Author Topic: Chromecast Audio / Multiroom  (Read 3955 times)

Benny

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Hi guys,

after at least weeks of trying, googling etc. I realized that I couldn't find a really thorough how-to about using Musicbee for multiroom by activating some Chromecast Audios (CAs).
Now I just want to share my experiences with you. Perhaps someone doesn't have to put as many hours into his project.

My requirements were as follows:
About 10K mp3s on windows-computer, if possible no copying/syncing of them on multiple devices
Replay-Gain
Multiroom with 4 CAs
Occasion-tags
Control the system from wherever you are in the house not only sitting at the computer
If possible: a "one-click"-solution so everybody could use the system
If possible: as few different programs and devices as possible (complexity, updates, breakdowns)

I tried the following configurations:

All songs on SD-card on android-device. Works e.g. with Pulsar as player, but is a) very static, b) no occasion-tags (this is generally a problem on android I guess because of the standard tag-reading functions implemented in android).

Musicbee + Chrome. Before I bought the CAs I read that they would work with windows, just install audiocast (below) oder Chrome-browser and everythings fine. NO... With chrome you can wonderfully stream your youtube-videos or any other website, but I didn't get it to stream some local stuff :I

Musicbee + SWYH - Stream what you here. This little program creates a http-stream with all that's captured from your windows-sound. I tried VLC on my android-device to open the http-stream. This first step was OK, but to redirect the stream to the CAs didn't work. I don't know why, I guess it's something about transferring whole files to the CAs to play them there.

Musicbee + Audiocast. Like SWYH it captures windows-sound but gives you the possibility to select the CAs for output. There are no groups so you have to click them one by one, no big problem. I noticed a really long lag, always about 8-10 seconds. Maybe there is some buffering behind it, but I didn't find out.

VLC stream to the CAs directly. That worked but VLC for me is not the ideal musicplayer (no occasion-tags and the replay-gain doesn't seem to work as good as in musicbee)

Musicbee + DLNA-Plugin for Musicbee + BubbleUPNP-Server
This was the first setup that really fulfilled my requirements. The player-controls are a little buggy so one has to press the play-button for getting it to work correctly again, no big problem. The lag is only at the start of a new song, 5 seconds in my case, that's OK. Recently I got this fixed by deactivating Chromecast-Transcoding in BubbleUPNP-Server-Config.

Next step: Control from somewhere not sitting at the computer:
VNC Server on PC + VNC-Viewer on android.
Works, but the controls are somewhat tiny sometimes :) This is not usable by anyone. Also the VNC-app doesn't refresh 100% so it's not perfect.

Back to VLC on android:
I configured a samba-share on my mp3-folder on my computer. Then I could open VLC on my android-device and open that share and redirect this to the CAs. Works! What about the occasion-tags? I fiddled around with musicbee's-autoplaylists. There you can save a playlist for each occasion and automatically export it into the mp3-folder. It needed some ticks under options->library->playlists (relative paths and unix-convention). OK even that works! No lags, wonderful. The only problem is quality. Even if I tinkered around in VLC I couldn't fix it, sounds like 90 kbit/s. If I play files locally from my android-device it sounds way better. Perhaps it's due to the double use of network (SMB + stream to CAs).

So my current setup is: Musicbee for tagging and creating the playlists + SMB + VLC on android-device. Optionally I can use VNC to update some tags and stuff when I notice something while hearing. If I only could fix the quality...

By the way: If you think about some old android-phone to control the setup you eventually have to install SMB1 on the windows-computer to be compatible (it's not really safe anymore!). Note also that the app "google home" to control the volume is only available from Android 4.4.

Regards
Benny
Last Edit: April 22, 2019, 10:01:27 AM by Benny