Yamaha is adding a custom-install option to its wireless MusicCAST system, which uses built-in Wi-Fi (IEEE 802.11b) technology and wired Ethernet connections to distribute music from a hard-drive-based audio server to multiple clients with built-in amplifiers.
Current clients look like executive-style shelf systems, but the new MCX-C15 client is an in-wall model requested by custom installers whose clients want a space-saving alternative. The client, about the size of a double-gang light-switch box, features LCD display, joystick and button controls, IR remote, and the ability to use a TV as an on-screen display device. Its 2×17-watt digital amp mounts separately in the wall and connects to local power wires.
It connects to the server via wired CAT-5 Ethernet. A wireless access point can also be plugged in. The client’s other features include pre-out terminal for use with existing in-room audio systems, an audio input for connecting a local source, and IR repeater to control other remote Yamaha components.
It’s due in the spring or early summer at a suggested $599 retail, the same as the desktop clients.
The $2,200-suggested 80GB eight-zone server (with 160GB option) can send music in MP3 form to up to seven clients simultaneously (five wirelessly plus two via wired Ethernet connections), with each client playing a different song. Because of 802.11b bandwidth limitations and quality-of-service requirements, the device limits the streaming of music stored in CD’s uncompressed PCM format to a single client at a time.
The server also features a built-in audio CD-recorder to create custom CDs from songs stored on the hard drive. The recorder features Serial Copyright Management System (SCMS) copy-control technology to prevent more than one direct digital-to-digital dub of PCM music from the hard drive to an audio CD-R/RW disc. The recorder can’t be used to burn MP3 files to a data CD-R/RW disc, although the device will play MP3 CDs created on a PC.