Setting up a living room hi-fi system generally involves getting to grips with cables, lots of cables. But the audio landscape has changed in recent years, as evidenced by the vast number of Bluetooth speakers on sale today. Yamaha has introduced a new turntable that's designed to bridge the gap between analog and digital music formats – the MusicCast Vinyl 500.
MusicCast is Yamaha's extensive range of sound bars, AV receivers, wireless speakers and instruments that can be wirelessly connected throughout the home, and controlled using a companion mobile app. The Vinyl 500, as its full name suggests, is the latest device to be added to that family.
The Wi-Fi-enabled record spinner will naturally work with Yamaha's MusicCast 20 or MusicCast 50 speakers, no bridge receiver needed, and listeners can also add a wireless subwoofer to the setup for some 2.1 goodness. Where Bluetooth streaming has quite limited reach within a home, Wi-Fi goes farther and has more bandwidth.
The MusicCast app allows listeners to control multi-room audio from a smartphone or tablet, but the Vinyl 500 also works with Alexa via any Amazon Echo device in the home, to choose streaming music with spoken commands, or control multi-room or stereo setups around the home.
The connected turntable does sport Bluetooth 4.2 connectivity built in though, as well as Apple AirPlay and Spotify Connect – should you decide not to dust off your albums and listen to a streaming service such as Tidal or Pandora or, yes, Spotify, for example, or tune into internet radio stations.
"With our rich Hi-Fi heritage and legendary reputation for craftsmanship, Yamaha is changing the way people enjoy their music," said Yamaha America's Robert Goedken. "It's been 30 years since we introduced a turntable and the MusicCast Vinyl 500 reinvents the category."
The Vinyl 500 comes with a Moving Magnet cartridge mounted to a balanced straight tonearm, a die-cast aluminum platter can spin at 33.3 and 45 rpm thanks to a DC motor and belt drive system, and there's a built-in phono preamp for cabling up to an amplifier that doesn't have its own. Hi-Res digital music gets native support in the shape of 24-bit/192 kHz resolution PCM and 11.2 MHz DSD formats, and an Ethernet port can be found around back for physical connection to a home router.
The MusicCast Vinyl 500 is finished in piano black – like Yamaha's pianos – and due for release this month for a suggested retail price of US$699.95.
Product page: MusicCast Vinyl 500
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