Since its founding in 2002, Sonos has dominated the wireless multi-room audio market. In 2013, Bose introduced the SoundTouch wireless system; a year later LG and Samsung decided to grab their own piece of the market, and earlier this year, Philips pioneered the Spotify Connect system. Yamaha has cemented its plans to shake up the multi-room speaker category with its latest MusicCast concept, which allows users to enjoy content from music streaming services, in addition to, TV programs, CDs and even vinyl records.

Yamaha MusicCast

At an exclusive media preview last month, Yamaha AV division marketing and business development manager, Russell Wykes told Appliance Retailer the MusicCast technology would not be marketed to the ‘typical’ audio customer.

“In developing the concept, we had two customers in mind. Firstly, consumers who make time to listen to music. Secondly, the casual music listener who wants background noise in the home to create ambience,” Wykes said.

With the vinyl market making an impressive comeback, despite the rise in streaming services such as Spotify and Pandora, Yamaha will be offering consumers the best of both worlds, from the digital to the physical, to fulfil demand from all music enthusiasts.

In Australia, vinyl sales experienced an increase of 127% year-over-year from 2013 to 2014, according to the Americas Research Industry Alliance (ARIA). Further to this, in a survey conducted by the British Phonographic Industry (BPI), 87.4% of respondents were men, although all age groups were reported to be buying up records.

“We will implement a tightly controlled program for our retail partners, who will have a dedicated stand for MusicCast, which will allow consumers to touch and feel the products and experience the technology, firsthand. At Yamaha, we believe education is key to the selling/buying process,” Wykes added.

Yamaha is eager to expand its customer reach by offering MusicCast products that suit all room types and lifestyle needs with its three speaker types – the Plus, the Frame and the Studio.

MusicCast capabilities on tap

With MusicCast, any audio source connected to an input, can be shared across the home via a smartphone, with Bluetooth and AirPlay compatibility. The technology has been integrated into all of the company’s 2015 receivers.

MusicCast products, from Sound Bars and AV receivers to wireless speakers and Hi Fi systems, can be used together or separately to play music. All products can be controlled from the MusicCast app, designed for ease of use.

All MusicCast products are equipped with a Bluetooth output and the speakers are able to send audio directly to Bluetooth-enabled speakers or headphones, making any Bluetooth device a part of the system.

Unlike other multi-room audio products on the market, MusicCast supports a variety of audio formats including MP3, WAV and FLAC, and all MusicCast products support the 192 kHz/24-bit high-resolution audio codec for extremely high-quality sound.

MusicCast features two network configurations, Standard Mode for connecting compatible equipment and routers directly, and Extend Mode that enables Wi Fi signals from MusicCast products to be transmitted over longer distances.

All MusicCast models feature a Network Standby mode that achieves low power consumption of fewer than three Watts. The Automatic Standby function automatically turns the power off after 20 minutes.