Yamaha MusicCast Wireless Music System vs Sonos: Which is Better?

Which Wireless Streaming Solution Seems the Most Complete and Easy to Use?

  • Apple Airplay

    Votes: 2 15.4%
  • Google Cast

    Votes: 1 7.7%
  • Sonos

    Votes: 2 15.4%
  • Yamaha MusicCast

    Votes: 8 61.5%

  • Total voters
    13
B

bikemig

Audioholic Chief
Ratings
228
#21
Yes they can link (that was in the original review) and yes they can stream all those services and my library. Sure some things missing are MQA and airplay 2. No doubt there are other differences as well.

The sound quality is excellent with the yamaha wxc50 preamp in my main stereo rig and the yamaha wxa50 amp in my bedroom. I couldn't agree more that the value lies in total capability which is what is so cool about music cast since you have so many devices (stereo receivers, integrated amps, AVRs, and powered speakers) that have it.

By the way, we all need to make buying decisions without actually trying a product based on things such as price, specs, etc. All I was saying is that there are reasons that somebody might pick yamaha/music cast over NAD/PSB/bluesound. Not saying that bluesound isn't excellent; it likely is. What I am saying is that yamaha music cast has an excellent sound quality, excellent functionality, and there are a lot of really great devices that have it built in which is why I went with it.
 
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highfigh

highfigh

Audioholic Overlord
Ratings
3,038 9 12
#22
As I mentioned, you wouldn't know the true value until you tried the app. And another thing you don't get is MQA, just in case that matters.

Do those WXC50's stream all the same services plus internet radio and your library of music? Can they link with one or all other players and/or powered speakers on the same LAN or transfer the active play queue to another unit? Can they build, save, and play a playlist made up of mixed sources? How about acting as a Roon endpoint? Does it get free lifetime firmware and app updates?

My point is that the true value lies in total capability, and of course sound quality.
I'm using a WXC-50 as my preamp because I sold my other preamp and haven't decided what will replace it but I have zero complaints about the sound. I wouldn't be able to say the same if I tried to use a Sonos because they don't have as many inputs, there's no 12V trigger, no optical out and if you look at the jacks on all of these, it's clear that Sonos isn't the best choice from the connectivity standpoint.

Never used ROON and I haven't seen anything about it but it seems pretty cool for those who need to access music files from multiple sources.
 
H

Hobbit

Full Audioholic
Ratings
117
#23
Disclaimer, I've only used Chromecast Audio. I have one system with it CCA built-in and dongles on two other systems.

The main selling point of CCA is you can plug the dongle into any of your systems and it's very inexpensive. It works flawless too. There's no buying dedicated speakers/systems. For me, this is it's biggest plus and the down-fault of other "closed" systems. YMMV. I even plug the dongle into a boom box, which has a powered USB.

Sound wise it's very good with the 3.5mm cable. Particularly for it's purpose, which is playing music throughout the house and patio. With my main system I connect it through Toslink (optical cable),and the best I can gather is it's bitperfect out. When streaming music through all three CCA's, the music is perfectly synced throughout the house.
 
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highfigh

highfigh

Audioholic Overlord
Ratings
3,038 9 12
#24
Disclaimer, I've only used Chromecast Audio. I have one system with it CCA built-in and dongles on two other systems.

The main selling point of CCA is you can plug the dongle into any of your systems and it's very inexpensive. It works flawless too. There's no buying dedicated speakers/systems. For me, this is it's biggest plus and the down-fault of other "closed" systems. YMMV. I even plug the dongle into a boom box, which has a powered USB.

Sound wise it's very good with the 3.5mm cable. Particularly for it's purpose, which is playing music throughout the house and patio. With my main system I connect it through Toslink (optical cable),and the best I can gather is it's bitperfect out. When streaming music through all three CCA's, the music is perfectly synced throughout the house.
I don't know if they changed it, but Chromecast didn't work well with Apple hand-helds.
 
B

bikemig

Audioholic Chief
Ratings
228
#25
I don't know if they changed it, but Chromecast didn't work well with Apple hand-helds.
Disclaimer, I've only used Chromecast Audio. I have one system with it CCA built-in and dongles on two other systems.

The main selling point of CCA is you can plug the dongle into any of your systems and it's very inexpensive. It works flawless too. There's no buying dedicated speakers/systems. For me, this is it's biggest plus and the down-fault of other "closed" systems. YMMV. I even plug the dongle into a boom box, which has a powered USB.

Sound wise it's very good with the 3.5mm cable. Particularly for it's purpose, which is playing music throughout the house and patio. With my main system I connect it through Toslink (optical cable),and the best I can gather is it's bitperfect out. When streaming music through all three CCA's, the music is perfectly synced throughout the house.
Agreed. I relied on chromecast for a while before I started to migrate to music cast. Chromecast is great. It's cheap and as you point out, device independent. What music cast has going for it is that it is built into all kinds of Yamaha hardware. In setting up my bedroom system, I thought about buying an integrated amp with a digital input and adding a chrome dongle but the Yamaha WXA 50 ticked all my boxes and it has music cast so I bought it. Plus music cast has airplay so it plays nicely with IOS devices.
 
highfigh

highfigh

Audioholic Overlord
Ratings
3,038 9 12
#26
Agreed. I relied on chromecast for a while before I started to migrate to music cast. Chromecast is great. It's cheap and as you point out, device independent. What music cast has going for it is that it is built into all kinds of Yamaha hardware. In setting up my bedroom system, I thought about buying an integrated amp with a digital input and adding a chrome dongle but the Yamaha WXA 50 ticked all my boxes and it has music cast so I bought it. Plus music cast has airplay so it plays nicely with IOS devices.
I bought one after a training session at a distributor and I like it- I think I bought it over two years ago.
 
H

Hobbit

Full Audioholic
Ratings
117
#27
I don't know if they changed it, but Chromecast didn't work well with Apple hand-helds.
I'm not an apple user, but from what I've read it does work with iphones and ipads. There's a setup page for these devices. Looks as simple as setting up on a droid.
 
H

Hobbit

Full Audioholic
Ratings
117
#28
Agreed. I relied on chromecast for a while before I started to migrate to music cast. Chromecast is great. It's cheap and as you point out, device independent. What music cast has going for it is that it is built into all kinds of Yamaha hardware. In setting up my bedroom system, I thought about buying an integrated amp with a digital input and adding a chrome dongle but the Yamaha WXA 50 ticked all my boxes and it has music cast so I bought it. Plus music cast has airplay so it plays nicely with IOS devices.
And now we have HEOS, which even though it's on my Denon, I'll never use it because I won't by dedicated speakers. It does support airplay 2.

Too bad these don't play well together.... That would be best:confused:
 
B

bikemig

Audioholic Chief
Ratings
228
#29
So I took advantage of Black Friday sales to extend my music cast system throughout the house. So far I have a a wxa 50 integrated amp with a pair of PSB image speakers in my bedroom, a wca 50 preamplifier connected to my main stereo (outlaw stereo receiver and a pair of PSB T6 towers),a RX A 1070 AVR in my home theater (2.1 set up with a pair of ascend acoustics CMB 170s and SVS sub),and the NX N500 active bookshelf speakers (for an office/2d bedroom).

All I can say is that I really, really like music cast but it has a few issues.

I have large capacity usb stick with all my music ripped to lossless connected to the preamp so I can play through the house. The one downside is that the music lacks cover art. Yamaha are you listening? :)

I stream music as well. I've uploaded all my music to google music (hey it works and it's free). Google does have cover art so I often just access via my android TV and then cast it through the house via the AVR.

I also like using airplay from my PC since iTunes--for all its problems----has good tools for organizing music. You can play through multiple speakers via airplay using a PC but it would be better if Yamaha supported airplay 2. Yamaha are you listening? :)

But the biggest fail for music cast, at least for my purposes, is no native support for Amazon music and that is what I use. So thumbs down on that. Still I can access that by attaching a google chrome dongle to the digital input in the preamp. That works well. I can also cast to the Android TV and do the same thing but native support would be slicker and better. Yamaha are you listening? :)

Insofar as Sonos v. Yamaha is concerned. From what I've read Sonos has the slicker interface but who wants to listen to music through plastic speakers? Or, alternatively, pay $350 for a Sonos Connect as a preamp to your 2 channel rig. Yamaha, not surprisingly, has Sonos beat on the hardware side.
 
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S

snakeeyes

Audioholic Samurai
Ratings
960 1 1
#30
So I took advantage of Black Friday sales to extend my music cast system throughout the house. So far I have a a wxa 50 integrated amp with a pair of PSB image speakers in my bedroom, a wca 50 preamplifier connected to my main stereo (outlaw stereo receiver and a pair of PSB T6 towers),a RX A 1070 AVR in my home theater (2.1 set up with a pair of ascend acoustics CMB 170s and SVS sub),and the NX N500 active bookshelf speakers (for an office/2d bedroom).

All I can say is that I really, really like music cast but it has a few issues.

I have large capacity usb stick with all my music ripped to lossless connected to the preamp so I can play through the house. The one downside is that the music lacks cover art. Yamaha are you listening? :)

I stream music as well. I've uploaded all my music to google music (hey it works and it's free). Google does have cover art so I often just access via my android TV and then cast it through the house via the AVR.

I also like using airplay from my PC since iTunes--for all its problems----has good tools for organizing music. You can play through multiple speakers via airplay using a PC but it would be better if Yamaha supported airplay 2. Yamaha are you listening? :)

But the biggest fail for music cast, at least for my purposes, is no native support for Amazon music and that is what I use. So thumbs down on that. Still I can access that by attaching a google chrome dongle to the digital input in the preamp. That works well. I can also cast to the Android TV and do the same thing but native support would be slicker and better. Yamaha are you listening? :)

Insofar as Sonos v. Yamaha is concerned. From what I've read Sonos has the slicker interface but who wants to listen to music through plastic speakers? Or, alternatively, pay $350 for a Sonos Connect as a preamp to your 2 channel rig. Yamaha, not surprisingly, has Sonos beat on the hardware side.
I see you are using musiccast between Yamaha receivers. Just a quick tip. It will disable the lip sync feature to sync in real time. To re-enable lip sync on your receivers again, you have to go to the musicast app and enable lip sync. (You can’t do that from the receiver menu).

Also, the easiest path for playing music I’ve found is to get the $5/mo Pandora plus (commercial free) and use the Yamaha receiver pandora as the source. (I have about 100 stations setup). They also have Spotify but that costs more per month.
 
B

bikemig

Audioholic Chief
Ratings
228
#31
I see you are using musiccast between Yamaha receivers. Just a quick tip. It will disable the lip sync feature to sync in real time. To re-enable lip sync on your receivers again, you have to go to the musicast app and enable lip sync. (You can’t do that from the receiver menu).

Also, the easiest path for playing music I’ve found is to get the $5/mo Pandora plus (commercial free) and use the Yamaha receiver pandora as the source. (I have about 100 stations setup). They also have Spotify but that costs more per month.
Good to know. I liked Pandora a lot when I used it but I'm happy with Amazon music which ends up being less expensive than Pandora Premium since I already have Amazon prime.

What about the bit rate for Pandora? Is it still limited to 192 kbps? It is a bit tough to dig out what bitrate Amazon is using when set to high quality but I assumed, maybe incorrectly, that it's 256 kbps (and the difference may not matter all that much for casual listening). In any case Pandora has, I think, the better interface; that really is its strength.
 
S

snakeeyes

Audioholic Samurai
Ratings
960 1 1
#32
Good to know. I liked Pandora a lot when I used it but I'm happy with Amazon music which ends up being less expensive than Pandora Premium since I already have Amazon prime.

What about the bit rate for Pandora? Is it still limited to 192 kbps? It is a bit tough to dig out what bitrate Amazon is using when set to high quality but I assumed, maybe incorrectly, that it's 256 kbps (and the difference may not matter all that much for casual listening). In any case Pandora has, I think, the better interface; that really is its strength.
Ya my GF uses the Prime app all day and the family plan was outrageous for 2 of us so I tried both and like Pandora Plus better. Plus Yamaha has built in Pandora so I don’t have to use AirPlay or Musiccast Or Bluetooth. I can even use the Yamaha controller app or the Yamaha remote. I’m on my phone a lot so it’s nice to use the Yamaha remote instead of being on a call and using the iPhone to control the Yamaha.

Pandora plus has higher bit rate than regular pandora but not sure what bit rate it measures using the Yamaha.
 
D

Drunkpenguin

Audioholic Chief
Ratings
674 4
#33
I hated pandora. limitted skips and comercials? bla. I know they have a paid version but I never tried it. We ended up signing up for Amazons Music and we love it. My wife and I use it every day on our commutes and use it alot at home. I like how I can play full albums instead of stuff thats like this artist, or like that artist. I gave up on Pandora when it started advertising McDonalds every morning as I passed one.
 
S

snakeeyes

Audioholic Samurai
Ratings
960 1 1
#34
Well there are no commercials on the pandora plus. It’s $5/mo so maybe I’m spending a little bit but not a life changing amount. I have prime as well and that one is not my favorite but everyone can like what they like. :)
 
highfigh

highfigh

Audioholic Overlord
Ratings
3,038 9 12
#35
So I took advantage of Black Friday sales to extend my music cast system throughout the house. So far I have a a wxa 50 integrated amp with a pair of PSB image speakers in my bedroom, a wca 50 preamplifier connected to my main stereo (outlaw stereo receiver and a pair of PSB T6 towers),a RX A 1070 AVR in my home theater (2.1 set up with a pair of ascend acoustics CMB 170s and SVS sub),and the NX N500 active bookshelf speakers (for an office/2d bedroom).

All I can say is that I really, really like music cast but it has a few issues.

I have large capacity usb stick with all my music ripped to lossless connected to the preamp so I can play through the house. The one downside is that the music lacks cover art. Yamaha are you listening? :)

I stream music as well. I've uploaded all my music to google music (hey it works and it's free). Google does have cover art so I often just access via my android TV and then cast it through the house via the AVR.

I also like using airplay from my PC since iTunes--for all its problems----has good tools for organizing music. You can play through multiple speakers via airplay using a PC but it would be better if Yamaha supported airplay 2. Yamaha are you listening? :)

But the biggest fail for music cast, at least for my purposes, is no native support for Amazon music and that is what I use. So thumbs down on that. Still I can access that by attaching a google chrome dongle to the digital input in the preamp. That works well. I can also cast to the Android TV and do the same thing but native support would be slicker and better. Yamaha are you listening? :)

Insofar as Sonos v. Yamaha is concerned. From what I've read Sonos has the slicker interface but who wants to listen to music through plastic speakers? Or, alternatively, pay $350 for a Sonos Connect as a preamp to your 2 channel rig. Yamaha, not surprisingly, has Sonos beat on the hardware side.
As far as AirPlay2, you can connect using AirPlay to one MusicCast piece and link to the others, allowing that music to play wherever it's linked.

WRT AirPlay 2 and Amazon Music, it's probably missing because of licensing.

Apple and Amazon want their money and with the impending divorce, Jeff Begos needs all he can get.
 

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