Yamaha A-S2000 (A affordable High End Unit-Rev-2)

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Freo-1

Yamaha A-S2000 (A affordable High End Unit-Rev-2)
« on: 8 Jun 2013, 05:25 pm »
 


As a result of selling a pair of Magnepan 1.7’s, the two channel system went through an overhaul to get the proper balance of acceptable audio performance and room décor and ascetics.

Given the modest room dimensions (12 ½ by 15), a monitor/sub setup was decided upon.  Auditioned several monitors, but when I stumbled across the ATC SCM 19/C1 combination, I knew I had found the reference speakers I had been after for years.  The one issue with the SCM 19’s is that they are 85 dB@1 watt, so low wattage solutions were out of the question.  The tube preamp/amp setup I have puts out 50 to 55 watts, so the power amps are undergoing a modification to switch from two to four 1625 tubes to get enough power to drive the SCM 19’s.  The work will hopefully be done by the end of the summer.

 

In the meantime, needed to find a reasonably priced amplifier setup to drive the ATC speakers.  After looking around, decided to try the Yamaha A-S2000 integrated amplifier.  The rated specifications looked very good for power and distortion.  I liked the fact that it was a fully balanced topology.  In fact, the Yamaha has a rather unique circuit design as shown here:


 

 

So, went ahead and purchased one from Hi Fi Heaven in WI.  The price is pretty reasonable for everything this offers.  For the vinyl crowd, there is a built in MM/MC preamp section.  I did not audition it, but given this unit’s pedigree, would reckon that it sounds pretty good.  It also has some very sophisticated power supply regulation, generally seen in units costing far more than this one does. One look at the build quality and one quickly sees a high end pedigree.  It also has a direct input for use in HT applications.  The tone controls are also well engineered.  They are bypassed when in the center detent, and do provide a useful room/recording correction capability if required.  The mute circuit is also well engineered, and one of the few that actually works as it should.

 

When a company like Yamaha puts their resources to work, it’s very difficult for small audio manufactures to match their price/performance ratio.  The reality is, they cannot match it. 

 

 

I was very surprised at just how good this unit sounds.  It took some time to break in, but once it did, it is very impressive.  The noise floor is remarkably low for an integrated amplifier.  Dynamic contrasts are especially noteworthy with this amplifier, as it seems to play louder and cleaner than some other amps with higher power ratings.  No doubt the ATC speakers help flesh this out, with their almost unique ability to reproduce dynamics without compression from the driver.  I could wax poetic ad nauseum about sound staging, depth, etc.  Suffice to say that this is one fine integrated amplifier, and the measured performance (refer to the link for a detailed review and bench performance metrics) equal or exceed that of many separates.

 

In summary, this is a excellent performer, and one that many audiophiles will find intensely satisfying.  One could spend a lot more and not get any better performance than offered by this.  This will serve as a fine music source for the summer months, as well as a good alternative for the tube amps. 

Highly recommended for audition 

http://www.avhub.com.au/index.php/Product-Reviews/Hi-Fi/yamaha-a-s2000-integrated-amplifier.html
 
 
 
« Last Edit: 16 Aug 2013, 08:59 pm by Freo-1 »

wilsynet

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Re: Yamaha A-S2000 (A affordable High End Unit)
« Reply #1 on: 8 Jun 2013, 07:46 pm »
I heard this integrated paired with Harbeth SHL-5 speakers, and I was super impressed.

Freo-1

Re: Yamaha A-S2000 (A affordable High End Unit)
« Reply #2 on: 17 Jul 2013, 11:52 pm »
I have been using this wonderful amp with a pair of ATC SCM-19 monitor speakers, SVS SB 13 Ultra subwoofer, and a Oppo BDP 105 via a balanced connection to the A-S2000.  This is without question one of the most musical setups I have ever heard.  The Yamaha has all the traits the high end critics go on about in spades.  I would state that at least for digital, this would be all that a budding audiophile would need.  As I am listening to the Cream 2005 reunion blu ray mix in two channel,  I am amazed at the stunning life like presentation this setup provides. 
 
I'm not a vinyl guy, but this does support both MM and MC cartridges. 
 
I've been to high end audio salons that had MUCH more expensive equipment set up that did not sound as good as this setup.  The Oppo 105 is so good, it begs questioning the need for the expensive mods available for it.
 
I can't wait for the A-S3000 to come out at the end of this year (hopefully).  Yamaha is definitely back in the high end game with this offering.   

bikerbandit

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Re: Yamaha A-S2000 (A affordable High End Unit)
« Reply #3 on: 19 Jul 2013, 03:39 am »
FREO-1, I have been considering the Yamaha AS-2000 for some time.  I planned to hook my OPPO-95 directly to it via XLR but hesitated because of possible amperage imbalance.  OPPO has a 4V output and the Yamaha has a 2.8V input. An OPPO tech told me an annoying way to handle it, which I am posting below.

"You will need to reduce the volume of the player by at least half to not exceed the input impedance of your amplifier.

 You will want to set the player's output volume to 0 then play a CD. Increase the volume to 1. If you find that a comfortable listening volume is received between 1-20, then try a 24dB attenuator. 21-50, a 12dB attenuator, and anything else a 6dB attenuator would be recommended to allow you enough headroom to control the volume on the player for when the volume of the source is too soft (need more volume) or too loud (need less volume)."

Did you have success connecting your OPPO directly to the Yamaha without making any complex adjustments?

Freo-1

Re: Yamaha A-S2000 (A affordable High End Unit)
« Reply #4 on: 19 Jul 2013, 01:52 pm »
FREO-1, I have been considering the Yamaha AS-2000 for some time.  I planned to hook my OPPO-95 directly to it via XLR but hesitated because of possible amperage imbalance.  OPPO has a 4V output and the Yamaha has a 2.8V input. An OPPO tech told me an annoying way to handle it, which I am posting below.

"You will need to reduce the volume of the player by at least half to not exceed the input impedance of your amplifier.

 You will want to set the player's output volume to 0 then play a CD. Increase the volume to 1. If you find that a comfortable listening volume is received between 1-20, then try a 24dB attenuator. 21-50, a 12dB attenuator, and anything else a 6dB attenuator would be recommended to allow you enough headroom to control the volume on the player for when the volume of the source is too soft (need more volume) or too loud (need less volume)."

Did you have success connecting your OPPO directly to the Yamaha without making any complex adjustments?

Excellent point.  I rang Yamaha, and the 2.8 volt limit is (according to Yamaha) for the RCA, not the XLR balanced.  I asked them to look at the service manual, and the max XLR voltage level was not in there.  They are checking into it, and I will post an update as soon as I get one.
 
 
My one quibble is that there is only one XLR, so I had to get one of these puppies to address that issue, as I sometimes like to use a MHDT Havana NOS balanced DAC:
 
Sescom SES-XLR-AB Balanced Audio Pro Grade XLR A/B Passive Switch
« Last Edit: 19 Jul 2013, 06:32 pm by Freo-1 »

Freo-1

Re: Yamaha A-S2000 (A affordable High End Unit)
« Reply #5 on: 23 Jul 2013, 08:25 pm »
OK, just got a call from Yamaha.  It turns out the max input voltage on the balanced input for the A-S2000 is 8.8 Volts!!  :o 
 
I personally do not believe that, so I rang Yamaha back to register my concern regarding that.   Expect to hear back soon.  My "guess" is that the limit for balanced is 2.8 V RMS.  The reason I think this is that I hear distortion from the Oppo XLR output at 100%.  If one cuts the output level to 66%, it sounds very clear, no issues.
« Last Edit: 29 Jul 2013, 08:25 pm by Freo-1 »

Freo-1

Re: Yamaha A-S2000 (A affordable High End Unit-Updated)
« Reply #6 on: 3 Aug 2013, 12:35 pm »
Yamaha rang back with updated information, so here it is:
1) The hardware can take up to 8.8 volts per side for XLR, BUT:
2) Yamaha's circuit is designed to take a maximum of 2.8 volts via XLR.  So, for example, one needs to turn the variable volume out from a Oppo down to 66 or 67 to ensure no overload of the input occurs.  This should clear up any confusion on the issue.
 
 
Now that I've had this unit for awhile, I must say that it is one of the best sounding amp setups I've ever come across.   The balanced pull topology employed is brilliant, in that it essentially provides a Class A type performance (no crossover distortion), as well as a lower noise floor (due to balanced operation) than conventional amps.   It also achieves this by using less electricity than Class A.   Mirco details are presented in a natural manner that very few amps can achieve.  Mate this up with a superior speaker such as a ATC, and the benefits are easily audible.
Since it is not Class D, it also avoids all the pitfalls of that topology as well.   It certainly makes a argument to bring integrated amps to the forefront.   
 
BTW, I'll be posting a review of the matching CD/SACD player (CD-S2000) shortly.   
« Last Edit: 3 Aug 2013, 01:40 pm by Freo-1 »

mamba315

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Re: Yamaha A-S2000 (A affordable High End Unit-Updated)
« Reply #7 on: 3 Aug 2013, 03:59 pm »
I would like to try one of these out if I run across a used one for a good price.  The rated power is a little lower than I prefer but if the SQ is that good then maybe I wouldn't mind.  It'll be interesting to see what the 3000 series manages... Whenever it shows up

Freo-1

Re: Yamaha A-S2000 (A affordable High End Unit-Updated)
« Reply #8 on: 3 Aug 2013, 04:59 pm »
I would like to try one of these out if I run across a used one for a good price.  The rated power is a little lower than I prefer but if the SQ is that good then maybe I wouldn't mind.  It'll be interesting to see what the 3000 series manages... Whenever it shows up

I was initially mildly concerned about the power output as well.  After having this onboard for a period of time, my answer would be to not be concerned about it.  The ATC speakers I'm using are 85db/w, and the Yamaha drives them just fine.  A number of reviews have noted that the Yamaha's ability to present dynamic contrasts is actually better than many amps of higher power output. This has been my experience as well.  Compared to another highly rated amp of 150 wpc (Pass Labs), the Yamaha is every bit as good (or better) at reproducing dynamic contrasts.  If one checks the reviews, measurements, and construction/design, you will notice that the unit has a massive overbuilt power supply, with tight and outstanding regulation.  No smaller amp manufacture could match this combination of quality/performance at anywhere near it's price point.
 
The matching CD-S2000 player sounds fantastic with SACD via the balanced input to the A-S2000.  They are truly a synergetic match. 

roscoeiii

Re: Yamaha A-S2000 (A affordable High End Unit-Updated)
« Reply #9 on: 3 Aug 2013, 07:12 pm »
I know you have been a big Pass Class A amp fan. Can you let us know how this amp compares to some of the Pass designs?

Freo-1

Re: Yamaha A-S2000 (A affordable High End Unit-Updated)
« Reply #10 on: 4 Aug 2013, 01:06 pm »
I know you have been a big Pass Class A amp fan. Can you let us know how this amp compares to some of the Pass designs?

The short answer is: Very favorably.
The more detailed answer needs some background:
1) The amount of difference with audio playback between this A-S2000 and Pass  Labs components is minor compared to the difference brought about by changing speakers between either (most) cone or planar speakers to ATC monitors with a SVS SB13 Ultra setup.  That change is truly MUCH more significant to playback enjoyment than the upstream amps employed.   The ATC/SVS setup provides some of the best playback in a moderate size area available, period.  There is a very good reason the vast majority of recording studios employ ATC speakers in their daily use.  The ability to play back music at realistic levels without distortion and breakup/compression (for cone or planar drivers) stands alone. 
 
2) Having stated the above, the Yamaha A-S2000 provides outstanding performance, especially for an integrated amp setup.  Compared to a Pass Labs X2.5/X-150 combo, I actually prefer the Yamaha setup.  To me, it is every bit as dynamic, and seems a bit smoother/more refined.  Compared to the INT-150, it's a much tougher call.  I tried going back several times between the two, and each time I thought there was a noticeable delta, turns out there was not one.  For the majority of audio enthusiasts , I would think anyone contemplating a Pass Labs INT-150 would be just as a happy with this Yamaha.   The balanced output topology is quite the engineering feat, essentially providing Class A type performance without the extra heat.  It's amazing someone else hasn't come up with this sooner. 

Occam

Re: Yamaha A-S2000 (A affordable High End Unit-Updated)
« Reply #11 on: 4 Aug 2013, 01:52 pm »
.....
It's amazing someone else hasn't come up with this sooner.

From tubecad.com

The solid-state Circlotron was patented in 1959 by A. W. Donald III.


More recently, in 1980, the (late) great James W. Bongiorno patented the basis of his clever Sumo Nine power amplifier.


Freo-1

Re: Yamaha A-S2000 (A affordable High End Unit-Updated)
« Reply #12 on: 4 Aug 2013, 02:14 pm »
Thanks for the info, Paul!   :thumb:
The A-S-2000 is balanced from input to output.  Even the RCA connections are converted to balanced to reduce the noise floor.   I'm still stumped why more amps don't employ this.

Freo-1

Re: Yamaha A-S2000 (A affordable High End Unit-Rev-2)
« Reply #13 on: 16 Aug 2013, 09:15 pm »
Here is an update from additional listening:
 
It seems as if some of the detail was missing when listening to SACD/DVD-A from the Oppo BDP-105 via XLR.  I compared various SACD's to the Yamaha CD-S2000, and in every case, the CD-S2000 HAD the low level detail and presence missing from the Oppo.  Earlier, had worked out with Yamaha the XLR input was limited to 2.8 V RMS.  So, the volume out from the Oppo was set to 67 to "work around" this limitation. 
 
At this point, rang Oppo to get a readout on the digital volume out.  I remember Dan Wright from Modwright posting on more than one occasion that the digital volume on the Oppo reduces the bits as the volume was lowered.  When I ran Oppo before, the tech had said there was no loss of fidelity by lowering the volume.  Yet, the listening sessions were painting a different story.  :scratch:
 
Well, as it turns out, Dan was (of course) correct.  The tech at Oppo looked it up, and sure enough, that is how it works.  Turning down the volume on the Oppo does indeed reduce the fidelity (bits) used.  It is for this reason that using the Oppo as a preamp is sub-optimum, and thus should be avoided.  The real "work around" to this is to not use the XLR from the Oppo, but instead to use the excellent two channel RCA out from the Oppo.  Resolved.  The low level detail missing from the Oppo is back, and no overload to worry about. 

iluzun

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Re: Yamaha A-S2000 (A affordable High End Unit-Rev-2)
« Reply #14 on: 18 Aug 2013, 02:13 am »
Yamaha A-S2000, Kef LS50s, & Daedalus 'subs'.  ;-)






A+B=Wow!

Freo-1

Re: Yamaha A-S2000 (A affordable High End Unit-Rev-2)
« Reply #15 on: 18 Aug 2013, 06:50 pm »
Yamaha A-S2000, Kef LS50s, & Daedalus 'subs'.  ;)






A+B=Wow!

Very nice!
 
I see you have the matching CD-S2000 player.  The CD player and amp together make a outstanding combination.  I find the player to be extremely musical, and a step up sonically from most players in the same price range. 

iluzun

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Re: Yamaha A-S2000 (A affordable High End Unit-Rev-2)
« Reply #16 on: 18 Aug 2013, 07:44 pm »
Freo-1, I luv the Yamaha combo.  Outstanding value for $$$.  Clean, balanced (literally) & spacious SACD presentation.

It's the only SACD player I've owned, but I've been thru a few Naim players in my day, including a CDS3.

You're right about the engineering ability of a large corp. like Yamaha.  I run a VPI Traveler w/a entry Dynavector cart. off
the phono also.  The AS-2000 is very versatile & packs enough grunt to drive both the Kefs & the Daedalus simultaneously.
The Kefs, r a little less efficient so never get overdriven, while Lous spkrs. can really rock out when asked.  The best my room
has ever sounded.  Great midrange, extended highs & 'sparkle', with enough thump & bump down low, w/detail, to satisfy.  The
thing is a Beast, never overheating or loosing its composure.  Open & musical, I've stumbled upon a slice of audio heaven.  I
think the midrange/pointsource of the Kefs & being driven by the same amplifiers 'sonic signiture', make it all work.  I've played w/
the Kefs 'inside or outside', & I've two different pr. of speaker cables.  Audio Magics top liquids on the Kefs & a custom hollow copper tube
in graphite on the Daedalus.  It's pretty shocking how good this all sounds.

I've spent months modding an Audio Magic Nexus power conditioner.  I ended up w/Mundorf SGO on the digital feeding the CDS-2000 &
Modwright Transporter, & JFX Premium feeding the amp/pre sections.  Power cords r top of the line Audio Magic Liquids.
 


johsti

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Re: Yamaha A-S2000 (A affordable High End Unit-Rev-2)
« Reply #17 on: 20 Aug 2013, 06:23 am »
Here is an update from additional listening:
 
It seems as if some of the detail was missing when listening to SACD/DVD-A from the Oppo BDP-105 via XLR.  I compared various SACD's to the Yamaha CD-S2000, and in every case, the CD-S2000 HAD the low level detail and presence missing from the Oppo.  Earlier, had worked out with Yamaha the XLR input was limited to 2.8 V RMS.  So, the volume out from the Oppo was set to 67 to "work around" this limitation. 
 
At this point, rang Oppo to get a readout on the digital volume out.  I remember Dan Wright from Modwright posting on more than one occasion that the digital volume on the Oppo reduces the bits as the volume was lowered.  When I ran Oppo before, the tech had said there was no loss of fidelity by lowering the volume.  Yet, the listening sessions were painting a different story.  :scratch:
 
Well, as it turns out, Dan was (of course) correct.  The tech at Oppo looked it up, and sure enough, that is how it works.  Turning down the volume on the Oppo does indeed reduce the fidelity (bits) used.  It is for this reason that using the Oppo as a preamp is sub-optimum, and thus should be avoided.  The real "work around" to this is to not use the XLR from the Oppo, but instead to use the excellent two channel RCA out from the Oppo.  Resolved.  The low level detail missing from the Oppo is back, and no overload to worry about.

Try the Oppo 105 again using the balanced outputs and set the variable volume to "88" instead of "67".

Each step in the volume on the Oppo 105 is .5dB.  Setting the volume at "88" (-6dB) is approximately 2.1v on the balanced outputs, same as the RCA output at full volume.  Reducing the volume by 6dB cuts the output voltage in half.   

http://www.oppo-bluray.co.uk/UserFiles/Docs/PDF/BDP-105EU%20Direct%20Power%20Amplifier%20Connection%20V2.pdf

A 6dB reduction with a 32 bit digital volume control is minor and any loss of bits is not audible, IMHO.       



« Last Edit: 20 Aug 2013, 09:47 pm by johsti »

HiFiSoundGuy

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Re: Yamaha A-S2000 (A affordable High End Unit-Rev-2)
« Reply #18 on: 20 Aug 2013, 08:08 pm »
 These Yamaha a-s2000 amps can be made to sound even better by replacing all the screws with copper screws and dampen all the components inside with silicone caulk and teflon tape. I put teflon tape on all the copper screws and under all the components inside too.

 

Freo-1

Re: Yamaha A-S2000 (A affordable High End Unit-Rev-2)
« Reply #19 on: 20 Aug 2013, 10:00 pm »
er
Try the Oppo 105 again using the balanced outputs and set the variable volume to "88" instead of "67".

Each step in the volume on the Oppo 105 is .5dB.  Setting the volume at "88" (-6dB) is approximately 2.1v on the balanced outputs, same as the RCA output at full volume.  Reducing the volume by 6dB cuts the output voltage in half.   

http://www.oppo-bluray.co.uk/UserFiles/Docs/PDF/BDP-105EU%20Direct%20Power%20Amplifier%20Connection%20V2.pdf

A 6dB reduction with a 32 bit digital volume control is minor and any loss of bits is not audible, IMHO.       

Cheers, Mate!  I'll give her a go. 
 
I continue to be very impressed with the A-S2000.  It definitely outperforms a lot of units with higher prices.