YAMAHA MusicCast 20 wireless speaker WX-021 – Alexa compatible loudspeaker – Simple to set up and use with Spotify!

I have two other musiccast products and they have worked fine after some tricky set up issues also. I chose the musiccast offer because of the ease of playing from my vinyl turntable and hi fi system to the rest of the house, something which many competing products can’t do. I also like the ease of linking them all together for house filling audio. They also work with apples airplay 2, important for me. I wanted this satellite unit to have in another room. I was not bothered about any alexa features, just to be another linked speaker on the musiccast system. Now it is in place and working seamlessly. The audio quality is great and the range of sources is more than i need. I have found that if the set up process fails, for whatever reason, it is very difficult to effectively reset the unit to try again.

I managed to snag this and the larger 50 version to review and if i had paid for them they would both be on the way back. Pretty impressive sound (especially for the size of the units)2. Setup pretty easy using the app3. Playing flac or mp3 files from my nas server or internet radio you can hardly hear anything at 50% volume and often it has to be set at 100%2. No gapless playback of flac files (manual says flac files should play gapless they do not). No gapless playback of mp3 either according to manual. No option to normalise / level playback volume so tracks from various albums in a playlist play at the same level (makes it pretty useless in sleep timer mode if playing a collection). Ethernet rather than wifi setup does not seem to work. Even if setup with ethernet connected it uses wifi and if you manually change it to ethernet the app no longer finds it.

This yamaha musiccast 50 speaker is lozenge shaped and reasonably large, it looks/feels well made. To get going you need to download the yamaha musiccast app for ios or android, also, ensure you update the unit firmware. As i see these are the strengths and areas for development of this substantial wireless speaker unit -strengths- looks/feels well made and blends in with most decors easily plus you can buy it in black or white. – a generous (nearly 3m long) mains power cord is the only physical connection required although there are phono/optical aux sockets and usb at the rear if you want them- once set up there are a wide range of input options – napster, spotify, gobuz, tidal, deezer, airplay, music server, net radio (but not tune in), bluetooth, digital, plus 2 auxiliaries. – touch controls on the unit are easy to operate but see below and there’s no remote, unlike some competitors. – the audio quality is decent especially after tweaking the controls but not outstanding for a unit of this size/cost. – i found setting up with amazon echo devices was easy and voice commands work well. Areas for development- set up relies more on the on-screen instructions in the app than the visual quick start guide to get going – setup is not intuitive for novices and some features require a degree of trial and error. – the app isn’t the most intuitive i’ve used and i already own yamaha musiccast kit (n470d) – some of the setup routines for logging into streaming services etc. – no remote – this unit relies solely on the host mobile device for control or for some functions you can use the touch controls on the speaker. – sound quality is good but not outstanding for the size/price of the unit – you can tweak upper, mid and bass frequencies which improves on the default settings. In summary, this yamaha musiccast speaker is capable of delivering a satisfying listen but it does lack the edge and more intuitive operation of some competitors, plus, it doesn’t come with a quick remote unlike my bose soundtouch 30.

This yamaha musiccast 20 speaker is a vertical cylinder shape which has a compact footprint making it ideal for the kitchen or bedroom, it looks/feels well made. To get going you need to download the yamaha musiccast app for ios or android, also, ensure you update the unit firmware. As i see these are the strengths and areas for development of this substantial wireless speaker unit -strengths- looks/feels well made and blends in most decors easily, plus, you can buy it in black or white. – single mains power cord (just under 3m) is the only physical connection required (or available). – once set up there are a wide range of options – airplay, napster, spotify, gobuz, tidal, deezer, airplay, server, pandora, net radio (but not tune in), bluetooth, digital. – touch controls are easy to operate although there’s no remote. – the audio quality is very good for the size of this unit and proportionately better than some of the bigger wireless speakers in the range. You can tweak upper, mid and bass frequencies which improve on the default settings delivering a clear, open sound with taut bass. – works well with amazon alexa but you need to master the commands. Areas for development- set up relies more on the on-screen instructions in the app than the visual quick start guide to get going – it’s not easy for novices.

Like others here, setting the musiccast 20 up was somewhat of a hassle. Once i’d mastered it though, the sound quality made up for it. To set the device up you really need to download the app for your mobile (ios or android) and follow a series of, at times confusing, prompts. This will allow you, in theory, to both use the device on your wireless network and to log in to your choice of streaming services. In practice i found the wifi setup to be very fussy indeed, both on 2. 4 and 5ghz wireless bands, but eventually i got there after no small amount of messing around and trying and retrying. For a novice or someone with little to no patience, this i would imagine could be quite annoying. Hopefully it is something that could be fixed with a firmware or app update, and it does work, so it’s a minor annoyance as opposed to a deal breaker. The speaker can pretty much be placed anywhere although it does require being within 3m of a power socket as that’s how long the included power cable is. Should be long enough for all but the most awkward of placements.

Slightly bigger than i was expecting, but still far from large, this wireless music streaming speaker from yamaha is absolutely beautiful. It will not look out of place in any contemporary setting, but equally is small and discrete and minimalistic enough to hide away from view if you so wish. Purely a mains powered unit, this is not a portable speaker, but meant to be a permanent installation and to become or form part of your primary music playing solution. Beautifully built, heavy and solid it feels and looks exceptionally well built. With a subtle touch sensitive top surface, and just some small and very discrete white leds to indicate power and connectivity, it is an exercise in design minimalism. As with many modern electronic devices, the installation instructions try and get by with just using pictograms. I spend more time trying to work out what the pictures mean than i would do reading several paragraphs of instructions. Anyway – once you work them out, it’s pretty easy. Download the yamaha musiccast app to your phone (available for both android and apple).

This is a high-end speaker and it’s competing with apple’s (much cheaper) homepod as well as well-regarded alternatives like the naim muso and the b & w zeppelin. So it has to be really good. Is it?i was unable to set this speaker up on wi-fi initially and had to ask yamaha for help. Full marks for a quick response from them. Their suggestion of setting it up using an ethernet wired connection instead of wi-fi (like the instructions say) did work, but it wasn’t the greatest experience for a device at this end of the market. The speaker downloaded a software update and i was then able to get everything working on wi-fi using the music cast app on my phone and ipad. If you buy this, have an ethernet cable readythe app is okay. It’s designed to control a multi-room system of yamaha speakers, and is overkill perhaps if you only have one. Bluetooth and airplay from my apple devices works well, though there’s a delay of about three seconds before a track plays via airplay. You also have direct access to the main music streaming services like spotify and deezer, though you do need accounts with them to get going of course.

First of all, the sound quality is genuinely superb and vastly superior to the amazon echo unit we have. I’ve tried it out with rock, pop, classical and spoken word and all are in fantastic clarity. We also have a bose soundbar for our tv and think the sound quality is of much the same quality. The real downside is the set up. The free app isn’t very good as you can’t cancel the demo or simply go back so the only option is to shut down the app and reload. The accompanying manual is also pretty poor and i think i only got it set up after a bit of trial and error, although i still can’t get it to connect to my turntable. Thankfully there are many musiccast videos available on youtube so hopefully one of them will help me. The price isn’t cheap (more than twice the price of the aforementioned echo) but the sound quality is absolutely superb. The great disadvantage it has over devices like echo is the lack of voice recognition.

Two things struck me as i unboxed the musiccast 50 for the first time; its physical size and the decent selection of inputs at the back. At nearly 16” long, 8” wide and 5” it’s a lot bigger than i was expecting, and it weighs a fair bit too. Round the back i was really pleased to see an aux input (aux1) rca input (aux2) and an optical input (there’s also an ethernet socket). The speaker itself has a high gloss dust and fingerprint magnet top, a metal speaker grill over the front and matt black plastic trims. The buttons are all soft touch and everything about the unit feels very solid and well made. It’s a nice enough looking thing, but it’s basically a big black oval box. I started off by downloading the yamaha musiccast app. I’m using a bt smarthub and following the instructions within the app it took no more than 5 minutes to get the speaker connected over wi-fi. I was able to connect over 2. 4ghz or 5ghz but went with the 2.

The user friendliness of this unit is the biggest let down as you have to get things up and running from an app, its suppose to be self explanatory but it takes or rather it took me a few hours to get to grips with it all. The setting up process is easy enough but how to work the touch controls on the unit itself is a nightmare as i had to look on you tube for answers. But once i got spotify up and running which you have to have a premium service before it will work with it it sounds amazing and as good as my sony surround system and bose speaker. The treble and bass sounds are incredible though and if your not bothered about stereo then this is the top dog for sound quality but if you buy another speaker (same model) you can create stereo or even surround (there is a woofer too speaker). You can control it remotely with the spotify app which will also run straight from the musicast app as yamaha have just upgraded the firmware today actually. They have added tidal as well now. Its good that they have also added thousands of internet radio stations to this as i love my radio. I am using it on wifi by the way and its been very reliable on my bt service even while sharing it with my pc on the browser etc. This will depend on your isp speed as well. Newbies will find it quite complex though and better instructions are needed.

Reviews from purchasers :

  • Great product let down by some set up issues
  • Worth considering if you like bass, stream music, are thinking about multi-room
  • Not very user friendly as their are no instructions except an App