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dielawn

New Bluetooth Stereo Alternative

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dielawn

Hi Team,

I am a computer nerd hands down and I have been watching the Google Nexus live event today tentatively. They just announced a new device called "Chomecast AUDIO" the device is a small puck which plugs into any 3.5mm AUX input meant for old home stereos or speakers. You connect to the unit via WIFI. What does this mean for Malibu owners? Well, in theory (I obviously have not tested it myself but....) it should mean that you can plug in the small puck into your AUX input in your glove box and now your boat will be (LOCAL) wifi enabled. You can have your friends or just you all connected to the unit with cross platform compatibility (ios, windows, android) you are then able to cast your music to your boat's stereo. The real kicker that stood out to me though is that WIFI is able to transfer much higher data and bitrates of music than bluetooth. So this will make music sound better and the wifi signal should be MUCH MUCH stronger than the stock bluetooth signals. Also when connected to wifi rather than bluetooth, this will eliminate the annoying phone notification sounds that happen when you are listening to music and a text message comes through, the wifi connection will not pick up those notification sounds. One other really cool feature i heard them say was that you are able to SYNC multiple Chomecast Audio devices together. Meaning if you and your friends boats have chromecast audio, you can play music via 2 boats or more in sync. Which, i think is pretty f*ckn awesome. Also, the unit cost 35$ so you really cant go wrong. I will be purchasing one today and trying it out. Obviously everything is stated is in theory, we will see how the real world conditions workout, but I have high confidence this would be a great bluetooth alternative for your boat.

https://store.google.com/category/tv_and_audio

This should enable alot of cool ideas for your boats audio.

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jb 156

let me know how this works could be a cool product and the price is right.

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saburkhart

What do you use for wifi signal in the boat? Your phone hotspot?

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kx250frider617

Your phone and the device is connected through wifi instead of bluetooth. It's kind of like the new airdrop feature on iPhones. you won't be using and data through your service provider and you won't magically get internet through it either.

If these actually work well, I will definitely buy a couple.

What will you be doing for the power source?

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saburkhart

I don't have wifi in the middle of my lake. does the device create its own wifi ssid? I would assume its meant to set up in your home through your existing wifi.

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shawndoggy

The blurb says it works "wherever there is wifi". My boat does not have wifi. It does not say that it creates its own local wifi network.

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hunter77ah

I would assume the wifi works like it does on a go pro... (Shrug)

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saburkhart

Pretty cool looking. I've spend much more on much less useful gadgets

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Slurpee

For these devices to work there needs to be a wifi hotspot to handle the traffic between your audio source and the wifi peripheral. Using WIFI instead of bluetooth is going to potentially give you a lot better audio signal. You are not compressing audio down to the lowest common denominator encoding to fit in the bluetooth bandwidth when you're using wifi. HOWEVER, you are now open to the vagaries of the DAC quality on whatever WIFI device that is sourcing the audio signal to your system. For instance, on my boat I have an Apple Airport Express generating it's own WIFI network. I ripped the AC/DC board out of it and inserted a DC/DC board to run off vehicle 12V. It has awesome signal quality and fidelity and really really high signal amplitude. Beats my Exile and former Wetsounds bluetooth knob in every respect (except perhaps ease of use). I say that because while phones quite naturally will switch over to bluetooth if connected to something with the right Bluetooth Profiles, telling an iPhone for example to send the audio stream to the airport express is several button clicks to get it set up every time. You basically have to point it at the airport rather than it's own speakers.

I think a Google version of this product working out of the box in a vehicle would be AWESOME as it isn't something I've seen any manufacturer make yet. That is assuming it makes it's own hotspot. Otherwise, go plug an old router into your boat. :)

Edited by Slurpee

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wakebrdr94

Or you just hack your own like I did and use an apple airport. Wifi instead of Bluetooth.

Although the the exile Bluetooth reciever has been pretty impressive.

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Slurpee

Or you just hack your own like I did and use an apple airport. Wifi instead of Bluetooth.

Although the the exile Bluetooth reciever has been pretty impressive.

Yup, that is identical to what I did. Did you delete the DNS servers from the record of the wifi hotspot so that the phone will continue to use the cellular data even while driving down the road (riding in the boat) for non-audio stuff.

What'd you do to modify the power supply? Open it up and pull the AC/DC board and install a 5V to 3.3V converter?

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wakebrdr94

Yup, that is identical to what I did. Did you delete the DNS servers from the record of the wifi hotspot so that the phone will continue to use the cellular data even while driving down the road (riding in the boat) for non-audio stuff.

What'd you do to modify the power supply? Open it up and pull the AC/DC board and install a 5V to 3.3V converter?

Yes to everything you asked :)

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Slurpee

Yes to everything you asked :)

Good man. I noticed after switching my WS-420 input from the Exile to the Airport that I had a LOT, and I mean a LOT more bass signal in my regular songs relative to the other bands. That must be one of the victims in the BT compression. I had to tinker some with the pre-amp settings and retune my amplifier gain and crossovers to get it where I like it. It's so much better now. None of that means anything though when the noise floor is high from rushing wind and splashing water. But when idling or at anchor it is so very nice.

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jonredcorn

While I would bet on it not creating its own wifi signal, that thing would be awesome. I'll be purchasing a few of these (although not for my boat)

Quick question - do you know what version of bluetooth you were using? I just got a WS-420 and have the main and aux both set to different MPOW bluetooth dongles (so 2 people can control audio at the same time via quick switch from aux to main) and don't notice any compression or loss... so although the wifi device is sweet, my Bluetooth 4 + A2DP bluetooth profile has been great all summer!

And this is embarrassing but I do have a router, AP and wifi in my boat... working on getting the signal to work farther than 3/4 a mile at the moment. lol

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MLA

Clarion is releasing a wifi device but its not universal so its specific to their head-units.

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Slurpee

While I would bet on it not creating its own wifi signal, that thing would be awesome. I'll be purchasing a few of these (although not for my boat)

Quick question - do you know what version of bluetooth you were using? I just got a WS-420 and have the main and aux both set to different MPOW bluetooth dongles (so 2 people can control audio at the same time via quick switch from aux to main) and don't notice any compression or loss... so although the wifi device is sweet, my Bluetooth 4 + A2DP bluetooth profile has been great all summer!

And this is embarrassing but I do have a router, AP and wifi in my boat... working on getting the signal to work farther than 3/4 a mile at the moment. lol

Bluetooth 4.0, 4.1, 4.2 are all improvement on Bluetooth only in the respect that they make it a lot easier for me to design them into battery powered devices like coin cell powered head sets and such. It's primarily a low energy improvement with good improvements in security and number of available channels so a terminal full of business folks talking on their headsets can maintain link. It makes a really good leap forward in bandwidth for data transfers as well. But that doesn't have anything to do with audio. What's most useful for this application is to have at least BT 3.0 which is when the last major audio features were introduced. After that the only thing that makes a difference is the level of transcoding being done. If you have MP3s on your source and the bluetooth devices on the transmitter and receiver can work with the optional MP3, then that's what you get. Yay. No transcoding. But most often things degenerate down to the SBC codec which is mandatory and usually sitting in the bluetooth chip without any OEM having to write more code. SBC isn't called the low-complexity codec for nothing. It's lousy if you are from a world of Hi-Fidelity. But for a boat out in the wind and water you aren't going to notice nearly all of the time.

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pknappe

One feature I like with Bluetooth is that you can change the tracks from the head unit. Would you be able to do this with your WiFi setup?

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Slurpee

No. I was playing around with one of my dev kits over the weekend to get that to work though. I still have some effort to go apparently since I'm a mediocre programmer.

Basically, Bluetooth requires both devices to negotiate several "profiles" for functionality. There's a profile for audio streaming, a profile for device control of things like tracks, a profile for moving data (which isn't easy with Apple btw), and lots more. That's all really convenient stuff and makes media control wonderful. Sadly, the bandwidth is lacking for high fidelity audio right now and you suffer from double encoding of music most times.

My thought was to link Bluetooth and WiFi to an audio server and get the best of both worlds. Control and Fidelity.

One feature I like with Bluetooth is that you can change the tracks from the head unit. Would you be able to do this with your WiFi setup?

For now I have one of these phone mounts stuck to the glass right in front of my throttle hand so it's just a finger joint farther forward and I can drive all my tracks and everything else even easier than from where my head unit would be. And I don't have to look off my direction of travel as far either.

Edited by Slurpee

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randv

I liked the look of the Chromecast Audio as well. Sadly for me it is not an answer as I'm sure it will need an existing Wi-Fi network, and not create its own network (as a GoPro remote does). The Chromecast FAQ states:

Do I need an internet connection?

Yes, your Chromecast Audio needs to be connected to a Wi-Fi network

Would it work in my car?

No, Chromecast Audio will not work in your car.

Airport Express looks like a good solution as Slurpee and others on here have done, I just need to learn how to solder!

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Bill_AirJunky

Looks to me like you'd have to install a wifi router on your boat to get this to work. The only advantage I see is that it might expand your wifi range. Maybe it sounds better? But no one has ever said my BT setup sounds bad.

I'm still looking for a way to connect multiple stereos to one music source. The only setup I've found so far is FM radio.

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cowwboy

From what I have read is it works just like the chromecast for tv's. It's that it streams from the wifi source. So you wouldn't currently be able to share content and unless you have a cell based router or use your phone as a hotspot it wouldn't play anything.

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