Using iTunes with MusicCast

THIS IS PART OF OUR YAMAHA MUSICCAST REVIEW - for the full index, go here.

iTunes is a rare weakness for the MusicCast system. Some rival multiroom systems, Bose and Sonos for two, have programs you can load on your Mac (or PC) which then enable direct access from their apps to that computer’s iTunes songs and playlists. MusicCast can’t do that. For MusicCast users with iTunes collections on a Mac, you’d have to add some generic serving software to share your iTunes Music folder - but you still wouldn’t have access to your iTunes playlists, and only DLNA folder-style access to it.

We found three workarounds.

1) The easiest would be to use, say, the USB-equipped STUDIO N500 speakers (above) as computer monitors, playing direct from iTunes on your computer via USB. (And very nicely too - see our individual reviews.) Control iTunes direct on your computer, or from your iPhone/iPad using Apple’s Remote app. You can then share the USB input of the N500s through MusicPlay to any slaved devices.  


iTunes AirPlay MusicCast

2) Second easiest is to make use of the AirPlay streaming ability of each MusicCast device. The latest versions of iTunes and OS X allow Macs to address multiple AirPlay devices at once, so just fire up iTunes on your Mac, click the AirPlay button and you’ll find all your Yamaha MusicCast devices listed there ready to receive (plus any other AirPlay devices, such as an AppleTV). Even better, you can use Apple’s ‘Remote’ app on an iPad to control your computer’s iTunes, so you can do all that from your mobile device wandering around the house. For any sources other than iTunes, you switch back to the MusicCast app. Tada!


Yamaha MusicCast Bose SoundTouch

3) The third option for iTunes streaming is a little sneaky. When browsing through the ‘Server’ section of the MusicCast app, we noticed it listed the Bose SoundTouch server software that we’d left on our machine from a previous review. This happens often enough, and usually such appearances are dead links, incomprehensible to a different system.

But here, we selected the Bose server within the MusicCast app, and up came a list (see above) of ##TRANS_PLAYLISTS##, ##TRANS_ARTISTS##, all the way down to ##TRANS_PODCASTS##. They all worked!

[UPDATE: Probably not for long. SoundTouch updates are changing the way that these are served. We have recently had some success serving folders of music with the free version of Asset UPnP, but it does not provide access to playlists, one of iTunes' most useful functions.]

Most usefully there was full playlist access, so we could easily access our full iTunes collection within the MusicCast app. The only caveat is that we recall you cannot set up Bose’s SoundTouch software for Mac without having a SoundTouch device present, at least temporarily, since it keeps working even if all devices are later removed.  

Here are the links to the rest of our extended MusicCast review:

- Intro to Yamaha MusicCast
how a MusicCast system is set up
the MusicCast app, what is can do and what it can’t
three ways to use iTunes with MusicCast

With such a vast system to examine, we initially called in four of MusicCast’s key launch products:

BAR, the YSP-1600BSW soundbar with its subwoofer

PLUS, the WX-030 standalone wireless speaker unit

FRAME, the ISX-80 lifestyle audio product

STUDIO, the NX-N500 active stereo speakers

- and we have since published the following reviews of product with MusicCast inside:

 the RX-A3050 networked AV receiver

the YSP-5600BSW Atmos soundbar + subwoofer

 the RX-A3060 networked AV receiver 

the RX-A3070 networked AV receiver

the RX-A3080 networked AV receiver

the RX-A1080 networked AV receiver

the YSP-2700 soundbar system

the R-N803D stereo networked receiver

the R-N303 R networked stereo receiver

and the MusicCast VINYL 500 networked turntable!