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Yamaha A-S701 Stereo Amplifier Review

Rate this amplifier:

  • 1. Poor (headless panther)

    Votes: 0 0.0%
  • 2. Not terrible (postman panther)

    Votes: 23 7.3%
  • 3. Fine (happy panther)

    Votes: 179 57.2%
  • 4. Great (golfing panther)

    Votes: 111 35.5%

  • Total voters
    313
On sale at some Oz retailers at a hefty discount at the moment too. ($1095 vs $1499 RRP)

In reality, that is a real bargain. A genuine 100+wpc Yamaha integrated amplifier with full remote, brand new in 2024 for $1095.

Let me put that in perspective. I have the November 1991 Yamaha dealer price list here. Whenever I had to replace price lists in the store, I couldn't bear to throw out what would become a time capsule down the track. Pity I didn't keep all the old brochures, just a few hundred. It's 33 years of inflation and the price has barely changed! The equivalent model, the AX-750 (black) sold for $999. The AX730T (titanium) was AU$899. The previous year, the equivalent AX-700 was AU$999.

The AX-750 has the same basic layout, the same/similar ToP-ART design. Nothing has really changed as I mentioned further back in this review. Huge dynamic reserves and plenty of them are still working to this day. A rock solid, conservative design.

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They have retained the classic 3/5/7/9 numbering, but like BMW, they've inserted a few other "series" into the number run...
 
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So now I'm somehow even happier with my A-S301

The 301 is a great amplifier. You get the casework, decent heatsinks and plenty of power in the same size package as the 500/501/700/701 etc. It runs very cool and has pretty much all the same features. Well done, enjoy.
 
Given that the DAC and Phono is just OK in the AS701- in that price range, or maybe even cheaper, one might consider the CA-810. Lots of inputs as well - pair it with a $100 DAC and get great performance.
Screen Shot 2024-06-21 at 8.49.54 AM.png
 
Speaking of which, besides the HDMI ARC input which the R-N1000A has, the R-N800A looks pretty similar and is quite cheaper. The R-N1000A has a double bottom chassis, slightly better terminals, HDMI ARC and 2 coax in instead of 1 but... That's it? All the specs look the same. And the R-N800A is quite cheaper.

I'm wondering if the added 500 EUR / USD of the R-N1000A compared to the R-N800A is worth it for, basically, an HDMI ARC input which may or may not work with my LG TV and which is, anyway, not the thing I plan to use the most!?

Same DAC, same rated output power, same YAPO, etc. They look very similar.

If anyone has any thoughts on the R-N800A vs the R-N1000A, they're very welcome for I really need an amp to go with my new speakers (not to mention the old amp I'm currently using is going to go back to power my old speakers so I need it there).
It doesn't seem like you have reasons to pay $500 more, period
 
Given that the DAC and Phono is just OK in the AS701- in that price range, or maybe even cheaper, one might consider the CA-810. Lots of inputs as well - pair it with a $100 DAC and get great performance.
View attachment 376504
I never liked the 810 and 1010 as much as their predecessor 800 and 1000mk2 (the latter I owned for a short while). The switchgear went chunkier/thicker and the feel wasn't as 'delicate' as the earlier ones. The meters were useless to me I remember and i thought the subjective sound was grainy too, admittedly this in the days before I realised how easily our brains are fooled.

Oh - and the Class A function has gone on this too!
 
I never liked the 810 and 1010 as much as their predecessor 800 and 1000mk2 (the latter I owned for a short while). The switchgear went chunkier/thicker and the feel wasn't as 'delicate' as the earlier ones. The meters were useless to me I remember and i thought the subjective sound was grainy too, admittedly this in the days before I realised how easily our brains are fooled.

Oh - and the Class A function has gone on this too!
Thermal design on the CA2010 and CA1010 are barely adequate to deal with the heat. CA-800 runs hotter than Hell in Class A mode.
I have a CA-2010 now for decades. I assure you it doesn't sound grainy, and measures ruler flat, with quite contemporary specs.
1718995289982.png

In other words, it sounds lust like a (very reliable) 125 WPC amplifier with really well thought out controls and features. So yes, the strange descriptions we gave to gear back in the day have no place at all in reality. I heard a few months ago another anecdote about Yamaha having systematically weak bass, also a myth on the units I have measured, for example:
1718996033102.png


I never use the Class A, it doesn't change or improve the sound except to reduce the power output and increase the heat dramatically. And the one thing I value more than almost anything else on this amp is the reliability. Only two things have ever needed service, the Class A "Operation Mode" switch gave out, I replaced it. And the VU meters required service (replaced the bulbs with LED).
 
Honestly they should take out the DAC, like the A-SX00 models. Everybody's got there preference of DAC. I'm certain they only added those digital inputs to tap into the "Small Home Theater" market. The same market that prefers soundbars and ease of use/setup. I think what would see these models sell better is the addition of TRS connectors and an adjustable sub out crossover instead of a fixed 80hz output.

My Yamaha A-S301 and my ELACs are still great pairing. Love that Yamaha more then my old Sansui 2000A.
 
You loved Titanium didn't you. Over here, it only sold when Yamaha Australia killed the colour and blew it all out super cheap- like half price or less. Even then, we were stuck with odd pieces. Any colour as long as it was black in the early 90s sold here.

I never understood why home audio components had to be these boring monotonous boxes. They can take a lesson from pro audio pieces although these days, in many instances, the lines are blurred. There has always been a lot more color in studios than in living rooms. Silver, red, blue, green, white - you name it, it's there, which I think is great. You'll never confuse a BBE with a BURL :)
 

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Yamaha RX-495RDS it's my first HiFi component. Made in France. Very good sound! Good memories...
 
Given that the DAC and Phono is just OK in the AS701- in that price range, or maybe even cheaper, one might consider the CA-810. Lots of inputs as well - pair it with a $100 DAC and get great performance.

Beautiful, but that's a long discontinued model from 40 years ago. Finding one in decent shape today could be a challenge.
 
This is a review and detailed measurements of the Yamaha A-S701 stereo integrated amplifier with included DAC and Phono stage. It is on kind loan from a member and costs US $800.
View attachment 375866
The A-S701 is one of the best looking amplifiers I have tested. Yes the controls are plastic unlike the glory days when they were metal. But the feel is good, if a bit light. Here is the back side:

View attachment 375867
I left the "impedance" switch at default high. In AVRs if you select 4 ohm, it will actually power limit to pass regulatory testing for excess heat. I am behind in testing this amplifier so focused on the amplification stage and not the DAC or Phono. If I get time and owner can wait, I can test those as well.

Yamaha A-S701 Integrated Amplifier Measurements
As usual we start with our 5 watt dashboard after setting the volume control to get 25 dB gain:
View attachment 375868
This is better than I expect, landing the A-S701 in the upper range of our "very good" rating category as far as noise and distortion:
View attachment 375869
View attachment 375870
Noise performance is excellent at 5 watts and nearly so at full power:
View attachment 375871
Testing is done with CD direct unless otherwise noted. As you see above and manual states, it produces best performance. You lose all the controls though if you turn it on.

Frequency response is nice and flat in audible band:
View attachment 375872

For kicks, I tested the loudness response as you see above. I have never used an amp with variable loudness. The ones with switches made things louder, not less loud.

Multitone performance is respectable, sans the power supply noise:
View attachment 375874

Lack of much rise in distortion at higher frequencies translates into excellent performance in the 19 & 20 KHz intermodulation distortion test:
View attachment 375875

I wish crosstalk was better:
View attachment 375876

The amplifier is rated at 100 watts into 8 ohm and it nicely delivers that and then some:
View attachment 375877

It nicely scales to 4 ohm:
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We can see the nice predictable power as we step through frequencies:
View attachment 375882
I think this is the first amplifier I have tested which doesn't cheat out on 20 Hz test signal.

The amplifier is essentially open for business on power up:
View attachment 375880

Amplifier Reactive Load Stress Tests
Let's use the loadbox to simulate resistive and non-resistive peak power going all the way down to 2 ohms:
View attachment 375883
It doesn't quite double down on each impedance half but it still produces a ton of power:

View attachment 375884

Keep in mind that these are stereo tests so total power is twice as much. Very nice.

I should note that the amplifier handled overloads during this test as if they were not there. No protection. No powering down. No nothing.

EDIT: DAC and Phono Input Measurements.
Yamaha A-S701 Digital Input Measurements
Unfortunately there is no pre-out so I can only test digital input when going through the amplifier. Then again, that is how you would use it. Here is our dashboard then with Toslink input:
View attachment 376279
Well, this is sad. Distortion spikes fair bit reducing SINAD by some 8 dB. :( We also lose 6 dB in noise department:
View attachment 376280

Yamaha A-S701 Phono Input Measurements
Per above, this is again with amplifier engaged:
View attachment 376281
We are dominated by the amplified power supply noise which I could not further reduce.

RIAA equalization is not the greatest, losing bass response by 1 dB @ 20 Hz:
View attachment 376282

I would have thought Japanese companies know how to do a phono stage cold. Doesn't seem like it especially when one sees the early overload:
View attachment 376283

Conclusions
The Yamaha A-S701 is a beautiful integrated amplifier with a lot of functionality. Its design is very robust and is capable of easily exceeding its specifications. Overall ranking is at the high-end of "very good," bordering on excellent. All of this comes at a reasonable cost.

EDIT: both the DAC and phono stage are mediocre.

I am going to recommend the Yamaha A-S701 stereo integrated amplifier. If you are a fan of traditional class AB amplifier and you want something that looks good to boot, the A-S701 seems to be the ticket.

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As always, questions, comments, recommendations, etc. are welcome.

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Glad to see this review. I have the A-S801 which is basically the same aside from the DAC. I also love that you can toggle the pure direct mode from the remote. Very useful, and rarely mentioned. As Amir states in the review, the good results require the CD direct button to be engaged, which reduces this to a power amplifier with a volume knob. All other functions, including tone, other input sources, loudness, and balance are not usable in this mode (however, you can ditch the CD direct mode and engage the pure direct mode instead, which makes the other input sources useable, but keeps all the tone/balance controls out of the loop).Practically, I love the amp and am plenty pleased with the audible performance in ANY mode. The loudness function is very helpful for low level listening. But it seems slightly unfair to bill this as a review of an integrated amplifier, as all the integrations must be disabled to achieve these results. Whatever. I love it either way!
 
The Yamaha A-S701 is a comprehensively featured, attractive, well finished and built integrated amplifer with plenty of power at a bargain price, assembled in Yamaha's purpose built and owned Malaysian factory that has been producing the ToP-ART designs this is based on, for over 30 years.

It has a phono stage, an inbuilt D/A converter, facility for headphones and two independently switched sets of speakers, subwoofer out, as well as multiple digital and analogue inputs and outputs. It has tone controls, balance and adjustable loudness. The entire thing comes with a remote control to operate all the major functions. It has decades long proven reliability, runs very cool, is backed by a large worldwide service network, with a full range of reasonably priced spare parts outside of warranty and decent service inside warranty.

It also retains a good proportion of its purchase price should anyone ever wish to trade up or sell.

No contest.
Hi John,

So you like it?

About 5 years ago I purchased a very similar piece of gear, a second hand Marantz PM 5005 for about US $400 with the same feature set for my beach house that I share with another family.

I hooked up a pair of out door speakers on the patio and the kids play their stuff using their iPhones as remotes via an inexpensive streamer into the optical in.

Much less power than the Yamaha but everyone loves the flexibility and ease of use you get with an integrated amp.

For those following this thread I cooked some gear in my previously poorly ventilated cupboard and John repaired them for me. We live an hour from each other on Australia’s east coast.

He even dropped my gear off to me so we could meet.

He is very much an expert in all things audio and is what was once known in the western world as “ a gentleman”.
 
85dB SINAD may seems low now with the DAC tested but one must consider that this will probably be the measurement of the whole chain,from the digital source to the speakers.
Anyone who has measured such a chain,specially at a reduced level as here will tell you that this is not bad at all.
Yes,it could be better but great care should be taken of with separates,their impedance matching,gear structure,VC,etc.

I honestly expected it to be worst at that price range,given all the features it caries.
 
Hi John,

So you like it?

About 5 years ago I purchased a very similar piece of gear, a second hand Marantz PM 5005 for about US $400 with the same feature set for my beach house that I share with another family.

I hooked up a pair of out door speakers on the patio and the kids play their stuff using their iPhones as remotes via an inexpensive streamer into the optical in.

Much less power than the Yamaha but everyone loves the flexibility and ease of use you get with an integrated amp.

For those following this thread I cooked some gear in my previously poorly ventilated cupboard and John repaired them for me. We live an hour from each other on Australia’s east coast.

He even dropped my gear off to me so we could meet.

He is very much an expert in all things audio and is what was once known in the western world as “ a gentleman”.

I'm a bit of a purist so I can't wholeheartedly say the Yamaha range is awesome in every respect. It isn't. Yamaha wandered off into the wilderness of HT in the early 90s and it took them nearly 20 years to make a proper return to 2 channel HiFi mainstream with a decent offering.

For the situation you describe, I wouldn't recommend the Yamahas, as they are too well ventilated (ironic) and contain a lot of surface mount (the DAC etc) components on horizontal boards right under the grilles. Salt air just makes a mess of it. In fact, somewhere back a few weeks I posted some pics of a nice Yamaha RN-602 belonging to a good mate. He'd used it for years and then ~3 years ago, moved to a beachhouse 1 street back from the ocean at Nobbys Beach.

It's a write off. I can only bring it back from the dead as a normal amplifier- tuner/bluetooth/wireless/lan/streaming all dead from corrosion. All casework screws and panels have rusted. The big old through-hole components in the power amp stage survived and still work. It would likely be unreliable in the long term, and he likes his parties to not be interupted with technical issues. LOL. But he's so used to the rich functionality I suggested he grab a couple of Wiim amps as they seem pretty solid, have the ventilation slots underneath and has all the functionality he seems to want, as well as decent amp stage. Probably not powerful enough for you however. :)

And his PCs need replacing every 2 or 3 years due to the fans pulling in salt air and destroying the boards from the inside out.
 
Thermal design on the CA2010 and CA1010 are barely adequate to deal with the heat. CA-800 runs hotter than Hell in Class A mode.
I have a CA-2010 now for decades. I assure you it doesn't sound grainy, and measures ruler flat, with quite contemporary specs.
View attachment 376560
In other words, it sounds lust like a (very reliable) 125 WPC amplifier with really well thought out controls and features. So yes, the strange descriptions we gave to gear back in the day have no place at all in reality. I heard a few months ago another anecdote about Yamaha having systematically weak bass, also a myth on the units I have measured, for example:
View attachment 376566

I never use the Class A, it doesn't change or improve the sound except to reduce the power output and increase the heat dramatically. And the one thing I value more than almost anything else on this amp is the reliability. Only two things have ever needed service, the Class A "Operation Mode" switch gave out, I replaced it. And the VU meters required service (replaced the bulbs with LED).
What I was subjectively banging on about has nothing whatever to do with frequency response, but it's nearly fifty years too late to go back and do a proper blind test to 'prove' how crap my sensibilities may have been back then. I just remember how much better 'venue acoustic' seemed to be reproduced when the 800 and 1000mk2 was reproduced when set to class A on these amps, but many years later, the 1000mk2 bombed out as a preamp driving several metres of cable to the active speakers I had, this with 'tone jump' engaged too, an AVI preamp sounding so much less 'dirty' and basically clearer... Ho Hum really, as nobody here will take those comments with anything but a huge dose of salts :D

Back to reality though - I gather the input circuits have changed on this chassis over the generations? Sadly, it seems the earliest versions of this amp 'chassis' were rarely if ever reviewed properly over this way, let alone hugely promoted. Technics made some good, well evolved amps in the late 90's and some of these did get good reviews I remember.
 
Back to reality though - I gather the input circuits have changed on this chassis over the generations? Sadly, it seems the earliest versions of this amp 'chassis' were rarely if ever reviewed properly over this way, let alone hugely promoted.

Absolutely they have changed. And you're right, comprehensive reviews are rare. I could do a whole thread on the good, the bad and the ugly of Yamaha integrateds, but people might get bored.

The HiFi Choice (UK) extensive technical reviews done in the late 1970s and 80s of their ancient stuff were pretty biased. And the test equipment was obsolete by modern standards.

None of the Yamahas are perfect, but for Joe Average, the latest series is pretty bomb-proof and works very well.
 
What I was subjectively banging on about has nothing whatever to do with frequency response, but it's nearly fifty years too late to go back and do a proper blind test to 'prove' how crap my sensibilities may have been back then. I just remember how much better 'venue acoustic' seemed to be reproduced when the 800 and 1000mk2 was reproduced when set to class A on these amps, but many years later, the 1000mk2 bombed out as a preamp driving several metres of cable to the active speakers I had, this with 'tone jump' engaged too, an AVI preamp sounding so much less 'dirty' and basically clearer... Ho Hum really, as nobody here will take those comments with anything but a huge dose of salts :D

Back to reality though - I gather the input circuits have changed on this chassis over the generations? Sadly, it seems the earliest versions of this amp 'chassis' were rarely if ever reviewed properly over this way, let alone hugely promoted. Technics made some good, well evolved amps in the late 90's and some of these did get good reviews I remember.
Yes, huge dose of salt, which is why I posted some distortion data. The frequency response was regarding another anecdote I heard on ASR.
Yeah, if you read the Yamaha manual, follow their suggestion, and listen to 'serious music'... I guess your brain would lead you to believe Class A adds some magic.
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I hope you realize 'venue acoustic' sounds like a description of a typical auditory hallucination.;)

I bought my Yamaha used as a trade-in it in at the store I worked at, hoping it would reproduce some of the magic I thought I heard in the Levinson Class A monoblocks we sold. The Yamaha provided a trivial way to test these notions, and ultimately helped me dispel that magic, playing a part in me learning that these suggested differences were parlor tricks.

This test on page 78 of Stereo Review helped too:
https://americanradiohistory.com/Archive-HiFI-Stereo/80s/HiFi-Stereo-Review-1987-01.pdf
And regarding 'properly reviewed' equipment, I learned that most of the print reviews weren't proper, and in fact misleading, as honest as carnival-barkers. All the while proper tests were being conducted:

No idea about your long-run RCA cable experiment. Yamaha does include the pre-out specs in their manuals of that era to help diagnose exactly what is going on when connecting other equipment, and for sure long RCA cable runs can be a problem with any gear. But your impression that one unit sounded "so much less 'dirty' and basically clearer" is indeed "Ho Hum", so IDK if you had a real issue, or an unverifiable impression as is often the case. One great thing about working at that stereo store, I had access to a few very practical people with vast technical expertise who taught me how to understand and address these types of issues. And these types of issues did come up, especially home and commercial install. For example, Niles had very specific guidelines for long run RCA, and provided specs and a list of remedies.

I own some classic Technics as well. They also sound (and measure) great.
 
I can buy the A-S801 from a local dealer/long time friend/old A/V account for sheet cost. I'd rather buy one of these than a dozen of these little cheap chip amps that are rated with some 90's cheap car audio standard. I just can't do disposable.
 
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