Hands on: Yamaha MusicCast 200 review

Yamaha's multimedia system made its debut at IFA 2023

What is a hands on review?
Front-on of the Yamaha MusicCast 200
(Image: © What Hi-Fi?)

Early Verdict

It's hard to tell at this stage, but there's a lot of pedigree and usefulness on display with Yamaha's all-in-one audio system


  • +

    Really nicely made

  • +

    Versatile and flexible

  • +

    Strong audio presentation


  • -

    We need more testing time

  • -

    Not cheap

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Yamaha revealed a pair of new devices at the much-anticipated IFA 2023 tech showcase: the R-N600A network receiver and the MusicCast 200 all-in-one system, the latter of which we've had first-hand experience with at the Japanese brand's showroom stand.  

The MusicCast 200 is designed as a one-box desktop audio system that allows playback from a broad spectrum of wireless sources via Bluetooth and Wi-Fi connectivity. With newly designed two-way coaxial speakers and a built-in CD player, not to mention DAB/FM radio, aux and USB inputs and even a headphone jack, this is a product designed to be a one-stop shop kind of streamer. 

There's also an ethernet port for wired network connectivity, as well as multiple alarms and preset options for your preferred radio stations or favourite streaming tunes.

Our recent adventures in Berlin brought us face-to-face with the MusicCast 200, and while these are only preliminary impressions, this is what we gleaned from our short but enjoyable visit to the Yamaha stand.

Price and design 

Front-on of the Yamaha MusicCast 200

(Image credit: What Hi-Fi?)

At the centre of the MusicCast 200 is a wide, narrow display that gives you the key info about what you're listening to with pleasing clarity. Flanking the display are those two newly designed speakers that aim to provide a wide, authoritative sound stage for your domestic setup. 

Yamaha's unique processing technology aims to create an expansive sound field with strong acoustic range and depth, so the point of the MusicCast is seemingly to fill entire rooms, including your longue or sitting room, rather than being relegated to the position of little more than a bedroom CD player.

It's all very well made from what we can tell. There aren't massively varied options around the back (to be expected from a product focusing on streaming), yet our handling of the MusicCast reveals it, as far as we can tell, to be solidly made and easy to use. It isn't stunning to look at when daubed in its white or black colourways, yet nothing offends or draws the eye to any glaring aesthetic missteps. The 200 is solid, sturdy and a long way from visually offensive, if not an artistic tour de force.

The Yamaha MusicCast 200 Multimedia System is set to cost €699 / £599 / AU$999, though, so standards have been set pretty high by what is still a pretty hefty outlay for a music streamer-cum-CD player system.


Yamaha MusicCast 200 rear view

(Image credit: What Hi-Fi?)

The MusicCast 200 is primarily a streaming device, so it's light on physical features and loaded far more towards Bluetooth and wi-fi. That said, a CD player does allow for more traditional methods of playback, as do those aux and USB inputs. We couldn't see any output connections, though. 

Just playing with the MusicCast is a fun experience, and while it might end up being rather susceptible to clammy fingerprints leaving marks, it appears to be a nicely made, easy-to-use piece of kit that justifies its relatively substantial price tag. With or without the aid of a helpful German audio technician, you don't struggle to find what you're looking for, be it via the console or supplied remote.

If you're wondering how far that wi-fi usability stretches, AirPlay 2, Spotify Connect and a host of further services are supported. There is dual-direction Bluetooth, too, so not only can you connect your iPhone and stream music as a source, but you can also beam music to a pair of Bluetooth headphones, say, if you're not keen on disturbing the neighbours. Sadly, we didn't get the chance to sample how the MusicCast performs as a CD player. 

We thought one particularly neat touch concerned the ample open space on top of the MusicCast which can be used for wireless charging - simply place your smartphone atop the panel (make sure you're roughly in the centre) and let the juicing commence.

Sound quality

Front-on of the Yamaha MusicCast 200

(Image credit: What Hi-Fi?)

Ok, so how does the MusicCast 200 Multimedia System sound, bearing in mind that this is a busy stand in the middle of one of Europe's biggest tech shows? In essence, are those rather modest-looking onboard speakers enough?

It does sound pretty solid to our ears. A Nirvana special (Come As You Are if memory serves) is one of the tracks "preloaded" into the system playing via Spotify, and while we don't quite get the chance to experience that potentially super-wide sound field from what is essentially a very crowded, sound-absorbent room, it seems relatively punchy, focused and rocky.

A playthrough of Gunna's Dollaz on my Head appears to exhibit similar weight and force, cutting (or perhaps bullying) its way through the clamour of the bustling exhibition hall to give a strong impression, if not a complete performance, during such a firey hip-hop workout.

A few Sting tracks round out the demonstration, and while our assessments are heavily caveated by the circumstances and relative brevity of our visit, first impressions of the compact yet versatile system are promising.

Initial verdict

Front-on of the Yamaha MusicCast 200

(Image credit: What Hi-Fi?)

Products and demos at IFA can vary in quality, and you're often left with your head ringing not with the sounds and sensations of one of the busiest tech shows in Europe. It's a lot to take in. 

We can see the appeal of a cohesive, well-made streaming system that doesn't require external satellites or add-ons, but it's difficult to form firm opinions on quality (especially audio) during such a brief time with a product.

A date with our test rooms will hopefully be on the cards at some point down the line where we'll be able to bring you our definitive verdict.


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Harry McKerrell
Staff writer

Harry McKerrell is a staff writer at What Hi-Fi?. During his time at the publication, he has written countless news stories alongside features, advice and reviews of products ranging from floorstanding speakers and music streamers to over-ear headphones, wireless earbuds and portable DACs. He has covered launches from hi-fi and consumer tech brands, and major industry events including IFA, High End Munich and, of course, the Bristol Hi-Fi Show. When not at work he can be found playing hockey, practising the piano or trying to pet strangers' dogs. 

What is a hands on review?

'Hands on reviews' are a journalist's first impressions of a piece of kit based on spending some time with it. It may be just a few moments, or a few hours. The important thing is we have been able to play with it ourselves and can give you some sense of what it's like to use, even if it's only an embryonic view.