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YAMAHA A-S701 - tear-down, thoughts about the internals & few measurements

trl

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#1
I bought this amplifier with built-in DAC over 1 year ago from Amazon and had no issue using it several hours per day. My kid is using it daily on TV and XBOX over the SPDIF input, I'm using it couple of times per week as well and it works as expected, as in day one. It's barely warm during operation on low to moderate volume, so I really need to push it out very loud to make it heat up a bit on top. It has relays and protections all over, so I'm somehow confident that it's really hard to blow it away with ease.

After I unpacked it and connected to the speakers I had a strange impression that bass is not on pair with my good old Pioneer A-209R MOSFET output stage amplifier. I was kinda disappointed by this and almost ready to pack it back and return it, but...I settled down for 3-4 days without listening to any music, then during the weekend I did another test. This time bass was "on pair" with what I was used to remember from my older Pioneer amp, but way much powerful output, so I was happy. :) I haven't done any REW compares between the two amps, because this was definitely a subjective opinion of mine on the first day, not sure why, because I wasn't expected this amp to sound better or worse than the previous one, all I needed was just a more powerful amp.

The YAMAHA A-S701 is about identical with A-S801, but the DAC being different: PCM5102A with SPDIF and COAX transport vs. ES9010K2M that adds USB transport too. Also, on the amplifier parts and schematic, the above two are about the same with the "older brother" A-S700.


Front_1.jpg

Front

Front plate seems to be a black thick aluminium foil glued on plastic, and not full aluminium. However, it definitely looks good enough to me. The knobs are all plastic, but the look is similar with aluminium. I do like the adjustable Loudness contour that does a very good job on evenings when listening quietly to TV, to not disturb the sleeping family. I don't use the Bass/Treble controls, but I think YAMAHA is the only company I've seen using 20Hz and 20000Hz controls on their amplifiers, while most are using 100Hz and 10000Hz, like I'd ever care about adjusting the "boomy" sound of the 100Hz.


Back.jpg

Back
On the backside of the amplifier there is a low/high impedance switch that ensures sort of a protection against overloading the output stage when two pairs of low impedance speakers are connected in parallel (e.g.: when connecting one pair of 4-Ohms or two pairs of 8-Ohms speakers). Basically, the big transformer has 4 windings: a pair able to deliver 2 x 40 VAC and another pair able to deliver 2 x 33 VAC, so when choosing "high impedance" you get the biggest voltage on both positive and negative rails of the power amp and when choosing "low impedance" you get the lowest voltage. Of course, this selection will need to be done with the power knob OFF, although on the newer Yamaha AVR models there's an on-the-fly selection available on the menu from the front LCD. Not setting the impedance selector correctly, according to your speakers impedance, might cause the amplifier to enter into protection state due to overcurrent or overheating, especially when max. power is used for a longer time. However, with my 4 Ohms speakers I never had any issues leaving this impedance-selector on the High setting (per Audioholic's recommendation), so I guess it's really hard to make this amp to overheat.

Worth mentioning that the max. power consumption is about double what YAMAHA states on the backplate.


WP_20191012_09_15_14_Pro.jpg

Inside arrangement

The inside construction is done in a similar way like server computers, with a big motherboard and more "raiser-cards": one DAC board, two analogue inputs boards, one auxiliary PSU board. This modular design might be helpful if something gets broken, because only the defective cards will get swapped, but this design will also improve the inside air ventilation too.


WP_20191012_09_33_30_Pro.jpg

The pre-amp and power-amp inside are fully transistorized, while the input stages are opamp-based, so the schematic is rather complicated and well engineered. I do like the inside work and PCB layout and the components seem carefully chosen, with good quality Japanese capacitors (Nichicon FW for audio circuits United Chemi-Con ASF, SMG and SMQ for power supplies and bypassing) and low-noise Japanese opamps from NJM/JRC. Soldering looks good, components are well-arranged, several protections are in place and the power supply transformer seems beefy enough to help the output stage in delivering enough power for regular 85...90 dB/W/1m speakers to achieve the THX standard of 105 dB of loudness peaks (85 dB SPL with 20 dB of headroom) in a normal-sized living room (more info here: http://www.acousticfrontiers.com/2013314thx-reference-level/).


WP_20191012_09_25_14_Pro.jpg

Transformer with shielding
There is a big and heavy transformer provided by the Japanese manufacturer KAGA COMPONENTS shielded around with copper foil, on the horizontal plane, to minimize EMI field across surrounding analogue circuitry.


WP_20191012_09_46_19_Pro.jpg

Bridge rectifier with thermistor on top and the three 2SA1659 drivers for the big speakers relays

The bridge rectifier used to power amplifier circuitry is a Japanese 6 Ampers Fujitsu S5VB60 with tiny thin heatsink on top and something that might be a thermistor. The temperature gets analyzed by a microprocessor and if it's too high then the audio power will get cut-off and the amplifier will enter into an emergency state.


Big_PSU_caps.jpg

Big 12000uF/71V power supply reservoir caps and Japanese relays for speakers

Positive and negative rails are "buffered" by two big reservoir caps from NIPPON CHEMI-CON rated at 12000uF/71V at 85C. Given that the inside temps are quite low (40-50C) while operating at moderate-to-high power output, I think that 85C caps is a good frugal choice here and a rating of 105C would be overkill.


Auxiliary_PSU.jpg

Auxiliary linear power supply, also used for stand-by operation

There is an auxiliary PSU as well that ensures power on the digital board and also takes care of the auto stand-by feature, that can be enabled/disabled from the switch from the backside of the amp. This small PSU makes possible the use of the power ON/OFF button from the remote control, of course, if the mains power button from the front panel is in ON position. I personally like to have an analogue mains ON/OFF power button instead of having only a "digital" one, because this ensures that no power will be drawn from the mains outlet when that button is fully depressed. There is a very small transformer installed on the dedicated PSU board followed by a Fujitsu D4SBN20 bridge rectifier.


WP_20191012_10_10_06_Pro.jpg

Linear PSU with 4A bridge rectifier and 4700uF/16V cap that goes to DAC board regulators and the USB +5V


DAC_board.jpg

DAC board

The DAC board has only COAXIAL and OTPICAL digital inputs, so there is no USB input there. That means you will need a dedicated USB-to-SPDIF transport if you want to connect it to a computer or simply use a computer with SDPIF out (most motherboards have SPDIF-out these days). On the same board there is a clean +5V/0.5A USB power "outlet" (done with TPS2051CDBVR) for use with external devices like BT streaming or transport devices.

For the digital-to-analogue convertion a well-known PCM5102A chip was used. This chip, when well implemented, has a THD+N at –1 dBFS of -93 dB and a dynamic range of 112dB. The ADC used to connect the SPDIF and COAX plugs is a PCM9211 that has a similar THD+N at –1 dBFS of -93 dB and a dynamic range of 101 dB at 96 KHz A-weighted. Bypass across the analogue and digital +3.3V power rails was done with Nichicon polarized capacitors.

DAC and ADC 5V power is regulated by NJM2388F05 and 3.3V rails are regulated by LDO's like RP130Q331D-TR-F and RP170H331B from RICOH.

WP_20191012_09_56_44_Pro.jpg

Analogue internal "mixer"/input switcher

The analogue inputs are "multiplexed" by a proprietary chip named YD953A0 soldered on the backside of the analogue inputs board, so basically there are no relays to connect the RCA plugs to the internal pre-amplifier. This chip actually acts as a mixer which is buffered on the outputs by a low-noise NJM2068MD (M - stands for the small DMP8 socket, D - stands for very low noise). However, when CD-DIRECT is pressed the YD953A0 and the NJM2068MD are bypassed, this way an even lower background noise is achieved, hence a better SNR and THD+N.

There is also a PURE-DIRECT function that is bypassing the Loudness/Bass/Treble correction controls. Noise difference between CD-DIRECT, PURE-DIRECT and "normal" exists, but I was only able to hear it with volume to the max. (volume knob at 5 o'clock) and my ear at 1" in front of the tweeter & midrange drivers, so at normal-to-high loudness levels with peaks up to 100dB SPL at listening position or avg. around 80-85dB SPL (volume knob around 1 o'clock) amplifier's background noise is inaudible at 1" in front of the speakers drivers, no matter CD-DIRECT or PURE-DIREC are pressed or not (noise was tested with no music playing, only volume knob was setup based on the above listening levels!).


WP_20191012_10_02_57_Pro.jpg

PHONO and CD input board
The PHONO input stage has very low noise NJM2068MD dual opamps and CD input stage has NJM5532MD opamps with Nichicon FW 10uF/50V polarized cap on each channel, to decouple any possible DC-voltage coming from the CD player/audio source. By using these dual opamps, the Yamaha engineers did a very clever thing, in converting the audio signal into balanced, so "traveling" from the input board to the mixer board will grab near to zero interferences. The SUB_out is buffered by a NJM4580E dual opamp that also does the low-pass filtering too. All the other analogue inputs are routed directly to the YD953A0 propietary chip that is acting as an input/output selector.


Analogue_mixer_front.jpg

Second analogue inputs board controlled by the proprietary mixer chip named YD953A0

Yamaha_A-S701-Volume_control.png

Volume control seems to be digital


Volume is adjusted via an ALPS motorized RK16811MGA09 "1-gang" potentiometer. No, I don't think I'm wrong, it looks indeed like a "1-gang" pot, yes...a mono potentiometer. :) Seems that the volume control, like many other functions, are done by the custom proprietary microprocessor with a flash memory inside, named YG398A9 and with a notice on the schematic: "No replacement part available". That means there should be no added volume pot. Johnson noise inside the audio path and no channel imbalance will occur, at least not due to the potentiometer.

Yamaha_A-S701-Microprocessor.png


The same YG398A9 microprocessor is also handling the overcurrent and overheating protections from the output transistors and bridge rectifiers. The are also some "secret" codes (from remote keys and front panel buttons) to do some basic "re-programming", so after a thermal shutdown you don't need to send the amplifier to RMA, just let it cool down then use the "secrete" codes.


WP_20191012_09_06_10_Pro.jpg

One channel shown, paralleled complementary bipolar SANKEN transistors
The output power stage is created around the well-known complementary bi-polar Japanese SANKEN transistors 2SA1694 / 2SC4467 with 2 paralleled pairs per channel, each transistor being able to sustain a continuous 4A with peaks up to 8A, so about 60W/transistor at 55C on heatsink (based on "Safe Operating Area" and I graphs from transistor's datasheet). Each channel has its own heatsink with two output transistors pairs connected and on top pf each heatsink there's a LM61CIZ thermistor that triggers an alarm when overheating occurs, so the microprocessor will cut-off the audio signals and power and enter the amplifier into protection state.

WP_20191012_10_32_33_Pro.jpg

The headphones "connector" board with the two 470 Ohms resistors
Yamaha_A-S701-Headphones_amplifier.png

The headphones amplifier...well, there's no dedicated headamp inside. Instead, Yamaha did placed couple of 470 Ohms resistors serialized with speakers outputs, to decrease the output voltage on the 6.3mm jack plug. Who wants an amplifier with a built-in dedicated transistorized headamp might want to have a look to the Yamaha A-S1100/2100/3100 series that also have "VU-meters" and floating Circlotron MOSFET output stage and way more bridge rectifiers and reservoir caps.

I very much like that a Japanese company like YAMAHA is able to use Japanese components inside this amplifier-with-DAC equipment and still keep the price low enough (lower than 500 EUR). I seriously think this amp has a very good price/performance ratio for an amp that has "For 8 ohms, two channels driven, output was around 105 watts/channel and 185 watts/channel for 4 ohms under 0.01% THD+N", per Audioholics wrote here: https://www.audioholics.com/amplifi...1-amplifier-review/yamaha-a-s801-measurements, so output power is higher than manufacturer states, which is a good thing. Also, output power is more detailed measured here as well: https://www.excelia-hifi.cz/yamaha/test/yamaha-a-s700-australian_hifi_03_10.pdf and some other measurements and thought could be read here: https://audio.com.pl/testy/stereo/wzmacniacze-stereo/2786-yamaha-a-s801.
 
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trl

trl

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Thread Starter #2
Few basic measurements done with Xonar U7 and Focusrite Solo 3.

First measurements were done with my Picoscope that showed a 35mV DC voltage on output. This is a respectable value for an amplifier that is able to push over 30V RMS on 8-Ohms speakers. I've seen headamps with 20-30mV of DC.

Freq_response_1ch.png

Ruler flat from 10 Hz to 22 KHz


Impulse_response.png

Impulse response of the built-in DAC (optical input from Xonar U7 used as USB transport)


The below measurements were done without vs. with speakers connected, to show the influence of the 3-ways speakers for the output stage and the measurements values differences. The voltage used was around the value of 4.5V RMS, so a 5 W was used as reference here, as Amir suggested in his own power amps reviews. However, increasing the volume will lower the THD+N and increase the final SINAD. External DAC used was Conductor V2+ on DAC-Out (PRE-Out is too noisy due to the internal pre-amp chip).

Ext_DAC_USB_CD-Direct_open.circ-1KHz.png

External DAC used on CD-input, CD-DIRECT pressed, no speakers connected, 1 KHz


Ext_DAC_USB_CD-Direct_4Ohm-spk-1KHz.png

External DAC used on CD-input, CD-DIRECT pressed, real 4-Ohms speakers connected, 1 KHz



Int_DAC_Coax_Pure-Direct_open.circ-1KHz.png

Built-in DAC (COAX-input), CD-DIRECT pressed, no speakers connected, 1 KHz


Int_DAC_Coax_Pure-Direct_4Ohm-spk-1KHz.png

Built-in DAC (COAX input), CD-DIRECT pressed, real 4-Ohms speakers connected, 1 KHz

Seems that the Conductor V2+ has a better DAC inside than the A-S701, because with speakers connected I was able to get a THD+N of 0.0046% vs. 0.0071%.

Usually, when speakers are connected, the low-end of the audio band is more impacted, so below tests are with 50 Hz sines.

Ext_DAC_USB_CD-Direct_open.circ-50Hz.png

External DAC used on CD-input, CD-DIRECT pressed, no speakers connected, 50 Hz

Ext_DAC_USB_CD-Direct_4Ohm-spk-50Hz.png

External DAC used on CD-input, CD-DIRECT pressed, real 4-Ohms speakers connected, 50 Hz

Int_DAC_Coax_Pure-Direct_open.circ-50Hz.png

Built-in DAC (COAX-input), CD-DIRECT pressed, no speakers connected, 50 Hz
Int_DAC_Coax_Pure-Direct_4Ohm-spk-50Hz.png

Built-in DAC (COAX input), CD-DIRECT pressed, real 4-Ohms speakers connected, 50 Hz

Again, the external DAC connected to CD-input was measuring a bit better than the built-in one for 50 Hz test signals as well, with a THD+N of 0.0052% vs. 0.0080%.

So, for 5 Watts of power on 4-Ohms speakers connected and external DAC playing sines I got a THD+N of 0.0046% with 1 KHz and 0.0052% with 50 Hz.
 
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Cahudson42

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#4
Thanks for this report, @trl.

There is obviously a lot of interest in the as301/501/701, and your report is the most thorough around. Hopefully, Amirm will test one for us as well. Hopefully, soon
 
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pozz

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#5
The resisters for the headphone subsystem are just :facepalm:

Really great presentation of the internals and measurements.
 

Cahudson42

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#6
Few basic measurements done with Xonar U7 and Focusrite Solo 3.

First measurements were done with my Picoscope that showed a 35mV DC voltage on output. This is a respectable value for an amplifier that is able to push over 30V RMS on 8-Ohms speakers. I've seen headamps with 20-30mV of DC.

View attachment 36396
Ruler flat from 10 Hz to 22 KHz


View attachment 36397
Impulse response of the built-in DAC (optical input from Xonar U7 used as USB transport)


The below measurements were done without vs. with speakers connected, to show the influence of the 3-ways speakers for the output stage and the measurements values differences. The voltage used was around the value of 4.5V RMS, so a 5 W was used as reference here, as Amir suggested in his own power amps reviews. However, increasing the volume will lower the THD+N and increase the final SINAD. External DAC used was Conductor V2+ on DAC-Out (PRE-Out is too noisy due to the internal pre-amp chip).

View attachment 36400
External DAC used on CD-input, CD-DIRECT pressed, no speakers connected, 1 KHz


View attachment 36398
External DAC used on CD-input, CD-DIRECT pressed, real 4-Ohms speakers connected, 1 KHz



View attachment 36404
Built-in DAC (COAX-input), CD-DIRECT pressed, no speakers connected, 1 KHz


View attachment 36402
Built-in DAC (COAX input), CD-DIRECT pressed, real 4-Ohms speakers connected, 1 KHz

Seems that the Conductor V2+ has a better DAC inside than the A-S701, because with speakers connected I was able to get a THD+N of 0.0046% vs. 0.0071%.

Usually, when speakers are connected, the low-end of the audio band is more impacted, so below tests are with 50 Hz sines.

View attachment 36401
External DAC used on CD-input, CD-DIRECT pressed, no speakers connected, 50 Hz

View attachment 36399
External DAC used on CD-input, CD-DIRECT pressed, real 4-Ohms speakers connected, 50 Hz

View attachment 36405
Built-in DAC (COAX-input), CD-DIRECT pressed, no speakers connected, 50 Hz
View attachment 36403
Built-in DAC (COAX input), CD-DIRECT pressed, real 4-Ohms speakers connected, 50 Hz

Again, the external DAC connected to CD-input was measuring a bit better than the built-in one for 50 Hz test signals as well, with a THD+N of 0.0052% vs. 0.0080%.

So, for 5 Watts of power on 4-Ohms speakers connected and external DAC playing sines I got a THD+N of 0.0046% with 1 KHz and 0.0052% with 50 Hz.
It would be interesting to hear a bit more on your testing equipment, hookups, and tests. Which picoscope? etc. Worth its own thread?

Looks pretty good for a lot less than 28k$:)
 
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trl

trl

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Thread Starter #7
It would be interesting to hear a bit more on your testing equipment, hookups, and tests. Which picoscope? etc. Worth its own thread?

Looks pretty good for a lot less than 28k$:)
The cheap 2204A does the job very well for me for AC ripple & noise, but also foe square-waves tests and also to check for possible oscillations.

I used the cheap ASUS Xonar U7 (v1) and Focusrite Solo Gen 3 connected via 1/5 resistive voltage divider to B-out of the amplifier, while speakers were connected to A-out.

As software I use ARTA, STEPS, RMAA, REW a.s.o. My measurements are not aiming to find out the best SINAD of a DUT, but more to check if manufacturer specs are achieved and DUT is operating within the specs.
 

maty

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#10
There is also a PURE-DIRECT function that is bypassing the Loudness/Bass/Treble correction controls. Noise difference between CD-DIRECT, PURE-DIRECT and "normal" exists, but I was only able to hear it with volume to the max. (volume knob at 5 o'clock) and my ear at 1" in front of the tweeter & midrange drivers, so at normal-to-high loudness levels with peaks up to 100dB SPL at listening position or avg. around 80-85dB SPL (volume knob around 1 o'clock) amplifier's background noise is inaudible at 1" in front of the speakers drivers, no matter CD-DIRECT or PURE-DIREC are pressed or not (noise was tested with no music playing, only volume knob was setup based on the above listening levels!).
[PDF] https://europe.yamaha.com/files/download/other_assets/0/332210/A-S701_S501_S301_om_G-1.pdf

CD Direct Amp

Yamaha-A-S701-CD-direct-amp.jpg.png


The true test must be made with very good recordings with high DR, I think.


Updated with new capture:

Yamaha-A-S701-CD-Direct-amp-on-snr.png
 
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maty

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#13
With very little expense and without much work you can try, at least I would try, after knowing perfectly the sound of the amplifier.
 
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trl

trl

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@maty, exactly the same link from amazon.de is were I bought my amp; there's actually my 5-stars review in there. :) And BTW, just dropped to 444 EUR now, really a bargain I'd say.

As for the second hand A-S700, the 254 EUR is a steal. The amplifier and PSU parts are identical in all three A-S700 & A-S701 & A-S801, what's different in the older A-S700:
- is the preamp/input stage that is not done by a microchip, instead is done with NJM2068 opamps and few transistors;
- volume control is different too, it's a proprietary P/N, might be analogue inside, might be digital as well;
- the CD input stage is around OP275, while in A-S701/801 is done around NJM2068.
- of course, A-S700 has no DAC inside

With volume to the max. and CD-DIRECT pressed there's absolutely no noise coming from my 90dB/W/1m 4-Ohms speakers, unless I'm sitting with one ear 2 inches in front of the tweeter. No audible mains hum at all, of course, and my speakers are having 2 woofers per channel. What you see in the graphs around 50Hz is caused by the 2 meters long cable I've connected my ADC to the speakers-out with.
 

maty

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As for the second hand A-S700, the 254 EUR is a steal. The amplifier and PSU parts are identical in all three A-S700 & A-S701 & A-S801, what's different in the older A-S700:
- is the preamp/input stage that is not done by a microchip, instead is done with NJM2068 opamps and few transistors;
- volume control is different too, it's a proprietary P/N, might be analogue inside, might be digital as well;
- the CD input stage is around OP275, while in A-S701/801 is done around NJM2068.
- of course, A-S700 has no DAC inside

With volume to the max. and CD-DIRECT pressed there's absolutely no noise coming from my 90dB/W/1m 4-Ohms speakers, unless I'm sitting with one ear 2 inches in front of the tweeter. No audible mains hum at all, of course, and my speakers are having 2 woofers per channel. What you see in the graphs around 50Hz is caused by the 2 meters long cable I've connected my ADC to the speakers-out with.
NJM2068MD-TE1 and NJM2296M in my modded AVR Marantz SR4500. At first I thought about changing them but I did not. The current sound is great thanks to the PEQ of JRiver MC 64-bits. With films: delay of 1 ms. With music: delay of 3 ms. Orchestral music: 5 ms.

Old pictures:

AV-Marantz-SR4500-interior-teflon-pvc-black-cover-cables.jpg


AV-Marantz-SR4500-interior-teflon-pvc-black-cover-cables-left.jpg


I have always noticed a lot of difference with or without Pure Direct in my two systems. Music ALWAYS with Pure Direct.
 
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maty

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#16
Yamaha A-S701 headphones "connector" board with the two 470 Ohms resistors




AVR Marantz SR4500 headphones "connector" board with the two 330 Ohms resistors

AV-Marantz-SR4500-headphone-scheme.png



To compensate the boost I have in foobar2000 and JRiver MC:

Old picture

foobar2000-takstar-ts-671-izotope-rx-5-de-hum-hpf-172hz-q-07.png


JRMC-takstar-ts-671-izotope-rx-7-de-hum-hpf-220hz-q-07.png



You can see that now I have more bass than before. The filter has risen to 220 Hz. I have not used headphones for a long time. These configuration was made before I use the PEQ with the coaxial speakers.
 
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JJB70

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#17
The Yamaha AS701 and AS801 and indeed their cheaper cousins like the 301 are good solid amplifiers that are readily available from local dealers and often at good discounts which are nicely finished and sound perfectly fine. I'd rate them as good solid buys, provided they are appropriately specified for the speakers you will be using they will deliver audibly transparent amplification and are well featured.

I see Yamaha as offering a massive bonus over some other cheaper audio brands particularly Chinese brands. The performance may be no better, they may be more expensive and they don't have the audiophile cachet of some but I can go to a local shop 3.5 miles away, have them demo'd and have local warranty and consumer rights with all that entails in case anything ever goes wrong. And to me that is worth quite a bit.
 

anmpr1

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I see Yamaha as offering a massive bonus over some other cheaper audio brands...
FWIW I bought a Yamaha AX-592, I guess in the late '90s. I don't use it much anymore, but it works fine. I think I paid five hundred dollars for it, new. If I was in the market for an integrated amp at the price point, Yamaha would definitely be my go to choice.

At the time I also bought the companion TX-950 tuner. Sadly, a capacitor leaked, spewing black gunk over the circuit board. Since it was a tuner, and since FM is something I don't bother with, I never did the repair, but gently threw it in the round file with the weekly disposables. It was, however, a good FM tuner for its time.
 

AudioSceptic

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#19
The Yamaha AS701 and AS801 and indeed their cheaper cousins like the 301 are good solid amplifiers that are readily available from local dealers and often at good discounts which are nicely finished and sound perfectly fine. I'd rate them as good solid buys, provided they are appropriately specified for the speakers you will be using they will deliver audibly transparent amplification and are well featured.

I see Yamaha as offering a massive bonus over some other cheaper audio brands particularly Chinese brands. The performance may be no better, they may be more expensive and they don't have the audiophile cachet of some but I can go to a local shop 3.5 miles away, have them demo'd and have local warranty and consumer rights with all that entails in case anything ever goes wrong. And to me that is worth quite a bit.
Richer Sounds? ;)
 
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