Yamaha WX-010 Review

Pros

  • Compact design and robust build
  • Beefy sound with punchy bass
  • Easy operation with MusicCast app
  • Generous streaming features

Cons

  • Sound lacks bite and insight
  • Some syncing issues

Key Specifications

  • Review Price: £159.95
  • 2.5cm tweeter and 9cm woofer
  • Passive bass radiators
  • 25W power output
  • Built-in Wi-Fi and Bluetooth
  • MusicCast multiroom
  • DLNA, AirPlay, Spotify, Napster, Qobuz, Juke!, internet radio

What is the Yamaha WX-010?

The WX-010 is a wireless speaker from Yamaha’s MusicCast multiroom range that streams music via DLNA, Bluetooth, AirPlay, Spotify and more. It’s a more compact version of last year’s WX-030 speaker, selling for around £50 less.

You can buy the WX-010 individually or as part of the £699 MusicCast Chorus package with the ISX-18D wireless speaker and the YAS-306 soundbar. All three can be controlled using a single smartphone app, allowing you to send different songs to each speaker or play the same audio through them all.

Related: Best soundbar 2017

Yamaha WX-010

Yamaha WX-010 – Design and Connections

The WX-010 is the very definition of compact. At 160mm high, this robust, self-contained cuboid is ideal for plonking on a shelf or kitchen worktop without affecting your feng shui. The entire body is covered in a black saran net that conceals dust and eliminates clutter, while the big rounded corners are a funky touch. The alternative white version is slightly less alluring but still looks great.

Build quality is terrific. Solid and weighty, it won’t be phased by a few knocks and bumps. It sits on moulded rubber feet that absorb vibrations, plus there’s a keyhole fixing on the back in case you want to hang it on the wall. A recess on the back contains the power inlet and allows the power cable to hang down. It’s joined by an Ethernet port and micro USB port for firmware updates, but there’s no analogue jack for non-wireless devices.

A gloss-black panel on top houses touch-sensitive controls – power, volume, play/pause – while a row of three tiny LEDs indicate the Bluetooth, Wi-Fi and power status. They pulse when adjusting the volume, which is a nice touch.

Yamaha WX-010 – Features

MusicCast is the WX-010’s obvious highlight. Download Yamaha’s MusicCast app onto your smartphone and you’ll gain access to Spotify, Napster, Qobuz, Juke! and vTuner internet radio, plus you can play music stored on PCs and NAS drives via DLNA. It supports hi-res FLAC, WAV and AIFF playback up to 192kHz and ALAC up to 96kHz.

Yamaha WX-010

With multiple MusicCast speakers connected, you can send different tunes to individual speakers or play music across the entire system. That goes for any source, including Bluetooth or TV audio from a MusicCast soundbar.

You can use two WX-010s as left and right channels in a stereo pair, potentially delivering a bigger, wider sound. If that takes your fancy, you can buy a special twin pack (MusicCast Twin 010) for around £250.

Away from MusicCast, there’s AirPlay support and built-in Bluetooth (the latter also outputting audio to headphones and other speakers) but unlike the ISX-18D there’s no DAB radio tuner. As for audio tech, the WX-010 is a two-way speaker with a 2.5cm tweeter and 9cm woofer, bolstered by two passive bass radiators.

Related: The ultimate multi-room audio guide: Sonos vs the rivals

Yamaha WX-010  – Setup

The WX-010 is set up and operated entirely by the MusicCast app and there’s no physical remote. The app makes it easy to join the speaker to your network – it’s a case of following the onscreen instructions and typing in your Wi-Fi password when prompted.

Multiroom apps aren’t always the most co-operative but thankfully Yamaha’s effort found my speakers first time with no unreasonable delays. If you want to link new MusicCast speakers, just tap the Add New Device option and run through the process again.

Once connected, individual setup menus for each speaker let you update the firmware and rename each speaker name to make them easier to identify. Elsewhere a dedicated EQ page offers bass, mids and treble adjustments.

Yamaha WX-010

Yamaha WX-010  – MusicCast App

Using the app is a piece of cake. Its muted colour scheme and no-frills layout aren’t particularly exciting but make it easy to find your music. The home page is a grid of large tiles, each one bearing an icon or logo. Select ‘Server’ to explore PCs and NAS drives; content is displayed in grey boxes containing cover art and text. Swipe the screen and it scrolls quickly, but if you swipe too quickly the content takes a little while to catch up.

The well-organised Now Playing screen includes cover art, playback controls and a volume slider. You can share the track on social media or jump to the Rooms menu. I don’t like the way you have to hold down the track skip button to scan through a song – a slider would have been better.

Grouping speakers together is easy enough, but you can’t drag and drop speakers onto each other like Panasonic’s superior multiroom app. Tap the Link icon in the Rooms menu, select your master speaker and tick the speakers you want to link.

After pairing the WX-010 with the ISX-18D speaker, they went out of sync fairly regularly during playback. If that’s a problem when using two WX-010s in a stereo pair, try tweaking the Speed Boost and Stability Boost options in the setup menu.
Yamaha WX-010

Yamaha WX-010 – Performance

The WX-010 is an enjoyable performer, offering a big, punchy sound that belies its compact dimensions. The passive radiators are the key here, lending depth and weight to drums and basslines and conveying scale more convincingly than the disappointing ISX-18D.

Bass output is impressive given the limited cabinet volume, and although it can flap slightly at loud volumes, it’s generally tight and well controlled. That makes all the difference when playing genres like house or hip-hop, which rely heavily on a fast, impactful bottom end.

‘Room-filling’ is a bit of a stretch, but it goes nice and loud without distortion. The sound is chunky and cohesive, balancing out those rich bass notes with a solid midrange and clear treble.   

Using a single woofer and tweeter in close proximity means the sound isn’t particularly wide or spacious (nor did I expect it to be) but it is well organised. Instruments are cleanly separated and with placed with purpose, retaining the intelligibility of intertwining melodies.

Drums are dispatched with more vigour and weight than the dreary ISX-18D, although it’s still not the most engaging performer. Treble feels a little safe, which ultimately puts a ceiling on excitement and involvement. But on the plus side, the softer top-end prevents potentially shrill instruments (like a mute trumpet) from sounding brash as you crank the volume up.

The WX-010 also shares the ISX-18D’s limited expression and insight, which falls short of the best wireless speakers. Treble is crisp enough to stand out but it can’t quite unpack the detail and vocal nuances that make music sound realistic and emotive.  
But it would be unfair to end this section on a negative note, as the WX-010 is a generally impressive performer despite these shortcomings – particularly in its ability to deliver such a big and punchy sound from a compact enclosure.

Yamaha WX-010

Should I buy the Yamaha WX-010?

It may not be the most assured performer on the market, but with its healthy feature list, compact design and terrific streaming functionality the WX-010 certainly warrants investigation.

The slick MusicCast app makes it easy to organise your multiroom system, while the inclusion of AirPlay, Bluetooth and stereo pairing expands your listening options further.

While it could be more sparky and expressive, the Yamaha makes up for it with a beefy and cohesive sound that’s ideal for day-to-day listening anywhere in the house.

Yamaha WX-010 – Verdict

Compact design, hassle-free streaming and solid performance make the WX-010 a terrific wireless speaker, but like the ISX-18D it lacks a little spark and insight.

Score


Score in detail

  • Design 8
  • Sound Quality 8
  • Features 8
  • Value 8
  • Usability 8

Audio Codecs

MP3 Yes
Apple Lossless Yes
AIFF Yes
AAX Yes
WAV Yes
AAC Yes