It probably won’t come as a shock to you that we at Richer Sounds love Yamaha products thanks to that prestige that follows their name, but can their latest venture into multi-room systems prove as successful?
If the application is anything to go by then the answer will certainly be a yes. Yamaha have now finally turned their attentions away from the traditional home cinema amps and stereo amplifiers and begun to trade blows with some of the biggest names in the business like Sonos, Samsung and Denon. The first product that we managed to get our hands on in our store for this new system was the ISX80 desktop speaker, and on first looks we were pleasantly surprised. The speaker is housed in an almost photo frame like design and it is said that this speaker can be hung on a wall to give exactly that look whilst still being practical as a speaker.
Once we had set the clock to the right time and got it tuned into our store Wi-Fi network the app took over and made selecting a song and station a doddle. Yamaha have said in a few interviews that they actually invited a 10 year old to their R&D department to help with the final few tweaks in making this as user friendly as possible and it certainly gets the nod from us as well. Selecting the speaker was simple and even easier was scrolling through the many different services available at the press of a screen button on our smart devices. Fear not technophobes, you’ve nothing to fear from this system!
On to the speaker itself and after all the joy we have had connecting the app up to it and even allowing a song to be pinged through the speaker onto a set of wireless Bluetooth headphones, it did leave me expecting a little more. Considering its design and its slim depth there was always going to be a small compromise on the bass response, I mean there are no ports for it to vent through and that’s always going to be a little constraining. The clarity at the top end however was very clear and it whistled across guitar solos and high pitched vocals with no problems at all. The mid range was surprisingly warm and even when listening to the lower quality internet radio stations it held up surprisingly well when having some funk music slapped through it.
I suppose the best way to look at this speaker is, as with most multi-room components, one part of a greater whole. This would be a great speaker to simply transmit the audio of your TV via a soundbar to another room in your home or to accompany some active speakers in your lounge to the kitchen for musical consistency. The Bluetooth in this speaker is of the APT-X variety and will also facilitate high quality files such as FLAC and WAV so the good news is that it already has a leg up over the likes of Sonos who are at the moment not able to facilitate this format.
The handy part of this little gizmo is that it can double up as your alarm clock so not only can it give you a gentle nudge to wake up with your favourite music station in the morning it could also be programmed to give you your most hated radio station, thus forcing you to get up and either change it or simply give in to the inevitable fact it’s time to get out of bed.
A solid performer but I think that this unit has shown us all that Yamaha’s app and Music Cast system is going to be a very hot topic in our stores for the next few months while the other products relating to it are released.
To find out more about the Yamaha ISX80, click here.
Author: Andrew, Weybridge store