Yamaha MusicCast VINYL 500 Review


Yamaha MusicCast VINYL 500 is a just-launched device from the Yamaha MusicCast series that has a turntable needle at one end and a wireless speaker or Amazon Alexa assistant at the other.

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Software and hardware integration did not bypass the turntables, those wonderful creatures that have been more than just a box with a motor, tonearm, and cartridge for some time now. However, the variety of integrations and the functions it enables impose that we invent a new name for each type and subtype of the device in order to know exactly what it does. Sometimes it happens that the naming of devices cannot reach the pace at which innovations appear. Here we have another novelty ahead of us: a streaming turntable which, except at 33/45 RPM like any traditional turntable, also works wirelessly at 2.5 and 5 GHz. The MusicCast VINYL 500 is basically a network player and streamer with a turntable. As a network player, it connects via Ethernet or Wi-Fi connection (it also works on 5 GHz, which is a cleaner band for wireless streaming) and from the local network, it can download music from NAS, computers, as well as various internet streaming services: Spotify, Tidal, Deezer, and Qobuz, for which it has integrated support, and through the AirPlay protocol it can also connect to Apple devices. The digital formats it supports are numerous and include PCM up to 24/192 as well as DSD 11.2 MHz.

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MusicCast VINYL 500 Wi-Fi Turntable
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Via a Bluetooth connection, the VINYL 500 receives streams in ACC and SBC format. The device further forwards the signals received in this way in analog or digital format: via the line cinch output to the amplifier or from the turntable output to the RIAA section. At the other end, the VINYL 500 appears as a source that can stream music to wireless speakers and other devices throughout the home via a wi-fi network, provided they are compatible with the MusicCast multiroom protocol. Now we come to the turntable, and the whole design of this device is subordinated to it. There is no doubt that Yamaha’s intention was to make the VINYL 500 look like a traditional turntable on the outside, and that’s all you’ll see on it: a black lacquered base on four legs, an aluminum platter with a rubber mat and a belt-drive, a straight tonearm with VTA adjustment and anti-skating, commands to switch on and select speed. However, immediately there appears a source selector and indicators for wi-fi and Bluetooth, which reveal the multiple functions of the device. However, the exterior was kept turntable reduced, without other controls.

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Management of the entire system is entrusted to the MusicCast Controller application. In addition, MusicCast is integrated with Amazon’s voice assistant so the system can be controlled via the Echo, Dot, Tap, or Show speakers.

How To Use Yamaha MusicCast VINYL 500?

The MusicCast VINYL 500 comes in a box packed like a turntable that needs to be assembled: put the platter on the shaft and attach the belt to the engine, as well as attach the head to the tonearm via a bayonet mount. We admit that we had to use the user manual to connect the device. For its turntable function, the VINYL 500 is connected simply: to the mains via an external 12-volt power supply and to the amplifier via the supplied interconnects, either from the line or turntable output. The selector between the terminals prevents the use of both at the same time. However, for other functions, it is necessary to first install the CONTROLLER application from the App, ie Play Store on the mobile device. It allows remote system management, source selection, volume, and other functions, as well as system logging to the local network and streaming services.

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MusicCast VINYL 500 Wi-Fi Turntable
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MusicCast VINYL 500 Wi-Fi Turntable
  • Create a stereo system with musiccast wireless speakers. Place the...
  • Expand to a multi-room Audio setup by syncing with musiccast wireless...
  • Stream music services with Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, airplay or Spotify connect;...
  • Yamaha hi-fi quality built for accuracy and sonic purity. Perfect for the...
  • Built-in phono preamp gives you flexibility to connect any Audio system,...

The MusicCast protocol enables automatic mutual recognition, scrolling, and communication of related devices in the local network. By the way, as network devices and video and audio streaming become more common in homes, a quality wireless router is becoming an increasingly important component in modern AV systems, and this should certainly not be overlooked. What will first surprise you when you decide to stream the sound from the turntable, for example, to the soundbar under the TV, is that the streaming transmits hissing and crackling of the record. At first, it is really unusual to listen to vinyl on a portable speaker or the mentioned soundbar, but that soon becomes a practical benefit. Yamaha has brought network and internet streaming to virtually flawless operation a long ago, so it works without any interference or lag.

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Reproduction via Bluetooth is very correct, with the natural limitation of this connection, which states a range of 10 meters in the prospectus, and in practice means that the mobile device and Yamaha must be in the same room. The Yamaha MusicCast VINYL 500 is, in short, equipped with everything you need to enjoy digital streaming, with a turntable as an analog option for an old or new record collection. You will judge for yourself whether the sound quality suits your taste.

 

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Verdict

If you don’t like a turntable with network and digital functions that is the same as not liking the integration of radios into hi-fi receivers in the 1970s. While from a purist point of view this point of view may make sense, 40 years have passed since then, and here we are talking about new practicality that combines new formats and connections with a traditional sound carrier. As is often the case with closed sound systems, wireless streaming is limited to MusicCast devices. The MusicCast VINYL 500 has Yamaha’s built-in build, sound, and usage quality. It is easy to use, with solid sound from a turntable, but also from other digital formats. Naturally, analog outputs sound better than streaming. Even if you don’t listen to records on it, you shouldn’t neglect the aesthetic side of this device as an analog and digital streamer in the shape of a turntable, in an elegant black or white glossy finish.

The user manual is available here: Yamaha MusicCast Vinyl 500 User Manual

Yamaha MusicCast VINYL 500

Pros

  • Unique Device on the Market
  • Yamaha Quality Workmanship, Sound and Usage
  • Practical as the Heart of the System
  • Practical as an Addition to an Existing Wireless System

Cons

  • Wifi Streaming is Limited to MusicCast Compatible Devices

Yamaha MusicCast VINYL 500 Specifications

  • Connectivity: Ethernet, Wi-Fi, AirPlay, Bluetooth (SBC, AAC)
  • Digital Formats: MP3, WMA, AAC, ALAC, FLAC, WAV, AIFF, DSD
  • Audio Outputs: 1x phono, 1x line
  • SNR:> 110 dB (IHF-A)
  • Dynamic Range:> 100 dB
  • Speeds: 33, 45
  • Drive: Belt, DC motor
  • Plate: Aluminum, ø 300 mm
  • Tonearm: straight
  • Effective Tonearm Length: 223.5 mm
  • Wow and Flutter: 0.2%
  • Dimensions: 450x136x368 mm
  • Weight: 5.7 kg

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