Yamaha's MusicCast Music Server Helena MT
Yamaha's MusicCast Music Server
April 1, 2005 By Brent Butterworth
Remember those sci-fi movies of a few decades ago, where everyone in some future society wore the same outfit, sported identical pageboy haircuts and lounged on uncomfortable-looking pieces of furniture in all-white rooms? A depressing vision, in my opinion. But they got one thing right—the denizens of these otherwise uninviting environs had merely to touch a button on the wall to call forth myriad entertainment options.
The core of MusicCast is the MCX-1000 server (left). The MCX-CA15 in-wall amplifier (right) provides power for a pair of speakers, an output for connecting an external amp, and an input for devices such as iPods. (Click image to enlarge)
Even though my ward-robe remains diverse and my hairstyle maintains a semblance of individuality, I can now touch a panel on my wall to summon any type of audio entertainment I desire. I use a tiny joystick on the panel to search quickly through my entire music collection. An illuminated display lists art-ists, CD titles and music genres. My favorite tunes emerge from a pair of ceiling speakers—and the usual pile of unsightly black audio components is nowhere to be seen.
This wondrous capability comes to me courtesy of Yamaha’s MusicCast system. MusicCast began life about a year and a half ago, as a server system that stores up to 1,000 CDs on a computer-style hard drive and broadcasts music to receivers scattered throughout a home. Initially, I did not take MusicCast seriously because the receivers with their optional speakers look to me like glorified boom boxes. But the new MusicCast in-wall client transforms MusicCast into something that any upscale homeowner—or even Princess Leia—would be proud to have installed in their den.Instead of a pile of black boxes, all I see in my kitchen is the 4.8-inch-square MCX-C15 controller mounted in my wall near the light switch. I hit the “on” button and the controller’s two-line display changes from a digital clock readout to a menu that lets me access my music collection. Through the joystick, I can navigate my music collection easily. Other buttons on the front let me start and stop the music and adjust volume. Yamaha includes a remote control, too. The whole package exudes high-end style; it has a clean white and silver appearance instead of the confusing, geeky collection of look-alike buttons that mars so many in-wall keypads.
The MCX-C15 keypad (left and far right) includes a display that shows song and album titles, artist info, etc., and comes with a remote control (center left). The MCX-1000 server has its own remote (center right). (Click image to enlarge)
Despite its apparent simplicity, the controller can access a wealth of audio entertainment options. In my installation, I can turn the sound on and off in a room, select tunes from the MusicCast music server and control the volume. Were I to add a M...