Yamaha has with MusicCast a self developed and advanced multiroom system with numerous possibilities. However, an adapter with which you also provide your existing installation with these options was still missing. With the Yamaha WXAD-10, which we look at extensively in this review, this is changing.
What is the Yamaha WXAD-10?
The Yamaha WXAD-10 is a so-called ‘MusicCast adapter’ with which you can provide existing audio installations with MusicCast functionalities. It does not matter which brand the system is; all you need is an RCA input or a 3.5 mm port, and a link (wireless or wired) to your router. If you connect equipment via the 3.5 mm port – which is particularly interesting for the connection with the Clavinova instruments from Yamaha – you can control the volume via the app. Then you can use all options of the platform on your ‘old’ audio system. If you use multiple adapters at home, you can also set up a simple multiroom system, without necessarily requiring other MusicCast equipment.
The possibilities are big, but there are also things that the WXAD-10 can not. So you depend on the D / A conversion of Yamaha since there are only analog audio outputs, you can only influence the volume via the 3.5 mm port and you can not directly connect speakers as there is no amplifier. Now we can absolutely understand most things, looking at the price of 149 euros and the purpose of the device.
However, the WXAD-10 can be more than enough for the average user. The device brings Bluetooth, DLNA and AirPlay for wireless streaming of music, internet radio for digital radio stations and access to popular streaming services such as Deezer, Tidal and Spotify. An interesting extra feature is that the WXAD-10 has both bluetooth input and output. This means that you can send an incoming bluetooth signal on the device via bluetooth to a device that can receive bluetooth. So you can send the sound from your smartphone via bluetooth to the media steamer, who then sends it back to a wireless speaker in the garden via bluetooth.
Under the hood we see a Burr-Brown DAC with support for a large number of audio formats. For example, you can play 24 bit / 192kHz AIFF, FLAC and WAV files and ALAC up to 24bit / 96kHz. The whole can be operated through the MusicCast app.
In the field of design there is not much to say about the Yamaha WXAD-10. The device looks a bit dull and simple, but is small enough to put away somewhere in a cupboard. That is what the adapter is ultimately for; to do his work invisibly and to control your multiroom system. The quality of the building is good, even though the device feels a bit light and ’empty’. On the back we see the connections back; an ethernet port, an RCA connection, a 3.5 mm port and a USB port for the charger.
Ease of use
Connecting the WXAD-10 is a piece of cake. We connected the adapter directly to the Denon AV receiver that controls our home theater system. It is a matter of linking the cables and you can get started. First you have to download the (free) MusicCast Controller app. Then you press the Connect button on the device and you can add the WXAD-10 to the app. Enter your WiFi password and you can get started. A child can do the laundry.
The MusicCast app itself is also very stylish and easy to use. It is one of the best apps for a multi-room music experience. You have various setting options, including adjusting the name and the room in which the WXAD-10 is located. Through the app you have direct access to all listed sources, including other MusicCast devices in the home, NAS devices, AirPlay, internet radio and services such as Spotify, Tifal and Deezer. The app is quick and easy to use, sleek and organized.
The WXAD-10 plays virtually all files smoothly, including 24bit / 192kHz AIFF, FLAC and WAV files and ALAC up to 24bit / 96kHz. The only file format that was not supported in our setup was DSD. The connection with a NAS went smoothly and the stability of the WXAD-10 network connection is also very good; everything played smoothly and not once did we experience network problems.
What does it sound like?
The WXAD-10 is invisible at / behind your audio system and the operation is very simple, but what about the quality? To immediately fall in with the door; the audio output is absolutely good. To start with the hi-res Flac files, where we listened to some impressive tracks in the form of The Beatles, Adele and Muse.
The WAXD-10 provides with its own DAC for a spatial representation, with plenty of dynamics, especially many subtle details. The soundstage comes to life and the placement of voice and instruments in the room is very tight. The Beatles are put on stage with a lot of warmth and at the same time a tight detail, the dynamics and energy of The Resistance are preserved, and a refined display of emotion in the vocals falls on Adele’s album. The soundstage is in all cases wonderfully wide drawn and is therefore even more alive. The low tones also come out well; never forced but absolutely with suppleness and sufficient strength.
If we go one step lower, to compressed music via Spotify, then the WXAD-10 is still standing fine. The device knows how to display streamed music with almost the same characteristics as above, which provides a rich, broad and sophisticated reproduction. In addition, you can stream music via Bluetooth aptX, and also in this respect you have a more than excellent sounding and stable audio reproduction, although it may not really honor the source.
If we take everything together then there is nothing that the Yamaha WXAD-10 does not recommend. Yes, the device may have been a bit dull and a digital audio output would have been nice, but what he has to do, the WXAD-10 does very well. It is a multifunctional device with which you can make any audio system part of a MusicCast multiroom system or simply add countless streaming options. The WXAD-10 is very easy to use, has an attractive price, offers countless possibilities and makes your music sound great too. As far as we are concerned, this adapter is an absolute must.