We've been holding our breath for this one... Yamaha's latest and very unique WX-A50 and WX-C50 have arrived. It's difficult to decribe these guys in a few paragraphs, but to make a long story short, I want one for myself!
WX-C50 Streamer / Pre-Amp / DAC
This little guy is going to tick a lot of boxes for a lot of people. Inside this sleek little package is a heck of a lot of really cool stuff. This box is designed to be added onto any traditional stereo system and bring it in to the 21st Century.
You can control the unit via Yamaha's MusicCast app, and stream directly to it from a NAS drive, Spotify, Airplay, Bluetooth, internet radio etc. etc.
It also features a traditional analogue input and a optical digital input so you can easily plug your TV and other traditional source in to the system.
On top of all that, you have the option of using the volume control on-board, for example when connecting to active speakers or a power amplifier, or completely bypassing the volume control, using either the Optical or RCA output.
What do we think?
First of all, we hooked the WX-C50 up to a pair of Paradigm Shift Active Bookshelf Speakers. Using the volume control and pre-amp of the WX-C50 transforms these speakers into a very fully featured stereo system. It sounds absolutely incredible!
This system way outperforms any reasonable expectations for this system. For $1,400.00 I honestly couldn't imagine anything coming close to this system.
Next, we set the WX-C50 to "player" mode which completely bypasses the on-board volume control. Connecting the streamer using it's optical output to our reference system at the moment in Wellington (A full McIntosh Pre / Power System & Paradigm Tribute Speakers)
The little Yamaha holds up incredibly well! Compared to the Moon 180MiND we had previously been using, the overall resolving power isn't quite as good, but it's pretty close. This is a very admirable effort for this little player!
Yamaha WX-A50 The Streaming Amplifier that could...
Next up, we had the WX-A50. Again, I get the feeling this little amp is going to be perfect for a huge range of people.
Bringing a full suite of streaming options, analogue and optical inputs into a compact 2 x 70W Integrated amplifier; this amplifier is perfect for small systems, custom installations, desktop systems and probably a whole lot more.
The WX-A50 has a very solid feel to it. The volume control handles perfectly and the amp itself is surprisingly dense.
We connected he WX-A50 to our trusty Dynaudio Emit M10 bookshelf speakers and were suitably impressed. The system has real scale and authority, while still preserving all of the detail and soundstaging. When playing with some of the bass extension modes, the bass gets a little "bloomy" but I suspect this will still be very useful with less capable small speakers.
There are definitely better amplifiers available. But none that come near to this mix of size, price-point, features and power. This is yet another win from Yamaha. Very impressive indeed!