Yamaha WX-030 Wireless Speaker Review
THE VERDICT:
The Yamaha WX-030 MusicCast Speaker has a lot going for it. Its good sound quality coupled with the power and flexibility of MusicCast has positioned WX-030 as a solid Sonos competitor.

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Design8.5
Value9
Features9
Sound Quality8.5
The Good
  • The Yamaha WX-030 has solid sound quality. The speaker sounds "bigger" than it is. MusicCast app is easy to use and lets you stream music from multiple sources.
The Bad
  • At high volumes you will notice some clipping in the lower frequencies.
8.8Overall Score

Sonos has dominated the multi-room audio scene for several years. In fact, they’ve become the measuring stick that all other wireless and multi-room speakers are measured against. For the most part, attempts by other manufacturers have fallen short, however that gap is closing fast. Yamaha has exploded on the scene with an impressively powerful multi-room audio system of their own called MusicCast. Like Sonos it offers an array of multi-room audio capabilities. Additionally, Yamaha has one key advantage over Sonos. They have a huge portfolio of audio/video equipment that they can adapt to using MusicCast. One of these happens to be the Yamaha WX-030 Wireless speaker.

Yamaha RX-030 Review
The WX-030 measures 9-1/2″ tall x 6-1/4″ x 4-1/2″. The metal grill which wraps around the front, conceals a 1-1/8″ tweeter and a 3-1/2″ woofer. To help improve bass response, the 030 enlists the help of a passive radiator. The rear of the speaker also has a thread mount so that it can be wall mounted if needed. The bottom of the speaker reveals a removable power cable and an ethernet input if you prefer a wired connection.

 
yamaha-wx-030-rear
The top of the Yamaha WX-030 is lined with a row of touch sensitive buttons. The connect button does double duty. It not only turns the speaker on and off, but you’ll also need to press this button to add the speaker to MusicCast. To the right of the connect button are volume up/down buttons as well as a play/pause button.

Yamaha WX-030 MusicCast Speaker
If you have two speakers, you can link them as a stereo pair so that both speakers play the same source material. When used in this type of arrangement one WX-030 will be designated as the main speaker. Hitting the play/pause button on the main speaker affects the music being played on both units. The volume on each speaker can be controlled independently. Of course, if you have your smart device handy, all of these features are easily accessible and controlled via the MusicCast app.

 

Setting up the Yamaha WX-030

Setting up the WX-030 is a cinch. Once you have the speaker in its designated location boot-up the MusicCast app on your smart device and hit the connect button on top of the Yamaha WX-030. Once the app finds the speaker, it will walk you through the rest of the setup process. In all, you’ll have around 5 minutes in total setup. Through the app you can easily add and subtract speakers. When adding a speaker you can assign a new name and give it a room designation.

 

Once on your network you can send music from a variety of sources such as Spotify Connect, Pandora, SiriusXM and Rhapsody. The WX-030 is also Apple AirPlay compatible. If you’d rather not use the app, you can send music via bluetooth. This is especially handy if you have visitors who want to send music to the speaker without having to jump on your WiFi or download the MusicCast app. Sonos beats out MusicCast with the number of streaming services it supports, however bluetooth and AirPlay equalizes things a bit.

 

Using MusicCast

The MusicCast app isn’t flashy looking, but the interface is clean and intuitive. Once you get into the app, the first screen that greets you is the Room screen. This screen has a list of tiles representing the speakers and AV equipment you have connected to MusicCast. In the upper left corner you’ll see a link icon. Tapping on this lets you setup two Yamaha WX-030 speakers in a stereo alignment with one designated as the master

wx-030-musiccast-screenshots

Clicking on one of the room tiles will also drop you into the streaming options window. Be it Spotify or a networked attached storage drive, clicking on the corresponding tile connects you to that device or app and allows you to stream your audio.

 

When your music’s playing you have full control to play/pause and skip tracks. Volume levels are easily controlled by sliders inside the MusicCast app as are EQ settings. If you happen to have one of Yamaha’s MusicCast enabled receivers, you can stream audio from just about any device connected to the amp. For example, if you have music on a USB drive you can plug it into the receiver and then stream the audio to the Yamaha WX-030. Unlike a lot of wireless speakers on the market, the WX-030 doesn’t shy away from HD tracks. It can handle WAV, FLAC, AIFF and ALAC file formats.

 

Sound Quality

The Yamaha WX-030 is a solid little speaker that has more depth and range than you would expect in a speaker this size. During normal listening the WX-030 will pump out smooth sound with little or no distortion

 

Cuing up 21 Pilot’s “Heathens” track allowed the speakers to open up. Bass was surprisingly robust coming from WX-030. Will it rattle your walls? No, but for a speaker this size its bass response is impressive. If you want to kick-up the low frequencies a little more you can corner load the Yamaha WX-030 which will give the bass a little more oomph. Wall mounting the speakers also achieved the same result during my listening tests. Really pushing the volume of the speaker resulted in some noticeable clipping in the bass department, but its expected in a speaker of this size.

 

Adele’s latest album “25” sounded smooth and natural on the WX-030. With two speakers linked in stereo mode, the sound stage was wide. The treble rolls off a bit at the top end, but this eliminates the harsh edge that’s prevalent on smaller speakers when they try to do too much.  Decoupling the speakers and listening to them in a mono arrangement revealed a substantially narrower sound field which isn’t surprising with a speaker of this size. If you have a large room, ideally you’d want two of these to maximize the sound field.

 

The Verdict

The Yamaha WX-030 enters a crowded wireless bluetooth speaker market and has stationed itself as a solid contender for Sonos’ multi-room crown. The WX-030 has a smooth sound with good bass response. Sonos has the edge with the variety of streaming options it offers, however Yamaha has a bigger bag of MusicCast compatible toys to play with. From AV receivers to sound bars and speakers all of these devices can be added to a MusicCast ecosystem. Also, built-in bluetooth and AirPlay releases you from the confines of the MusicCast app. If you haven’t fully invested in a Sonos multi-room system, then the WX-030 is a solid alternative.


Where to Buy:

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