Yamaha’s MC20 speaker is just one of the multi-room devices it is now offering to entice homeowners to go all in with the brand. 

It is targeting a market that has been occupied and dominated by Sonos – which in 16 years has become a powerhouse in the home audio sector. 

The MC range is an attractive offering with a minimalistic design, good sound quality and a solid software to control them with.

Yamaha has nailed the MC20 with its upright cylindrical design finished in premium matte metals with a glossy glass top where the manual controls are.

It is subtle, stylish and understated and is available in either black or white. There is a considerable amount of weight to the unit too which makes it feel sturdy and made with a premium finish.

The 40W speaker consists of a 25W Woofer and 15 W Tweeter and certainly gets loud enough for any room in the house you put it in.

The audio quality is balanced and accurate that is on par with its rivals but is probably just pipped to the post by the Sonos Play One. It’s not a bass heavy speaker which is worth knowing if you particularly like or dislike speakers that are but is nice and bright.

Its overall sound can be amplified if you connect it to other Yamaha devices such as another MC20 to create a stereo speaker or to a larger device such as the MC50. 

Express.co.uk also got a chance to review the larger and more powerful MC50, which was our favourite of the two. The large oval device packs a serious punch making perfect as the main speaker at a party or as an external audio boost for your TV. 

The MC50 uses two 35kW woofers to deliver its audio and gets seriously loud but its unusual long oval shape makes it more difficult to place in a room than the MC20. 

You can use Amazon’s Alexa assistant to control the device but you have to do so through the dedicated app or by pairing it up with a standard Echo device, such as the Echo Input, which sounds like a bit of a faff when other speakers, such as the Sonos One, have this personal assistant integrated. 

What counts in the Yamaha’s favour is how well the devices work through the MusicCast app and how easy it is to transition between devices. You could be listening to music through a vinyl player downstairs on one speaker and then move upstairs and listen to music beamed through your phone, tablet or laptop. 

The integration also works when streaming films, TV shows and videos without lag or delay.  However, sometimes the software can do some odd things when you’re changing the volume. For example, sometimes when trying to turn the music up via the phone it would go up a level and then drop back down straight away. 

So often you can get an amazing bit of hardware that is completely undermined by its software. For example, previous iterations of the GoPro app were not stable or intuitive making it frustrating to use. 

The MusicCast app is, however, for the most part, a very stable well-executed piece of software. It incorporates the majority of the top streaming services as standard and can also be used with Bluetooth . 

The MusicCast system connects all your devices to the speaker via the WiFi network. The speaker does, however, offer Bluetooth connectivity as well as an Aux jack. Similarly, there is also an ethernet cable port meaning that it can be linked straight up to your broadband.

It also has manual controls on top which allow you to change the audio source (e.g Bluetooth, aux), on/off button, volume up and down, a pause and an alarm.

Bizarrely there is no skip track option which seems like a really unusual omission as it requires you to touch your phone, tablet or laptop to change the track. 

VERDICT

It’s hard to knock the Yamaha for any particular reason as it offers balanced, accurate sound and plenty of volume for a relatively compact unit. 

If you buy the Yamaha you’ll be paying a premium over the Sonos and you get a fairly similar experience. The sound quality is between the devices is fairly on par and while the Yamaha looks better, the Alexa integration makes the Sonos look like a savvier buy. 

Rating: 3.5/4



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