Yamaha MusicCast 20 & 50 Review

Yamaha MusicCast 20 & 50 Review


This is my look at the Yamaha MusicCast 20 and 50 speakers.  These are multi-room speakers of the very highest quality and they certainty will give Sonos a run for their money if they gain traction for the following reasons:

  • they sound really good
  • the App is terrific and simple to use
  • the quality is on show, as you would expect from a brand like Yamaha.

Design

The Yamaha MusicCast 20 is a very accomplished bit of kit.  My review sample is a simple white with a matching power lead.  It’s pretty classy and blends in with the Kitchen, in my case, nicely.  The Yamaha MusicCast 20 has an Ethernet connection slot but it is also wireless, which is how I’m using it.  There is a wall hanging slot at the back too for a screw or the like.  The Yamaha MusicCast 20 can be paired to create a stereo pair I gather, I have not done this.

The Yamaha MusicCast 20 was pretty easy to set up with my Android phone and the MusicCast App, that is free in the Play Store.  So far, (with one exception) it has been stable and there when I wanted it and it has taken over from our Robert’s radio for everyday use.

Yamaha MusicCastYamaha MusicCast 50 is the larger, more powerful, more luxurious, speaker that presently resides, unobtrusively, in our Dining Room.  I have the black one in the Room, it is pretty good to look at and has a few more features that the Yamaha MusicCast 20.  The 50 has two extra inputs, an ‘optical in’ (could be a CD player for example) and a pair of phono leads in (for a turntable maybe).

The App

Both speakers run in tandem as a multi-room proposition and switching between them is very intuitive.  They are controlled with an excellent MusicCast App that is available for iOS and Android.  On set-up you are invited to take a picture as an icon for the App.  This is a really neat feature and works well in the App.  The features in the App include streaming with Tidal, Deezer, Napster, Pandora, Spotify and Qobuz as well as a suite of other options.  There’s a sign in screen for all of them. Also available in the App are sound controls including an equaliser and a simple bass boost option (although there is plenty in there).  In built with the App is netRadio, that seems to have everything I want!

The App connects seamlessly with Bluetooth and I’m streaming Hi Res music from my server at the moment, which is great.   There is an alarm and snooze in the App, I’ll find out about Roon and comment later.  The spec says there is a sleep function, which would be great, but I can’t see it in the App.

One of the better features on both the 20 and the 50 are the favourite buttons which you can lean on to set.  If you like just coming down stairs in the morning and having your radio ready straight away, just hit your button and all is good!

Quality

Yamaha MusicCast

Top of the 20

These are very nicely made and feel great out of the box.  The Yamaha MusicCast 20 and 50 have rubber feel bases and on top there is smooth finish.  The 20 has buttons on the top and it is a useful place for car keys in the kitchen!

The Yamaha MusicCast 50 is a large storage area and the familiar soft touch buttons are on the side as opposed to the top with the 20.  The black top is a fingerprint nightmare, it has to be said!

I’ve had a couple of Firmware updates in the last week, which is fine.  I gather there is a Sub Woofer coming that will pump up the output but really, this performs so well I think it is not really needed.  I guess if you were going for the AV MusicCast solution with soundbars and wireless 5.1 stuff, you’ll be delighted.

There is also Alexa voice compatibility.  I don’t have one but I think you could say “Alexa, play Favourite 2 on the MusicCast in the Kitchen”.  Wow!  The set-up is in the App.  I have not tried this because I don’t have one.

Specification

(from the site).

  • Music streaming services built-in
  • MusicCast multi-room technology
  • Alexa voice control compatibility* (*Availability varies by region)
  • High-Resolution Audio
  • Stereo pairing (requires 2 units)
  • Ability to be used as surround speakers with an AV receiver or sound bar* (*Select MusicCast models only)
  • Soft-touch, simple presets for instant playback
  • Alarm, Snooze, Sleep

Yamaha MusicCast 20

Speakers – 9 cm (3-1/2”) woofer x 1, 3 cm (1-1/8″) soft dome tweeter x 1, Passive radiator x 2, Max 40 W (Woofer 25 W + Tweeter 15 W)

Dimensions – 150 x 186 x 130 mm

Weight – 2.2 kg

Yamaha MusicCast

Back of the 50

Yamaha MusicCast 50

Speakers – 10 cm (3-7/8″) woofer x 2, 3 cm (1-1/8″) soft dome tweeter x 2, Max 35 W + 35 W (6Ω, 1 kHz, 10% THD)

Dimensions – 400 x 123 x 200 mm

Weight – 4.5 kg

Performance

The performance of these speakers is great, the 20 has a full, controlled sound that is certainly deeper than my Robert’s radio.  With the Favourites button the functionality is really satisfactory.  You can just drop in the kitchen, hit the button and your favourite radio station is ready to go.  I have one of the Favourite buttons set on a Tidal Playlist that I have made for cooking vibes.

The Yamaha MusicCast 50 is mighty room filler with a full dominant sound.  You can really turn this up.  I’ve had a really good play with my review playlist and ‘2049’ from the Blade Runner film sounds fantastic, the bass resonates and the dynamic range is all in there.  When I put on ‘Ode’ by Nils Frahm, the resolution is spot on, very impressive.

The App and network connectivity generally have been spot on and I have been delighted with this, especially with my rather dodgy BT router.

Overall

These Yamaha MusicCast speakers are priced near the Sonos speakers so they’re not an immediate value proposition but they are definitely worth listening to.  If you’e looking to stand out from the crowd with a multi room solution Yamaha may be your solution.  I’ve been extremely impressed and I won’t be calling Yamaha any time soon if I can help it, to return these.

With the AV range coming soon and a sub woofer, this feels like a really impressive entry into the multi-room arena from audio powerhouse Yamaha.

Love 

The App

Favourite Buttons

Like 

Build quality

Not Sonos

Wish  

There was a little ticker for track info, sometimes

The Yamaha MusicCast 20 is priced near £200, the 50 near £450.

More from Yamaha here:  Yamaha MusicCast

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