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Yamaha R-N803 Smart Receiver Review

amirm

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This is a review and detailed measurements of the Yamaha R-N803 Receiver, amplifier, and streamer. It was purchased by a member (b-stock?) and drop shipped to me. The R-N803 costs US $750 from amazon including Prime shipping.

The R-N803 has AV-style features such as Room EQ but with only two channels of amplification. It has a retro look which is quite a bit nicer than an AVR though:

Yamaha R-N803  Hi-Fi Audio Component Receiver Audio Review.jpg

Alas, beauty is only skin deep. Those nice vertical controls are loose and have nowhere near the great feel of the 1970s gear with their solid mechanical selectors.

The back panel shows how the video features have been stripped away:

Yamaha R-N803  Hi-Fi Audio Component Receiver back panel inputs and outputs Audio Review.jpg

As a package, it is much more appealing than the monster size of typical AVR. So not a bad effort.

Internally there are decent size heat sinks, one for each channel. This is a huge step up from a shared flimsy heat sinks we see in modern AVRs with many channels. This resulted in high robustness as in my testing, nothing caused the R-N803 to shut down or go into protection mode. With AVRs it is common for them to do these things even though I still drive them with just two channels.

Receiver Amplifier Testing
I exclusively used the CD input for my testing. There is a button for Pure Direct as there is on AVRs so let's engage that and see what we get:

Yamaha R-N803  Hi-Fi Audio Component Receiver Pure Direct Audio Measurements.png


I set the volume control to +3 db to get the nominal 29 dB of gain. Measurements were not that different at 0 dB. I had to play fair bit to get rid of some ground loops (this is 2-pin, insulated device). Once there, I was rewarded with pretty good SINAD which is a combined measure of distortion and noise:

best stereo amplifier review 2020.png


As you see, the ranking is way above average of just 77 dB SINAD.

Switching off pure direct mode however, causes severe performance drop:

Yamaha R-N803  Hi-Fi Audio Component Receiver Audio Measurements.png


Noise floor as moved massively up and distortion has increased. Now we are back in the poor category of AVRs. Sadly to use Room EQ you need to operate in this mode so you have a tough decision of whether you want to have low noise/distortion or room EQ.

Dynamic range in pure mode is good:

Yamaha R-N803  Hi-Fi Audio Component Receiver Pure Direct Dynamic Range Audio Measurements.png


As is crosstalk:

Yamaha R-N803  Hi-Fi Audio Component Receiver Crosstalk Audio Measurements.png


Frequency response is excellent in pure mode as well:

Yamaha R-N803  Hi-Fi Audio Component Receiver Frequency Response Audio Measurements.png


Turning off pure (green) causes a sharp drop near 50 kHz which seems to indicate the input is digitized using 96 kHz sampling. It is nice that this rate is a lot higher than many AVRs use. Not so nice is the non-flat response even though I set all the controls to the middle.

There is plenty of power into 4 ohm load at lower distortion and noise than a number of AVRs:
Yamaha R-N803  Hi-Fi Audio Component Receiver Power into 4 ohm Audio Measurements.png


Switching to 8 ohm load and measuring pure and non-pure modes, shows the poor performance of the latter:

Yamaha R-N803  Hi-Fi Audio Component Receiver Power into 8 ohm Audio Measurements.png


I had a slight issue with this test. Just minor wiggling of the speaker terminals caused one channel to get distorted much earlier. Not sure what is going on with that.

Back to 4 ohm load, we see that we have plenty of headroom for momentary peaks in music:

Yamaha R-N803  Hi-Fi Audio Component Receiver Power into 4 ohm Max and Burst Peak Audio Measur...png


And here is our power test with different frequencies:

Yamaha R-N803  Hi-Fi Audio Component Receiver Power into 4 ohm distortion vs frequency Audio M...png


At low frequencies approaching 20 Hz, distortion rises above 60 watts or so (orange). Otherwise, this is a predictable performance with high frequencies being a bit more distorted than low. And this is a good thing compared to nasty curves with get in some switching amplifiers.

Conclusions
As a pure, analog integrated amplifier, the Yamaha R-N803 does well. It produces ample amount of power into 4 ohm with pretty low distortion and noise. The visuals are also quite attractive. Digital mode to use such things as Auto-EQ/filters is rather poor due to similar issues in many AVRs. Sad that Yamaha did not go the extra mile and produce a better subsystem here.

I personally don't like to use an AVR as a stereo setup due to their large size and not so pretty face plate. So in that regard, I appreciate the Yamaha R-N803.

Given the good, pure analog mode performance, and nice looks, I am going to put the Yamaha R-N803 on my recommended list.

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

I had a great idea in the shower (where i get my best ideas) of training the pink panthers to pull weeds for me in the garden. I looked on youtube and typical tricks to teach them that involve a lot of treats for encouragement. Naturally, I am in need of some cash to purchase such and would appreciate donations as such using : https://www.audiosciencereview.com/forum/index.php?threads/how-to-support-audio-science-review.8150/
 
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amirm

amirm

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Meh, I expected a bit better. Not disappointed, but not impressed.

Is there a crossover on the subwoofer out?
I assume there is as this is basically an AVR.
 

waynel

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Can you please try the SINAD measurement with a digital input?
Ideally with and without puredirect.
 

maty

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YAMAHA R-N803D
[Polish] https://audio.com.pl/testy/stereo/amplitunery-stereo/2984-yamaha-r-n803d
dz0xMjAwJmg9MTAyNg==_src_52147-amplituner-stereo-yamaha-r-n803d-audiocompl-fot4.jpg


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dz02NzgmaD00NTI=_src_52152-amplituner-stereo-yamaha-r-n803d-audiocompl-fot6.jpg


52140-laboratorium-yamaha-r-n803d-audiocompl-fot1.jpg


52141-laboratorium-yamaha-r-n803d-audiocompl-fot2.jpg


52142-laboratorium-yamaha-r-n803d-audiocompl-fot3.jpg


[ Yamaha R-N803D laboratory

Because most of the loudspeakers are 4 ohms (although half of them are declared as 8 ohms by manufacturers), so we did not consider 4 ohms to be "extremely difficult", and we performed all measurements, both at 8 and 4 ohms in exit mode ("non-exceptional").

It was a good choice. At 8 ohms, when controlling one channel, the power is up to 146 W, slightly less in two-channel mode (2x133 W), and at 4 ohms, the R-N803D "turns up" wonderfully, as befits a decent stereo amplifier - in one channel the power reaches up to 240 W, and with two simultaneously loaded - 2 x 207 W, which is clearly more than in the manufacturer's data, which promises 2 x 160 W (at 4 ohms).

When set for extremely difficult impedances, power probably decreases to limit the potentially larger current flow and temperature rise. One should not bother with this mode at all; well, unless the receiver turns off for an unknown reason ... but we don't expect such a situation here.

The sensitivity was set at the standard level of 0.24 V, the noise distance is good 84 dB, and the dynamics reaches 105 dB.

The transfer characteristics (Fig. 1) are excellent, the drop at 10 Hz is negligible, at 100 kHz in principle also, because only -0.6 dB for 8 ohms and -1.2 dB for 4 ohms.

The harmonic spectrum (Fig. 2) is clean, the strongest second harmonic does not exceed -90 dB. THD + N distortions (graph from Fig. 3) are lower than 0.1% for output power above 3 W at 8 ohms and 6.4 W at 4 ohms. Very neat in every way. ]
 

maty

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djigibao

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Hi, I'm new to this site/forum.
I just register here because I read this test/review and I own this AMP.

I have a questions:
- why just test with CD player and nothing from network or USB?
- which speakers were connected for listening?
 
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Can it be assumed that Pure Direct mode has a similar effect on the A-SXXX models as the R-NXXX models or are they too different to compare? Does the R-N803 have the same DAC stage as the A-S801? I just got a A-S501 for a good deal and am looking at the best settings/path for it.
 

dkinric

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Pretty decent amp section, some companies still care.
Is there anything to the fact that some of the graphs have dates from last year and others are from yesterday? Also, typo (twice) on 8 ohm pwr vs dist graph (RN-804).
 

maverik_77

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Was expecting similar from this based on my experience of this.
Moved on to the A-S2100 and felt a marked improvement. The build quality improved too. To my ears the audio quality was better in A-S2100.. Never measured them both. :)
 
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amirm

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Is there anything to the fact that some of the graphs have dates from last year and others are from yesterday?
You mean this?

1591405023114.png


If so, in measurements where tests from other products are in there as reference, the analyzer software puts those dates as the start, and when I did the last part at the end. I have highlighted that in yellow.

I ran all the tests last night.
 

restorer-john

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Can it be assumed that Pure Direct mode has a similar effect on the A-SXXX models as the R-NXXX models or are they too different to compare? Does the R-N803 have the same DAC stage as the A-S801?

No, they are not the same. The "pure direct" on the A-Sxxx series are also different to one another within the series. The R-Nxxx receivers use a range of A/D and D/A converters. Some even use DSD converters on the NET functions. Some have several D/As depending on the data path/source. In short, a real dog's breakfast if you ask me. Grab some of the service manuals and look at the signal paths if you want a headache.

Basically, Yamaha have used any and all of their obsolete AVR controller/switcher/eVol ICs and shoehorned them into the 2 channel "smart" receivers and the A-Sxxx stereo amplifiers for the last 10ish years. Even the so-called "pure direct" on the A-Sxxx amplifiers is far from "pure".

That said, you get a lot of bang for your buck with these R-Nxxx units. They are reliable (once you get the latest firmware flashed under warranty) and they really pack a lot of real-world power for not a lot of dosh. Also, the casework is decent enough (except the crappy plastic knobs and ill fitting casework- see Amir's pic) and with lots of fresh air inside, they don't overheat.

Amir's testing shows a ton of power for the money too.
 

jaykay77

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I think you’ll never be disappointed in anything branded Yamaha.

I’ve owned their outboards, audio equipment, dirt bikes and even a saxophone.

It should be known their quality is consistently under appreciated...maybe just underpromoted.

They clearly strive for a culture that favors quality above all.
 

samsa

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No, they are not the same. The "pure direct" on the A-Sxxx series are also different to one another within the series.

I have the schematics for the Preamp section of the R-Sxxx series. The "Pure Direct mode" is a model of simplicity. Does anyone have the schematics for the R-Nxxx series? It would be interesting to compare ...
 

wwenze

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Yamaha does a 0.003% THD+N amp again, like it's an in-house target or something. Too bad the "not-amp" stages are horrid.

Hmmm ... R-N803 @ $750 vs. thrift RX-596 @ $40 and Fire Tablet/Echo Input/TracFone @$30..?

I wish my country has thirft stores priced like the US. But alas, ours usually sell stuff more expensive than the equivalent new.
 

YogiN

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Switching off pure direct mode however, causes severe performance drop:

View attachment 67410

Noise floor as moved massively up and distortion has increased. Now we are back in the poor category of AVRs. Sadly to use Room EQ you need to operate in this mode so you have a tough decision of whether you want to have low noise/distortion or room EQ.

Thank you for this thorough review of the Yamaha R-N803 amirm! Also thank you to maty for sharing your reviews and wealth of information on this and similar Yamaha units.
I've had this receiver for 2 months now in my living room corner system (Mirage Omni 60s + SVS SB-1000 with an Oppo BDP-83SE as the source) and I've been very happy with it so far. It's really sad that it does not perform as well when pure direct is switched off as this is how I run it to take advantage of the YPAO (Yamaha's auto DSP with bass management). In my setup it makes a world of difference switching pure direct on and off with YPAO being preferred by myself and family. There are not a lot of 2.1 receivers out there with auto DSP. The only other two that I am aware of are the Denon DRA-800H and Elac DS-A101. Are either of them currently in the queue for review? That would be an interesting comparison.
 

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