Yamaha WXAD-10 or Google Chromecast Audio: Which Works Better?

Yamaha’s WXAD-10 offers wireless music playback with Bluetooth and Airplay, but how does it measure up against Google’s Chromecast Audio?

Jordan O'Brien

Yamaha’s MusicCast technology can now be enjoyed on just about any speaker, thanks to the launch of a new Chromecast-like device dubbed the Yamaha WXAD-10.

Installers may opt to integrate connected speakers throughout clients' homes, but some audiophiles would prefer to utilize non-connected speakers. These often leave out the ability to stream audio in favor of a better sounding speaker, and they'd cost significantly less.

Unfortunately, by opting for speakers without the ability to connect to the web, users lose the convenience of wirelessly streaming audio throughout their home. 

One solution to this problem is Google's Chromecast Audio, a small device that can be plugged into just about any speaker through a 3.5mm headphone jack. 

Unfortunately this setup didn't exactly impress the CE pro community, with audio quality limited to 24-bit/48KHz and heavy reliance on a robust wireless network, rather than a more stable Ethernet port.

Now installers have another option: Yamaha' WXAD-10.

Google Chromecast Audio vs. Yamaha WXAD-10

The Google Chromecast Audio obviously precedes the Yamaha WXAD-10, but there are several features that the audio manufacturer has finally brought to the table.

Installers working with Chromecast Audio have had to contend with setting it up using a wireless network, something that isn’t required with the Yamaha WXAD-10. That’s because Yamaha has equipped its box with an Ethernet port enabling a stable internet connection.

Would you rather work with Google Chromecast Audio (pictured) or Yamaha's new WXAD-10?

That stable internet connection will come in handy, as the Yamaha WXAD-10 boasts a higher resolution audio output. While Chromecast Audio supports 24-bit/48KHz, the Yamaha WXAD-10 boasts 24-bit/192KHz.

In addition to a more stable connection and better audio, the Yamaha WXAD-10 also works utilizing an analog connection. Chromecast Audio solely supports the 3.5mm headphone jack, whereas the Yamaha WXAD-10 is equipped with an RCA port.

This makes it a better choice for some of the speakers installers work with, especially those that Chromecast Audio is simply incapable of supporting. The Yamaha also boasts a Brown-Burr DAC.

However, support for Yamaha’s MusicCast service isn’t as widespread as Google Chromecast. That means there are a few streaming services that lack support, including the likes of Google Play Music.

Yamaha has included support for AirPlay and Bluetooth as part of the overall package, while Chromecast uses Wi-Fi, which has its advantages. Google lists the following pros to Wi-Fi (vs. Bluetooth) on its website:

  • Highest quality sound — Chromecast Audio uses WiFi to stream lossless high resolution audio to your speakers, so you get better than CD quality sound. With Bluetooth, audio is re-compressed and limited to standard resolution.
  • Interruption-free listening —​ With WiFi streaming, your music keeps playing without disruption, even if you get a phone call or a text notification. With Bluetooth, phone calls and notifications are heard over the speakers.
  • Control music from anywhere in the house —​ Chromecast Audio streams music over WiFi, which means you can control the music from anywhere within your WiFi network. With Bluetooth, your phone needs to be near the speaker or the music will stop playing.
  • Doesn’t drain phone battery —​ Streaming music over WiFi doesn’t drain your battery, while pairing from Bluetooth does.

Yamaha says its MusicCast services will work as part of a whole-house solution, which means users are limited to services like Spotify, Deezer and Tidal, the latter two of which won’t be available immediately upon launch. Users also must have the MusicCast app.

Then there's always Google Home. Users with the voice control platform can ask Google Home to play audio throughout the house with Chromecast Audio. That's one point for Chromecast that Yamaha's WXAD-10 can't offer.

The final points in the game may land on price, but we'll have to wait to compare these two. Chromecast Audio offers an affordable option for creating a multiroom audio system at $35. Meanwhile, pricing on the Yamaha WXAD-10 has yet to be disclosed.

The device is expected to be available in May, so stay tuned.

This article originally appeared on CE Pro Europe.