Overview -- Yamaha's MusicCast VINYL 500 is sublime turntable that not only plays records perfectly, but can also wirelessly stream music from your mobile devices on a number of wireless speakers in multiple rooms. With plentiful connection options, an easy setup, and sub-$700 pricing, the VINYL 500 sounds great, looks handsome, and is Highly Recommended for vinyl music enthusiasts who also enjoy modern, digital conveniences.
I consider myself a turntable and vinyl enthusiast and aficionado. I've been collecting turntables of all kinds for many years, not to mention thousands of records. (I can stop any time that I want, I swear!) I love the analog sound that Technics has brought to the table over the years and have been looking for something new to the vinyl arena.
The Yamaha MusicCast VINYL 500 turntable is so much more than your standard turntable. Running just under $700, not only will you be able to play records on the device, but you'll be able to listen to them wirelessly through any wireless MusicCast enabled speaker in your house (which goes beyond Yamaha products), stream music wirelessly from your mobile devices through the unit, and more. It basically acts as both a sleek turntable and a digital music hub all in one, meaning you won't have to stay in one room anymore to listen to your favorite analog music.
The Yamaha MusicCast VINYL 500 measures 17-3/4" x 5-3/8" x 14-1/2" and weighs in at 12.6 pounds. There is enough weight that it won't have any vibration issues, but it thankfully lacks the mega-mass of some professional turntables. The look of the unit is all about luxury, coming with an easy-on-the-eyes shiny black piano finish. The polished silver platter houses a black record mat. The arm is a matte black finish, where the adjustable four feet are also polished silver.
It simply looks magnificent.
There are four buttons on top of the unit -- power, 33/45 rpm switch, playback, and a connect/source button, where you can switch from your phone or on the unit itself to play records, stream wirelessly, connect to a network, or Bluetooth. Each of the four buttons have an LED light to notify you when working, along with an extra LED light that tells you which source/mode you are in by its four corresponding different colors.
The back of the unit hosts a Phono Out and Line Out so you can hook into a preamp or directly into a receiver or speakers. There is also a wireless on/off switch, an ethernet port, USB service ports, and, of course, the power supply input. If you want the unit hooked up to different pairs of speakers, there is a knob where you can switch from either of them on the back.
Whether you are new or an expert in setting up turntables, this VINYL 500 should take between 5 and 10 minutes to set up and requires no tools. First, place the silver platter on the spindle and, with your index finger, pull out the rubber belt around the motor pulley. Next, snap in the cartridge to the arm and tighten the counterweight on the back of the arm, set the tone, and slip in the clear plastic cover. Last, but not least, download the Yamaha MusicCast app on your mobile device and connect the turntable to your Wi-Fi network, which then connect to your speakers and you're all set to go.
You can, of course, use the wired outputs to enjoy the VINYL 500, but with a MusicCast enabled speaker or receiver, you can connect this wireless turntable to any room in your home. For this review, I paired the VINYL 500 with two MusicCast 20 speakers and the MusicCast SUB 100, with the VINYL 500 acting as a digital media hub for Spotify, iTunes, and Bluetooth music offerings.
For those who abhor wires and clutter, MusicCast gear feels elegant and freeing.
The VINYL 500 is sonically impressive in both wireless and wired operations. The bass has great depth without any rocky rumbles, the midrange is robust as are the highs without shrill. When playing records, the sound was full and alive. When streaming the music digitally on the MusicCast 20 speakers had a more natural sound, but the sound was amplified and bolder when two are used for the stereo sound.
Not only that, but when placing some of the MusicCast speakers upstairs, outside on the patio, or in the other rooms of the house, I could finally listen to all of my favorite records on those various places simultaneously when walking in and outside. It's something I haven't been able to before and I just don't think I can go back to the way it was after this. The sound in the multiform audio was excellent and makes this unit very convenient to use and enjoy. And yes, most MusicCast enabled speakers are very portable (as long as you have a power outlet).
I had to put on "The Teaches of Peaches" by Peaches to hear how well the VINYL 500 played this electronic sounding record. The first track "Fuck the Pain Away" -- which has been featured in films like Jackass 3D and the hit show Letterkenny -- was simply phenomenal. The song starts with a very quiet low end of bass that thumbs subtly, but then the hard-hitting electronic bass comes full force as Peaches' high-end voice contrasts the music perfectly. There was no distortion or warm sound elements here. It was fantastic, to say the least.
I then put on "Out of the Blue," by Electric Light Orchestra, and started spinning this iconic album. Of course, I wanted to hear "Mr. Blue Sky", which was the song that Baby Groot danced to in Guardians of the Galaxy 2. The guitar riffs were superb, with each strum and chord sounding wonderful along with the thumping piano notes that keeps the beat perfect that has a full dynamic range on all range levels. The bass guitar and drums are deep and have a nice rumble to it. All of this is mixed perfectly with Jeff Lynne's soft voice that sounds excellent.
I then wirelessly streamed Peter Gabriel's song "Down to Earth" from the Pixar's Wall-E, because it has such a lavish and full sound. The song's striking and pronounced piano chords really do hit with an elegant roughness that has some strong reverb. The many different percussion pieces are at full force with some that have low-end bass, where others have highs of snare drum hits. Gabriel's smooth and graceful voice always rounds out the perfect sound of this song.
The Yamaha MusicCast VINYL 500 is marvelous turntable. It is just under $700, but for that price, not only will you be able to play your favorite records on this sleek and luxurious looking device anywhere you have a MusicCast system, but you can also use it to stream digital content on your phones and other media devices. If you're looking for a turntable to play your record collection on, along with wirelessly streaming music to multiple rooms on a couple of MusicCast 20 speakers or even the MusicCast 50, this VINYL 500 is simply the ultimate option. Highly Recommended.