Newbie Question - Warning: layman language!!!`

Discussion in 'Digital Sources' started by TheBone1, Jan 7, 2019.

  1. TheBone1

    TheBone1 New Member

    Messages:
    21
    Hey, folks. So, I just got my new setup. Yamaha Integrated amp and TEAC turntable (I'll get my signature set with the model numbers). The turntable and amp sound great. I am going to be in need of new speakers, but that can wait for the moment. Here is my issue: I purchased a Harmon Kardon bluetooth receiver which is plugged into Input Line 1 in the Yamaha. I am sending the signal from my Tablet via Spotify. As I had been warned, the sound quality is not that great. It is superior to listening to Spotify through my laptop speakers, so I am thankful for this. I'm being told that Bluetooth is not a good way of receiving the wireless signal....

    Is this a DAC situation (do I need a DAC?), or do I need another way of transmitting my signal from my tablet?

    Thanks for all your help....
     

     

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  2. widespot

    widespot New Member

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    16
    Good evening, I use a Chromecast audio to play Spotify from tablet to my amp. Works great. My AV amp has bluetooth, but I never used it for the reasons you describe. The chromecast audio was $15 right before Christmas, not sure, but its still a good deal at $35 IMO.
     
  3. RTally

    RTally Speaker addict Subscriber

    Messages:
    1,057
    Location:
    Knoxville, Tennessee
    BlueTooth is fine for connecting a phone to a car system. For home, it sux unless you have the newest, super-duper BT, and you need it both on your phone/tablet and the receiver. Forget BT.

    I agree with widespot. Get a ChromeCast Audio (CCA) and connect via WiFi. If you have an Android tablet/phone you are golden. If iOS, then you are limited to certain apps, but most work so no problem there either. You can connect the CCA with an analog cable (minijack to RCA plugs) or use a DAC. Your Yamaha may have a built-in DAC, if so, use a mini-TOSLINK cable to connect. The sound quality using a CCA will be much improved over using BT.

    Another factor to consider is that many apps on mobile devices default to a lower bitrate for music. Make sure you have the app set to a high bitrate or high quality. I don't use Spotify, but I know Pandora has a HQ setting.
     
    awillia6 likes this.
  4. widespot

    widespot New Member

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    16
    I forgot to ask the model of the receiver. Does it have wifi capabilities? If so that works better than BT and you may be good to go. My Pioneer, for example, has airplay and Chromecast built right in.
     
  5. cpt_paranoia

    cpt_paranoia Super Member

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    1,246
    Did you get my reply to your PM?
     
  6. cpt_paranoia

    cpt_paranoia Super Member

    Messages:
    1,246
    You mentioned an Asus laptop. What is the tablet?

    Spotify don't seem to go out of their way to provide easily accessible information on their services, so I had to use Google to find information.

    First thing: you need to determine which Spotify service you are using:

    https://support.spotify.com/us/using_spotify/system_settings/high-quality-streaming/

    Confusingly, the audio quality depends on the device you are running it on, and the service level you are using.
    On a Desktop, running the desktop app, you will get 160kbps OGG on the Basic service, and 320kbps OGG on the Premium service.
    The higher the number (the bitrate), the better the audio quality.

    None of these services is CD-quality. All are using one of a number of lossy compression algorithms (MP3, OGG or AAC).

    Whilst Chromecast Audio appears to be supported by the mobile apps, it's not entirely clear if the PC app supports Chromecast:

    https://support.spotify.com/us/article/spotify-supported-devices/?ref=related

    Although this page suggests it ought to be:

    https://www.spotify.com/us/chromecast/

    <quote>
    Make sure your Chromecast and device using Spotify are on the same Wi-Fi network.
    1 Fire up the Spotify app on your phone, tablet or laptop.
    2 Play a song and select Devices Available.
    3 Select your Chromecast enabled TV and start listening.
    </quote>

    Although the example they give is a Chromecast, connected to a TV (that's not Chromecast Audio...)

    Spotify to Chromecast uses 128kbps AAC for Basic service, and 256kbps AAC for Premium.
    Due to the more efficient coding nature of the AAC algorithm, it is generally considered that these bitrates will sound similar to MP3 or OGG at 160kbps and 320kpbs, respectively.

    I don't use Spotify, so I can't confirm if it will cast to a Chromcast audio. Maybe some other users can?
     

     

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  7. TheBone1

    TheBone1 New Member

    Messages:
    21
    The ASUS model number is R518U.

    I have changed the quality through spotify to the 320 kbps (just did this, had no idea).

    Can you confirm that the Chromecast Audio is plugged directly into my Integrated amp as suggested by RTally?
     
  8. cpt_paranoia

    cpt_paranoia Super Member

    Messages:
    1,246
    Not without knowing if it has optical inputs...

    The CCA has a 3.5mm socket that has both stereo analogue output, and optical output.

    You can connect the analogue output to a spare Aux or CD analogue input of your amp, using a 3.5mm to RCA lead.

    If your Yamaha has optical inputs, you can connect the CCA to it using a miniTOSlink to TOSlink optical cable.
     
    RTally likes this.
  9. widespot

    widespot New Member

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    16
    I cast to the Chromecast from my Android phone, my IOS phone, my iPad, my Chromebook via the web browser, and the app on my imac. So connectivity shouldn't be an issue assuming they are all on the same network. Using the supplied 3.5mm into the aux jack of my amp sounds fine, as the DAC on the CC is decent enough. As stated you can purchase a mini toslink to hook up to a digital input, this is what I do, but I admit it's just really for grins as I'm not certain I can tell the difference from the analog connection.

    Let us know if the sound is better than BT if you get it hooked up.
     
  10. dewdude

    dewdude I fix stuff.

    Messages:
    3,148
    Location:
    Manassas, VA
    Bluetooth audio is pretty crazy when you consider there are multiple codecs that can be used and support for the "good ones" aren't universal. I always considered Bluetooth connectivity outside of phone calls to be a novelty. Like my car made no mention about supporting A2DP Bluetooth for music playback, so I've been using the Aux cable. Apparently pressing some buttons gets me "mp3 play" which just streams the audio. If my limited steering wheel controls did anything this way I might use it. My Aux setup is louder and sending low bitrate Opus (most of the "general" stuff on the card in my phone is encoded to around 80kbps) through SBC doesn't sound very good.

    The SBC codec is mandated by A2DP 1.3. It's a sub-band codec defined by the Bluetooth folks. It doesn't really have a set bitrate....but most of the time it's somewhere around 320kbps. It doesn't play well with the already lossy sources.

    There are some optional codecs out there that can also be used; but only if both devices have support for them.

    AAC is run at around 250kbps.

    Qualcomm has aptX and aptX HD. aptX runs around 354kbps and aptX HD runs around 576kbps. It's a proprietary format, but I believe it's support is getting wider.

    LDAC is like the elephant in the room. It pushes bluetooth to the max at around 990kbps and does sound pretty good. It's Sony's proprietary codec and for the longest time was only supported on Xperia phones and maybe some Sony PMP devices. They gave it to google to integrate as standard in Android 8; so if in the Android crowd and have a recent phone, you should just have to get a compatible device. I haven't bothered to look to see if LDAC is being picked up by device manufacturers since it's inclusion in Android.

    When I run my headphones on Bluetooth, I run LDAC (I have a pair of Sony WH-1000XM2)...unless I'm someplace like the airport where the 2.4ghz spectrum is just a dumpster fire.

    I find it's hard to get good sound out of a tablet. I don't know what kind of tablet you have to say if you can hook a USB DAC up to it.
     
  11. TheBone1

    TheBone1 New Member

    Messages:
    21
    To all: Tablet is an ASUS R518U. Integrated Amp is Yamaha A-S501. There is (1) optical input, but I currently have my TV hooked up to that. There is also a Coaxial Digital input, and several Line's In.
     

     

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  12. widespot

    widespot New Member

    Messages:
    16
    The Chromecast only has optical out. Just use the 3.5 for now you may need a 3.5 to RCA adapter. The sound will still be better than BT.
     
    RTally likes this.
  13. TheBone1

    TheBone1 New Member

    Messages:
    21
    Received my Chromecast Audio. Is this the type of cable I need if I want to run to my optical input on my amp?

    Monoprice S/PDIF Digital Optical Audio Cable, Toslink to Mini Toslink, 3ft
     
  14. widespot

    widespot New Member

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    16
    Yes, toslink to mini toslink. Connect to the optical in on your receiver and enjoy.
     

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