About

I’m Michel, living in the Netherlands, and I’m a Spotify addict. I wanted to share some solutions I found to use Spotify more conveniently at home.

This blog is about finding the best way to use Spotify Connect at home on your existing hifi-set, without buying expensive hardware. The goal is to use cheap or old hardware, while getting audiophile sound.

34 thoughts on “About

  1. Great blog! I’ve been struggling how to integrate spotify connect into to my hifi system. I went and bought a cubox-i after reading through your posts. It’s a little bit more than the android dongle you suggested, but it in return you get an optical out.

    1. I understand the Cubox works on Linux operating system, so what software do you install on it to use Spotify Connect and how do you install it?

      1. Hi Cedric,

        I don’t have a Cubox, but I see it supports Linux (Ubuntu etc.) and Android 4.4. So I think it will be easy to install Spotify on Linux/Android. I don’t know if the Linux version of Spotify supports Connect, but you can always install Android which does supports it. How do you want to connect the audio-out? It supports HDMI and has a USB port to connect a USB-DAC, but I don’t know if it works with any USB-DAC out of the box?

        About your other question: I wondered myself if this simple solution would work with other streaming services like Google Music or Deezer. I don’t know if they have some kind of “Connect” feature, but it would be nice to investigate this!

  2. @Tim: your welcome 🙂
    @Ryan For a while I was also thinking to buy a Cubox-i, it seems like a great solution. They look great too! I’m curious if it works like you want it? And how it sounds?

  3. Looks like a nice and simple solution for Spotify Connect. Thank you. I know it’s out of topic but can this solution work with other music streaming sites?

    1. Hi Cedric, it seems like a great dac/amp! I can’t find info if this device will work with a cubox, but I think the Cubox has USB OTG support, so than it probably works. Maybe you can ask this on their forum?

      I agree that the Cubox is more plug and play than the Android Mini PC which I have, that doesn’t support Linux out of the box for example. But overall I like this kind of devices very much because they are small and powerful. You can also install a webserver on it for example. I wish you succes with your project!

      1. Sorry, what I met is that the Android mini PC is more plug and play because you just have to plug in the cables, right? whereas with the Cubox you need to install the software yourself. so for me Android PC would be easier.
        But have there been any Android mini PCs issued this year, or recently? I only found older models after a quick search…
        Also is there a possibility with the Android mini PC solution to not only use it for Spotify Connect but also for playing audio files stored somewhere on my home network.

      2. Ah ok, the Android Mini PC’s work out of the box indeed. There are also very recent versions from different brands, like the Minix Neo for example:
        http://www.minix.com.hk/Products/MINIX-NEOSeries.htm

        These devices are a little bit more expensive, but they have quad core’s and lots of connection possibilities, so you can use these devices for a lot more than Spotify Connect only. You can use them as a NAS or webserver, or to make your TV a Smart-TV etc. If you want to play local files, you can do this from Spotify or from another player-app from the Play Store. If you use Spotify than you can use the sync feature in Spotify to get your local files from your pc or tablet to the Mini PC. Lots of possibilities!

  4. The Minix Neo looks nice. It it similar to the Google Nexus Player?

    But are these products dependent on a TV, or can they be used headless?

    1. Hi Cedric, I don’t know if the Minix is the same as the Google Nexus Player. I think the Minix can be used without a TV, my mini-pc works fine without it, which is a great thing! I only have to connect it to HDMI if I want to change something on it. So I really think the Minix can be used without TV.

  5. Hi Michel, This is a good idea and I’m seriously considering it.
    1. How do you find the sound quality/performance compared to Windows (with ASIO if applicable)?
    2. Out of interest, have you heard of Gramofon? It looks like a nice device at a similar cost. It lacks USB audio out for DAC, but for people using it with an AV receiver and speakers, it will be fine.

    1. Hi Zero,

      A DAC like the one from Hifimediy or other external DAC (or expensive soundcards) have much better sound quality than a standard DAC on your motherbord for example. You can find a lot of information about the differences on Google. There are situations in which you probably don’t hear the difference, but the sound I have now is really good. If you don’t want to go for the external USB DAC, than you can also just buy a (second hand) Android Mini PC or Cubox, and just connect it via HDMI to your receiver if it supports it. Mine doesn’t, so that’s why I bought the (great sounding!) USB DAC.

      I didn’t know Gramafon, but that’s exactly what I was looking for when I searched for low cost Spotify Connect solutions! At the time it wasn’t there, but if I look at the cost of Gramafon (59 euro’s) I think I would have bought it 🙂 It sounds like a great device! I don’t know how the build in DAC performs, but it’s probably a fine DAC. The advantage it has, it that you don’t have to do any setup or install applications on it, it works out of the box. But, if you want something more do-it-yourself, or you want to use it for more than Spotify alone, than my setup is more fun 🙂 Thanks for the tip man!

      1. Thanks Michel. I should have been clearer—I already have a USB DAC and this is the only reason why I’m interested in this! My USB DAC/Amp is better with headphones than my AV receiver. Instead of listening to Spotify with headphones at my desk, I want to do it in my living room from an armchair (but device will have to be on the TV stand).

        So, are you able to say DAC+Android is any worse than DAC+PC (with ASIO)?

        Also, can you control volume on your phone when using Spotify Connect? This is instead of turning the knob on the DAC, which will be out of reach of my chair.

        If I’d known about Gramofon or indeed this project a year ago I would’ve bought it too (instead of a Bluetooth aptX receiver).

        By the way, if you ever use Spotify on a PC with a DAC, you can try Fidelify, which is a Spotify-based client that has ASIO, WASAPI, and VST filter compatibility.

        Thanks again

      2. Hi Zero, sorry I understood you wrong. I don’t know if the DAC is better/worse on Android or a PC. I could test this indeed, I hope I will find the time for it (2 young kids… 🙂 If you already have a USB dac, than the investment in a Android Mini PC is quite low if you buy it second hand, I spend 38 euro’s or something on it.

        A big downside of Spotify Connect is that you can’t control the volume from the “remote device”. There are some request for this feature on the Spotify Forum, but it is not high in the ranking until now, which is too bad. This feature would make Spotify Connect complete.

        Thanks for the tip about Fidelify, I think I have heard of it, but never used it. I wonder if Android is better/the same in audio quality when compared to a PC using Fidelify…

      3. Hi Zero, an update on volume control when using Spotify Connect. It should work on android devices I found out, but it doesn’t work with the devices I have… The beta version of Spotify for Desktop does support volume control though! You can control the volume of the desktop app from every other device (android to desktop app). I didn’t knew this before today. I hope volume control will be soon supported for all devices (PC, android, iPhone).

  6. Zero, you did not miss the Gramofon last year because it did not exist back then. It was a project crowdfunded in the spring this year. what I like is that it is dedicated to audio but they were promising more features. I’m a bit disappointed: you can’t use it with other music streaming services or as a local music streamer, and you can’t disable the hotspot feature (a second wifi signal for the Fon community).
    Lately, I’m getting interested in the Chromecast technology that can cast applications. there was the doogle and now there is the Nexus Player: http://www.google.com/intl/all/nexus/player/ but I have questions in this device like this one here about being able to connect a USB DAC: http://forum.xda-developers.com/nexus-player/help/usb-dac-support-t2910040#post56313316

    1. Hmm, the Nexus Player is an interesting device, but it would be good indeed to know if it supports a USB DAC. It should have OTG support (since Android 4.0 I think), but there are a lot of smartphones and tablets with Android 4.0 or higher and OTG support, but on which USB DAC don’t work.

    1. Hi Cedric,

      Thanks for the article! Chromecast seems like a nice alternative, although I think there is no support for Spotify at the moment? But if it does supports Spotify, it’s also a very cheap option to go for. Also Beep is an option, but I think it’s rather pricy…

      1. and this project to include an html5 browser in speakers to make them connected – in the same way connected TVs are connected – is promissing

    1. Hi Cedric,

      I didn’t know about the PI Music Box. I heard from Mopidy some time ago, it seems like this is a project based on Mopidy. It looks really great I must say! It’s another cheap way to build a dedicated spotify “server”. I think the only downside is that you can’t use the original spotify app to remote control the other device. You must use the webinterface from the PI Music Box or a MPD-client. But than again, the interface looks really good.

      Thanks for the tip man!

      1. I tried it today. It´s easy to set up. It`s not the same as using the original Spotify app but it works and looks good on pc (didn`t work in the browser of my Windows Phone). I was also able to play webradios on TuneIn with it, as well as Sounclound and some feeds of podcasts. I’m pretty happy.

  7. the spotify fonctionaly is quite limited on MusicBox for the moment, I must say. and I have problems saving my favorite radio stations. TuneIn works really well however.

    1. Hi Cedric,

      Can you change the volume using the PI Music Box? That’s the only thing that bothers me about my current setup, I can’t change the volume…

      1. Hi Michel, yes you can change the volume in the PI Musicbox web interface. it´s user friendly. and in settings you can set-up the start-up volume level.

      2. Hi Cedric, that’s really interesting! Although it’s not native Spotify connect, it’s a good alternative which does support volume control. Thanks for your review.

    1. Sounds really cool Cedric! This could be a nice solution for a lot of people I think. Thanks for the tip!

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