Chromecast Audio is 1/10th the Price of Sonos – It’s a little $35 hockey puck-sized USB-powered Wi-Fi device which connects to an AC outlet and then is connected to your speakers with an analog or optical cable or RCA connector. It receives audio streams from the Internet or your computer via Wi-Fi and is controlled by your smartphone, tablet or Chrome browser on your computer. It will support anything running on either Chrome or Android. The optical cable gives you full digital output. Chromecast claims to have a “world-class DAC” but won’t reveal any details about it.
An Immersive Audio Listening Experience – On Oct. 30 at NYC’s Jacob Javits Center, as part of the 2015 AES Convention, Sono Luminus, Auro Technologies, PMC Speakers, 2L and Pure Audio Blu-ray will showcase the 9.1 Auro-3D listening environment with music by Ensemble Galilei, Cantus, Anna Thorvaldsdottir and more. Auro-3D was developed by Wilfried Van Baelen to to add the missing third dimension of height in front of and around the listener, creating an immersion in 540 degrees of sound. Thanks to the addition of the height channels, natural acoustic reflections reach the listener as in real life, originating not only from around and also from above. Auro-3D is the only sound system having both 5.1 surround and Auro 9.1 in one standard PCM delivery file with hi-res audio in each channel, making easy distribution in the world possible. Mixes in the Auro-3D format are released on Blu-ray and in the theaters. It will soon be available in many consumer applications.
Pioneer Has First MQA-Ready Mobile Digital Audio Player – Their XDP-100R is the first to use the Meridian technology that captures the full hi-res sampling rates in a format small enough to stream to a PC, smartphone or other device, or to download. It also supports up to 288GB storage, has ESS SABRE DAC and amp, and handles up to quad DSD and up to 384kHz/240bit FLAC or WAV files. Its 720p 4.7-inch touchscreen has video playback and it can download hi-res music files from OnkyoMusic.com. The audio board and CPU are separated internally to isolate noise sources, and the top and bottom have removeable bumpers to protect cables and connectors from wear and tear. The closest competitor is the Astell & Kern AK380, which is $3500. The unit will not be available until next month and the SRP is still TBD.