The joys of analog audio are many, but convenience isn’t typically one of them.
Most of us who enjoy playing our favorite records find ourselves tethered to the room in which our turntable resides, unable to play our favorite Beatles album or jazz record in one room and enjoy it in another without the burden of cumbersome cable runs and pricey satellite speakers.
This is the problem that Yamaha sets out to solve with its MusicCast Vinyl 500 turntable, an awesome new device that lets you enjoy your favorite tunes the old fashioned way — on a well-constructed and great-sounding turntable plugged into a nice amplifier and speakers — or enjoy them streamed wirelessly throughout your home, to any of its many MusicCast-enabled devices.
After a speedy setup through the Yamaha MusicCast app, which connects the turntable to your home’s Wi-Fi, all you need to do to get going is connect the MusicCast Vinyl 500 to any of Yamaha’s MusicCast enabled speakers, soundbars, or receivers inside the app, and you’re off to the races.
Place your favorite record on the turntable, drop the needle, and you can simultaneously listen to it in any room of the house with a Yamaha speaker, as though it was connected via wire.
You can pair multiple MusicCast speakers and subwoofers together to create a wireless stereo system in a single room, or simply use standalone speakers in mono — a nice touch of versatility that means you can have better sound in your primary listening room and simply have a mono speaker in another, like the bathroom or bedroom where you spend less listening time.
In addition to playing your favorite analog music, the MusicCast Vinyl 500 also features Bluetooth, AirPlay, and Spotify connect functionality, so it can also serve as a streaming music hub for virtually any speakers in your home, including your hi-fi. If you want to stream Spotify to the same set of speakers the Vinyl 500 is attached to in the living room, you can do it through the turntable itself, adding modern streaming service playback to your traditional hi-fi system. Basically, it’s both a turntable and multiroom music head unit that can connect your phone or other source device to your speakers.
Yamaha also recently updated the device to allow Bluetooth transmission, which means you can also stream records via Bluetooth, allowing you to connect to a wide array of speakers outside of Yamaha’s walled MusicCast ecosystem.
The lack of cables necessary to playback your vinyl anywhere in your home makes the Vinyl 500 a great addition to any style-conscious space, saving you the need to purchase and mount long lengths of cable throughout the house. It also means you can shift around speaker locations to best suit your room after initial setup — something you really can’t do with traditional, cable-driven layouts.
The lack of clutter really made us more likely to choose a record over Spotify in practical use when playing music throughout our home. That said, as we alluded to above, we wish the MusicCast 500 was compatible with more open multiroom ecosystems like, say, Google Home, as it would only expand the number of speakers we could listen to it through. Still, there is a good assortment of MusicCast-enabled speakers on the market, and those we’ve heard offer competitive performance for the money.
We were very impressed with the sonic characteristics offered by the Vinyl 500. Both in wired and wireless mode, this is a sturdy and sonically pleasing turntable with tight bass, clean mids, and crispy highs. It really brought our favorite analog recordings to life.
Even when streaming through a single MusicCast 20 speaker (among smallest of their kind), the experience of hearing our vinyl wirelessly offered distinctly warmer and better-sounding playback than what we experience streaming the same songs via Spotify.
Moreover, while we can’t overestimate the joys of listening to our record collections on dedicated setups, we’ve long had to rely on streaming services or digital downloads to be able to enjoy multiroom audio throughout our home. After all, the vast majority of us simply aren’t statically sitting and listening to records for hours on end — which means those stacks of wax are getting less love than they should. The Vinyl 500’s convenience factor got us listening to our vinyl collection more than ever.
Even with its relatively premium $700 price tag, the ability to play back analog audio through a modern multiroom audio system like MusicCast is truly a best-of-both-worlds scenario, providing a fantastic listening and user experience from source to speaker, in both wired and wireless modes.
If you’re not married to an insanely high fidelity analog setup, there’s really no reason not to consider this wireless turntable. After all, what’s better than being able to hear your favorite records anywhere in your home?