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Yamaha Revamps Wireless Multiroom System

Buena Park, Calif. — Yamaha significantly revamped its MusicCAST wireless multiroom-audio system and made it more affordable with the shipment of the MusicCAST2, which embraces new music sources such as PCs, iPods and network-attached storage (NAS) devices.

The new model also adds a pocket-size Wi-Fi remote controller with large color LCD screen to control all

networked sources and networked clients from anywhere in the house. Like before, the MusicCAST2 streams Internet radio with a networked PC turned off, and the new models adds Rhapsody-service streaming.

The previous MusicCAST system was built around a source component that incorporated FM tuner, built-in CD ripper and 160GB hard drive, which stored music that streamed via Ethernet or 802.11b Wi-Fi to amplifier-equipped tabletop clients. The main unit, controlled via IR remote, also connected to legacy devices such as A/V receivers (AVRs) and cassette decks to stream their audio content to clients in other rooms.

The new system, in contrast, depends on one or more networked PCs or NAS devices as main music sources as well as on connected iPods, Bluetooth-equipped cellphones, and music-laden USB drives. Those devices must be connected to the system’s tabletop clients or to select Yamaha AVRs.

One tabletop client features embedded amplifier, which can be connected to any pair of passive speakers. A second client comes with embedded preamplifier for connection to a room’s existing sound system. The preamp model also features three IR outputs to connect to the components of a home theater system, including legacy AVRs, DVRs and TVs. Once connected to the preamp-equipped client, home-theater components can be controlled from the pocket-size Wi-Fi controller, which also controls networked Yamaha AVRs through the home network.

Up to 32 clients and 16 PCs/NASs can be networked and controlled from one handheld Wi-Fi controller.

A two-zone MusicCAST2 Network Music System retails for as low as a suggested $1,199, excluding music sources and speakers, whereas the previous system launched in late 2005 with 160GB hard drive/CD ripper at a suggested $2,199 and an amplified client at $599.

MusicCAST2 consists of the $499-suggested pocket-size MCX-RC100 Network Music Commander with included tabletop charging cradle, the $399 MCX-A300 amplified client, and the $399 MCX-P200 preamp client. A $1,199 Zone Pack 2A package consists of two amplified clients and the Commander.

The clients feature USB port to plug in music-laden USB drives. The clients also connect to iPods via optional $99.95 YDS-11 iPod dock and to Bluetooth-equipped music sources via the $129 YBA-10 Bluetooth receiver.

The 5.8-inch by 3.5-inch by 0.63-inch, 6.1-ounce Commander features 3.5-inch color LCD screen, touchpad controls and GUI that displays zone and source icons, song titles and album art from Internet radio stations, Rhapsody, PCs, NAS devices and iPods.

The 5.88- by 1.88- by 0.88-inch clients are compatible with multiple audio formats, including MP3, WMA (except lossless and PRO), AAC (except Apple lossless and Apple protected files), FLAC and WAV files up to 96kHz/24 bits. They support iTunes AAC files via TwonkyMedia Server software, which is bundled with the Commander.

Other features include Digital Living Network Alliance certification, streaming of more than 5,000 MP3/WMA-format Internet radio stations and free 30-day Rhapsody subscription.