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Yamaha A-S801 Integrated Amplifier Sound Quality Tests

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The bulk of my listening tests with the Yamaha A-S801 were conducted in my office system consisting of a customized pair of RBH Sound  41-SE/B speakers which have 4" phase plug aluminum midbass woofers and the ScanSpeak 9500 tweeter.  The Velodyne MiniVee sub was thrown in to provide the bottom end and the speaker cables were the Kimber 8PR.  I also connected the A-S801 to a pair of NHT Absolute Towers running full range in the Audioholics Showcase room system to see how it performed in a larger space.  The source was USB-B connection between my desktop computer utilizing JRiver software to stream my high res FLAC, and SACD ISO files off my HDD.  Toslink input was also testing using my Oppo BDP-95 Blu-ray player.

24Bit FLAC: Bruce Cockburn - Stealing Fire

The A-S801 was an immediate sonic improvement over the EMP VT-40.2 tube amp I've been using to power my speakers.  It wasn't just the fact that it could play louder and cleaner, but everything just sounded more meaty and focused.  Bruce Cockburn's vocals were crystal clear and the stereo separation in "Making Contact" seemed wider and more pronounced than I previously recalled.

cockburnstealingpeggy.jpg       Michael_Jackson-Thriller.jpg

96/24 FLAC: Michael Jackson - Thriller

The Yamaha A-S801 provided pure sonic bliss to my music collection.

I never realized what an incredibly excellently mastered record MJ’s Thriller was until I got it on 180G vinyl and 24 bit FLAC.  For pop music, this is surely a reference piece.  The A-S801 showed off its ability to pump out the juice in Track #2 "Baby Be Mine."  I turned the sub off just to hear how much prodigious bass this amp was able to extract from my speakers.  I also ran this test on the NHT towers in my theater room and was able to achieve SPLs well beyond comfort. MJ's vocals remained completely composed with no sense of harshness.  "Lady in my Life" is perhaps one of my all-time favorite MJ songs.  I was in pure sonic bliss listening to this song reveling in how well my office system sounded with clean Yamaha power.  Color me impressed.

96/24 PCM: Steve Wilson - Hand Cannot Erase

If you haven't heard of Steve Wilson and his fabulous work with Porcupine Tree, I suggest opening up YouTube and getting busy while reading this review.  HCE is his latest solo effort, which arguably is his best to date both from a musical and musicianship perspective.  Normally I listen to the 5.1 DTS-HD track on my reference system but I also enjoy the high-res two-channel mix too.  Title track "Hand Cannot Erase" is probably the closest example of a pop song Steve Wilson has made since his days with Blackfield.  The drums hit hard thanks to the brilliant stick work of Marco Minnemann while Steve showcased perhaps his best vocal work to date.  "Home Invasion/Regret#9" is 11+ minutes of a pure prog rock joygasm.  My system really came alive with the A-S801 powering my speakers.  Drums were had great snap and definition and there was plenty of juice in reserves to crank it up to 11 if that sort of thing is your bag.

Steve-Wilson-HCE.jpg       2L-front.jpg

96kHz/24 FLAC: 2L the Nordic Sound

The ambience in "Gregorian Chant: Crux Fidelis" puts you right into Pilgrimage Church Vierzehnheiligen in Germany.  The ambience reproduced in this recording that convinces the listener that the soundstage extends well beyond the plane of the loudspeakers is truly remarkable and is a testament to the quality of the DAC performance in the Yamaha A-S801.  You don't have to be in Iceland to appreciate the realism and dynamic vocal performance in "Sigurd Ilandsmoen - Requiem Lacrymosa," which sent chills down my spine.  I don't do much listening to orchestral or opera music but the A-S801 is having me reevaluate my musical tastes to further broaden my palette. 

 

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Recent Forum Posts:

lovinthehd posts on December 20, 2021 15:02
Pip_Boy72, post: 1526577, member: 97572
Thank you PENG and Lovinthehd. The Monolith, and Outlaw was what I had originally boiled it done to next to the Yamaha AS701. I was told about the crown amps in the XLI version but after reviewing the four I am now on the email list for when the Crown XLS 2002 will be back in stock . Again thank you both.
Looks like a few bucks more, but even a bit more power….and in stock https://www.guitarcenter.com/Crown/XLS2502-775W-Power-Amp-with-Onboard-DSP-1430749400170.gc
Pip_Boy72 posts on December 20, 2021 14:56
Thank you PENG and Lovinthehd. The Monolith, and Outlaw was what I had originally boiled it done to next to the Yamaha AS701. I was told about the crown amps in the XLI version but after reviewing the four I am now on the email list for when the Crown XLS 2002 will be back in stock . Again thank you both.
PENG posts on December 20, 2021 14:41
lovinthehd, post: 1526563, member: 61636
Or save some money and get a Crown XLS 2002 and get a bit more power than Peng's suggestions.

I don't know how I could have forgotten that one, probably a much better value.
lovinthehd posts on December 20, 2021 14:26
Or save some money and get a Crown XLS 2002 and get a bit more power than Peng's suggestions.
PENG posts on December 20, 2021 14:22
Pip_Boy72, post: 1526551, member: 97572
The vegas are rated at 200 w @ 4 ohms

I mean your actual estimated power requirement based on the loudest sound pressure level you listen to, the distance from your speakers and the sensitive of your speakers.

If you don't want to find out that's okay and in that case just get the most powerful amp you can get for you budget. So for two channel amps, I can think of the following budget oriented power amplifiers:

Monolith 200 WX2
Outlaw M2220 monoblock X 2

Monolith by Monoprice 2x200 Watts Per Channel Two Channel Home Theater Stereo Power Amplifier with XLR Inputs - Monoprice.com

These are real separate power amplifiers.

Edit: Forget the above, the XLS2002 that HD suggested is a better value. Or the XLS 1502
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