Yamaha A-S2100 Integrated Amplifier & CD-S2100 CD/SACD Player Preview
- Maximum Power (4 ohms, 1kHz, 0.7% THD, for Europe): 160 W + 160 W
- High Dynamic Power/Channel (8/6/4/2 ohms): 105 / 135 / 190 / 220 W
- Damping Factor: 250
- Frequency Response: 5 Hz -100 kHz (+0 dB / -3 dB)
- RIAA Equalization Deviation: 20 Hz-20 kHz (+ / -0.5 dB)
- Total Harmonic Distortion (CD to Sp Out, 20 Hz-20 kHz): 0.025%
- Signal-to-Noise Ratio (CD): 103 dB (S: 200 mV)
- Input Sensitivity (CD): 200 mV / 47k ohms
- Dimensions (W x H x D): 17-1/8” x 6-1/8” x 18-1/4”
- Weight: 51.6 lbs.
- Disc Compatibility: SACD, CD, CD-R/RW (MP3, WMA) and USB (Type B)
- Output Level: 2 +/- 0.3 V (1 kHz, 0 dB)
- Signal-to-Noise Ratio: 116 dB
- Dynamic Range: CD 100 dB, Super Audio CD 110 dB
- Harmonic Distortion: CD 0.002% (1 kHz), Super Audio CD 0.002% (1 kHz)
- Frequency Response: CD 2 Hz-20 kHz, Super Audio CD 2 Hz-50 kHz (-3 dB)
- Dimensions (W x H x D): 17-1/8” x 5-3/8” x 17-1/4”
- Weight: 35.2 lbs.
We like Yamaha’s A-S2000 integrated amplifier; it features “adequate” supplies of power (in the Rolls Royce sense of the word) in a classically understated chassis. Let’s say the new A-S2100 is a bit different in some respects. Where the A-S2000 was prone to blending into an equipment rack or cabinet, the A-S2100 screams “Look at me! Here I am! Love me!” While not as gaudy as racecar wearing whitewall tires, the new A-S2100 makes a statement, pulling its styling cues from Yamaha’s flagship integrated amplifier, the A-S3000. That means super-heavy duty screw type binding posts, solid wood side panels, and yes, VU meters gracing the front panel.
The Yamaha A-S2000 (above) vs the A-S2100 (below). If you prefer the A-S2000, we’re sorry to inform you that you have no soul.
Then there’s the CD/SACD player counterpart to the A-S2100, the CD-S2100. Want to guess where its style trickled down from?
The Yamaha CD-S2100 (above) vs the CD-S3000 (below). See the difference?
So to address the first question on people’s minds: how much? The A-S2100 comes with a price tag of $3,999.95, while the CD-S2100 will be available for $3,499.95. While that’s a substantial price increase over the old 2000 lineup, one will notice that the prices are half that of the 3000 series.
What’s Under the Hood?
The second question everyone wants the answer to: what do these beauties bring to the table from an audio standpoint? Like the old A-S2000, the A-S2100 is a full floating and balanced design, with the 2100 utilizing high powered MOSFETs throughout. The major benefit of this type of design is said to be in reduction of noise, both from ground due to the floating design as well as common mode noise rejection from the balanced topology. The A-S2100 also utilizes a symmetrical layout which physically separates the circuitry for the left and right channels. Yamaha claims this should reduce crosstalk significantly.
What do the numbers say? Not much at this time I’m afraid. The power is rated for 160W/channel, but this is into a 4 ohm load (1kHz, 0.7% THD). Frankly, we’d prefer to see full bandwidth ratings into 4 and 8 ohm loads, though we seriously doubt Yamaha has anything to hide here. Other available numbers include damping factor, rated at 250, and signal to noise ratio, rated at 103dB, both of which are more than adequate.
So what kind of CD/SACD player does a nickel short of $3,500 get you? Starting with the transport, the system is highly vibration resistant, including a high rigidity aluminum tray which results in quiet operation as well as fewer read errors. Similar to the A-S2100, the CD-S2100 features symmetrical construction with isolated digital and analog circuitry, down to separate power supplies. Digital to analog conversion is provided by ESS Technology’s ES9016 SABRE32 chip, which offers 32 bit processing and ESS’ patented jitter eliminator to ensure pristine sound quality. With eight channels on board, the ES9016 can also operate in dual differential mode with stereo sources, further reducing noise and distortion. Last but not least, one other nice touch is that Yamaha includes several digital inputs on the CD-S2100 (one USB, optical, and coaxial input), allowing owners to make use of the quality afforded by the SABRE chip with other sources.
Aesthetically, we think it’s fair to say Yamaha’s new 2100 lineup is a huge upgrade over the old 2000’s. Audibly? We’ll have to reserve judgment until Yamaha sends us some demo units to play with. However, we would opine that the CD-S2100 in particular steps up Yamaha’s game considerably. The inclusion of an ESS SABRE32 chip is nothing to sneeze at, but more importantly the ability to use the CD-S2100 as an outboard DAC gives it far more flexibility than the old CD-S2000. So how about it Yamaha, care to send us a sample?
Unless otherwise indicated, this is a preview article for the featured product. A formal review may or may not follow in the future.