Jan 2 2021 4:58 PM

Hi Puncher, 

thank you for brining this to my attention. I have FDR enabled, it makes the sound richer but seems to have no impact on the loudness.

Puncher
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depe:

Hi Puncher, 

thank you for brining this to my attention. I have FDR enabled, it makes the sound richer but seems to have no impact on the loudness.

Are you certain you've disabled it ?

Ban boring signatures!

depe
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depe replied on Sat, Jan 2 2021 5:07 PM

Hi Ravsted, 

I was worried that the signal attenuation would have a negative impact on the sound quality. Great to learn from you that this is a non issue. I am tempted to build the attenuator into the end of the cable, integrated into the RCA connector, as explained here:

https://www.instructables.com/Homemade-RCA-Attenuator/

Just requires two resistors and a bit of soldering. Did you consider something like this?

Thanks

Dirk 

depe
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depe replied on Sat, Jan 2 2021 5:11 PM

Puncher:

FDR on vs off seems to not change the volume of the speaker. 

Puncher
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depe:

Hi Ravsted, 

I was worried that the signal attenuation would have a negative impact on the sound quality. Great to learn from you that this is a non issue. I am tempted to build the attenuator into the end of the cable, integrated into the RCA connector, as explained here:

https://www.instructables.com/Homemade-RCA-Attenuator/

Just requires two resistors and a bit of soldering. Did you consider somethinge this?

Thanks lik

Dirk 

If you are capable of constructing this then that is ideal and far better than the FDR setting in the Chromecast and you should then leave FDR selected. The values given are reasonable starting points, just be sure to connect the cables to the correct ends. This is better than the inline volume control too as there is no potentiometer wiper connection to degrade over time.

Or you could buy from here -

 

 

 

 

Ban boring signatures!

Ravsted
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Hi Depe,

I did consider soldering an attenuator but came across these inline regulators when searching eBay and AliExpress.

They are a 1 dollar per speaker pair - hassle free - plug/play investment ....

ONE DOLLAR Smile

So, I gave it chance, and it has worked just fine for years. And should it degrade over time, I'll find another dollar in my budget and replace it where needed Smile

There are many 'versions' available - I wanted and got a version where the total cable length is only 8 inches/20cm.

Should you prefer another solution - then keep us posted about the result.

 

 

depe
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depe replied on Sat, Jan 2 2021 9:27 PM

Hi Ravsted, 

there are different ways to skin the cat - i will keep you posted on my progress. 

On a very different note, totally off topic. I believe you have opened the BL4000 to replace foam. How delicate is it to open the chassis to get access to the inner parts? I never tried that. My intention is to investigate whether the main voltage can be changed from 220V to 110V. It looks the standby transformer can be re-configured to different mains voltages, but that might not be the case for the main transformer.  

Ravsted
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Hi,

yes, I've done the job on my BL4000's. It is very easy to open the speaker. Remove the speaker cover. Remove the 3 screws holding the front aluminium cover. They are all Torx 15 if I remember correctly. Pull/slide the front aluminium cover off. Remove all remaining screws. Pull of the moulded plastic front. Gently pull off the speaker wires. Take a photo... Just to remember where the old foam was placed.

Now it's time for cleaning... The foam is usually very fragile and sticky. I found the best way to get it out as gently as possible was to vacuum the speaker. It will gently suck the old foam out of the speaker bit by bit. 

Very gently clean the circuits where you find the old black foam. I used isopropyl alcohol. Replace with new foam and reassemble.

 

I recently did the job for my brother in law. The speakers worked before taking them apart... but they did not after cleaning. There is a risk that the circuits are so etched by the old foam that components will be destroyed when even gently touched by any cleaning procedure. So before you start I recommend having a plan B. Where I live there is a specialized repair shop for the BL4000. So we got the failing components replaced for a very fair amount, and they will most likely play happily for the next 10 or 20 years.

 

Regarding voltage. I read in a different thread that changing from 110V to 230V and vice versa is fairly easy. You don't have to replace the mains transformer. Search the forum or create a separate thread for this and I'm sure you'll get quick response.

 

depe
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depe replied on Sun, Jan 3 2021 2:55 PM

Hi Ravsted,

thanks for your explanation. I will open the speaker once I find my Torx driver. I might be lucky, according to the serial number, the speaker was manufactured around the time when they switched the material. I also have a pair of Beolab 8000 from 1997 which have never seen service. I guess the inside is a mess, despite the speakers still operating well. 

I start another thread regarding the power conversion.

 

 

 

TWG
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TWG replied on Sun, Jan 3 2021 3:27 PM

easy solution from a good and well known audio brand to keep the setup slim and simple:

https://www.thomann.de/gb/fostex_pc1_volume_control_white.htm

Availabe in black, too and as that thing is soo small you can hide it anywhere you want.

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