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Cable-free surround – Yamaha MusicCast Surround turns streaming speakers into surround solutions

Yamaha MusicCast is one of the most flexible multi-room audio streaming systems available, covering almost the entire product range of the Japanese consumer electronics manufacturer Yamaha. With Yamaha MusicCast Surround, it is even possible to create “wireless” surround sound in the living room, for example from around a sound bar.

Listening to music wherever you are in the house is the business of so-called multiroom audio streaming systems. In recent years, a number of solutions have become established in this area, which stand out in particular due to their flexible expandability, simple design, high quality and, last but not least, intuitive operation. One of these systems is Yamaha MusicCast.

Yamaha MusicCast can claim to be one of the first systems of its kind, as the Japanese consumer electronics group Yamaha presented the concept in its very first generation at a time when no other comparable system was on the market. But this was clearly ahead of its time, the market was not yet ready for these solutions. But at the second attempt, the system began its triumphal procession, because the convergence of the worlds, the direct connection between consumer electronics, network technology and mobile solutions such as smartphones and tablets, had prepared the ground.

Yamaha MusicCast presents itself as a multi-room audio streaming system, and one of the key success factors of this solution is that it covers almost the entire Yamaha product range. Almost all consumer electronics systems have long been known to be network-capable, meaning that they can be integrated into a network, and this also applies to Yamaha. For Yamaha, however, this means that Yamaha MusicCast is also available as part of Yamaha MusicCast, meaning that everything from wireless speakers, soundbar systems, micro hi-fi systems, hi-fi components and AV receivers can be used as part of Yamaha MusicCast. Yamaha has even gone so far that record players like the Yamaha MusicCast VINYL 500 and even pianos like the Yamaha Smart Home Piano disklavier ENSPIRE can be part of Yamaha MusicCast.

The central interface for convenient control is the Yamaha MusicCast App, which is available for Apple iOS and Google Android. Here, the individual systems can be easily assigned to rooms, which can then be selected using photos, or even your own photos, to control the playback in the respective room. Your own content as well as various music streaming services serve as sources. As a special feature, Yamaha MusicCast also offers the possibility to play any source of a Yamaha MusicCast-capable system in the entire network on all other solutions.

Another special feature of Yamaha MusicCast is a function that is particularly exciting around the TV set, namely Yamaha MusicCast Surround.

After all, setting up conventional surround solutions requires a great deal of effort. Not only do you need an AV receiver and a corresponding multi-channel speaker system plus subwoofer, you also have to wire all of this up. It is therefore not surprising that many users prefer a soundbar as an audio solution for their TV.

But this is exactly where Yamaha MusicCast comes in. Selected soundbar systems from Yamaha, such as the Yamaha MusicCast BAR 40 or Yamaha MusicCast BAR 400, are already capable of delivering 3D surround sound up to DTS Virtual:X, but separate speakers are of course ideal for displaying the surround channels.

And that’s where the optional Yamaha MusicCast 20 or Yamaha MusicCast 50 wireless speakers come in, which were originally developed as compact all-in-one solutions as part of the Yamaha MusicCast system, but can also be used as surround speakers via Yamaha MusicCast Surround. Of course, power cables are still needed, but no additional cable has to be laid across the room to transmit the signal from the central soundbar. The surround speakers are controlled “wirelessly” via Yamaha MusicCast Surround alone. The corresponding configuration is done in a few steps with the help of the Yamaha MusicCast App, which is available for Apple iOS and Google Android.

It should be noted that for the left and right surround channels, you can choose between the Yamaha MusicCast 20 and Yamaha MusicCast 50. In principle, however, a Yamaha MusicCast 50 is sufficient, as it is a stereo system and can therefore reproduce both the left and right surround channels.

In conjunction with the subwoofers, which are of course also “wirelessly” controlled, a genuine 5.1 surround system can be created in the simplest possible way.

Getting to the point

Yamaha MusicCast Surround allows surround sound to be enjoyed while watching TV in the living room, for example with a soundbar, a wirelessly controlled subwoofer and surround speakers that are also connected without cables. This allows a complete 5.1 setup to be implemented without much effort, and also functions as a particularly flexible streaming system for enjoying music from a wide variety of sources.

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Michael Holzinger

Michael Holzinger, founder and editor-in-chief of HiFi BLOG and sempre-audio.at, has been working for years as a journalist in the fields of IT, photography, telecommunications and consumer electronics.

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