It’s been just over a year since Yamaha announced the new range of MusicCast products, we’ve advanced our technology, we’ve released a range of new products, we’ve noticed our hair is getting thinner and we’re already looking ahead to the future of MusicCast. For some brands, their multi-room system is just an arm of what they do, sitting within a small ecosystem of its own. But this isn’t the case with MusicCast, it’s quickly becoming part of every Yamaha product we make and the future is bright for not just multi-room music but multi-room audio distribution and streaming. So what on earth is MusicCast? For those not in the know, it’s our wireless music streaming system, our answer to multi-room. You might be forgiven for thinking it’s just another multi-room system with a few speakers and a couple of soundbars on offer; but you’d be very much mistaken as MusicCast can do so much more. Every product we make with MusicCast is equipped with Bluetooth, Airplay and WiFi on board as standard. That’s every AV Receiver, every wireless speaker, every soundbar… everything. What’s more is the product range that’s part of MusicCast is growing, there’s over 30 different MusicCast products currently available from us, with close to 45 including anything we discontinued from last year. That’s an awful lot of product to choose from but the massive benefit is that you can choose the right product to suit your lifestyle. If you want a bedroom speaker, we’ve got that. A micro system with CD? Got that too. A full blown home theatre system with Dolby Atmos, DTS:X, HDR and multi-room… all in one box? We’ve got a few you can choose from. It doesn’t end there though, the MusicCast system allows you to stream any audio from one device to another just by linking the two together in the app. So that’s all your TV audio coming from a soundbar can be linked with your kitchen speaker, or the CD playback from your HiFi can be sent to your soundbase in the other room. What’s more is you can do all of this with your already existing Bluetooth equipment, if you’ve got a Bluetooth speaker or some headphones you can stream everything the MusicCast device is playing over Bluetooth. In exactly the same way, enjoy your TV sound wirelessly through headphones or your CD’s in the garden with a wireless speaker – it’s up to you. Of course we can do everything else you’d expect like different music in different rooms, link them together, separate etc… but there’s customisation too. You can set pictures of your home as the tiles in the app, or customise input names and room names, re-order everything or even switch off inputs you don’t use. The app is slick and easy to use and feedback we get from customers is that they’re very happy with it. Naturally over the past year we’ve made a whole bunch of advances in the app and with firmware updates include multiple room volume control from one screen, mute all, power off all rooms, app shortcuts within MusicCast, the new queue function, Qobuz support and even adding stereo pairing to our wireless speakers. While that all sounds like a great system, what’s new for 2016? In July, we were pleased to announce the addition of a whole bunch of new product, including new AVR, new wireless speakers, new soundbar, new micro systems and even a self-playing piano that’s part of MusicCast. We’re expanding MusicCast outside of the traditional audio world into a world we have known for 130 years – into musical instruments. Using the Yamaha Disklavier ENSPIRE piano system we can stream the real piano sound all over your house or stream backing tracks for you to playing along to, a combination of both… anything you like. And it all operates within the MusicCast app like another zone, using the interface you already know and love. There are so many new products to talk about for 2016, but we’ll focus in on a couple of key lines: There’s new AV Receivers across the range, some of which are heading towards AV Forums reviewers soon! The RX-V581 and above now support Dolby Atmos & DTS:X so you can get into the Atmos action at a much lower price point than before. At the other end of the range, the RX-A3060 can apply CinemaDSP HD3 processing on top of Atmos. This makes the sound field absolutely massive and truly brings cinema sound, to your home. We realise that there’s a number of people out there who want their sound to be ‘pure’ so you can use our pure direct function inside all of our AVRs to simply cut out any processing to hear things in true form. Or you can use the CinemaDSP to make spaceships zoom around above your head in what seems like a bigger space than you actually have, or make the dinosaur crashing through the fence seem more real than ever before! You can do both with a Yamaha and we’re proud to offer our customers that kind of choice. Two new additions to the product line-up this year are the WXA-50 wireless streaming amplifier and the WXC-50 wireless streaming pre-amplifier. The WXA-50 is a 90W digital amplifier that allows you to simply pair it with any speakers of your choice (we’ve had it running with Yamaha SOAVO and B&W 802 diamonds with no issues) and simply add MusicCast to any room. It’s great as a HiFi listen with the pure direct function but also there’s DSP processing built in to get a bigger sound from smaller speakers like bookshelf or in-ceiling. Small, compact and rack-mountable – you can install this professionally or simply place it somewhere tucked away. The WXC-50 is a pre-amplifier which is in the same sized case as the WX-A50 but drops the amplifier section. Instead you get a bunch more connections including digital outputs. Where the WX-C50 comes in handy is getting the great features of MusicCast into a system you already love. If you’ve got an older AV Receiver or HiFi and want to upgrade to get some network capabilities… here’s a great option. You can also use the WXC-50 to get sources into the MusicCast network. Don’t forget that anything from a MusicCast product can be streamed everywhere…. So anything plugged into the WXC-50 can be streamed to anything Bluetooth or anything that’s MusicCast. What about a turntable or a sky box? You could plug these directly into the WXC-50 and enjoy the audio everywhere in the house just by linking the products together. So, it’s clear that MusicCast has grown massively over the past year and we’ve advanced beyond ‘just another’ multi-room system in a very short space of time. This is part of our brand and it won’t be long before we include MusicCast on everything we make. We’d love to hear from you, the AVForums community, so talk to us! We want to hear about your MusicCast experiences, any questions you might have or even some feedback on the system to help us make it better. We should also mention that should be inclined to purchase MusicCast products between now and 15th January 2017 and register your product with us; you’ll be entered into a competition to win two VIP tickets to the Motorcycle Grand Prix in Jerez, Spain! Hospitality and VIP passes to the race await… simply purchase a MusicCast product or register a product you’ve purchased since January 2016. Full details available here.