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The Yamaha R-N803 seems to be just a total winner - What am I missing...?

Jake Cushing

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So, this amp has scored right near the top of 'very good' in the SINAD list:

Untitled.jpg


(In pure-direct mode).

Its looks are among the best out there, if you like 'classic' or 'vintage' looks:

Capture.JPG

Its streaming options are as comprehensive as anything else,

It's plenty powerful,

And it costs US 700 bucks.

What am I missing here? I can't see anything else with this combination of factors adding up so appealingly. What are the competitors? The NAD streaming amps cost something like 5 times as much.
 

ZolaIII

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If you don't need a DSP as that part isn't working good then you are not missing much. Competition is for instance Denon DRA and PMA lines.
There are other Yamaha power amplifiers using the same output power stage in both A and R-N lines and some even cost less than 500$.
Look is more cosmetic not followed with feel (plastic knobs and such) but software is actually deacent (MusicCast and Web interface).
Edit: all of those AB class Sunken transistor Yamaha amplifiers aren't great regarding powering lo impedance speakers (6~8 Ohm's single out or 16 [2x8] Ohm's bi amping as manufacturer recommendation). It's not a big thing but should be kept in mind.
 
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Jake Cushing

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Look is more cosmetic not followed with feel (plastic knobs and such)
On this note, it seems that not only are the knobs plastic. The entire face plate is plastic.

But its coated in a thin layer of aluminium, like a foil pressing.

This is disappointing. Does anyone know of amps with proper aluminium or steel face plates, other than the Luxmans?

I take it the plastic is cheaper, but I wonder if it's to remove conductivity too... At any rate if Yamaha upgraded the fascia to proper metal it would be such a winner.
 

Willem

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I will have a look at the faceplate next time I see my daughter. I bought her the basic AS 501 and I think it really was a best buy for only 359 euros from a reputable dealer. Of course it is not a chunk of milled aluminium, but it looks and feels fine. Do not forget that the two highest cost components of an amplifier are the transformer and the case. It does not make sense to waste money on looks for a budget amplifier, as long as it meets basic standards.
I would not worry too much about low impedance loads unless crazy. See here for a test of the very similar AS 801: https://www.audioholics.com/amplifi...1-amplifier-review/yamaha-a-s801-measurements
 

ex audiophile

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I have one in a bedroom system with zero complaints. On the plus side are power (145 into 8) and support for all popular streaming channels including Spotify Connect. The cons IMO are the YPAO correction which is really awful IME and the lack of bass management. There is a single sub out so you can use your subs LP filter but the R-N803 does not have a HP filter for your mains. At the same price point you have the Bluesound Powernode which does include a HP filter, but no room correction feature and less power. The only products I have found that offer room correction and xlnt bass management are the Anthem products (STR pre and integrated) and they are much more costly at around $4000+

I should add that the JLA e series subs (and perhaps others) have both a high and low pass filter system built in, which is one way you could deal with bass management if you don't want to run your mains full range.
 
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Jake Cushing

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I'm running an ADI-DAC2 FS between my cd player (with USB reader) and the Yamaha.

It looks and sounds sweet. I get to set some EQ for my speakers and its all sounding lovely. I miss out on the EQ for the streaming and DAB, but it still sounds nice and most of my music is pre-bought and put onto USB anyhow.

I do like using the loudness dial at night time and can switch off pure-direct at those lower volume levels without any noticeable drop in quality.

I guess for my second listening space I'll get another of the 803's as there doesn't seem to be much competition for its package and review results.
 
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SKBubba

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On the plus side are power (145 into 8) and support for all popular streaming channels including Spotify Connect.

Does the Spotify Connect implementation have volume leveling/normalization? (Denon doesn't.)
 

ex audiophile

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Does the Spotify Connect implementation have volume leveling/normalization? (Denon doesn't.)
Great question. I checked and found out the following:

-The Bluesound OS app does not "see" the Yamaha so you cannot adjust settings there.
-I use the Spotify app to play music through the R-N803 and because it has Spotify Connect your Spotify app will "see" the R-N803 as a compatible device. HOWEVER, you cannot adjust playback settings through the Spotify app like you can if the device was a Bluesound device like a Node.
-Looking at the menu options in the R-N803 itself the only volume options that I found were:

yamaha.jpg


It appears there is a "volume trim" that will normalize sound between sources but I have no experience with it as we only listen to Spotify using this device. Hope this helps.

Thinking about this the Powernode, being a Bluesound device, would have an advantage over the R-N803 with regards to Spotify implementation. The playback options through the Spotify app are more extensive than the ones noted above in the R-N803. The Powernode (and Node) also have the built in HP filter that will be a further advantage for some users.
 
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SKBubba

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Great question. I checked and found out the following:

-The Bluesound OS app does not "see" the Yamaha so you cannot adjust settings there.
-I use the Spotify app to play music through the R-N803 and because it has Spotify Connect your Spotify app will "see" the R-N803 as a compatible device. HOWEVER, you cannot adjust playback settings through the Spotify app like you can if the device was a Bluesound device like a Node.
-Looking at the menu options in the R-N803 itself the only volume options that I found were:

View attachment 176423

It appears there is a "volume trim" that will normalize sound between sources but I have no experience with it as we only listen to Spotify using this device. Hope this helps.

Thinking about this the Powernode, being a Bluesound device, would have an advantage over the R-N803 with regards to Spotify implementation. The playback options through the Spotify app are more extensive than the ones noted above in the R-N803. The Powernode (and Node) also have the built in HP filter that will be a further advantage for some users.

Thanks for the info. Spotify, being so playlist oriented, should require volume leveling in all Connect devices and let you turn it off/on from the remote.

Their windows desktop app Connect has it when connecting from a phone or tablet, but you turn it off/on in the desktop app.
 

ZolaIII

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@Bombadil the "volume trim" option is for controling analog input stage (the 1.50 $ part John talked about on second page of review) and as much as I know it's present on all Yamahas with same output stage (Sunken transistor pairs). The usabile range for me whose ±2.
What ever you can adjust for Spotify is in Spotify app (MusicCast don't even need to be initialised). My only complaint regarding Spotify and Yamaha is that the volume control in Spotify app is sluggish (compared to the MusicCast). I have R-N402D which is more basic version compared to the R-N803 (no phono stage and no DSP board just basic controls).
 
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VintageFlanker

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What am I missing here? I can't see anything else with this combination of factors adding up so appealingly. What are the competitors?
I don't get why are you looking for something you would have missed. That's a great offering for its price. The end.;)

Most probably the best option for some traditional AB integrated amp/streamer under 1k€/$. It is beaten by separates, like some good DAC feeding a NC252MP if you ask me , but you will lack thing as a whole package.

If you want one, you have to hurry tho, it seems like it has been discontinued recently.
So, this amp has scored right near the top of 'very good' in the SINAD list:
That list is certainly not the way to choose an amp.;)

An Audiolab 6000A sounds better, to my ears
Good for you. BTW, the 6000A also measures very good, but the 803 is literally 2.5 times as powerful. Should be taken in consideration for someone looking for an amp...
 
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ex audiophile

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@Bombadil the "volume trim" option is for controling analog input stage (the 1.50 $ part John talked about on second page of review) and as much as I know it's present on all Yamahas with same output stage (Sunken transistor pairs). The usabile range for me whose ±2.
What ever you can adjust for Spotify is in Spotify app (MusicCast don't even need to be initialised). My only complaint regarding Spotify and Yamaha is that the volume control in Spotify app is sluggish (compared to the MusicCast). I have R-N402D which is more basic version compared to the R-N803 (no phono stage and no DSP board just basic controls).
Good to know, thanks. The playback options are grayed out in the Spotify app when using the R-N803.
 

hmof

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The 803 seems to be unavailable in Australia now. Does anyone know of measurements of the 602? It would meet my needs and should be easier to get too and less expensive.
 
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Jake Cushing

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The 803 seems to be unavailable in Australia now. Does anyone know of measurements of the 602? It would meet my needs and should be easier to get too and less expensive.
See:


I expect it would sound just fine though, unless you went crazy loud.
 
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hmof

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I expect it would sound just fine though, unless you went crazy loud.
Thanks. From the data you linked to the distortion is higher but it's a pretty small difference. And the 803 is nearly twice the price, when it's even available.

I would like to see a similar plot for the A-S301/501 (although these are also out of stock everywhere here)... I don't strictly need the MusicCast features so it's a trade off of price versus quality versus features.
 

hmof

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From the data you linked to the distortion is higher but it's a pretty small difference.

And in the specs in the manual the 602 actually has better THD than the 803D..

602:
Total harmonic distortion
PHONO (MM) to OUT
(20 Hz to 20 kHz, 3 V) .........................................0.025% or less
CD, etc. to SPEAKERS
(20 Hz to 20 kHz, 40.0 W, 8 Ω) ...........................0.015% or less

Total harmonic distortion
PHONO (MM) to OUT
(20 Hz to 20 kHz, 2.5 V) ....................................... 0.03% or less
CD, etc. to SPEAKERS
(20 Hz to 20 kHz, 50.0 W, 8)............................ 0.019% or less


Would you say the 803 is worth >50% more, unless you really need the higher power?

Also the 803D has the DAB tuner but I don't think it's that valuable.
 

hmof

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If you didn't care about MusicCast/Airplay, would the A-S501 or A-S701 be a better buy?

The R-N803D is available refurbished in Australia for A$989. The A-S501 would be A$770 brand new (when it's ever back in stock). Apart from MusicCast and a couple of extra digital inputs the features are the same, and the audio.com.pl specs suggest the A-S501 might be a bit better?
 

GDWL34

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So, this amp has scored right near the top of 'very good' in the SINAD list:

View attachment 175507

(In pure-direct mode).

Its looks are among the best out there, if you like 'classic' or 'vintage' looks:

View attachment 175513
Its streaming options are as comprehensive as anything else,

It's plenty powerful,

And it costs US 700 bucks.

What am I missing here? I can't see anything else with this combination of factors adding up so appealingly. What are the competitors? The NAD streaming amps cost something like 5 times as much.
This amplifier is now discontinued. You can still find them in stock at some resellers. Probably the best amp I’ve ever owned. (NAD, Cyrus,Technics,Denon). I love vinyl and discovered QOBUZ streaming via Musicast. Love both and nice to compare. I have J M Reynaud Cantibile column speakers and REGA turntable. I would definitely upgrade to a new version when available. Loudness button is a must too.
 
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