How to Set Up Whole-House Audio on the Cheap with Google Chromecast

Chrome cast audio players have been available for quite some time but it’s been a bit confusing as to how to use them. We hope to help you energize your home with great music with your existing audio setup today.

Preparation is key to this project

You will need a Chromecast Audio player per speaker system in you home.

You can purchase them here.
*remember you will need one per speaker system in your home*

If your speakers use the old (red / white RCA plugs) you will need to purchase aditional RCA to 3.55 mm adapters like these.


The Chromecast Audio ships with a power adapter and one short 3.5mm stereo cable (aka a headphone style cable)

You can use services like Google Play Music, Spotify, Pandora, and iHeartRadio all work with the Chromecast, and you can even stream music from your personal media collection using Chromecast compatible media management solutions like Plex Media Center.

Now that you have your chomecast and your desired music streaming app setup it’s time to setup your Chromecast Music devices.

Set Up Your Chromecast Audio Units

We promise you that you’ve already done all the hard stuff (checking your speakers, potentially ordering adapter cables, and so on). Once you’ve figured out the lay of the speaker land in your house and got your hands on the actual Chromecast Audio units, the rest of the process takes mere minutes.

Plug in your Chromecast Audio’s power cable, plug in the adapter, and hook the unit up to your speakers. We suggest doing the units one at a time (applying power to each unit only after the previous unit has been configured) to avoid confusing them, as they all have generic default names like ChromecastAudio2058.

Turn your smartphone’s Bluetooth on from its settings app. Then, launch the Google Cast app. Select the “Devices” tab at the top of the screen, as seen below

Confirm that you heard the sound by selecting “I heard it”, or, if you did not, select “I didn’t hear it” for troubleshooting help.

Next, you’ll be prompted to name your Chromecast Audio and opt to enable guest mode or not (if you’re unfamiliar with the Chromecast guest mode, you can read up on it here). Although the app prompts you to use a name like “Living Room”, because we already have several regular Chromecast units with names like that we opted to call our Chromecast Audio “Downstairs Speakers”. Give your Chromecast an easily identifiable name that distinguishes it from other units (and remember that each time someone gives a network device a nonsensical name, an angel loses their wings).

As soon as the Chromecast Audio connects to your network, it will search for updates. During that process, it will show you a little video about how to use the device. Wait for the update process to end and then repeat this entire section of the tutorial for each Chromecast Audio unit you have.

Do not move on to the next section of the tutorial until each Chromecast Audio unit is hooked up to its companion speakers, with a unique name, and on your home network.

The Finishing Touch: Group the Chromecasts

This last step is the magic that brings it all together. If you open up a Chromecast compatible streaming app, say Pandora for iOS, at this point, you will see your Chromecast Audio units but you will only be able to stream audio to one of them, as seen below.

If you have Bluetooth on and are near the Chromecast, it will display the default name of the Chromecast Audio along with the above dialog indicating it needs to be setup. Select “Set Up”. After a very brief moment where it indicates the setup process is underway, it will prompt you to play a test sound. Press the button to confirm that the app can send sound to the Chromecast Audio.

From the resulting pop up menu, select “Create group”.

Give your group a name and select the Chromecast units that will make up the group. In our example, we have two Chromecast Audio units and we named the group “Whole House”. If you’ve purchased more units, you can easily subdivide things into groups like “Whole House”, “Upstairs”, “Downstairs”, or even “Outside”. As long as any given group has two Chromecasts in it, it will work. Click “Save” when you’re done naming your group and selecting the devices.

 

If you fire up an app with casting abilities, like the aforementioned Pandora app, you’ll see that “Whole House” (or whatever you named your speaker group), as seen below.

Now you can select the “Google Cast Group” instead of individual Chromecast Audio units, and whatever stream you’ve selected will be sent to every Chromecast Audio in that cast group.

Individual apps can offer additional support for the Chromecast Audio (the Pandora app, for example, allows you to control the master volume by tapping the casting icon while the cast is in process, as seen below).

 

 

This is particularly handy if you left the physical volume of a distant set of speakers turned up and want to quickly rectify the situation without running up a flight of stairs.

Source: How to Geek


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