A pair of rinky, dinky amplifiers from Yamaha offer just enough facilities for a small footprint chassis, including MusicCast. Paul Rigby reviews the WXC-50 pre-amplifier and the WXA-50 integrated amplifier
Both of these amplifiers arrive in an almost identical chassis, giving the pair a distinct ‘family’ resemblance that will allow both to easily fit into a living room environment. Both arrive with MusicCast Wi-Fi streaming as standard and come with a 48bit digital volume control. Both can also be mounted vertically to further minimise the overall footprint. They also support AirPlay and, where available, Spotify, Napster, Sirius XM, Juke and Pandora as well as DSD 5.6MHz and FLAC/WAV/ AIFF 24bit/192kHz. Finally, they both span 215 x 51.5 x 245.9mm.
The first of the two amp boxes, the WXC-50 pre-amplifier. You can also turn off the Pre-amp mode and use the device as a simple network audio player. This box weighs 1.44kg. The 70W WXA-50 weighs in at 1.94kg. Check out the accompanying images to see a rundown of controls, sockets et al. The aerial is the home of the screw-in, multi-position, Wi-Fi aerial.
To play the USB stick of digital files, I decided to download and install the associated and in-house developed MusicCast app on my iPhone 6S. USB file control was a lot friendlier via the app than punching buttons on a chassis and hoping for the best. Download and software installation was easy but the final set-up was overly difficult. It took me around 20 minutes when it really should have taken me, what, three?
MusicCast is not a Bluetooth system but utilises a Wi-Fi connection. To install it, you press the Connect button on the front of either chassis for five seconds until the adjacent connection light flashes. Then you open the app itself and follow the onscreen prompts which involves bouncing between it and the phone’s Wi-Fi Settings screen. In that Settings screen, you wait for the MusicCast option to appear as one of the choices within the available local Wi-Fi connections list. Well it did, eventually. Nothing was seen until my third try but I finally connected without a problem once it made an appearance.
Back to the app but my trial was not yet over. The app failed to complete the install sequence another three times but I got there at the fourth attempt. Why these issues occurred can only be conjecture. Was it down to my phone? Was it Yamaha’s fault? Was it something to do with my Wi-Fi signal? Was it something else? I can only say that no other, non-Yamaha, device had issues in my listening room or anywhere else in the building at this time.
Nevertheless, once connected and installed, the app worked flawlessly. It showed the song title, sleeve art (not for WAV rips though), CD-type music controls plus EQ controls. My only gripe is that I would have like to have seen a report on the quality of the file type being played. For example, when playing the jazz piece, St. Thomas from Sonny Rollins, this is a 24bit/96kHz file but this information was never revealed by the app. I wish I could have seen that information on the app screen. I don’t mind the lifestyle facade that Yamaha is trying to promote here. I can even live with the irritatingly Apple-like paternalistic ‘we’ve-decided-that-you-don’t-need-the-information-so-we-won’t-give-it-to-you’, non-techie approach to the app but it would have been nice to have found the said figures buried somewhere, for those who really want it.
I began the sound tests playing a the CD version of Earth, Wind & Fire’s Let’s Groove. This group was a busy outfit on stage and within their arrangements. There is plenty going on here and it takes quite an amplifier to sort everything out. Even behind the conglomeration of the principle voices and instruments, there are plenty of subtle and tiny effects that pop up here and there.
Have you ever seen those word association tests that psychologists use to diagnose the mental state of a patient? You say ‘good’, I say bad. You say ‘black’, I say ‘white’, you say ‘The Himalayas’, I say ‘Marilyn Monroe’. You know the sort of thing. Well, if you said, ‘bass’, I would say ‘Yamaha’. Such is the company’s reputation and concentrated effort to effect a low frequency-based personality. If any knows how to ‘do’ bass, Yamaha’s yer man.
Through the WXA-50, I was most impressed by that signature Yamaha bass. Impressed, not because there was a lot if it – there was – but because of how the bass power was integrated within the soundstage. The amount of focus placed upon the bass gave it a sharp, short, ‘bam!’ of an arrival. The punch was in then out in a jiffy, giving the bass a tremendous transient speed and response that provided drive to the entire track. The tightness of the bass was allied to its careful positioning in the soundstage. There was no hint of blooming or any threat of it infecting the midrange. This meant that secondary percussion, such as wooden block strikes, on the track My Love from the same group, where not only recognisable but also integrated their own reverb tails. Any bass smearing at all would have veiled such delicacies.
Midrange was incisive, for the price, digging out all of those little sound effects that I mentioned above, allowing the ear to seek them out without too much trouble. Yes, there was a slight spotlight shining on the upper mids during vocal crescendos but mainly at high volumes. It wasn’t a big problem, though. For the most part, I enjoyed the tremendous clarity that the midrange afforded and, for the price, the detail that it presented.
Turning to Sonny Rollins and his track, St. Thomas running via the USB port from a USB stick at 24bit/96kHz and controlled via the MusicCast app, I was impressed by the midrange insight that, for the price, provided space and air for the complex percussive sequences on this track. Drums were punchy but also characterful, tracking the complexity of the different drums well while cymbals strikes were relatively fragile, despite that slight spotlight giving the treble a tad of stridency at high volumes. Again, though, I saw this effect mostly at higher volumes and considering the price tag it was not a great problem.
Finally, I turned to Bluetooth and Marvin Gaye’s Mercy Mercy Me played as a MP3. Yamaha has implemented MP3 streaming well and the processing produced a pleasant and, considering the poor quality of the inherent file type, relatively sweet presentation that never grated or hurt the ears. Vocals were comparatively well rounded, avoiding the thin and edgy sound from other, less well realised, hardware.
Next up was the preamp, the WXC-50. For this test, I turned to ‘old technology’ and a pair of Class A power mono blocks. The small in stature but wholly meaty Valvet Classe-A Mono-amps A1r, to be precise. I’ve always enjoyed their open-ended and focused output and they have been used when shelf space has been lacking. As such, they pair up very well with the similarly low footprint WXC-50. Hooking up is easy with the A1r mono blocks sliding into the Pre Out sockets at the rear of the Yamaha chassis.
The reason for connecting the A1r blocks was to show that the Yamaha can connect to older hardware or hardware lacking in modern connective facilities. The thought of using the A1rs with a USB source and as part of a streaming set-up was an intriguing one.
I began with a slightly more traditional source, CD and back to Earth, Wind & Fire. The combination of the dynamic and high energy track, Let’s Groove, the bass rich Yamaha and the punchy A1r produced the sort of low end that can punch through brick walls and keep on going further than Godzilla in a bad mood. That, of course, is another benefit of the Yamaha preamp, you can tailor its musical personality, depending on what you connect to it. Yes, that slightly strident edge to the app mids was evident at higher volumes and during crescendos but, once more, at normal volumes it was no great concern.
Generally speaking, mids were insightful, detailed and with a slightly clinical edge that enabled the WXC-50 to dig deep into the mix to extract even the most subtle and shy of effects that often resided within the complex arrangement of this song. Solid state fans will adore the sound from the Yamaha, which could easily become a dictator of a small, wayward country, such is the measure of strength, power and no compromise approach it has to sound.
Turning to the USB port and Sonny Rollin’s higher resolution source via St. Thomas, the Yamaha successfully fed a relatively open and spacious signal, for the price, to the monoblocks. The result combined an energetic yet detailed output that was full of texture and character, especially from the Rollins saxophone while the percussion produced a musical and dynamic presentation, brimming with energy and motive power. Piano was a little strident at times but that was of no real surprise at this price point. The piano has to be the most difficult of instruments to control for any budget component and the Yamaha made a good fist of the chaotic and disorderly frequencies from it.
Finally, taking advantage of MusicCast and streaming Marvin Gaye’s Mercy Mercy Me from iPhone 6S I was once again impressed as to how the Yamaha delivered the low quality MP3 to the ear. That is, in a relatively mature, dignified and listenable manner. Tonal balance was pretty good for a MP3 while Gaye’s delivery was smooth and easy on the ear.
Both units offer an attractively small footprint that bodes well, obviously, if you are bereft of desk and shelf space. The little integrated amp offers just enough connections to satisfy most music fans. This little amp also offers a big sound: powerful and detailed for the low price it demands. Excellent value.
The preamp, meanwhile provides a goodly selection of features that is ideal to upgrade older technology or extend the facilities of a hi-fi system lacking in certain areas.
YAMAHA WXA-50 MUSICCAST WIRELESS STREAMING AMPLIFIER
Tel: 01908 366700
GOOD: value for money, small footprint, focused bass, detailed mids
BAD: slight midrange stridency at high volumes, temperamental MusicCast app
YAMAHA WXC-50 MusicCast Wireless Streaming Preamplifier
Tel: 01908 366700
BAD: midrange stridency at high volumes, MusicCast app connection
To watch of video of both units in action, click HERE.
Apple iPhone 6S
Astell & Kern AK120 digital player
Leema Elements CD Player
Rega Brio-R amplifier
Spender S3/5R2 speakers
Acoustic Research Radiance One Speakers
Black Rhodium/Chord Shawline cables
Paul Brockwell30th December 2016 at 1:59 pm
The Yamaha WXC-50 does indeed display the bit rate and file type of music being played. It’s on the EQ settings menu, under Audio Information tab. I’ve had the unit since the first batch were delivered and it’s always been there. Otherwise a great review.
Paul Rigby30th December 2016 at 3:07 pm
Is that on an Android phone Paul?
Paul Brockwell30th December 2016 at 3:23 pm
Yes indeed it is. I agree that had that file information not been available to me I wouldn’t have been impressed. Thank you for the review, I’ve been looking out for a while for a quality write up.
Paul Rigby30th December 2016 at 3:59 pm
Ah, I tested using an iPhone which failed to feature that information. Hence my criticisms.
Soz29th January 2017 at 8:15 pm
Really enjoined the review, but feel that it needed context, like how it compares to something at the same price point like the best sellers Marantz MCR511/611?
Paul Rigby29th January 2017 at 8:21 pm
Thanks Soz, sorry I just didn’t have access to the Marantz kit at that time. Hope you got enough information from the review to help, though.
Mike Johnson28th March 2017 at 7:03 pm
Paul, I enjoyed reading your review of the Yamaha amp and preamp. I am considering the pre amp with a set of Paradigm shift A2 powered speakers. I found your review very helpful.
I am not too computer savy and I have a Mac computer in the next room to where the preamp will go and was wondering which would be the best input to use for a wired connection between the two.
Paul Rigby28th March 2017 at 8:32 pm
Hi Mike – a safe connection between the Pre and Mac is the USB ports of both. They are easy to connect, cables are relatively easy to source and the resolution always has the potential to reach the maximum available potential.
ENRICO29th March 2017 at 3:06 pm
very useful review.
I just bought a Yamaha WXC and I use it as preamp paired to a Musical Fidelity M1 PWR power amp.
Would I get better sound to use the Yamaha WXC just as a streamer connected to an integrated amp like the Rega Brio?
Paul Rigby30th March 2017 at 12:44 pm
You can certainly do that, yes. And the Brio is a fine sounding amp, I recommend it. On the back of the Yamaha there’s a player/pre switch. If you switch it to ‘player’ then the WXC50 will just send line level output from the pre-outs and the Rega amplifier can control the volume. You could also use the AUX BUS outputs but you’ll get a better sound quality from the pre-outs.
Richard N. Thewlis18th May 2017 at 10:39 am
Hi Paul, good in depth detailed review with attention to detail like it. I currently own a Cambridge CXA60 DAC, a Cambridge Audi BT100 Bluetooth aptX receiver, Samsung BDJ7500 Blue – Ray (my fill in CD player for now) & a pair of Bowers & Wilkins 365 S1 speakers on stands. In the very near future are a Rega Planar 2 and a Cambridge Audio CP2 Phono / pre amp. So I’m covering phono nicely (I hope?) and currently streaming music from Spotify Premium over aptX to aptX Bluetooth via simple hand held android. My question is I wish to play wired or over the internet high-res music. This led me onto Tidal / Qobuz with the Qobuz “Sublime” service winning my vote at the minute (not yet subscribed). with 16bit / 44.1kHz throughout the catalogue and 30-60% reduction on buying high-res 24bit / up to and including 192kHz. So I pay my £219.99 annual subscription but then I need to be able to play music at such high-res. Bluetooth is now out of the question. My CXA60 has a usb port to accept BT100 but isn’t a true USB standard port (unlike the CXA80’s). I’ve pasted a link of the back of the CXA60 for clarity below. I am told Qobuz compatible hardware is limited but the Yamaha WXC-50 is (and possibly the Oppo Sonica DAC [but I already own a DAC]). So do I purchase the WXC-50 (and have a multi-room benefit too) or can I somehow get a small laptop to link up (via USB) to my CXA60 direct (but recall my CXA60 doesn’t have true USB). Finally (hope I’m not boring people here!) will the WXC-50 act as a phono amp for my turntable too, instead of the Cambridge Audio CP2 or are 2 seperate pre-amps better? Alternatively is there a whole different direction I should take to streaming high-res music that I haven’t even contemplated?
Paul Rigby18th May 2017 at 12:30 pm
Thanks for your message, Richard. OK, well, just picking out a few points from you missive:
1: A separate phono amp is ALWAYS better than a built in example. Stick with the CP2 on that score and use it even if you buy the Yamaha.
2: You may not have the choice but, if you do, do not use a computer as a digital source. It is a *computer*, it is busy doing computer-type things all of the time and it doesn’t know how to produce a good quality digital signal. Laptop sources introduce lots of noise because of this. The only decent laptop source is a dedicated unit with software in it that literally shuts down 90% of Windows to act as a music manager only. For Windows? Something like JRiver, Audirvana for the Mac.
3: Get a dedicated CD player ASAP. Even better? use a dedicated solid state music player. Rip your CDs to that laptop of yours using a quality ripper (i.e. dBpoweramp) to a lossless format, connect the music player to your hi-fi and let that be your ‘CD player’. This arrangement will be far, far better than a budget CD player or your Samsung (next to no jitter, you see from all of those moving parts). Plus, you’ve got yourself a mobile player as a bonus.
4: Yes, hi-res files should be played wired only. Wireless will cripple any hires benefits. Wireless is only good for lossy files.
5: The Yamaha would provide plenty of networking benefits, that’s true and is certainly a good option for you.
6: As for other options? I’d need a budget price from you for that one 🙂
7: One alternative is the Cabasse Stream Source which, so I hear, also supports Quboz: https://theaudiophileman.com/cabasse-stream-source-island-stream/
Oh, if I didn’t answer your question, shout at me again…
Manu6th June 2017 at 10:17 pm
Hi There, Just need to ask a simple thing as i am considering to get wxc-50- Pre Amplifier , If i plug in a optical input and connect a optical out to other player and simultaneously if i connect a subwoofer to the subwoofer out of wxc 50 pre amp unit, will the subwoofer and the optical output work simultaneously ..Like i just need to use subwoofer out and optical out of this pre amp together nothing else .. I may sound like a dumb but 300 pounds man, come on ..pls help me if u can.
Paul Rigby7th June 2017 at 1:03 pm
If you connect a sub woofer then you’re doing nothing else but connecting a speaker, a powered speaker yes, but a speaker nonetheless. Plugging in an optical – which presumably will head straight for a music player or some other source? That’s a different thing and the Pre sees it as such so there will be no clash. Finally, there’s no such thing as a dumb question – at least not here. So don’t be afraid of asking.
Clark Bird18th June 2017 at 11:14 pm
I just purchased a pair of KEF LS50 wireless speakers. They have numerous options for inputting the music and are self-amped, to boot. USB, ethernet, RCA analog and optical in for hard wired plus wi-fi and bluetooth for the wireless. Right now, I have them plugged via the RCA Pre-amp out jacks of my (10 year old but still works great) Yamaha home theater receiver. I’m thinking an option with these Yamaha WXC units would be to wire them in such a way as to have the optical out be a better source for the KEFs than the RCA’s, if that makes sense. My goal is to get more into the hi-resolution music via Tidal or Roon, et al, plus I have around 15,000 songs in our iTunes library. I know the KEF’s can make all of this sound better if I get the right gear to feed them. They also have built-in DAC’s, along with the internal amplification. So, will either of these Yamaha units fill the bill? Would the pre-amp one work best because I don’t need additional amplification? Or, would you recommend some other route? Call me spoiled, but I do still want them to work as my front right and left speakers when playing movies and video through our Apple TV (v.4) unit or our Blu-ray player. Thanks
Paul Rigby19th June 2017 at 11:55 am
Hi Clark – so the aim of this would be too access the new Tidal update for the WDC-50? Is this a TV-centric system? Are you looking to achieve anything else?
Clark Bird19th June 2017 at 11:29 pm
Hi Paul. Sorry if that was a bit obscure. I would agree that it’s a TV centric system as we use the AppleTV and Blu-ray units to view all things video. One example of my dilemma is that the Gen 4 Apple TV is linked to the Sony 65″ TV via HDMI; the Sony then sends the audio only via its optical out to our Yamaha amp, the RCA pre-outs from the amplifier to the KEF’s. Seems I’m stepping down from the best possible cable (HDMI) to the RCA analog cables to feed the KEF’s, which I purchased to be the strongest part of my system, not the weakest. They’ve inspired us to just listen to music a lot more, too, because they sould amazing.
Since my post, I’ve noticed that the Yamaha pre-amp unit has an optical out jack; I’m thinking this would maintain the integrity of the digital signal from the HDMI inputs all the way to the KEF’s. I’ve even thought of getting a good optical cable splitter to send an additional signal directly to the KEF’s. Ultimate goal: get the best sound possible out of the speakers. I have a Mac Mini running through the TV also (via HDMI). It’s occurred to me that TIDAL or ROON would look great on the TV, as well. Thanks
Paul Rigby20th June 2017 at 8:59 am
Hi Clark – I wondered if you had considered simplifying the system and plugging the KEFs directly into the TV via the optical on the KEFs. Take the old Yamaha out of the chain to purify the chain then connect a Tidal-ready device directly into the KEFs but leave it out of the TV loop. Doing it this way would give you shorter and more direct links from each source, hopefully enhancing sound quality.
thi5th September 2017 at 12:18 pm
i have a few questions
-when streaming via USB : does the wxc50 support a usb-portable harddisk instead of a memory stick ?
–> if so : does it show covers flawlessly ? (when a “folder.jpeg is in the cd-map of the current played Album)
-can i make mixed playlists ? –> e.g : 2 tracks from Harddisk, followed by to tracks from Spotify and then save this as a new playlist ? (and edit this playlist later-on ?)
-can i empty the current playlist ? -> i do ask this because my experience is that this is not possible with spotify-app on an IPAD, only possible with spotify-app on an iphone/android phone !!
Paul Rigby14th September 2017 at 8:57 am
I’ve asked Yamaha to respond to this one – bit of a delay because they’re preparing for a range of hi-fi shows. Will get back to you ASAP.
Wade Souza6th September 2017 at 2:59 am
Hi Paul, Nice review. Here is my question. Do you see the preamp in the Yamaha as a higher end product that should improve markedly on an existing system vs buying a free standing audiophile preamp (say a Parasound P5). Presently using a Logitech Squeezebox for internet radio/streaming running through an Acurus R11 preamp to a McIntosh MC250 power amp (rebuilt and upgraded unit). The signal from the Logitech goes via video cable to a Cambridge Audio 740C for use of the DAC then into the Acurus. I have been told the Acurus is probably the weak link in the chain as a 20+ year old preamp without any updating and no functional remote.
Paul Rigby6th September 2017 at 6:06 pm
Hi Wade – well, the P5 is a lot more expensive than the Yamaha and is expected to be superior on that basis alone (it is). The P5 would be recommended if your budget will stretch.
Lorenzo28th September 2017 at 12:00 pm
Hi Paul, thank you a lot for the reviews! I’m looking for a preamp like the wxc-50 that can do anything and connect directly to a power amplifier, so i would ask if you know some alternatives for other pre/dac/streamer, maybe with better quality… Sorry for my English, all the best!
Paul Rigby28th September 2017 at 4:53 pm
Can you be a bit more specific? I assume that the Yamaha is not what you’re looking after? Why not? What are your requirements and budget?
lorenzo28th September 2017 at 6:02 pm
Sorry Paul! I’d like to know if there are some better alternatives to the wxc-50 for using like a preamp! I need something that can be used as a preaml/dac/streamer all in one with my power amplifier… I hope now it’clear
Paul Rigby28th September 2017 at 9:13 pm
What sort of budget are you looking at Lorenzo?
Lorenzo29th September 2017 at 10:17 am
Maybe 600/800 euros!
Paul Rigby29th September 2017 at 9:27 pm
Cambridge DacMagic Plus – £350. You can add a streaming module to the back.
Lorenzo4th October 2017 at 1:38 pm
Yeah Paul, very nice idea, like a CXN or a 851N, but there are only one last problem, they have no analogue inputs, and I have a turnable to connect.
Paul Rigby4th October 2017 at 2:39 pm
I’m on the move and so can’t check but, from memory, isn’t there a pair of unbalanced outputs on the rear, to the left? To plug in a phono amp? Failing that, at this price, I’m scratching my head to think of one. It’s the streaming inclusion that I find difficult, at this price. I can think of a Auralic Altair but that is around £1,700.
lorenzo4th October 2017 at 3:37 pm
I think the same, is very hard to find one! So is hard to find Dac/Preamp with analogue inputs, under 1000 £ I think that there is just the Teac UD-503, do you know some other rivals cheaper?
Paul Rigby4th October 2017 at 4:59 pm
The Lead Audio Northern Fidelity? €700 I think.
Lorenzo4th October 2017 at 8:00 pm
Nice idea! It’s the first that i ear about it…it seems hard to find but i will try! Thanks a lot!
Lee1st November 2017 at 8:22 am
Great review. I’m trying to set up a multi-source to multi-zone configuration, and thinking about one WXA-50 for each zone, with unpowered ceiling speakers in each zone wired to a central closet where the WXA-50s would be located. It seems the WXA-50 is nearly the perfect (and one of the only solutions) I found that can do what I want, BUT… it seems that the WXA-50 multicast system currently doesn’t support Apple Music natively as it does for Spotify, Pandora and others. From what I understand, the system does support Airplay but the app can’t handle multi-zone/multi-source in airplay mode. Wanted to mention this here so others are aware. Paul – do you know of another system for multi-zone/multi-source config with wired ceiling speakers? the only one i’ve found is airhome.io, but it’s only in US and I am in Europe.
Paul Rigby1st November 2017 at 8:56 am
Thanks for sharing your findings, Lee. Appreciate it. Re your question, what sort of budget are you looking at?
marcelo15th November 2017 at 4:43 am
Hi ,does works with esternal hard drive ?and does work with ntfs ?thanks
Paul Rigby15th November 2017 at 10:01 am
An external hard drive (or USB stick) should be no problem, Marcelo – formatted to FAT32.
Ran28th November 2017 at 6:11 pm
Can I connect the Wxc50 to my Adcom GFA 545 mk2 power amp ?
Paul Rigby29th November 2017 at 5:24 pm
Hi Ran – yes but I would probably go for a better pre to get the best out of the power amp.
Ran22nd December 2017 at 6:26 pm
Thank you Paul.
I’ve read in some site one guy wrote that wxc50 is the best source, so i would like to believe it true.
Paul Rigby22nd December 2017 at 6:46 pm
That’s a bit of an open-ended statement Ran. It depends on the budget, your specific requirements, etc. If you need more guidance in this way, please shout and I’ll try to help.
Peter Brown10th December 2017 at 2:46 pm
That was a great review and I have in fact bought a WXC-50 to stream my music library into an existing Power Amp left over when I upgraded my cinema system. It is an Onkyo TX-SR674/674E. However I cannot get it to work at all. I have the pre amp wired into a router extension and when set up using music cast it appears to talk to my iPad. i.e. I can turn it on and off using the iPad and the app can find and appears to play my music but nothing is getting to the speakers. I have tried connecting the pre amp to the power amp via analogue and digital connections. I have the Onkyo set to CD mode and checked that the digital Coax 1 input is assigned to CD, for the connection I am using the yellow jack of a three wire phono cable. Could that be the problem? How can I check if the pre amp is actually receiving the audio signal?? I have tried it on bluetooth as I would with a simple Bose Sound Link Mini and they connect but again nothing happens when the music is playing. I have been at it all weekend and am running out of ideas because there is nothing I can check. I have even ensured that the ethernet cable I am using is Cat 5e. Hope you may be able to advise, Thanks Peter
Paul Rigby10th December 2017 at 3:07 pm
OK, let’s check a few basics first: Can you go through the input and output cable connections again? Actually take them out, think about the path and then put them in again. It’s worked for me in the past because sometimes I assume too much and stop thinking. Is each cable connected properly? Is another input source selected? Is the volume at the minimum or – and this has happened to me before – muted? Is the source file PCM? Have you tried a basic chain like running a CD player through your system? Something physical. Before we get to digital shenanigans. Also, is the Yamaha in Player or Pre-Amp mode? Can that be the issue?
Chico Brandao22nd December 2017 at 1:54 am
Hi Paul, thank you for the great review. I happen to have a wxc-50, a pair of B&W 601 S3, a B&W LCR60 S3, a pair of B&W CWM 200, a Boston PV500 sub and two Yamaha wx030 wireless speakers. I don’t have a receiver amplifier yet. I am planning to buy a Rotel rsx 1550. My idea is to make a setup with the Rotel, the B&W’s and the sub in the home theater; and the wx30 playing stereo in other room of the house. I was planning to use the wxc 50 to connect the Rotel to the Musiccast environment. Is it going to work? What’s the best way to connect all that together?
I am also thinking in not to hook the surrounds speakers. Is it ok? How should I set the amp for that situation? Thx for your attention.
Paul Rigby22nd December 2017 at 5:54 pm
The Rotel is a 7.1 system so a wide variety of speaker set-up configurations should be possible. I’m not too familiar with the Rotel – this is a relatively old model, I think it came out in 2009 – but I don’t think it offers Bluetooth and doesn’t offer MusicCast support. Have you considered a more recent Yamaha model which does support both standards? It might make things easier for you.
Chico Brandao23rd December 2017 at 2:53 pm
Thank you very much for your response. Isn’t the wxc 50 ro connect old systems in MusicCast environment? Best
Paul Rigby23rd December 2017 at 3:20 pm
From memory – my Yamaha is back at Yamaha now: you can stream music over Yamaha’s own MusicCast network (using your Wi-Fi network). You can send music from a Bluetooth source to the WX-030 too (the Rotel has neither of these – I’m pretty sure there’s no Bluetooth on it). MusicCast can send and receive Bluetooth signals to other MusicCast hardware. A MusicCast box can also stream music to another Bluetooth speakers or to Bluetooth headphones. I hope that’s all the variations. Is this Rotel something you can purchase cheaply? What is your budget?
dunnersfella22nd December 2017 at 11:10 pm
Audio information (track file info) has been available for a long time – both on iOS and Android.
To access the option when playing a track, the ‘fader’ icon is to the right of the volume slider.
Press this, at the bottom you’ll find the option to turn on ‘Audio information’.
I’ve used Android 4.4.4 and all variants of MusicCast on iOS since its inception and I don’t remember the app. not offering this feature.
Also, I wouldn’t recommend people use large HDD’s as the power supply of the WXC50 / WXA50 doesn’t send enough juice to the USB port to spin up the drive. If they do want to use a HDD, make sure it’s a powered unit, not a ‘portable’ derivative. USB sticks are more than fine though.
Andy13th February 2018 at 6:19 pm
Hi Paul, really great review. I am a relative newbie to hifi so bear with me. At present I have a Rega Brio 2017, an existing Yamaha WXAD 10 and a Cambridge CXC Cd transport which does not have a DAC built in, my existing DAC has an intermmitant fault. So rather than buying a new DAC my thoughts are to buy the WXC50 preamp then connect the CD with an SPDIF/Toslink optical cable to the WXC50 and utilise the DAC (which I understand is quite decent) within the WXC50, then connect the WXC50 with a pair of interconnects to one set of inputs on the Rega Brio. What should I set the preamp to i.e. player/preamp? Would this degrade the sound from CD player? I would still want to use the WXC50 to stream as normal on the Yamaha Musicast would changing the player/preamp switch mean I would have to change this each time to play CD or use Musicast? I will be moving the existing Yamaha WXAD 10 to a system in a bedroom and why if this does work would make a very worthwhile addition to my setup.
Paul Rigby14th February 2018 at 12:11 pm
Here’s an answer direct from Yamaha, Andy: ““Personally I’d suggest using the WXC50 in player mode, the Rega Brio 2017 has a great pre amp stage built inside, so I’d use this to take care of volume control for both CD & WXC50. I can’t see any reason why the CD Transport would degrade sonically, there will almost certainly be a difference in character between the Sabre DAC built into the WXC50 & the customers previously used DAC, so an audition between the 2 DAC’s would be advised. Worth noting, please run through the 3 levels of Jitter correction, found in the advanced settings of the WXC50 within the MC app to obtain your preferred sound. Ask your dealer if you can arrange a home loan, to be sure.”
Hope this helps.
Andy15th February 2018 at 3:38 pm
Hi Paul thank you for the very quick response I will indeed try it out with both DAC and with the WXC50.as I can use coaxial to DAC and then SPDIF to the WXC50 into different inputs on amplifier and evaluate
Paul Rigby15th February 2018 at 3:54 pm
No problem Andy. Hope everything works out.
Espen Lund20th February 2018 at 12:16 pm
I have had a WXC-50 for close to a year. I have had app issues where I had to reconnect but all in all I’m really happy with it. I use it with a Bose Acoustimass 5 2.1 powered system but have ordered a pair of Klipsch R-28PF.
Paul Rigby20th February 2018 at 1:48 pm
Thanks for your insight, Espen.
Ron23rd February 2018 at 6:23 am
I just got this and it works great. until i tried to use the optical out from my samsung mu8000. it won’t pick up the audio signal at all. help?!
Paul Rigby23rd February 2018 at 12:23 pm
It should work fine, Ron. Which unit do you have, by the way? I featured two. Have you selected the right options on your TV, though? If not, check out the Sound area on the Settings. Check the connections – remove and plug in again too. Another tip is to try another cable or try this cable on another product to see if it works ok. All, silly mistakes can happen, so make sure you’ve selected the right input on the Yamaha plus the volume controls.
Raja1st March 2018 at 3:37 am
hi Paul, thank you for the detailed review! Similar to one of the commenters above, I’m connecting my Imac to this. Did you check if the usb to usb works? I contacted the yamaha support. and they were saying it’s just usb sticks and not meant for Imacs. It’s a bummer that the new Imacs don’t have the optical out inbuilt in the headphone jack as before.
Paul Rigby1st March 2018 at 9:41 am
It’s been a little while now – the review memory is fading fast 🙂 I don’t think I did that, I only used the stick option, but I’d take Yamaha’s advice on this one.
Figo2nd June 2018 at 3:37 am
I’m kind of unhappy with my Yamaha WXC-50 since the higher resolution that it can play through my Macbook Pro via Bluetooth is only 32Bit 44.1Khz!!!
There is no way to get a higher (or lower) resolution and by default this is the Audio Quality that it streams.
You can check this setting going into Applications – Utilities – Audio Midi configuration. You need to have connected the WXC-50 (or WXA-50 through bluetooth) and on Format it will say in my case “44,100Hz Channel 2 of 32 bit floating) if you select other output you have the chance to configure the Quality, but for the Yamaha’s device is grayed out.
Does anybody have experienced the same problem as me? If I can’t stream any higher than 44.1Khz then I just threw my money to the garbage since the main idea was to reproduce DSD files.
Paul Rigby2nd June 2018 at 12:01 pm
Hi Figo – if you’re running Bluetooth then Bluetooth itself is the brake on sound quality. And I would be surprised if you’re truly getting 32bit too. More like 16bit. The best sound quality can be had under wired modes. More than that, the very action of streaming your music will degrade sound quality too. Hence, ‘CD Quality’ Bluetooth, the aptX codec…isn’t really. A wired CD output would sound a lot better, for example.
Chris Hoffman3rd July 2018 at 9:12 am
Hey Paul, great writeup and review!
A quick question, does the WXC-50 output from both Optical and RCA pre-out simultaneously?
Im thinking about having a surround system from Optical out, with additional B&O self-powered speakers from RCA pre-out.
Looking forward to your thoughts
Paul Rigby3rd July 2018 at 11:03 am
Pretty sure that would be an either/or thing, Chris because you’d have to select each source to initiate it. The optical would need to come from the powered speakers I reckon, where the amp is.
Nigel Mayho27th July 2018 at 5:24 am
Thank you for your review.
I have been looking at the Yamaha WXA-50 and it seems to be a very capable unit.
One thing I am concerned about, however, is it’s actual power output capacity.
Certainly all the information seems to suggest that it has a 50w per channel output. Even the Yamaha website states this.
However, I made the point of downloading the operating manual and in looking through that the specification talks about the output being 55w with 2 channels being driven into an 8 ohm load. I’d make the point that it does not report the output as being 55w per channel – only 55w.
This is different to how Yamaha reports the output in the specifications on other amplifiers such as the R-N602 where the output is reported as 80w + 80w making it quite clear that the power output is 80w per channel.
In looking at the actual power consumption that Yamaha report in the specification for the WXA-50 it states it as being 60w.
The laws of physics would suggest that the power output of an amplifier can never be more than the power it consumes. This would therefore suggest that the total power out of the WXA-50 is indeed 55w which would make it notionally a 25w per channel unit and not a 55w per channel unit.
Are you able to find out from Yamaha what the power output really is because if it is actually only a 25w per channel unit I think some of their advertising information and the information given in reviews might be a bit misleading.
Paul Rigby27th July 2018 at 9:32 am
I’ll ask for you Nigel.
Paul Rigby27th July 2018 at 5:07 pm
This from Yamaha, Nigel – “The quoted 60W power consumption in the manual represents 1/8 of the total. This figure changes depending on what volume levels are being used.”
PK2nd October 2018 at 5:03 pm
Paul, thank you for the great review!
Based on it I decided to give WCX-50 a try to replace my old NAD pre-amp (no remote, no Bluetooth, no streaming just very nice sound). Got the Yamaha and hooked them to my Genelec 1030A, started Tidal and… flat sound, no emotions… Hardly bass in direct mode, when playing with different DSP setting (Enhancer, expander etc.) I could get some bass, but I would sound as I would expect from a “Yamaha bass”. I wonder if there is a setting I’m missing (i.e. turning off the sub which might change a cross-over setting) or that WXC-50 is just a not so good match with active monitors…
What do you think?
Thanks in advance
Paul Rigby3rd October 2018 at 11:12 am
Hi PK – let me double check the techie areas with Yamaha (I don’t have the review unit here anymore, you see) and then I’ll lend an opinion after.
Paul Rigby4th October 2018 at 10:30 am
While I’m waiting for Yamaha to get back to me PK, I’ll give you my take which is this. The Yamahas are ideal for the wide array of facilities they offer, value for money and convenience in terms of control options. The NAD is a one trick pony. The trick it offers is top notch, 2-channel sound done well but…that’s it. If all you want is great 2-channel sound and nothing else, I would choose the right tool for the job and look for a dedicated unit with no added fripperies. There more ‘gear’ you stuff into a single chassis, the more noise it generates and the more performance suffers. Also, each component has been featured ‘to a price’ which reduces the component quality, in relative terms, for each individual item. As I say, though, for what it does and the price it does it for, the Yamaha is a cracking buy.
PK10th October 2018 at 10:45 am
Thank you, Paul.
No doubt – the Yamaha is a nice buy. Still, I have the feeling I’m missing something…
Looking forward to the reply from Yamaha!
Paul Rigby10th October 2018 at 11:37 am
And here it is! 🙂
“2 settings that I would try, that I cannot see mentioned below would be:
Within advanced settings –
Ultra Low Jitter PLL (1,2,3) 1 sounds faster/better snap vs 3 sounds warmer.
Speaker Type (Compact, Bookshelf, Floor standing, In-ceiling, In-wall) – Please try Floor standing to open up frequency response.
If after these settings are tried & tested and the result is still not favourable. It may indicate that an analogue design would be preferred by the customer whilst just using the WX-C50 as a player/streamer.”
PK10th October 2018 at 1:56 pm
Great! Paul, thanks!
I will try those. Although, in Direct Mode the Speaker Type does not seem to have any effect.
Anyways, good to know the differences! Thanks again!
Paul Rigby10th October 2018 at 6:27 pm
Not a problem PK 🙂
Homi4th October 2018 at 8:06 am
Great review,I have been using the wxc50 for over a year it’s connected to an Arcam A39 amp and B&W CM 10 S2 question is if I upgrade to a more expensive streamer like the Cambridge audio 851N or the Linn would I get a huge jump in sound quality mainly use Spotify premier and vtuner
Paul Rigby4th October 2018 at 10:37 am
I would argue that your hi-fi is unbalanced. It’s back to front. The speakers are the most expensive equipment in your chain, then the amp and then the source, it should be the opposite. The amp and speakers deserve a better source and the source is everything in a hi-fi. If you lose information here, you’ll never get it back, no matter the quality of the amp/speakers. I would upgrade to a better source, yes, and you will notice an improvement in sound. If you can, I’d keep the Yamaha and connect it to a second system utilising lower cost components. Give me a shout if you need guidance on that.
Homi5th October 2018 at 7:30 am
Thanks Paul much appreciated just a couple more questions. Can you suggest a couple more streamers with Builtin DAC. In the range of Cambridge audio 851N.
I also have an old IRDAC can I use the optical output of the wxc50 to connect the irdac will it by-pass the dac on the wxc50 and do you see any benefit in doing that?
Paul Rigby5th October 2018 at 10:03 am
Hi Homi – if you can save up a bit more then the Moon Neo Mind is very nice. It has no DAC but that’s a ‘good thing’. Separating a DAC from the main chassis reduces noise and improves sonics (which also answers your other point). There’s an optical port in the Moon to connect your Arcam.
Don’t see a problem connecting the Arcam to the Yamaha – you just need to select it via the source button.
Homi5th October 2018 at 1:02 pm
Hi Paul for a bit more I can get a MOON Neo 280D Streaming DSD DAC
MOON Neo DAC with in-built MiND streamer is that a better option? But I have a feeling it does not support Spotify can you please find out for me thanks for your help
Paul Rigby5th October 2018 at 1:45 pm
The 280 doesn’t have Spotify built in but you can stream Spotify to it via a tablet/laptop/etc, for example. The Mind features built-in Tidal, Deezer, Qobuz & TuneIn.
Homi15th October 2018 at 2:07 am
I borrowed the chord Qutest for a home demo and unfortunately was struggling to find any difference in sound. I first tried it through wxc50 and than tried it through my Arcam cd37 . When I took it back they recon it could be my Arcam A39
amplifier not sensitive enough to pick up the difference. Your thoughts please, should I be looking for change in amplifier or get a all in one like the Naim to drive the B&Ws
Paul Rigby15th October 2018 at 9:18 am
Hi Homi – I’m not privy to all of the variables of your hifi so cannot offer a definitive guide but, in general terms, your dealer could be right. It’s often the case when upgrading that a top quality piece of kit will highlight the bottlenecks in the rest of your system. This has happened to me many times. That said, it’s always best to begin any upgrade sequence with the source so, in digital terms, you’re on the right path. After the source (your DAC) would be the amplifier. The A39 is a big and bold amp and lots of fun but it’s not the most incisive in terms of detail and this is what you might possibly be experiencing. IF you wish to upgrade then give me a budget figure and I’ll provide a few suggestions.
Homi15th October 2018 at 11:01 pm
You might not be aware but I am based in New Zealand and our choice for brand might be a bit restricted I guess my budget would be roughly £2500 your suggestions would be highly appreciated.
I have just discovered your website and really enjoying your past and present reviews
Paul Rigby16th October 2018 at 11:39 am
Hi Homi – thanks for your kind words and no, I wasn’t aware that you were based in New Zealand but I hope that you can access this hardware. An ideal amplifier for that budget would be a Parasound Halo: https://theaudiophileman.com/halo/ which offers a great blend of sound quality and features.
Homi18th October 2018 at 6:43 am
Though I like the Paramount I cant find a nz dealer the closest is in Australia any other suggestions would be highly appreciated
Paul Rigby18th October 2018 at 10:45 am
The Roksan Blak is nice as is the Moon 240i and the Leema Elements pre/power boxes.
Homi27th October 2018 at 6:09 am
Hi Paul, sorry can’t find a Roksan Blak they have a K3 no Leema as well.
I have narrowed it down to Mcintosh MA5200 (all i can afford) or a Music Fidelity M6si or a Moon 240I as suggested by you.(there is also a Anthem STR on sale)
As always look forward to your advise which one ? unfortunately I can’t test them or hear them
Paul Rigby27th October 2018 at 10:32 am
Close call, Homi. I’d go for the MA5200 but the Moon is a close second.
Vitalijus21st October 2018 at 3:03 pm
I have Dali Helicon 800 and Vincent SV238MK. I need good dac. Yamaha WXC-50 or Cambridge Audio DacMagic Plus will be better for me? Cambridge CXN V2 have same dac. I wan’t to spend more 1000 eu. I can use Tidal or dlna with my Samsung qe65q7fn.
Paul Rigby21st October 2018 at 4:54 pm
Hi Vitalijus – thanks for your question. Considering the hi-fi chain you have then I actually would recommend a higher spec DAC than any of the above. If you’re limited by budget, though then the CXN V2 would be my choice.
Homi13th November 2018 at 6:15 am
I have come back to pick your brains.I auditioned the MA7900 connected to the Focal Aria 926 +Neo Mind+Hugo2
Than I heard the Neo Moon 240i with the same setup in both the systems I was missing the wow factor.
Next I went to another shop and heard the Prima Luna HP played through Monitor audio gold + Bluesound Dac
also in the same shop swapped the Prima Luna with a Rega Elicit -R the sound was good.
Next I went to another shop and heard the Naim Nova connected to the Focal Kanta No 2 and I was blown away.
The question is it the speakers, or the amp which made the difference? As always look forward to your advice and recommendation. Regards Homi
Paul Rigby13th November 2018 at 11:21 am
Hi Homi – blimey, lots of confusion there 🙂
Ideally, you should maintain a level playing field. That is, if you’re looking to buy an amp, for example, then keep everything else the same and only demo a range of amps at a similar price point. Otherwise you’re confused as to what is actually making the sonic difference.
If you change every hi-fi component all of the time then, as you say, you’re never sure what box is having the right or wrong effect. I would only pay money in this situation if you’re absolutely sure and confidant in your choice.
More than that, there’s the shop itself with can also have an effect. Move from shop to shop and you’re changing an important part of the sound, the room itself.
I would select a favourite dealer with a good listening room, stick with that outfit’s stock of hifi, have them build a review system and swop in/out only one genre/type of component at a time during your listening, make a decision on that but take your time doing it and use music that you’re familiar with – bring your own.
Vitalijus21st October 2018 at 5:03 pm
Pioneer N-50AE/70AE, Oppo Sonica DAC, Marantz NA8005, Cambridge CXN V2, with one better? Maybe u know much better DAC?
Paul Rigby21st October 2018 at 5:19 pm
I would still go for the Cambridge, Vitalijus.
Cristian18th November 2018 at 4:36 pm
Hello Paul. I have Unison Research SR1 , Focal Aria 906 and Yamaha wxc 50 streamer. I use Tidal Hi Res. I’m looking for a new better dac -streamer, what do you recommend me to use in my sistem chain, to be balanced ? Or should i keep my wxc 50 as dac streamer ? Thx
Paul Rigby19th November 2018 at 10:36 am
Thanks for your question, Cristian – what’s your budget?
Mark19th November 2018 at 6:43 am
I have a Marantz TT42P (preamp) which I plan to pair to a set of B&O BeoLab17s through the WCX50. Is there capacity for me to earth the turntable to this amp?
Paul Rigby19th November 2018 at 10:35 am
Hi Mark – I’m fairly sure that the Marantz is internally earthed, as most decks with built-in phono ams are, so that shouldn’t be an issue with that model.
Cristian19th November 2018 at 3:33 pm
1000 EUR aprox. Maybe i can find sometingh Sh
Paul Rigby19th November 2018 at 5:15 pm
€1,000 is an odd price point, there’s a cluster of €500 and €1,500 units but not too many around the €1,000 mark. There’s a couple of interesting product, though. This one from Elac for instance: https://www.elac.com/product/elac-discovery-music-server/
…or this one from Cambridge: https://www.cambridgeaudio.com/gbr/en/products/cx/cxn-v2
Cristian19th November 2018 at 5:58 pm
Or a simple dac în combination with yamaha as a player
Paul Rigby20th November 2018 at 9:51 am
Forgot to mention this as an alternative all-in-one option: https://theaudiophileman.com/hd-black-music-centre-elipson-review/
Apart from that there’s there Cambridge Azur 851N, Moon Neo MiND (a bit over your budget), Cyrus Streamer while the Opera Consonance Reference DSD1.1 DAC features Bluetooth.
Paul Robinson1st January 2019 at 5:31 pm
im thinking of getting the Yamaha wxa 50 to replace my Linn intek amplifier which has an intermittent fault.
I did initially want the Onkyo TX 8250 but the size is putting me off a little (149mm in Depth).
So will the small Yamaha fulfil my needs to power the Linn CD (IKEMI) with Linn speakers.
Paul Rigby1st January 2019 at 7:15 pm
May I ask, Paul – what’s your budget on this purchase? Is there an upper limit? What’s your priorities? Sound quality? Particular features or facilities?
Paul Robinson2nd January 2019 at 4:35 pm
Hi budget is around £300-400 , priority is sound quality, I was initially just going to get an amp but thought the amp/receiver option might be better.
Paul Rigby3rd January 2019 at 12:06 pm
Hi Paul – one general point to remember is this: the more ‘stuff’ you cram into a single chassis (as receivers tend to do), the lower the general sound quality. One set of electronics tends to infect an adjacent set, swamping it in sound veiling noise to lower sonic quality. Hence, paring down to a 2-channel amp will always sound better. This is a nice model (just using the retailer as a reference, I’m not necessarily recommending it): https://www.analogueseduction.net/mitchell-johnson-integrated-amplifiers/mitchell-johnson-sap201v-stereo-digital-amplifier.html
Paul Robinson3rd January 2019 at 9:37 pm
Thanks for the replies, I think I’ll be getting the Yamaha at the weekend.
Paul Rigby4th January 2019 at 8:43 am
No problem, Paul – I hope you enjoy it.
cybernaut9th January 2019 at 5:20 pm
Your review made me think about getting this pre amp when I was in search of a DAC just with an optical input to get the tv in mainly for youtube and Netflix.
BT and streamer options were spot on as well.
So a whole new world of music opened.
until that time my set up included a
Rotel RC 995 as the center of
Thorens TD 160 , pc, deck , marantz 63 kiss etch. Now i have no use for the rotel which was used mainly for the phono stage and the remote..
My wxc 50 works good all around but
my loaded pc acting as a server causes the music cast app to freeze, has never read all my music folders , only way to play music is to actually open browser and navigate from there. It is not a USB DAC , you cannot connect trough wire but that is ok since you supposedly play all your files trough the network.. but my Yamaha does not read the flac files, says not supported for queuing or playing,
This has become very frustrating, 90% of my 6TB collection is in flac form.. i am thinking about getting a NAS to address this problem but I am not sure if this will solve anything. .
Also what do I need to setup a second zone ?
I mean with amp and speakers already in place ( the bedroom,) some music cast device, but not a wireless speaker..
Thanks for the update,
Cheers from Greece,
Paul Rigby9th January 2019 at 6:35 pm
Hi Akis – let me ask Yamaha about this one. Be back ASAP.
Paul Rigby10th January 2019 at 11:10 am
This from Yamaha, Akis, “MusicCast should have no problem playing FLAC files, do we know what server program is being used on the PC? In a second room if an amp & speakers are already present, you could look at either the WXAD-10 or WXC-50 to act as the MusicCast source/control.”
cybernaut10th January 2019 at 3:30 pm
Hey, thanks for the answer !
Windows Media player 12 acts as a library.
That should be enough, right ?
I can play all the files natively on the PC..
Also, some things like dimmer and the jitter cannot be adjusted, stays always on level 1.
I tried to uninstall the app with no luck.
Flac files are not supported 😕
Do you know If this problem is solved
with a NAS ?
And WXAD-10 it is then !
Paul Rigby11th January 2019 at 11:10 am
A quick addition from Yamaha for you, “Windows Media player 12 should work. Does copying a FLAC file onto USB stick, then playing from the USB input on the WXC-50 work? What input is being used when Dimmer & Jitter not selectable? Can we check the product is running ver. 2.60 firmware.
NAS drives are of course another option, however without knowing the cause, I cannot confirm it will solve this.”
cybernaut12th January 2019 at 12:05 pm
The flac files have no problem being played on the USB. That’s a start 🙂 And excellent sound indeed. Firmware version up to date . So it’s a software thing most probably on the PC, how can this be fixed? All codes have been downloaded. The library showing in the app is not even a third of what is inside.
Also, same thing happens if I try to access the Ubuntu laptop on mini DLNA. Shows the first folder in the app but absolutely no music after that..
Thank you Paul,
Paul Rigby16th January 2019 at 11:44 am
Final comments from Yamaha, I reckon. Hope this helps, “I’m not sure where we can go from here, clearly something is not right. I too expect it to be settings on the computer. This unfortunately is difficult to support over email, as you can imagine. The guys in AV Tech support agreed that using a NAS drive is a better more reliable solution in sharing & broadcasting music. However we cannot guarantee it will fix the problems this customer is having.”
Samu22nd January 2019 at 11:17 pm
I am planning to get a network player to stream and play from a NAS, with a possible extension to other rooms. The amp is a Marantz PM6006. The Yamaha WXC-50 seems a very attractive option, although I probably wouldn’t make much use of its preamp features. I was wondering if the smaller WXAD-10 streamer is too much of a downgrade in sound quality? Do you know how the two compare? Should I still go for the WCX-50? Or maybe can you suggest an alternative? I was also looking at the Arcam rPlay, although the PlayFI app seems less user friendly than the MusicCast platform. Budgetwise, I’d stay in this range.
Thanks for any comments or suggestions you might have.
Paul Rigby23rd January 2019 at 1:25 pm
If streaming is the priority, Samu, then I would buy a specialist box like the rPlay which will offer high quality sound output alongside your Marantz.
Samu23rd January 2019 at 5:04 pm
Thank you for the advice, I’ll check the rPlay then!
Neil18th February 2019 at 9:12 am
Hi Paul ,
Trying to simplify (& minimise footprint in a cupboard) my hifi while moving away from a home cinema setup…. Would the WXC-50 be a good pairing with a compact power amp (like the Edge A2 you reviewed) to drive a pair of MA silver floorstanders? I will also be feeding in audio from my beloved old Thorens TD150 via a phono pre-amp and like the idea of streaming this to my dining room as well! Worried the R-n602 or the WXA-50 may be a bit budget / not good enough sound???
Paul Rigby18th February 2019 at 10:30 am
You don’t mention that all important word ‘cash’ so I’m not sure if you’re looking for a low cost work-around or whether you have a budget to utilise here Neil. The Yamaha is a great way to pack in lots of features but I wouldn’t use it as a specialist pre-amp to drive something of the quality of an Edge power amp. I’d go for something a mite more specialist for that area. Do you have a budget figure at all? Again, if sonics are a priority, I would buy a specialist streamer box and then plug that into a pre-amp.
Neil18th February 2019 at 2:23 pm
Very good point – i would prefer to save up over time (and continue to use my existing Yamaha Aventage Amp + chromecast audio for a while) if it meant better sound in the long-run. I would be aiming to spend absolute max £1000 for amp + streamer. Anything below this I would invest in an upgraded cart for my thorens 🙂
Convenience is a big decider – I was thinking of using the WXC-50 + auto-on power amp / 12v trigger to do everything from my phone, as well as add in an additional WXA-50 to power some smaller speakers in another room, hence the drift towards the musicast ecosystem….I tend to listen to vinyl / spotify roughly 50/50.
Paul Rigby18th February 2019 at 2:54 pm
Hi Neil – yep, if a convenience/lifestyle thing is what you’re after then go for the Yamaha. The company also has plenty of other components that you can also buy that will plug into the system as a whole.
If sound quality is a priority, then a separate pre-amp of more audiophile nature plus a separate streamer is more what you’re looking for. The streamer? An Arcam rPlay is good at around £300. As for pre-amps for the remaining £700? Here’s a few ideas (I’m not necessarily recommending the retailers, I’m using the links as a handy reference)
Calvin16th March 2019 at 10:25 am
Hi Paul, thanks for your review! Could you please help me with this question: Can I use the WXC-50 to output to multiple systems. My use case is the following: I have 3 sources coming into to my pre-amp (TV, Network, AUX), and I’d like to be able to output to my active speakers (Nubert Nupro 500) via optical AND to my headphone-amp (Shiit Magni 2) via RCA. Basically, if blasting music via speakers is no option (late night etc) I want to switch to my headphones on my Shiit.
Can the WXC-50 deliver? I know it has several output options. But can I manage what output it activates, or all all outputs activated simultaneously? Thanks so much! Cheers, C
Paul Rigby16th March 2019 at 3:21 pm
Thanks for the question, Calvin – so what’s your set-up, you have the Yamaha, Schiit and speakers. Anything else?
Paul Rigby19th March 2019 at 11:16 am
In the meantime, Yamaha also added this for you, “…the WXC-50 can output to multiple systems via Aux out, Preout (fixed or variable), digital coax (fixed or variable), optical (fixed or variable) & like you have pointed out Bluetooth transmission. There is no way of managing the outputs, they are all active simultaneously. With the exception of Bluetooth transmission which is switched on / off.”
Biswajit Ghosh28th April 2019 at 6:16 am
I am from India. I own an audiophile grade Apart Champ 3D Amplifier with 4 Apart Champ6 speakers and Apart Sub2400.
The amplifier has only XLR input. I would like to use this system for music listening needs but want a music streaming player like WXC-50. I would like to play music over wifi and possibly also wired through LAN . cabling (may need to put in a NAS or Laptop to store the music)My knowledge about music systems and their connectivity is very limited though I enjoy listening to music. Will this configuration work? Would you have a better suggestion for me. You help would be highly appreciated.
Paul Rigby28th April 2019 at 10:53 am
Thanks for your question, Biswajit – do you have a budget that I can work with?
John2nd June 2019 at 10:25 pm
Hi Paul. This is a busy thread.
Anyway here’s my question. Do you think the WXC-50 would be a good enough pre amp to run the AE1 actives?
Paul Rigby3rd June 2019 at 9:43 am
Depends on your budget, John. If you can, I’d go for something better but, if cash is an issue then of course…
John3rd June 2019 at 12:10 pm
Thanks for that Paul. What do you think would be the next step up from the Yamaha? Can’t really afford much more than the original price of the Yamaha maybe £500 ish
For pre and dac plus streamer. Suppose maybe used would be a route?
Paul Rigby5th June 2019 at 10:13 am
Hi John – the Audiolab 6000A is nice, an integrated with a digital section within at £599. Mitchell & Johnson, built/designed in the UK, offer great value for money at £349: https://theaudiophileman.com/sap-201v-amplifier-review-mitchell/
Similarly, the Cambridge Audio CXA60 is excellent. I think Richer Sounds sell it for £549.
None of these have a built-in streamer but when you start moving up the audiophile ladder and, as you put it, going onwards to the “next step”, you really want to separate the streamer from the amp to reduce the veiling noise that the streamer module sends over to the amp section.
What you can do is add an Arcam rBlink to the above for around £140 which will give them all Bluetooth for streaming capabilities.
The other option is to carry on in the lifetyle-esque direction and look at Yamaha, Denon, etc.
Flix9th December 2019 at 8:24 am
Hi paul can you please tell me which jitter mode would be recomended?
jon29th June 2019 at 12:50 pm
Yo Paul, thanks for the review.
I’m pretty out of touch on gear nowadays, and I’m really happy with my current setup (old marantz cd, yamaha receiver, project vinyl, decent speakers). I’m hoping to get a solution for my digital music, hence why I’m reading up on this item.
Maybe I shouldn’t, but I’m trying to simply things here: I don’t currently have a TV, but when I do, would it be too much going on if I were to setup a NAS style system (either direct USB ext drive to the WXC/A or via wifi), and get a television to send it’s audio to the WXC/A to come through my receiver? Have you done this; is there a lag in the audio/video?
Hope this all makes sense.
Thanks for your response
Paul Rigby30th June 2019 at 12:20 pm
Hi Jon, thanks for your question. That should be fine. So, you should not have an issue, I reckon. Also, don’t forget to scan the other comments here for other Yamaha queries you may have in the future. Chances are that someone else has asked the same question 🙂
Andrew Obek7th July 2019 at 4:02 pm
I’m interested in the Yamaha Pre-Amplifier WXC50.
Question. Before I proceed to purchase it, can it be connected to an amplifier (Densen DM-10) via an interconnect cable. If yes, what will be the sound quality ?
Appreciate your input.
Paul Rigby8th July 2019 at 10:12 am
Hi Andrew – hmmm, I’m a bit confused as to why you’d want to pair the two together. They are a bit chalk and cheese, to be honest. Can you explain further? What are your aims? What is it that you’re looking to do here?
Luiz1st August 2019 at 5:18 am
If I want to plug a non-preamp turntable in a WXA-50, will it work?
I read in Yamaha website “Access streaming music and Internet radio stations, music files on your mobile devices and computers, Bluetooth sources and external sources such as a TV, Blu-ray Disc™ player or even a turntable.”, but there is no phono input in the device.
Other question that is not clear to me: does WXA-50 work as a DAC? If I cast mp3 files, will the unit improve the quality of the sound?
Paul Rigby1st August 2019 at 11:03 am
Hi Luiz – I wonder if they’re referring to those turntables with a phono amp built into the turntable itself? Otherwise yes, you’d need an external phono amp for this. Re. the DAC? Yes, via that optical or USB port. Don’t forget that MP3 files are one of the the lowest quality files you can get so sound quality can be improved both in the resolution of the MP3 file itself and if you switch to a better quality digital file type. Also the basic notion of streaming as a delivery system will hamper sound quality. A wired connection would be superior. Even so, streaming MP3 should be acceptable via this unit.
Luiz1st August 2019 at 11:00 pm
Hi Paul, thanks for the reply and the attention. My WXA-50 unit will arrive within the next days!
If I correctly undestood about the DAC feature, if I plug a pen drive with MP3 files in the USB port, I will experiment an improvement in quality. However, if I stream the same MP3 files from a Plex server via wi-fi network, they will not be improved.
Paul Rigby2nd August 2019 at 9:42 am
Hi Luiz – streaming is a great tool in terms of convenience but it’s not so great in terms of sheer sound quality. It’s ok, it’s fine – but you can do better. A USB stick will be an enhancement yes.
Chris Moffatt6th September 2019 at 1:22 am
Hi Paul. I have been left with a set of powered BOSE speakers after the BOSE amp packed up (it was 22 years old). Anyway could I use the Yamaha WXC50 pre-amp to use as a receiver and power source for my turntable. Again the BOSE speakers are powered. I want to listen to streamed radio and records, possibly attach a tape recorder for old times sake. Thank you Chris
Paul Rigby6th September 2019 at 10:02 am
Hi Chris – thanks for your questions. You will need to grab a separate phono amplifier which would sit in between your turntable and the Yamaha. A Pro-Ject Phono Box MM (£65 – from Amazon) would do the job depending on the sort of cartridge you’re using but I’m guessing it’s a moving magnet type.
The Yamaha wouldn’t power your turntable. You should already have a dedicated power source with your turntable.
If you have powered speakers then you don’t need an amplifier because the Bose speakers will already have one built inside the chassis. What type of Bose speakers do you have? If you’re not sure, please send an image or two and I’ll try and provide further advice.
Nagib4th December 2019 at 2:07 am
Great review and thank you for all your time in advance. I currently have a Moon audio 340i ( decent DAC inside) connected to two Adams Tensor Delta speakers by audioquest Gibraltar cables. I currently have a Macbook pro notebook connected to the amp with a HiFace M2Tech digital audio interface and a good cinema quest cable. I mostly have been streaming Spotify from the laptop but occasionally play some high res files downloaded onto it. My question to you is would I get better sound if I bought the Yamaha Wxc 50 and scrapped the computer /hiFace ? If so then how would i connect the WXC (put in player mode?). Or should I look at other streaming DACs and if so which ones would you recommend to match the quality of my set up and can stream Spotify and Tidal
Paul Rigby4th December 2019 at 9:17 am
Hi Nagib – thanks for your question. The Yamaha is ideal for those looking for Internet streaming plus other hi-fi facilities while on a budget but, judging by the rest of your system (correct me if I’m wrong) your budget might perhaps be able to push for a separate streamer? Separating the streamer from the amplifier will enhance sound quality. I’ll be publishing a streamer review very soon so I’d recommend looking at that one first in relation to your budget.
nagib chalfoun5th December 2019 at 3:18 am
Thank you Paul for such a quick reply. I would be willing to go for a hifi streamer if the sound quality is that much better. If I go down that route would you use the DAC on the MOON alone or both DACs on the streamer and the MOON ? Does the Yamaha downgrade sound quality if it is wired through Ethernet and connected with a good coax cable to the MOON ? Will it output hi res ? Would you use it in “player” mode ? Thanks Paul.
Paul Rigby5th December 2019 at 2:12 pm
Hi Nagib – the Yamaha is great for those on a budget looking for lots of digital and Internet-related features. The Yamaha does a great job for the price. You can ultimately do better, though, if you spend more. But that’s no surprise, of course. Can I ask you to hang tight for a bit, I’ll be publishing a review of a streamer soon. That will offer more info for you. Also, a separate DAC is preferred but the Moon does give you an excellent example for a built-in model
Felix9th December 2019 at 12:33 pm
Hi canyou tell me which low jitter mode you can recommend?
Paul Rigby9th December 2019 at 2:37 pm
Hi Felix – Yamaha say that, “When the level is set high, the jitter removal is more effective, but the sound is likely to cut out.” Set it as high as you can, as long as everything works normally.
Felix9th December 2019 at 9:04 pm
Thank you paul i bin using 3 but since i got a oled i exoerience cut outs. 3 sounds alot richer in sound to me the 2 or 3. But i guess i have no choice. And change the jitter mode for music streams back to 3.
Felix9th December 2019 at 9:13 pm
Another question is if i should enable enhancer and set the equaliser to auto for sport and movies. So darbi have it on bypass and direct sound. Any ideas?
Felix9th December 2019 at 9:16 pm
I have a yamaha cx2 preamp in direct mode and mx2 power amp connected to it with bw dm6 speakers and an lg c9 oled
Paul Rigby10th December 2019 at 12:03 pm
I would try it and listen Felix – direct sound is great because you bypass a lot of electronics which purifies the signal and improves sonics. Nevertheless, do a listening session of your own and see which mode you prefer.
Darren28th March 2020 at 12:43 pm
Hi, I was wondering if the Yamaha WXC-50 would work well with a Crown XLS 2502 power amplifier ?
I would use this combination to power a pair of Jamo Pro 400ex speakers.
Paul Rigby29th March 2020 at 10:35 am
Hi Darren – it should work although I’ve never tested it but I do wonder about the pairing. Do you already have this unit or are you looking to buy? If the latter, then the money could be better invested in improved hardware.
Jan30th March 2020 at 9:21 pm
I currently own a wxa 50 and a pair of Q Acoustics 3020s but the sound isn’t quite satisfying to me. I wish the treble would be a bit clearer, right now it sounds a little restrained, as the vocals do too.
Can you recommend any particular speakers for max. 300€ per pair?
Thanks in advance!
Paul Rigby31st March 2020 at 12:01 pm
Hi Jan – I would suggest that the issue is not with the speakers but the Yamaha. You can tweak it be adding improved cabling, isolation feet and quality shelving. That should clear the sound a bit but a proper ‘fix’ will be an upgrade methinks.
Jan31st March 2020 at 12:26 pm
Hm, I just got the unit from my local dealer and could give it back and look for something else.
I also read your review for the R-N602 but you said it´s not that nice for digital input. I mostly use spotify and really like the Musiccast system. My limit is 600 €.
Do you have any suggestions?
Paul Rigby31st March 2020 at 1:29 pm
The Yamaha is ideal for people whose priorities is not purely sound but for those who want a blend of digital facilities, Internet services, price and sound. It’s a great value box for all of those. It sounds to me that sound is a priority so I would look elsewhere. Can you list your entire hi-fi chain, what music you like, if sound is indeed your priority and I’ll have a think.
Jan31st March 2020 at 2:10 pm
I only have the speakers and the amp. And thats what Im looking for. A simple solution which can play music wirelessly, can connect to a TV or a Bluray player via optical or hdmi input and can be controlled completely from my smartphone.
So basically the Yamaha does what I want + it can play Spotify gapless. The NAD Amp 1 for example couldnt do that when I tested it.
Is sound quality my priority? If the amp has the featrures I mentioned, then yes. Id say its a tie between ease of use and sound quality.
I mainly listen to pop, alternaive rock, funk and sometimes electronic music.
Basically Im looking for an alternative which does the same things but sounds better than the WXA-50.
Thank you very much for your advice!
Paul Rigby31st March 2020 at 5:09 pm
Hi Jan – ok, so you’re looking at a range of Internet services and digital services. At this budget, to access those features, you will be looking at a sonic compromise but, if you choose carefully, you can maximise what you have. I would suggest looking towards Onkyo on this one. Onkyo has always had decent amplifier modules within their AV equipment. Have a look online, Amazon perhaps at something like a Onkyo TX-NR696 or similar. This is a value for money product that offer a host of services but should improve sound quality.
Don’t ignore basic accessories here, though. Good cabling, isolation feet, shelving, etc will enhance sound quality and often remove midrange edge and treble ‘tizz’. By all means scour my Accessories reviews and give me a shout if you need further help on this.
Jan4th November 2020 at 10:46 pm
some time has passed and I am still thinking about an upgrade.
I thought about buying a used amp (e.g. Marantz 6006 or Yamaha AS-501) and adding something like the Yamaha WXAD-10 or the Allo Boss Player. Do you think that would be a step up in terms of sound quality? Spotify is still my main source and I want to connect my TV to the amp.
Paul Rigby5th November 2020 at 9:25 am
Hi Jan – sorry, I’m lost 🙂 Do you mean is that list you gave me a step up from the WXC/WXA-50 or are you asking is the latter a step up from the list you gave me?
Jan5th November 2020 at 9:30 am
I want to know if the used amp plus external streamer will be better than my wxa 50 🙂
Paul Rigby5th November 2020 at 12:28 pm
Gotcha – and yes.
Jan5th November 2020 at 2:09 pm
Ok, can you recommend any particular amps with digital inputs? My budget is 400 € for a used unit.
Thank you for your advice!
Paul Rigby6th November 2020 at 5:35 pm
Hi Jan – the SA3 might be worth a look https://theaudiophileman.com/sa3-integrated-amplifier-review-iotavx/
Marco10th April 2020 at 2:10 pm
Hi Paul… I yust buy the WXC-50 PRE DAC second hand and I’d like to make you a question because I don’t know exactly how a DSP system works. I understand the DSP change many things on the digital signal but my question is… If i don’t need special effects or equalizer instruments,it’s recommendable to bypass the control or mantein always on? For ex,if I listen a flac file or a SA CD quality,the DSP it’s still necessary or it’s better to insert it just in case I am listening liquid music from sopotify or deezer where the quality it’s not so perfect and maybe a dsp process can help in some algorithmic? Thank you very much!
Paul Rigby11th April 2020 at 12:12 pm
My best advice for EQs and the like is to try it yourself and be guided by your own ears, Marco. Listen for a while with EQs ‘on’ then turn them ‘off’ and see what you think.
Roger2nd May 2020 at 9:02 am
I discovered your review recently and bravo these are great. Just bought a Yamaha wxc 50 to listen to tidal FLAC music and internet radios. It is connected on my Cambridge CXA 60 via the rca outpout in preamp mode and the amp is playing on B&W 606. Sound great. Best combination so far little better to my taste via the rca than via the optical outpout of the Yamaha. Still I have a question. The Cambridge does not have a pre-in rca so the Yamaha is connected to one of the analogic entry on the amp. Which preamp is used ? The Cambridge one or the Yamaha one ?
Thanks for the answer and take care !
Paul Rigby4th May 2020 at 11:20 am
Hi Roger, if you have an amp and then you plug something into the pre-amp sockets of that same amp, the bit that runs from that? You’re basically using that box’s power amp. If you’re using the Yamaha as a streamer, you just need to plug that into the Cambridge’s inputs. The pre-amp is only of use if you buy a cracking, specialist power amp. Then you plug that into the other box’s pre-amp sockets to take advantage of that superior power amp. As it is, the Cambridge should offer you everything you need in amp terms.
Roger4th May 2020 at 3:13 pm
There are no pre in sockets on the CAMBRIDGE-CXA60 so it is plugged on the CD socket but the Yamaha is set as preamp so I can control the volume through the application. It is working fine like this but my guess is that the Cambridge preamp is in use then ?
Paul Rigby4th May 2020 at 6:42 pm
Hi Roger – plugging the Yamaha into A2-A4 in the Cambridge will be fine from the Yamaha’s Aux out sockets or from coax out on the Yamaha to coax in on the Cambridge. Volume is looked after by the Cambridge and any app you may be using. The streaming, etc, is handled by the Yamaha.
Oleg18th May 2020 at 5:52 pm
Played with jitter levels setting …
It do the job even if you listen to from usb flash connected directly to Yamaha.
So no any slow intrrnet connection between …
My impression what it really do, it works like DSP processing. It make low level signal louder. So, my results. Level 3 to avoid !!! The scene become compketly flat. I listen to Dire Straits and I see that the voice become big and fat and loose his place on the scene.
Breefly, the level 1 is the only that I would recommend to use.
Also, I ask me the question how does this jitter removing process will collaborate with the same process existing in my DAC (?) I connected yamaha only as the player because of internet services and usb flash possibility.
Have a nice day
Paul Rigby19th May 2020 at 11:06 am
Thanks for that, Oleg – let us know how you get on with your further DAC tests.
Felix24th May 2020 at 10:05 am
Hey oleg thats interesting so far i only heard everyone including yamaha on using level 3 as beeing the best option. Have you done more testing with other recordings?
Chris C6th June 2020 at 9:56 am
Hi Paul, great review I’m looking to replace/ upgrade my old Denon D F102, or possibly just add a WiFi streamer. As a replacements I’ve been looking at the Yamaha N670D, or the Denon CEOL N10, or Denon DRA 100, which would be your favourite, of the 3?
If I was to just add a streamer, in pure audio streaming quality is there any difference between the Yamaha WXC 50 and the WXAD10? The WXAD10 seems like an affordable add on to my
current old, but very likeable set up (any other suggestions at this price range?), assume any more money would be better spent on a completely new set up as mentioned above?
Paul Rigby8th June 2020 at 11:28 am
Hi Chris – of the three? The Yamaha. Also, adding a separate streamer is a ‘good thing’ because it separate the components and lowers high frequency noise.
Chris C8th June 2020 at 1:46 pm
Hi Paul, thanks lots for getting back to me. Just to clarify the three were the Yamaha N670D v Denon CEOL N10 v Denon DRA 100. Do you think there’s any better option under the £800 price point?
With regards to the Yamaha N670D, the system includes an amp unit and a CD/ streaming unit, are you saying that the already included cd/ streamer is good because it’s a separate unit, or are you suggesting adding an additional completely independent streamer?
Thanks again C
Paul Rigby8th June 2020 at 3:31 pm
Hi Chris – of the three you listed, I’d choose the Yamaha in its overall performance terms. As a separate question, yes, I’d always go with a separate streamer, if you can. Again, as a separate question, can you purchase better quality for £800? Yes. I’d look at a Bluesound 2i and a Cambridge AXA35. You’ll need to add to your budget for good quality cabling.
Chris C8th June 2020 at 5:04 pm
Thanks a lot Paul.
One final question, if I go for a more budget solution, is there a notable audio quality difference in the streaming capabilities of the Yamaha WXAD 10 and Yamaha WXC 50?
Paul Rigby8th June 2020 at 5:26 pm
I haven’t done a formal test of this unit Chris so I don’t know, is the short answer. I have heard it in a less than useful environment (shows, etc) so take my comments with a pinch of salt but even there I would say that it offered lower noise because it was isolated from other components. There are better streamers, yes, but for a low cost unit, it does a decent job.
Minica Belemet2nd December 2020 at 11:26 pm
Just spend the last hour going through all your comments regarding Wxc50. Very impressed with your knowledge and dedication.
Now, if you could help with any advise would be appreciated.
I have a Yamaha RX -V777 receiver, a BK P12-300sb subwoofer, Polk RtiA7 speakers, Cambridge Audio pre amp for the AudioTechnica 120 player and Sonos Connect for Spotify.
Would like to replace the Sonos and the receiver with the little Wxc50 and a Musical Fidelity A308 power amp (250w per channel 8ohms).
Is this a good move or should I try separate preamp and streamer?
I do like the fact that Wxc50 covers all my needs (streamer, DAC, subout, pre amp to the MF), but I got the feeling that you would suggest something else. I am not a scott, but would prefer to keep the spending low and wouldn’t mind going for second hand (some older preamp) with a good streamer that can put together all components of my system.
You might wonder why the need for such an amp ? Answer: very big room to fill and got it for a good price.
Any advise on streamer/preamp combination please?
Paul Rigby5th December 2020 at 1:49 pm
Hi Minica – in sound terms a separate and dedicated pre-mp will enhance sound quality, as will separating the streamer. Something like a Bluesound 2i would be ideal, for example. A dedicated preamp would be better too if you’re looking to grab a powerful power amp. That would depend on budget but Schiit sell some good quality, value for money pre-amp units.
Minica Belemet5th December 2020 at 10:16 pm
Thank you Paul.
Picking up the power amp tomorrow. Will it work to get a Bluesound 2i as a source into the Shiit Freya preamp (and connect my subwoofer from Bluesound 2i subwoofer out) and from Freya into the Musical Fidelity A308 power amp?
Or should I keep it simple, get the Bluesound, plug it into the power amp and see (hear) how it goes?
Paul Rigby7th December 2020 at 11:36 am
Hi Minica – I’m not a fan of subs in a stereo set up. AV set ups? Sure. But not stereo. They tend to change the tonal balance and realism. Designers of stereo speakers spend a lot of time getting the sound right. A sub will change that presentation instantly. If your speakers are not doing the job properly – then a sub is merely a sticking plaster over the problem. My advice? Get a better pair of speakers. And yes, keeping it simple is preferable. But plug the 2i into a specialist pre. Let the pre do it’s job and let it control the 2i.
Paul K21st December 2020 at 2:38 pm
I have a few questions about WXC-50. First, why there are two DACs, which DAC goes to which exit. Then player mode is more preferable soundwise? And the last one: do you believe that a cheap DAC such as “Project DAC Box E” will do a better job than WXC-50’s DAC? (If I connect the optical out of the WXC-50 to the Project DAC Box E).
Paul Rigby30th December 2020 at 4:30 pm
Hi Paul – I’l answer the second question first – yes, it will do a better job. I’d advise going for that. If you still need the first question answered, give me a shout.
Caesar Blanco1st January 2021 at 4:28 am
Hi Paul, I found your review to be both authoritative and incisive and your replies to the comments even more so. I evaluated both the 2i and the WXC-50 as a Deezer HiFi streamer (Cambridge Audio does not have in-built Deezer capabilities). Since I plan to use COAX digital out to stream Deezer HiFi lossless files to a Chord 2Qute, I finally got the WXC-50, thinking that I would bypass both units’ digital processing circuitry and the sound quality of the digital outs for both the 2i and the WXC-50 (on PLAYER mode) should be the same. Am I correct in thinking this considering that the WXC-50’s lesser Burr Brown DAC chip (and not the ESS chip) would control its PLAYER mode output? For sound fidelity purposes, am I better off in switching the WXC-50 to PREAMP mode to activate the ESS chip but switch off all DSP features to get a FLAT frequency response? After the Chord, my signal goes through a tube preamp and then a tube amp before going to a pair of floorstanders. Thanks in advance and have a safe and Blessed New Year.
Paul Rigby6th January 2021 at 10:46 am
Thanks for your kind words Caesar – ideally, isolating each function is best for sound. So, separating the amplifier from the streamer and the DAC is ideal. That is, having each function in its own chassis is best.
Kevin7th January 2021 at 9:30 am
Hi Paul – thanks so much for the comprehensive review as well as your dedication to responding to the many comments you’ve received! I was wondering (if you still had your point of contact at Yamaha) if it would be possible to ask Yamaha if they plan on introducing a high pass filter setting via firmware update any time in the future. It seems like the WXA-50 has the required hardware to do this, but it doesn’t appear to be a current option as-is.
Kevin7th January 2021 at 9:33 am
To clarify my previous comment, the high pass filter setting was in reference to those who would be implementing a crossover using the WXA-50 in a 2.1 desktop setup with a subwoofer.
Paul Rigby12th January 2021 at 11:25 am
Hi Kevin – before we go any further, here’s a question to you from Yamaha, “With the high pass filter question, is the customers after crossover control over the sub output? I can indeed pass this request on to our engineers, once confirmed.”
Kevin12th January 2021 at 8:09 pm
Thanks so much for following up on this, Paul! I was hoping Yamaha could implement the ability to set an adjustable high pass filter (HPF) on your main speakers to prevent them from outputting frequencies below a certain level. This would be very helpful when using a subwoofer, as you could set a certain crossover frequency so that anything above that frequency is handled solely by the speakers while anything below it goes solely to the subwoofer. Most subwoofers seem to already have low pass filters (LPF) already, so a crossover to set a HPF for the main speakers would be so much appreciated!
You may also want to share with your contact that this seems to be one of the biggest issues and “wishlist” items that consumers seem to have with regards to the WXA-50. For reference, I have included links to numerous people talking about this very issue:
Paul Rigby13th January 2021 at 12:37 pm
Thanks for that, Kevin – I’ve based all of that onto Yamaha. Just waiting for his reply now. Might be a while so please be patient.
Paul Rigby13th January 2021 at 1:07 pm
Hi Kevin – well, that was quick 🙂
Just received a reply from Yamaha who said, “Many thanks to the customer who has raised the High Pass filter request and who has provided lots of detail, I will pass this on to our team in Japan.”
Kevinn13th January 2021 at 10:59 pm
Thank you so much, Paul! Your help in sharing this request with the team at Yamaha is so very much appreciated!
Kevin14th January 2021 at 4:19 am
Thanks so much for helping to pass along my feedback, Paul – it’s very much appreciated! Looking forward to seeing if it results in any changes…
Paul Rigby7th January 2021 at 11:13 am
I’ll try – my contact seems to have changed jobs so I’ll have to grab another passing Yamaha chappie. Give me a bit of time on this one and I’ll do my best.
Alerb23rd January 2021 at 2:57 am
I have a WXA-50 and using AUX out to my integrated amp (without DAC), I can play wav and flac but when I play dsd (in dff) the bar is going but no sound from speakers.
Paul Rigby26th January 2021 at 2:21 pm
Do you have any other flavour of DSD to test, Alerb? I’m wondering if there’s a support error on DFF. Just a guess. I would have thought that DFF would be a default but there’s no tags or metadata in DFF so I’m wondering if that format might the issue. Let me know.
Caesar Augustus P. Bkanco27th January 2021 at 12:08 am
[Corrected Reply] In one discussion board I’ve read recently, Yamaha confirmed that the WXC-50’s DSD-capable ESS DAC chip is used for the PRE-OUT and all digital outputs (Optical and Coax) while the Non-DSD capable Burr Brown DAC chip is used for the AUX outs. When reading DSD files through the WXC-50’s internal DAC, just make sure you are using PRE-OUT with the PREAMP (not PLAYER) setting enabled.
Paul Rigby27th January 2021 at 1:17 pm
Thanks for the help, Caesar – much appreciated.
Felix27th January 2021 at 2:16 pm
Shouldnt it be on player mode using the pre outs to get the best of the dac? If you use another pre amp it is hooked up to.
Caesar Augustus P, Blanco27th January 2021 at 3:24 pm
It depends. If you use an external DAC (I use a Chord 2Qute), it’s best to set it on PLAYER mode then play through the Digital outs. If you want to use the internal DAC to play DSD (as well as other file formats through the better ESS DAC chip), set it on PLAYER (without DISP) or PREAMP (with DSP) then play through the PRE-OUTs. ALERB above wanted to use the internal DAC to play DSD files but used AUX OUTs so no sound was coming out.
Felix2nd February 2021 at 9:26 am
Ok i got you cesar. Do you get a big improvment in sound using an external dac?
CAESAR AUGUSTUS P. BLANCO2nd February 2021 at 1:35 pm
Yes I do with my Chord 2Qute. However, I still use the internal DAC of the WXC-50 for direct decoding of DSD / DSF files then stream it through the PRE-OUT RCA ports to my tube amp.. The 2Qute can only do DSD over PCM (DOP) decoding through the USB port.
Joris1st February 2021 at 11:18 pm
Great effort in answering everyone here: thanks! I am a budding audio lover. I am looking for an affordable all in one solution. I dig the form factor of the wxa-50. I love all music and listen a lot to guitar driven music. I am fond of a warm sound. Plus: I like a lot of volume every now and then for in my averagely sized living room. What do you think of the combo wxa-50 and monitor audio bronze bx2 for those purposes?
Thanks again! 🙂
Paul Rigby2nd February 2021 at 12:09 pm
Thanks Joris. I would select a pair of Q Acoustic 3020 speakers instead. You can find them for around £150. Worth saving for if you’re short of cash right now.
Joris2nd February 2021 at 12:35 pm
Thanks. And how about some floorstanding speakers? Like the 3050i? Would de wxa-50 be able to handle that?
Paul Rigby3rd February 2021 at 5:15 pm
In techie terms, yes it should be fine Joris.
Felix3rd February 2021 at 4:53 pm
Can anyone recommend what dac to buy im in between the new camebridge dag magic 200m the smsl su9 or s400 or the rme adi 2 dac. I would like to have mqa capapbilty and an hadphone out which bsically camebridge is going to fullfill. But i guess the others re better dacs. My cx-2 pre amp has enough power for my dt 1990 hedphones but i get fatiuge from them using the pre amp. I dont have the same issue on my motu m2. question is is the dac of the wxc50 hurting my ears or the headphone output of my yamaha pre amp which after manual putnout 4v into 68 ohms ( output level150 ohm) whatever that means.
Felix4th February 2021 at 7:01 pm
Looks like im moving away from the wxc50 since orderd a matrix audio mini pro 3 today. I hope its gonba live up to the hype…
Karan4th May 2021 at 1:33 pm
This is Karan from India
I am using Edifier S880DB Active speakers with AUX, COAXIAL, OPTICAL USB and Bluetooth inputs,, i always prefer to stream from Spotify, but my only wireless connectivity in this speakers is Bluetooth, i thinking to buy Yamaha wxc-50, my connection aim is mobile to wxc-50 via Spotify connect(wireless) and optical or coaxial or aux to speaker(wired). is it work flawlessly or i need go some were else???
Paul Rigby10th May 2021 at 9:33 am
Hi Karan – as you can see by the review here, I didn’t have any Bluetooth issues. If you are unsure, please request a demo and try it with your phone.
Kirubakaran13th May 2021 at 2:50 pm
I am a serious hires lover that’s why I didn’t love to hear wth bluetooth which is always with some loss, my idea is to go hires that’s why am think buy wxc which support hires with wireless connect to tidal or Spotify and one more thing my speaker also hires certified that’s also a reason I go for this option
Luis Escobar26th June 2021 at 6:23 am
How to connect WZC-50 to my Eon 615 Active Speakers ? Thanks
Paul Rigby29th June 2021 at 9:54 am
I’m afraid that I’m not at all familiar with the speakers so I can only guide you roughly here. Please check and confirm by doing our own manuals research before you connect everything up. I reckon you’ll need to run a cable from the RCA-socketed Aux outputs on the rear of the WXA-50 and plug the other end into the 6.35mm/balanced sockets on the rear of the speakers (those combi sockets on the rear). You’ll need to find a convertor cable to do that though. The JBL looks more like a studio/pro design to me rather than a home hifi design. Before you do that, you need to read through both manuals to confirm that I’m right and haven’t misunderstood anything.
It might be easier and less hassle to grab a pair of passive speakers, hooking those up to the WXA50 via speakers cables from the rear of the Yamaha.
Louis27th October 2021 at 5:42 pm
Hey Paul thanks for your support.
I connected my active speakers (Genelec 8020D) to the Yamaha WXAC-50 from a male XLR (Genelec) to RCA (Yamaha). Anything I play via streaming plays full volume with no possibility to turn the volume down, it just blinks red on the WXAC-50. Do you know what I’m missing?
Paul Rigby29th October 2021 at 3:56 pm
Let me ask Yamaha and see what it thinks.
Paul Rigby29th October 2021 at 5:32 pm
Hi Louis – this just in from Yamaha: “Could we confirm the product, is it a WXA-50, WXC-50 or a WXAD-10? Please make sure pre amp mode is selected on the back of the WXC-50. If the customer is using a WXA-50, the AUX out will operate as full volume. If the customer has a WXAD-10 the variable output option is the 3.5mm jack. I hope this helps.”
Sanjay Dungrakoti23rd April 2022 at 2:17 pm
Hi Paul. Nice to go through review and made me curious about various options WXC 50 provide. My bedroom setup is NAD 315 BEE amp driving PSB Alpha T1. For streaming I am using Apple Airport Express stereo output connected to NAD. I am streaming Apple lossless music through airplay. But thats it. Since WXC 50 has airplay will it be good idea to replace AE and NAD with it to directly drive PSB Alpha T1? What effect it may have on sound quality. Your guidance will help me. Thanks again
Paul Rigby25th April 2022 at 2:39 pm
Assuming you can find a WXC-50 – they’re out of stock at the places I’ve looked – then sure, it’s definitely a low-price option. You will need to connect it to an amp, though.
Rich T16th November 2022 at 11:37 am
Hello Paul, hope you dont mind a question quite so long after the review. I’ve been streaming through some pretty average kit. However I have an old pair of kef cresta 2’s so I thought it might be time to dust them off and get a new amp that can stream and even treat myself to a turntable. I was thinking the wxa-50 but with the analogue input going through the one of the dacs, would I be better off going with something else for my use case? If I go with your rule of paying double the cost of the amp for the turntable It would be a shame to not get the most out of the turntable if there is something more appropriate out there for a similar price.
Paul Rigby18th November 2022 at 10:16 am
Hi Rich – do you have a budget figure?
Rich T18th November 2022 at 11:00 am
Hi Paul, I guess £450 Max. Do you think putting a turntable thru a amp like the wxa-50 would be a bad idea?
Paul Rigby22nd November 2022 at 6:56 pm
Hi Rich – so, in effect, you’re looking for a new turntable, amp and streamer – yes? I’d focus on one source for now to maximise your budget (i.e. either the turntable or streamer) plus the amp. So, for example, a Cambridge AXA35 amp plus a decent turntable like an Audio-Technica 120x or – for less – a Lenco L-3809 or, less still, a Pro-Ject Primary E. If the AXA35 is still out of stock then a AXA25 plus external phono amplifier like a Pro-Ject Phono Box MM. The streamer? An external model would offer better sound (just plug that into the rear of the amp). I’d look at iFi for the streamers.
Rich T15th December 2022 at 11:11 pm
Hello Paul just wanted to say thank you for taking the time to reply it was appreciated! Managing to get a musichall classic at a great price caused me to divert from your recommendations, additionally purchasing a wiim streamer, topping dac and for my sins a lovely vintage pioneer. I didn’t get the external phono stage as I had read the musichall built in one was very capable and Cambridge gear unfortunately is heavily marked up here in Australia.
Paul Rigby16th December 2022 at 10:42 am
Glad I can be of help, Rich. How you enjoy your system.
Dave ellis11th March 2023 at 7:21 am
Hi Paul hope you can figure this out for me . I have caspian roksan intergrated and power amp mk1 with a pair of ruark prologue one speakers and blusound vault 2i . The intergrated amp is going back to roksan for a SERVICE SO I HAVE BAOGHT THE WXC TO RUN THE POWER AMP . I HAVE KEPT THE BLUESOUND AS THE STREAMER AND I HAVE BIWIRED THE SPEAKERS. AND THE SOUND IS FANTASTIC SO WHATS CHANGED . ANY IDEAS.
Paul Rigby12th March 2023 at 3:32 pm
So it wasn’t as good before you shipped off your integrated?
David Ellis12th March 2023 at 6:06 pm
When you are listening everyday you get used to it. Don’t get me wrong it still sounds good but just lost the detail. Some of the tracks without the integrated amp sound fantastic . These are 25 years old . I have the bluesound connected to the wxc with van den hul. Connects mk 111. So it will be interesting to hear the serviced amp. So I will wait until it comes back . So has the power amp degraded as well. So I don’t know what to think.
Paul Rigby13th March 2023 at 5:12 pm
Has anything else been changed in the meantime, David? When you sent the amp back for a service? Around then?
David Ellis13th March 2023 at 7:34 pm
Hi Paul thanks for getting back. Yes 2 things, because the intergrated amp was gone i had to biwire the speakers. And the second was connecting the bluesound to the AUX of wxc instead of the intergrated amp. It’s hard to know if i have done the right thing having it serviced , cost £400. How good will it sound when it comes back. If it sounds amazing i will be sending the power amp later in the year. They said that they replace components that have degraded . This was once in a lifetime purchase 25 years ago cost £5000 . 2 amps/cd player/tuner/i think chord speaker cables, van del hul connects .don’t use cd/ tuner any more. So Paul these are the age they are . how good are they compared to what’s out now for a similar price.
Paul Rigby14th March 2023 at 1:17 pm
Bi-wiring might be the thing that has shifted the sound more profoundly, David. I would pursue that line of thought. The Roksan per se should outperform the WXC. As for your other question? Tech changes all of the time so that’s a factor in improving sound as is any available budget, of course.
David Ellis14th March 2023 at 5:36 pm
Hi Paul thanks for the reply .Not sure what you mean about the roksan out performing the WXC in what way. And do you think that bi-wire and bi-amp are better than 8 cables coming from two amps. In my last message i mentioned the £400 service and thought that money could have gone towards a new amp. ? I will find out weather it was a good choice . And lastly with the bluesound connected to the WXC which dac is the music coming from.
Paul Rigby15th March 2023 at 9:01 am
I wasn’t sure if you were using the WXC as part of an amplifier set up because it offers pre-amp abilities so it can be used in that way. But no matter if you’re not. As for bi-wire? I think benefits depend on the individual case. I would always recommend a personal home demo for biwiring to see if it works in your system. I know some people who have tried it and it gives them nothing at all. So it depends on you and your own set up. Finally, I was trying to help to find reasons why your sound had changed. At this distance? I really don’t know so all I can do is suggest possibilities.
David Ellis15th March 2023 at 12:43 pm
Thank’s very very much for your input . I will try the bi-amp.
Raja4th May 2023 at 5:36 pm
I have connected WXC 50 as preamp using RCA cable to anthem MCA 225 gen 2 . It drives Dynaudio Evoke 20 bookshelf speakers. Through sub out , WXC -50 is connected to rhythmik 12 sealed subwoofer. I wanted to know about cross over, whether signal below 90Hz goes to sub woofer only or to both bookshelf and subwoofer as well. Is there an option to send signals below 90 Hz to sub woofer only ?