Australian T3


This highly skilled wireless-turntable-cum-musicstrea­ming hub has only minor niggles


The only turntable that can stream its sound to every room over Wi-Fi, or

nearby over Bluetooth


Yamaha has updated the traditiona­l hi-fi, belt-driven record player with wireless connectivi­ty via Bluetooth, but it can also work as part of a Wi-Fi Yamaha MusicCast multi-room system. And it can act as a music streaming hub that can add Spotify, web radio and more to any existing hi-fi setup. There’s a lot going on here.

First up, this is one of the most convenient turntables we’ve ever encountere­d. Placement is easy, especially if you’ll use it wirelessly – we just plonked it on a sideboard. The belt drive, cartridge and counterwei­ght are all simplicity itself to attach, for once. Even better, it’s easy to pair Bluetooth speakers, because Yamaha has an app, unlike rivals from Cambridge Audio and Pro-Ject. You can even switch between 33rpm and 45rpm with just a button.

As well as the Bluetooth connectivi­ty, there are phono level and line level outputs. The former is great if you have a pre-amp, which will tend to give better sound, the latter if you value convenienc­e. The sound quality of the deck in general is very good – not one to get audiophile­s purring, but there’s plenty of oomph and decent handling of dynamics.

If Yamaha had stopped here, you’d have a near-perfect turntable for the 21st century, although the absence of aptX Bluetooth, let alone aptX HD, may concern some users. However, Yamaha has also included compatibil­ity with its MusicCast platform, and here some slight frustratio­n creeps in. If you have MusicCast speakers or receivers, you can beam the sound of your vinyl across the house over Wi-Fi, and get noticeably improved sound compared to Bluetooth. If you don’t, the app also lets you use the Vinyl 500 as a streaming hub into your wired stereo setup, so you can listen to Tidal, Amazon Music, Qobuz, Spotify and more. It can also receive AirPlay 2 streams, and can be controlled over Alexa.

This is all great in principle, and audio and connectivi­ty are excellent over Wi-Fi. But the MusicCast app is slow and buggy. And we know lots of people would like to output to AirPlay 2 (or Chromecast or Sonos), but for a variety of technical and other reasons, that’s not possible.

No matter. What you’re getting here is a record player that, in terms of performanc­e and build quality, is worth its asking price before you get on to all the streaming embellishm­ents – but they could be a tad more polished.

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