Yamaha introduced Tuesday its first MusicCast-enabled sound bar offering the ability to add on optional wireless speakers.

The value-added MusicCast BAR 400, which will carry a $499.95 suggested retail when it hits store shelves in September, is positioned as sound bar that can be transformed into a 5.1-channel system through the addition of one to two MusicCast 50 or 20 wireless speakers to handle the rear-channel duties for added dimensionality and immersiveness.

The BAR 400 includes MusicCast Surround that uses a Wi-Fi link to send surround-channel audio directly from the sound bar to a pair of MusicCast 20 speakers, or to one or two stereo-capable MusicCast 50 speakers to envelope the listener in the home theater listening area.

The BAR 400 ships with a wireless subwoofer as part of the package, rather than as an optional component. Connections include an HDMI input, an HDMI output with Audio Return Channel (ARC) and optical and analog audio inputs.

The BAR 400 also offers a package of advanced features and capabilities that have made Yamaha sound bars among the top sellers in the category every year. This includes DTS Virtual:X surround sound, which produces immersive surround sound — including virtual height channels — even when playing non-surround encoded sound tracks.

Because it’s MusicCast enabled, the BAR 400 supports both Wi-Fi and Bluetooth wireless connectivity, in addition to supporting Apple Airplay. It will also have access to Spotify Connect and will support MusicCast multi-room audio.

The MusicCast system enables using a MusicCast App on a mobile device to receive an assortment of supported popular streaming audio services or stored music files from a wireless DLNA storage device and play them wirelessly over the sound bar. Streaming services include Spotify, Pandora, SiriusXM Internet Radio, TIDAL, Deezer, and Napster.

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MusicCast enablews sending the same music, or another selection, to another MusicCast device or MusicCast wireless speaker somewhere else in the home.

The Yamaha BAR 400 can also be paired with an Amazon Alexa smart speaker, like an Echo, or Dot to bring hands-free voice control.

Other features in the BAR 400 include Yamaha Clear Voice to improve the audibility and clarity of dialogue in movies and TV shows while maintaining overall sonic quality; Compressed Music Enhancer, which enriches the sound quality of compressed-music formats by restoring high frequencies lost during compression.


By Greg Tarr


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