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Bedroom system with Chromecast into Ava Maestro 50 amplifier

willem

Well-known member
My wife likes to fall asleep listening to the radio, and occasionally I don't mind having some bedroom music as well. What I wanted was an amplifier that has digital inputs for a Chromecast, and that goes into sleep mode when the sleeptimer in the App turns the signal off. The only suitable small amplifier that I could find in Holland was the Ava Maestro 50.

On paper the specs seemed fine: it is extremely small, delivers 2x50 watt at 4 ohm and 2x 25 watt at 8 ohm, it has coaxial and optical digital inputs (only one of them at any one time without having to reach behind the amplifier, and no analogue inputs). It also has a master volume control, apart from what you can do with the app on your phone.

In short, it is a very basic amplifier, and you can tuck it away, so you just have speakers in your room for less clutter.

The price was modest (199 euro), and when it arrived today I was struck by its small size (pocket book size) and elegant finish (it is a block of black annodized aluminium). The first thing I did was set up a test system in our (large) living room, using a Chromecast as a source, and P3ESRs as speakers. The sound was fine, though bass was not as tight as with the Quad 405-2 that I normally use with these speakers. And volume was low.

The amplifier clearly does not have enough power to play inefficient speakers loudly in a large room. Replacing the wonderful P3ESRs with my much more modest but also a bit more efficient speakers that I intended to use in the bedroom raised the volume somewhat. I am sure the amplifier will be powerful enough for bedroom use, but it clearly has power limitations.

The biggest snag is with the sleeptimer in the TUneIn app combined with the Chromecast. I tested the combination before I ordered the amplifier, and it did turn the cast signal off in my main system, but now with the new amp it does not.

Of course, the amplifier is irrelevant, so I must have done something different with the TuneIn app and/or the Chromecast app. Earlier on I had similarly inconsistent results with the ZZZ sleeptimer that is supposed to work with most app's. I think I got it to work once, but at the moment it will only turn off the sound on the phone, and refuses to tell the Chromecast to do the same. I guess I will have to systematically go through all possibilities (I should have recorded exactly what I did yesterday that did work). Does anyone else here have similar experiences?
 

willem

Well-known member
Low powered bedroom amp

Low powered bedroom amp

I have solved the timer issue for the TuneIn app. It probably is a matter of the right sequence of actions: first open the TuneIn app, then select the radio station, then set the timer and then cast to the Chromecast. It works a treat.

Once the casting stops, and the music dies, the amplifier enters sleep mode. The final experiment is obviously to try and repeat the failure as well, to find out the cause of the earlier failure. The snag is that the shortest time you can set the TuneIn timer is 15 minutes, so multiple experiments take time. I have not yet succeeded with the ZZZ sleeptimer. However, that will have to wait: the weather is great here, so I have decided to go for a bike/camping tour for the next few days: Spring at last.

The reason I posted about the Ava amplifier is not that I think it is a great amplifier to use with Harbeth speakers - it really does not deliver enough power for that. However, there may be Harbeth users here who like me would like to have a convenient and affordable bedroom system like this, even if it does not sound as wonderful as with Harbeth speakers.

The second reason is that I think an amplifier without controls and that turns itself on and off when there is a signal is a very convenient thing, and not just for the bedroom.
 

Kumar Kane

New member
Sonos Connect Amp

Sonos Connect Amp

Which is why I think that the Sonos Connect Amp is still perfect where one must use non Sonos speakers. It delivers a true 55wpc into 8 and 110 wpc into 4 ohms, has a footprint about 1/3rd that of the usual integrated amp and is functionally equal to a CCA+amp combination with an arguably slicker UI, with all essential hardware buttons on the unit. Designed to be left always on, it does the auto on/off thing automatically in that mode.

And it makes more economic sense than using a CCA with another amp, being probably cheaper in many cases; many integrated amps of that power output sell for more. Like the 909 in every way except power delivery, I have found it to be very robust and perfect for applications where its power delivery is adequate, with a smaller footprint.

It doesn't sell as much as it used to, now that Sonos has competitive speakers in their product line. But it is still well suited for those that want to use passive speakers of their choice and are satisfied by the power delivery.
 
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Nessuno

Member
What OS?

What OS?

I have solved the timer issue for the TuneIn app. It probably is a matter of the right sequence of actions: first open the TuneIn app, then select the radio station, then set the timer and then cast to the Chromecast. It works a treat.

Once the casting stops, and the music dies, the amplifier enters sleep mode. The final experiment is obviously to try and repeat the failure as well, to find out the cause of the earlier failure. The snag is that the shortest time you can set the TuneIn timer is 15 minutes, so multiple experiments take time.
You don't specify the operating system you're running, so I suppose it's iOS: have you taken into account the difference between running TuneIn in foreground or background, i.e. pressing the Home button after started playing?

iOS allows an app in the background to do only one thing continuously, which is playing music. So when TuneIn is in the background and the timer expires, the system scheduler forcefully terminates it, the Chromecast service feels no connection at one end of the pipe and closes the other and so cascading (I'm just making an educated guess...).


The reason I posted about the Ava amplifier is not that I think it is a great amplifier to use with Harbeth speakers - it really does not deliver enough power for that. However, there may be Harbeth users here who like me would like to have a convenient and affordable bedroom system like this, even if it does not sound as wonderful as with Harbeth speakers.
Generally speaking you are right, but for listening at moderate levels, like at bedtime, a 20W/ch amplifier will let you enjoy perfectly your P3ESRs: I have a 100W/ch/8ohm amplifier and at late hours I seldom go past -35dB volume level, so well below 20W, and the music is still perfectly defined and detailed. Yes, one of the most remarkable and impressive characteristic of these speakers is the resolution at low listening levels, still retaining balance and naturalness. They don't need to speak loud to convince!


The second reason is that I think an amplifier without controls and that turns itself on and off when there is a signal is a very convenient thing, and not just for the bedroom.
A DIY solution I sometimes adopt is a socket plug adapter with a timer to the main.
 

willem

Well-known member
Eight months later I am still very pleased with the unit, even if the limitations have remained. The amplifier is not powerful enough for a large room and/or insensitive speakers, but for my entry level bedroom speakers (86 dB and 6 Ohm) it is just enough. I still enjoy the convenience of auto switch on/off, even if not all apps for Android have a sleep timer. The Chromecast app does not have its own sleep timer at system level, so it comes down to the individual streamer apps. Spotify does not have one, and that is a real bummer. The one in the TuneIn internet radio app works fine, although the phone also seems to keep doing something after the sound has been stopped, so in the morning your phone may have used some power (I fail to understand why). Altogether I am still very pleased with my modest but ultra convenient out of sight system.
 
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