We live in a wireless, app-based world that has changed how people search for and consume their entertainment. As a result, numerous audio companies have updated their products with network-connected capabilities. The Yamaha R-N402 network receiver ($450) is the latest offering from the venerable AV brand. It incorporates MusicCast, the company's proprietary, hi-res capable, multi-room, wireless-audio platform.
The new R-N402 network stereo receiver from Yamaha.
The inclusion of MusicCast grants the R-N402 a wide array of wireless, networked, and streaming audio capabilities. On the wireless tip, it connects with Wi-Fi and Apple Airplay, and is capable of both transmitting and receiving Bluetooth. Additionally, multiple MusicCast devices can work together to form a multi-room or whole-home audio system that's easily controlled with the a dedicated iOS or Android app.
Aside from MusicCast's powerful features, the R-N402 appears to be an affordable, solid, and capable piece of hardware. It looks the part of a serious audio device; namely, it sports physical knobs and switches, so you don't need to find your phone to use it. When compared to its competitors' growing selection of compact, networked amps—that typically sell for $500 and output 50 watts per channel—Yamaha's latest receiver costs less, yet offers more power with 100 W/ch of output. Plus, it's a full-featured receiver that includes multiple RCA analog inputs, a digital-coax input, a digital-optical input, USB, Ethernet, and an AM/FM radio tuner.
Support for hi-res audio is a strength for the R-N402. It handles DSD 5.6 MHz, FLAC, WAV, and AIFF at up to 24-bit/192kHz resolution, and Apple Lossless at up to 24-bit/96kHz resolution. Unfortunately, what it does not have is a subwoofer output, or any sort of DSP; in terms of the hardware, it is a classic no-nonsense stereo receiver. Anyone craving bass management, room EQ, and HDMI inputs in a MusicCast device might wish to consider the identically-priced RX-V481 AV receiver instead.
Fans of full-sized cans will appreciate the R-N402's inclusion of a 1/4" headphone jack, while wireless headphone wearers can utilize MusicCast's ability to transmit audio with Bluetooth. A dot-matrix display conveys useful information to listeners and compliments the hands-on operation afforded by the physical buttons and dials.
The R-N402 will be available later this month.