A few years ago (2015) I was inspired by a presentation about Internet Of Things. For me this marked the start of developing connected devices and improve existing solutions in the field of audio. My goal was to develop a simple solution to stream music from your phone (or other music storage devices) in HiFi quality to your own speakers. A not-so-common solution at the time.
The first product I developed was the IOM1: a Wi-Fi connected audio device based on the Raspberry Pi with an in-house designed DAC board connected to a Hypex amplifier. This worked fine, we sold some units, but this was not the perfect solution I was aiming for. Drawbacks for example:
- Not that user friendly, you had to flash/use a SD card
- Not simple: difficult to integrate into a home Wi-Fi network; threshold technical knowledge level needed
- Low penetration of needed software solutions in popular music streaming solutions (like Spotify)
- Relatively expensive
Then the Google Chromecast audio was launched. I was blown away: what a technology for so little money!
Characteristics of Google Chromecast audio:
- Wi-Fi network for first time use
- Integrated in lots of music streaming services (like Spotify)
- Very good HiFi quality
- Cheap (about €35)
I had to do something with this. Therefore I stopped IOM1 and developed the IOM Chromecaster. To match the high quality sound level of the Chromecast audio we decided to use a top level amplifier: the Hypex Ncore. This is an excellent solution because it delivers high-end sound quality but is also very compact and energy efficient. Perfect for an Internet-Of-Things solution.
The IOM Chromecaster has become a nice, usable and affordable product to stream music from different streaming services and storage devices without compromising audio quality.