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Yamaha A-S3000 Integrated Amplifier Preview

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Behold, the Yamaha A-S3000!

Behold, the Yamaha A-S3000!

Summary

  • Product Name: A-S3000
  • Manufacturer: Yamaha
  • Review Date: August 21, 2013 11:00
  • MSRP: $7,999.95
  • First Impression: Pretty Cool
  • Buy Now
  • Minimum RMS Output Power: (8 ohms, 20 Hz-20 kHz, 0.07% THD) 100 W + 100 W / (4 ohms, 20 Hz-20 kHz, 0.07% THD) 150 W + 150 W
  • Dynamic Power/Channel (8 / 6 / 4 / 2 ohms): 120 / 150 / 200 / 300 W
  • Damping Factor (8 ohms, 1 kHz): 250
  • Input Sensitivity/ Impedance: CD 200 mV / 47 kilohm, Phono MM 2.5 mV / 47 kilohm, Phono MC 100 μV / 50 ohms, Main in 1 V / 47 kilohm
  • Frequency Response: CD, etc. to speaker out, Flat position 5 Hz-100 kHz +0 dB / -3 dB, CD, etc. to speaker out, Flat position 20 Hz-20 kHz +0 dB / -0.3 dB
  • RIAA Equalization Deviation: Phono MM (20 Hz-20 kHz) ±0.5 dB / Phono MC (20 Hz-20 kHz) ±0.5 dB
  • Total Harmonic Distortion (20 Hz–20 kHz): CD balanced to speaker out 0.025% (50 W / 8 ohms), CD, etc. to speaker out 0.025% (50 W / 8 ohms), Phono MM to Rec Out 0.005% (1.2 V), Phono MC to rec out 0.02% (1.22 V)
  • Signal-to-Noise Ratio [IHF-A Network]: CD, etc., (200 mV, Input Shorted) 103 dB, Phono MM (5 mV, Input Shorted) 93 dB, Phono MC (500 μV, Input Shorted) 85 dB
  • Channel Separation (1 kHz/10 kHz): CD, etc., Input 5.1 kilohm Terminaled 74 dB / 54 dB, Phono MM, Input Shorted, Vol: -30 dB 90 dB / 77 dB, Phono MC, Input Shorted, Vol: -30 dB 66 dB / 77 dB
  • Tone Control Characteristics: Bass Boost / Cut (at 50 Hz) ±9 dB, Bass Turnover Frequency 350 Hz, Treble Boost / Cut (at 20 Hz) ±9 dB, Treble Turnover Frequency 3.5 kHz
  • Audio Muting: -20 dB (approx.)
  • Load Impedance: If you use two sets (A and B), the impedance of each speaker must be 8 ohms or higher.
  • Dimensions (W x H x D):    17-1/8” x 7-1/8” x 18-1/4”
  • Weight: 54.2 lbs.

Executive Overview

When I think about the Yamaha brand, my mind immediately jumps to their value oriented line of receivers. Boasting attractive, powerful, and reasonably priced products, Yamaha is a strong competitor in that market. However, with the A-S3000 integrated amplifier, Yamaha isn't looking to offer the most watts for the dollar; they're making a statement that they still have the capability and the desire to make electronics that are second to none, even compared with names like McIntosh, Mark Levinson, Classe, etc. Viewed in that light, the $7,999.95 price tag for the A-S3000 isn't totally out of place, even if it isn't exactly an impulse buy for most. So what does a nickel short of $8,000 get you? Keep reading to find out.

Build Quality & Feature Set

As you might guess from the high end price tag, the Yamaha A-S3000 doesn't skimp on fit and finish or build quality. The overbuilt chassis includes double construction, i.e. a chassis within a chassis, which allows for neater and more direct routing of internal cabling, a solid 0.28" thick aluminum front panel and 0.24" thick aluminum top panel, and a three-dimensional copper inner frame to minimize vibration. On the exterior of the amplifier you get cut aluminum dials and switches, over-sized, ergonomically designed solid brass binding posts, and insulating feet which can be fitted with either spikes or pads. And for the pièce de résistance, the Yamaha A-S3000 is precision fitted with a pair of LED backlit VU meters, reminiscent of their vintage gear loved by so many audiophiles even today . In sum, no cost appears to have been spared in the construction of this integrated amplifier outside of perhaps a solid gold chassis.

In terms of feature set and operation, the A-S3000 is a straightforward beast. On the front panel, you have the volume knob, input selector (including a switch for phono MM and MC cartridges), adjustments for bass, treble, and balance, a switch to control the VU meters, a speaker selector, and a headphone output with a switch to control its relative volume level. The rear panel is equipped with two pairs of balanced inputs, as well as five pairs of standard unbalanced RCA inputs, a recording output for input "line 2", pre-outs, a trigger input, remote in/out jacks, and four pairs of binding posts. The A-S3000 also comes with a basic remote control which shouldn't cause much confusion for users.

A-S3000 Back Panel

Back panel view of the Yamaha A-S3000.

Performance

Now for the $8,000 question: what kind of performance does Yamaha deliver with the A-S3000? Yamaha rates the A-S3000 to deliver the magic 100W RMS into an 8 ohm load and 150W RMS into a 4 ohm load (20Hz-20kHz, 0.07% THD, both channels driven). Based on the internal components used, we'd imagine this is a very conservative rating.  Frequency response is rated at 5Hz-100kHz (+0dB/-3dB) and 20Hz-20kHz +0dB/-0.3dB, which are very respectable numbers. Channel separation (i.e. crosstalk) is rated at 74dB @ 1kHz and 54dB @ 10kHz with a 5.1kohm terminated connection, which is also adequate. Finally, damping factor is rated at 250 into an 8 ohm load at 1kHz.

A-S3000 Internal View

The (very clean looking) innards of the A-S3000.


So what do these numbers mean? In terms of raw performance, based on the specifications alone, the A-S3000 doesn't appear to be an extraordinary performer. But, we've often found published specs for high caliber gear to be more conservatively rated than mass market components.  I suppose the only way we will be certain is running some of our own bench tests on this baby.

Even within Yamaha's own lineup, the A-S1000 appears to largely meet the performance specifications of the A-S3000 for a bit over 1/5th of the cost. However, Yamaha does make a pretty big deal out of the fact that the A-S3000 has a fully discrete phono preamp stage and every circuit from input all the way to the power amp is fully differential.  Balanced audio circuits have significant advantages in distortion and noise immunity over unbalanced designs but they are more complex and costly to implement.

If that sounds like I'm saying that the A-S3000 isn't a stellar value, in terms of performance for the money, it certainly doesn't appear to be groundbreaking. However, as noted in the introduction, that's not what the A-S3000 is all about.

Summary

$8,000 is a respectable chunk of change: it's enough money to buy a $4 lunch from Subway every day for nearly five and a half years. In the world of audio equipment, it's also enough to buy a "statement" integrated amplifier from Yamaha. As far as statements go, the A-S3000 appears to largely focus on a first class fit and finish; performance at a glance is of course is excellent, but it doesn't appear to be a quantum leap over Yamaha's other, less costly integrated amplifier offerings. In the end, the question is whether a top tier build quality and some other circuit enhancements previously mentioned is worth the significant added cost. For those seeking "bang for the buck", we'd guess not; conversely, if you're interested extremely high quality and performance that's "adequate" ala Rolls-Royce, this might be your ticket.

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About the author:

Steve Munz is a “different” addition to Audioholics’ stable of contributors in that he is neither an engineer like Gene, nor has he worked in the industry like Cliff. In fact, Steve’s day job is network administration and accounting.

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Recent Forum Posts:

frisqo posts on November 21, 2014 14:19
may not be worth the money but damn it´s a good´looking amp
frisqo posts on November 21, 2014 14:17
KEW, post: 1060270, member: 41838
Here is a review from a guy who had both.
Personally, I believe the differences between high quality amps like these (from mainstream quality brands) is far too subtle to make the kind of claims he does about hearing differences. I do believe I would be inclined to think the amp with big VU meters would sound better than the one without!
But to each his own.

http://www.stevehuffphoto.com/the-yamaha-a-s-3000-integrated-amp-review/

Interesting, right now Amazon pricing is $7000 in black and $8000 in silver. I like silver, but not sure it sounds $1000 better!

I am being tongue in cheek here. If your AS2000 is properly matched to the demands of your speakers, I cannot imagine you could tell the difference in a blind test.
Some companies deliberately color the sound from their gear to attract attention, but I think Yamaha has always had a philosophy of maintaining the purity of the original signal.


yes i have read some of his articles about photography, but I think he has some kind of buy everything Disease especially if its expensive
Jeepers posts on November 21, 2014 08:49
surveyor, post: 983885, member: 3762
Where is the Yamaha A-S3000 Integrated Amplifier made?

Malaysia
KEW posts on November 21, 2014 08:47
frisqo, post: 1060193, member: 70914
does anyone own this amp?
if so, can anyone say what you think about it, is it worth the extra money, or is the as2000 or as2100 enough ??
Here is a review from a guy who had both.
Personally, I believe the differences between high quality amps like these (from mainstream quality brands) is far too subtle to make the kind of claims he does about hearing differences. I do believe I would be inclined to think the amp with big VU meters would sound better than the one without!
But to each his own.

http://www.stevehuffphoto.com/the-yamaha-a-s-3000-integrated-amp-review/

Interesting, right now Amazon pricing is $7000 in black and $8000 in silver. I like silver, but not sure it sounds $1000 better!

I am being tongue in cheek here. If your AS2000 is properly matched to the demands of your speakers, I cannot imagine you could tell the difference in a blind test.
Some companies deliberately color the sound from their gear to attract attention, but I think Yamaha has always had a philosophy of maintaining the purity of the original signal.
frisqo posts on November 20, 2014 16:08
does anyone own this amp?
if so, can anyone say what you think about it, is it worth the extra money, or is the as2000 or as2100 enough ??
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