A Sprout with Chromecast and CD player Ideas


My first post, so hope I’m asking in the correct category.

I’m been looking at buying a small hifi setup and have had my eyes on all in ones namely - Denon DM41 or Marantz MCR611 or Onkyo N775. However with each of them I feel like I’m compromising on one thing or another.

I came across Paul’s very informative video’s on YouTube a while ago and learnt of the brand.
I also recalled the Sprout, then today found that there’s an updated Sprout with some nice looking specs.

So I’ve decided to enter the world of real hifi, spend a little more and get the Sprout, and see how sound differs with an Amp from a premium brand - very excited!

Anyhow, what I’d like to ask is what suggestions do members here have - I want the Sprout amp, but would also like a CD player, Airplay (for playing music from my Laptop) and Chromecast (for playing music from Soundcloud). I know it has Bluetooth but I prefer to be able to use my phone when its playing music.

I’m kind of going over my budget so i’ll probably buy things gradually with the priority being network audio (Chromecast) then CD, then Airplay.

Are there are devices that work well with the Sprout, has anyone found something with all 3 in one, or even all network in one?

Any guidance/suggestions appreciated.


I had a DM37 for a number of years. It was an acceptable unit and the DM41 is supposed to be better. I think the Sprout100 has a better amplifier, and it is definitely more powerful. I complemented mine with an external renderer which gave wifi access to Internet radio and streaming services, and also supported Airplay. That meant I no longer used the radio in the DM37, since Shoutcast streams have slightly higher quality. The Chromecast dongle was recently discontinued, but you could have used an optical connection to both Sprout and Denon. Both have Bluetooth connectivity, but that cannot even support CD quality bit rates.

I gave up playing CD’s directly years ago. I just ripped them to NAS, and used Minimserer and BubbleUPnP to play then through the renderer. Nowadays I seldom access NAS; Qobuz streaming gives excellent quality and more convenience.


For airplay on the cheap you can get an airport express and attach it via optical. For chromecast a chromecast audio can be used much the same. Both are discontinued but readily available on eBay on the cheap.

Only major issue is the Sprout 100 has only the one traditional digital input, so having a CD player and a Chromecast (I presume you mean a Chromecast Audio which has been discontinued but can probably still found here and there) at the same time is going to require a Toslink switch.

If you can use a streamer with a USB out like a Raspberry Pi, that would suit you better I expect.

+1 for the pi as a steamer. Love mine. The best os for the job that I’ve encountered (Volumio) doesn’t do chromecast, just AirPlay.

If using the USB port rather than an i2sHAT I’d make sure to put a jitter filter in there, the pi usb is noisy given that the 4usb & the Ethernet all share a poet.

True. I forgot that part. I use an Audioquest Jitterbug on mine and couldn’t be happier. I also forgot to note that I stream through Roon and Ropieee. I think there are more generic Pi packages for different streaming options, but that’s outside of my knowledge realm.

The USB port is a digital input on the Sprout100, but yeah USB probably doesn’t count as a “traditional” one. The trick is that the USB input usurps the optical if anything is connected to it. So you need to unplug the USB cable (or power off the computer) if you want to use both of the Sprout100’s digital inputs.

Yes. That’s what I was trying to say. If you’re planning on connecting a CD player and a Chromecast, the Sprout lacks the ability to host both at the same time because there is a single Toslink input. The USB port is a digital input but doesn’t help that dual use case.

kinda one of those head-scratching things… why not make Optical and USB separate detents in the input knob?

The OP could also look at an i2s DAC HAT for the pi and connect with RCA. I had the HiFIBerry DAC+ Pro for ages and have only good things to say about it. Only changed to the DIGI+ Pro yesterday to take advantage of the better DAC in my newly arrived Stellar.

Hi - interesting. Similarly, I had the Denon DM38 which sounded great. Out of interest how would you describe the difference with the Sprout - i.e. whats the extra $400 like - would you say a no-brainer upgrade?

Thanks all - so it looks like RasberryPI will be the way to go.
Although I’ll keep my eyes open for a CD player which maybe, maybe, has a Chromecast and Airplay.

Its interesting the only device I’ve seen with both Airplay and Chromecast is this Onkyo N775:

But no idea how it sounds and can’t get a demo.

I donated the Denon to some friends, so I cannot do a direct comparison. From memory I should say that the Sprout sounds a little more ‘free’ than the Denon did. Since in the UK a Sprout100 costs 3 times as much as a DM41 if you have any budgetary constraints you might consider the maxim that extra money is better spent on speakers than electronics, since they make a bigger difference to the sound you experience.

Haha - I actually more confused than when I started :stuck_out_tongue:
You think stick with a Denon DM41 + a Raspberry PI DAC then save the money for solid pair of speakers first?

I do. I would sooner run a $100 chip amp through a pair of good speakers than BHKs through lacklustre ones. The caveat would be that the amp needs to be powerful enough to drive the speakers to the required volume. I am not alone in stressing the importance of speakers, but others may have different ideas.

Sorry if this becomes a double post. There was an error when I saved the reply.

While not the best comparison, I’ve got a Marantz M-CR603, an earlier version of the 611, that I use at a second home. I got it mainly due to the size; I could tuck it in a narrow cubby and combined with in-wall speakers it is very unobrusive, i.e., out of sight of burglars. I’ve been pretty happy with it’s performance, though the CD player is a little sub-par. Never really liked the sound of CD’s on it, but when I use my phone as a source the thing sounds pretty good, so the DAC must be OK. If I were to redo it now, a Sprout would be on the short list. The only draw back to me is the lack of a tuner, that would require a second box and I only know of one new tuner that would fit in the cubby.