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YAMAHA A-S301 or A-S501 for KEF Q100?

A-S301 or A-S501?

  • Yamaha A-S301

    Votes: 14 37.8%
  • Yamaha A-S501

    Votes: 17 45.9%
  • Other? (please comment)

    Votes: 6 16.2%

  • Total voters
    37

pirxel

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Hi guys, it's me again, still looking for my next amp for my beloved pair of KEF Q100's.

I'm liking what Yamaha is doing and want to get one of their integrated and generally I was aiming to get 80W per channel on these 8ohm bookshelf speakers (to get a full and well controlled response from them).
According to the spec sheet the correct answer is the 501, but I'm wondering if it won't be overkill, since I most often listen at low volumes at near-field (desktop).
Getting the 301 would be easier on my wallet, which means I can also get it sooner, but I wouldn't want to do it if that meant a significant loss at the hability to drive the speakers well.

Here is part of the spec sheet for the KEF Q100:

System type 2-way
Enclosure type Reflex
Frequency response ± 3dB 49 - 40000 Hz
Nominal impedance 8 Ohm
Amplifier Requirements 10 - 100 W
Sensitivity (2.83V/1m) 86 dB
Maximum output (SPL) 107 dB
Tweeter 25mm (1 in.) aluminum dome
Woofer 130mm (5.25 in.) aluminum Uni-Q

Specs to both amplifiers:
https://usa.yamaha.com/products/audio_visual/hifi_components/a-s301/specs.html#product-tabs
https://usa.yamaha.com/products/audio_visual/hifi_components/a-s501/specs.html#product-tabs

I'm considering the 301 despite the theoretical preference for 85W per channel because I already saw two reviews with people with 8 ohms speakers saying they were happy and/or say they saw no difference ( just not exactly with the KEFs).

In case it's relevant, I'm currently driving them with the SMSL SA-98E and I'm obviously not too happy with it.
 
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Biblob

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I'd say, if you can stretch the budget, go for the 501. The more headroom you have, the better. But if you would only listen nearfield and low levels, the 301 might be good enough.
 

Steve Dallas

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I am assuming by "low volumes," you mean something like an average of 75dB at no more than 3 meters in a smallish room. If so, that matches the listening environment in my study, and I find 60W (Cambridge CXA-60) to provide plenty of headroom for my KEF LS50s and Dynaudio X18s.

Having said that, going for higher power means future proofing against any less sensitive speakers you may acquire down the road.
 
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Midwest Blade

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I am running the Yamaha A-S301 in my condo system with a pair of System-Audio 1110 bookshelf speakers (easy 8 ohm load). The amp is clear and provides enough power as my real listening levels are like yours on the quieter side. One of the pains of appartment living.

Either the 301 or 501 are very capable for your needs, I do like the look of the Cambridge CXA-60 however have only seen and heard them at showrooms and no idea how they measure up on paper.

This is a really hair splitting category with trade offs and features to hit a price point, I went with the 301 on price and features and I do like the "old school" look.
 
OP
pirxel

pirxel

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The amp is clear and provides enough power as my real listening levels are like yours on the quieter side. One of the pains of appartment living.
Totally! I love loud music and I blast my ears with headphones, but my wife AND neighbors are quite touchy about volume, so I really just get to blast it on occasion, when she leaves during the day (which with what's going on is close to never). We do like to watch movies here tho, but again, she is quite sensitive to volume.
 
OP
pirxel

pirxel

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Behaved like a responsible adult and got the 301, and I'm quite happy :)

Thanks everyone

IMG_20200701_170947.jpg
 

REK2575

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I've been using the A-S301 for a year and a half without any complications at all. Has been a great piece of equipment for a very reasonable price.

...of course, now I've jinxed myself... ;)

And I think you'll find you can crank up the volume plenty LOUD on the A-S301.... If I put the dial to 12 noon (around 50%), it's already getting very uncomfortably loud.
 

0800 Dub

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Would the advice be similar for the Elac Debut Reference DBR62 speakers? I would like to pair them with a Yamaha amp. Their sensitivity is also 86dB.

I emailed Elac with the same question and was told that out of the A-S301 and A-S501 the 501 would drive them better, but I'm wondering whether it'd be overkill.

Currently I'm using an Audiolab 8000A 60-watt amplifier and it seems to have sufficient power. But I guess more headroom is a good thing? I don't really know much at all about this.

Previously I used a Cambridge AXA35 with 35 watts and a NAD 7020i which based on the information I managed to find online is rated at 20 watts (but which sounded slightly more powerful than the Cambridge), both of which sounded insufficiently powerful when paired with the Elacs. (Of the two the NAD worked better with them.) I don't know whether I'd need more than 60 watts though...
 
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REK2575

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Would the advice be similar for the Elac Debut Reference DBR62 speakers? I would like to pair them with a Yamaha amp. Their sensitivity is also 86dB.

I emailed Elac with the same question and was told that out of the A-S301 and A-S501 the 501 would drive them better, but I'm wondering whether it'd be overkill.

Currently I'm using an Audiolab 8000A 60-watt amplifier and it seems to have sufficient power. But I guess more headroom is a good thing? I don't really know much at all about this.

Previously I used a Cambridge AXA35 with 35 watts and a NAD 7020i which based on the information I managed to find online is rated at 20 watts (but which sounded slightly more powerful than the Cambridge), both of which sounded insufficiently powerful when paired with the Elacs. (Of the two the NAD worked better with them.) I don't know whether I'd need more than 60 watts though...


More power is usually a good thing! But I just picked up the ELAC DBR62s myself, and although I have a A-S301 amp, I'm using that on a different set up (!) -- BUT, I am driving the ELACs with an older 60W Denon stereo receiver (same as the Yamaha and your Audiolab 8000A), and I can tell you from what I'm experiencing, 60W is plenty to drive these speakers. I'd have no hesitation using the A-S301 for the ELACs. Maybe the only other consideration is to use a thicker gauge speaker wire -- I'm using 14 AWG for the ELACs, and like I say, I can get them to a way louder volume than I'd ever actually use to listen to music. This is in a modest-sized living room -- not a small office space, but not cavernous either.

In short, A-S301 for the ELACs is good. But if you want to spring for the A-S501, it couldn't hurt.

EDIT -- the DBR62s sound great, by the way. You won't be disappointed.
 

REK2575

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@0800 Dub -- Sorry, one last point -- keep in mind the DBR62s are 6 ohm speakers, so nominally the A-S301 should output more than 60W per channel, since 60W is the 8 ohm rating.
 

0800 Dub

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Thanks for the info!

Why is it that thicker wire produces a louder volume?
 

REK2575

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Thicker speaker wire just means less resistance in the current. I'm honestly not sure if it translates to 'more volume' but you're basically just making the flow of electricity from your amp to your speakers smoother. (You may know, but lower the gauge number, the thicker the wire, so 14 AWG speaker wire should give you better current than 16 AWG.)
 

tomtoo

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Thanks for the info!

Why is it that thicker wire produces a louder volume?

If you have a short run under 5m there is no hearable differenece if you use 2.5mm or 4.0mm.
In theorie thicker cable have less resitence erg. more power can reach the speaker. But in reality this resistence variances compared to speaker resistance has no real influence.
It get's interesting if you have long ways. And have to use small cabel cross section.
 

Dzhaughn

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I believe that your Q100s will provide easily measured distortion below 120Hz if you apply any volume. At least mine did. So I would not focus on the amp.

Elac DBR62 would be the first one I'd suggest trying. I chose Revel M16s but wouldn't say they sound better than the Elac. (They look better, for my taste.)
 

0800 Dub

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Just to provide an update on my enquiry in case it might be of benefit to anyone, I tried the Yamaha A-S301 and Yamaha A-S501 with my Elac speakers and found the A-S501 to have too much power. By that I mean I was using a small portion of the volume range and it got loud rather quickly when I turned the knob. I felt I couldn't get as much fine control over the volume as I'd like. The A-S301 allows me to have finer control and has no issues driving the speakers (which is in line with the advice I was given in this thread), so that's the one I opted for.

The reason I decided to even try the 501 in the first place was due to erring on the side of caution because of 1) the advice I recieved from Elac customer service 2) the advice I got from the telesales person at the retailer I was purchasing from (maybe I was naive to heed it) and 3) the fact that one or two comments here state or imply that there may be an advantage to the 501 and that the poll at the top of this thread is 50/50 between the 501 and 301 (though for completely different speakers albeit ones with the same sensitivity rating). Either way, the advice I got here is sound.

So... thanks!
 
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mhardy6647

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found the A-S501 to have too much power. By that I mean I was using a small portion of the volume range and it got loud rather quickly when I turned the knob.
The symptom isn't evidence of "too much power" but rather the sensitivity of the inputs and/or the "taper" of the volume control.
I realize this doesn't change your issue with the amp, but - for most modern loudspeakers - it's essentially not possible to have too much power.
One might have too much gain or simply a volume control issue, but not too much power. :cool: Finer control is absolutely a perfectly good reason to pick the lower-powered amplifier, though!

Of course, this is comin' from a guy who uses amplifiers capable of about 3.5 watts at 10% THD :)
 

Dzhaughn

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Some above suggest that the Q100 is an 8 ohm speaker. But its impedence is below 4 ohms at 120 Hz, and then at 150Hz the impedence is 6 ohm but the phase shift makes it considerably lower in effect, maybe 4.5 ohm. And that's a fair range of notes around 3 octaves up from the lowest note on a piano.

Would you experience an amplifiers shortage of current as a drop in volume, or as inaccuracy involving these frequencies?

Note that a notch up in SPL (3dB) draws twice the power, and doubling the SPL requires 10 times the power. (Toole, Fig. 4.3) Of course, an amplifiers specifications are similarly imprecise, and maybe similarly exaggerated. Or maybe not! And, a speaker maybe hopeless at that volume and frequency anyway.

But, on the other hand, doubling perceived volumes in bass frequencies is less of an increase than a similarly perceived change in higher frequencies. (Toole, Ch. 4.4) So be sure to adjust your tone controls accordingly. (Toole, Ch. 4.5) And who knows what the recording engineer used for a volume setting. (Well, it was probably louder, and he probably had hearing loss.)

Have fun!
 

Dzhaughn

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Just to provide an update on my enquiry in case it might be of benefit to anyone, I tried the Yamaha A-S301 and Yamaha A-S501 with my Elac speakers and found the A-S501 to have too much power. By that I mean I was using a small portion of the volume range and it got loud rather quickly when I turned the knob. I felt I couldn't get as much fine control over the volume as I'd like. The A-S301 allows me to have finer control and has no issues driving the speakers (which is in line with the advice I was given in this thread), so that's the one I opted for.

The reason I decided to even try the 501 in the first place was due to erring on the side of caution because of 1) the advice I recieved from Elac customer service 2) the advice I got from the telesales person at the retailer I was purchasing from (maybe I was naive to heed it) and 3) the fact that one or two comments here state or imply that there may be an advantage to the 501 and that the poll at the top of this thread is 50/50 between the 501 and 301 (though for completely different speakers albeit ones with the same sensitivity rating). Either way, the advice I got here is sound.

So... thanks!

Doesn't this seem at odds with theory for a 60W v. an 85W amp of the same design? (I'm not doubting your experience, just wondering what's up. Maybe they aren't the same design, maybe they weren't executed quite right, maybe I'm missing something.) After all, a notch up in volume draws 2x the power from the amp.

Did you use identical inputs to the amps in this comparison? Digital or analog inputs to the amp?
 
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