Yamaha has, with much preparation and forethought, revealed MusicCast, its platform for networked audio and multiroom delivery.
Leaving aside the gear, the all-essential app, the streaming quality, what services it can access and so forth, there is one fascinating side to MusicCast, at which we reckon its rivals (Sonos, HEOS, Bluesound, Bose, Definitive Technology, LG MusicFlow, Panasonic AllPlay, Pure, UNDOK, Samsung, Sony and the rest) will be utterly agog.
It is this: ANY BLUETOOTH SPEAKER CAN BECOME PART OF A YAMAHA MUSICCAST NETWORK.
YES, INCLUDING THE ONE YOU ALREADY HAVE.
This is because all MusicCast products can not only receive music via Bluetooth, they can SEND it too. So if you have one of the MusicCast soundbars in your lounge, say, it can pair with any Bluetooth speaker in the next room and then you can use the MusicCast app to send music to that too.
The obvious limitation on this will be the range of Bluetooth, which is generally fine in the same room but can become rapidly iffy once walls start getting in the way. But that aside, this ability gives Yamaha an ecosystem of potentially thousands of possible devices, including those already in people’s homes. Bluetooth speakers have become enormous sellers in recent years; now Yamaha can address them all.
Remember, you have to pair each Bluetooth speaker with a specific MusicCast device, and as we understand it, it’s one to one — you can’t have one MusicCast device talking to half a dozen other-brand Bluetooth speakers. But in terms of saving redundancy when choosing a multiroom system, it’s a pretty big bonus.
Ironically, one of few brands that has never (yet) put Bluetooth reception on its wireless speakers is Sonos, so Sonos speakers can’t be added to a Yamaha MusicCast system. But Bluesound (with dongle), HEOS (with dongle), Pure, DefTech, LG, Panasonic, and any brand of basic Bluetooth speaker are all up for pairing. We’ve noted in our reviews of wireless multiroom system that those based on third-party platforms have a considerable benefit in allowing other brands to join the system if they use the same platform (for example, DefTech and Polk both use DTS PlayFi… Panasonic, Monster, Hitachi and Medion use Qualcomm AllPlay… Bush Australia, Ruark and Sangean are all using Frontier Silicon’s UNDOK).
But with MusicPlay’s ability to send music via Bluetooth as well as receive it, Yamaha has left the platform business entirely. For more information, contact Yamaha Music Australia