Best way to connect a Chromebook to the SA30?


My first post on here, and possibly one that is better suited for a regular HiFi forum - but given what I’ve read here about problems with the SA30 I figured this could still be a good place to ask. Feel free to remove the post if it’s goes against what this forum is about.

I’m looking to occasionally hardwire my Acer Chromebook Spin 713 (2021 Intel EVO model) to the SA30. It has HDMI 1.4b, USB-C and USB-A. I was gonna go for trying it out via HDMI, but have read a lot on here about audio dropouts. Unfortunately I don’t have a cable at hand to try it out. I also don’t use my SA30 in a TV setup or similar, and have limited knowledge about HDMI cables.

I have come across a couple of (mini-)USB to optical/coax converters, such as the Douk Audio XMOS XU208, but not sure how good it is.

Any input appreciated.

one way i do that sometimes is to connect my laptop to a dac and then get the dac connected to the sa30, if you wanna go low budget, i can recommend a small fiio dac and an optical cable. laptop to dac (via usb a) and dac to amp (via optical cable). theres always the option to get a better dac, ofc.

Thanks for the reply.

The problem is that Chromebooks run on ChromeOS, so I’m not sure whether or not it would work connecting a DAC in that way, especially when taking into account how I’d like to use a hardwired Chromebook → SA30 implementation.

För one I have a need for listening to a lot of audio files (WAV, FLAC, MP3) from the Chromebook, which it can’t cast for some reason. Spotify works just fine, so does casting from the Chrome browser, but not any music player app (some of which are guaranteed by Google to work, could this be an SA30 issue?). Was the same with a different Chromebook I tried (Pixelbook Go), so it’s not the unit.

I would also on occasion like to be able to use some of the features in streaming services (mainly Spotify) that are not supported by Chromecast.

Is the HDMI solution out of the question - ie am I guaranteed to get audio dropouts? That’d be an absolute deal breaker. Perhaps HDMI is not the best solution either way though.

Dropouts are fixed in latest firmware (1206), BUT i don’t think you can use HDMI anyway. SA30 has HDMI ARC input, it’s supposed to be connected to a TV, that will pass the sound to SA30 via Audio Return Channel.
It’s not standard HDMI input. I don’t think Chromebook can act as TV/ARC source.
If you cannot use Chromecast (interesting why it’s not working - i don’t think it’s SA30 issue), USB->SPDIF is your safest choice.

Hello Stjarna, welcome to the forum!

I think the HDMI connection on your Chromebook won’t work. As stated earlier SA30 accepts HDMI ARC. As far as I know the source should be able to sent the audio through HDMI ARC, this is not a regular HDMI output connection. I tried myself to connect the HDMI of my laptop to the SA30, this didn’t 't work.

Hello, and thank you!

According to the official HDMI specifications, HDMI 1.4b supports ARC. Perhaps your laptop has an earlier HDMI version?

(this was a factor I was unsure of, so made sure to look it up)

Wheter other factors come in play so it doesn’t work despite supporting ARC, that I don’t know. Can I use any HDMI cable that supports ARC to try it out?

Sorry, I missed that there were two replies. Yes, it’s very weird. If it wasn’t for that I’d tried it on two different brand new Chromebooks, I’d think there was something wrong with the unit. The SA30 is available for casting, clicking on it connects to the amp, the track name and name of the app is displayed, but the Chromebook apps I’ve tried does not manage to send any sound to it - the playbar is at 0:00 and eventually there is a time-out error. The same apps works fine to cast from from my Pixel 3a XL and Pixel 4 Android phones, which makes it even weirder (and less likely that it’s the SA30 probably).

I assume that’d be “regular” USB to SP/DIF?

It’s not about whether HDMI standard supports it or not.
It’s about implementation.
HDMI ARC in TV is INPUT, which has return channel for audio. What you have in your laptop is HDMI OUTPUT. It’s really not the same thing.
You can try, but i don’t think it will work. Any cable should work with ARC.

Yes, any would do. Of course higher quality the better, but on the other hand i don’t think it makes sense to pay a lot for such thing.

Yes, hence me saying that other factors I’m not aware of might come in play so it doesn’t work anyway. :slightly_smiling_face: Yeah, you are correct - it’s output only. Thanks, then that is 100% ruled out as an option.