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Grace Digital CastDock X2: World's first speaker dock for Chromecast Audio

The new CastDock X2 has a dock that allows you to install a Chromecast Audio unit right into the top of speaker.

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David Carnoy
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David Carnoy

Executive Editor / Reviews

Executive Editor David Carnoy has been a leading member of CNET's Reviews team since 2000. He covers the gamut of gadgets and is a notable reviewer of mobile accessories and portable audio products, including headphones and speakers. He's also an e-reader and e-publishing expert as well as the author of the novels Knife Music, The Big Exit and Lucidity. All the titles are available as Kindle, iBooks, Nook e-books and audiobooks.

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The CastDock X2 hides the Chromecast Audio in the top of the speaker. The dock has a door/cover that adheres magnetically.

Sarah Tew/CNET

Back in the day there used to be lots of speaker docks for iPods and iPhones. Now we get Grace Digital's CastDock X2 ($150), a speaker dock for Google's highly-rated Chromecast Audio Wi-Fi streaming device.

I've been playing around with it for the last few days and it certainly is an elegant solution for integrating a Chromecast Audio unit -- sold separately for $30 -- right into a speaker (you usually have to attach it to an audio input and have it sit outside the speaker).

What's nice is that the dock has a Micro-USB connector that provides power to the Chromecast Audio and an optical audio cable creates a digital connection. However, I should note that this isn't a portable speaker with a built-in rechargeable battery. Rather, it has to be plugged in.

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The docking bay.

Sarah Tew/CNET

As for the sound, it's decent but not exceptionally good for a $150 speaker (it plays loud and has some kick to its bass -- it's just not the most well-defined bass).

Bestbuy.com does have it on sale for $100 for Father's Day, and that's what I felt the speaker was worth -- and least from a sound and build-quality standpoint.

The WiFi connection is supposed to provide higher-quality sound but in a speaker this compact, you don't get much of a performance bump over Bluetooth. And weirdly, the speaker doesn't seem to offer a Bluetooth connection, which means you have to buy a Chromecast Audio to wirelessly stream music to it.

Gracedigital CastDock X2 (pictures)

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According to Grace Digital, here are the key features incorporated into the CastDock X2 and Chromecast Audio (sold separately):

  • Listen to over 30 million songs from over 100+ cast-enabled music apps like Pandora, Google Play Music, Spotify, and iHeartRadio
  • Enjoy higher quality sound
  • Play music everywhere with multiroom feature
  • Play music without interruptions
  • Mirror music from a laptop or Android phone

CastDock X2's specifications:

  • 50 watt digital amplifier with electronic crossover
  • Frequency response: 60Hz - 20KHz
  • Wave Maxxaudio DSP tuned to match custom speaker drivers
  • Digital optical connection supports high-resolution audio, up to 24-bit, 192-KHz
  • Switch for selecting R / R+L / L (allows you to use two Chromecast Audio devices and two CastDock's for stereo sound or to place in separate rooms)
  • Auto play / auto off when music is streamed
  • Integrated mute button
  • Rear mount screw option
  • Price: $150 (but on sale for a limited time at bestbuy.com for $100).
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