Chromecast audio has been launched a year ago in India. It has also been sold like hot cakes. Last year, when its update was announced, not many users were excited since older cast is successfully serving the purpose. However announcement of cast audio was something to look out for.
Many users owning high end but dumb speakers were searching for a medium to stream music through them without losing out the quality. What is the benefit of a speaker if it FLAC audio streamed through it via Bluetooth is compressed to a 128 bit audio.
Cast audio however uses Wi-Fi hence compression is not an issue. It also saves battery of host device as host device directly gives cast audio the link to data. Hence users can use their smartphones for other purposes or can even switch them off. However if you are streaming local content from your device then it will have to be dedicated to cast as well as powered up.
Cast audio also has its advantages. Setting it up is as easy as cast. Users need a Wi-Fi router at home. Cast audio also supports a 5GHZ audio so there is no worry about this device going obsolete. Setting it up is quiet easy. First of all, provide it power supply by connecting its USB to any powered up device say a power adapter and USB with a power brick, as similar to a smartphone.
Then connect the 3.5mm cable to your speaker system. If you want to connect TOSLINK cables or RCA cables, they are also compatible with cast audio. Just buy them and connect them. After hardware connection, just download Google cast app for android and iOS devices from respective app stores. Currently windows phone devices are not supported.
The app will guide you step by step and voila! It is done. After setting it up it is time to cast the content and check it. All you need is to fire up the app, switch on speakers and then go to your local music library in your smartphone. Play the music and you will see a cast overlay soft key. Just touch it, smartphone speaker will be muted and content will be streamed via cast audio.
If you have multiple cast audio over same wireless network all of them can also play same music in sync. This update has been released recently. Even if an app does not support cast feature in android it can be streamed using mirror feature of android.
Cast has its advantages of easy setup, low cost, modularity, and device integration and battery management. Audio also is not compressed. The downsides are unavoidable streaming errors, difference in audio and video streaming despite of using a common app and surely, a higher price in India than Cast itself. There is also a minor latency which many audiophiles cannot bear.
This device is definitely worth the money spent. It also removes the constraints of connecting via Bluetooth and all that red taping. It has smartly integrated into household and is a perfect solution to use your legacy speakers or high end speakers together to stream music.