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Yamaha's MusicCAST2 wireless distributed music system gets one better


Sonos has been sitting pretty at the top of the wireless audio distribution space for quite awhile now. Today Yamaha is fighting back with a totally refreshed (and very Sonos-like) Musiccast2 system that supports up to 32 rooms of WiFi-based distributed audio from sources such as Rhapsody, Internet radio, or tracks stored on your Mac, PC, USB sticks, Bluetooth devices, or networked shares. iTunes support is enabled via a bundled TwonkyMedia Server in the $500 MCX-RC100 Network Music Commander remote control (above) with 3.5-inch LCD, touch-sensitive trackpad, and GUI that displays details such as album art and song information from all your MP3, WMA (no lossless or PRO), AAC (no Apple lossless or FairPlay DRM), FLAC and WAV audio files. To distribute the audio, you'll need a $400 MCX-A300 (amplified, just add speakers) or $400 MCX-P200 (non-amplified for AV connection) Network Music Player placed in each room where audio is desired. The MCX-P200 can also function as a universal IR remote with multiple IR outs to control other devices in the AV rack via IR flashers or the MCX-RC100 remote control. So yeah, it gets expensive, but it's easy and quick and won't require a sledgehammer, wiring, or sheetrocking skills. Our only reservation is with Yamaha's choice of straight-up 2.4GHz 802.11b/g to link the audio compared to the rock-solid, customized-802.11n mesh created by Sonos -- nobody wants a microwave to harsh their mellow, dig? More component pics after the break.

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