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Yamaha R-N301 Stereo Receiver Preview

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Have you met the Yamaha R-N301?

Have you met the Yamaha R-N301?

Summary

  • Product Name: R-N301
  • Manufacturer: Yamaha
  • Review Date: December 12, 2014 06:00
  • MSRP: $349.95
  • First Impression: Pretty Cool
  • Buy Now
  • DLNA: Version 1.5
  • File Format: MP3, WMA, MPEG4, AAC, WAV, FLAC
  • AirPlay: Yes
  • RMS Output Power (8 ohms; 40 Hz - 20 kHz, 0.2% THD): 100 W + 100 W
  • High Dynamic Power / Channel (8 / 6 / 4 / 2 ohms): 105 / 125 / 150 / 178 W
  • Digital Input: Yes (optical / coaxial)
  • Frequency Response: 0 ± 0.5 dB / - 3.0 dB
  • Total Harmonic Distortion (CD to Sp Out, 20 Hz-20 kHz): 0.2% (50 W / 8 ohms)
  • Signal-to-Noise Ratio (CD): 100 dB (CD Direct on, 200 mV)
  • Audio In / Out: 6 / 1
  • FM 50dB Quieting Sensitivity (IHF, 1 kHz, 100% Mod., Mono): 3 µV (20.8 dBf)
  • FM Signal-to-Noise Ratio (Mono/Stereo): 72 dB / 70 dB
  • Standby Power Consumption: 0.1 W (Network Standby mode on = 2.0 W)
  • Dimensions (W x H x D): 17-1/8” x 5-1/2” x 13-1/8”
  • Weight: 15.3 lbs

Usually when we think of a stereo receiver, a simple “audiophile” component comes to mind. In other words, you’ll usually see a box with a handful of stereo analog inputs, and maybe some tone controls if you’re lucky. Generally if you want modern amenities like streaming audio, you’ll need a specific device for that, or you can step into multi-channel A/V receiver. Now Yamaha has a third option: the Yamaha R-N301 stereo receiver. Priced at $349.95, the R-N301 boasts a 100W per channel rating , a pair of digital inputs (one coax and one optical), as well as a network jack. Want to know more? Let’s dig in.

Product Overview

At first glance, the Yamaha R-N301 looks like any other Yamaha stereo receiver. The front face features the usual complement of controls including volume, source selector, speaker A/B switch, and tone controls. However, moving to the rear panel, things start to get a little more interesting. As mentioned above, beyond the usual complement of stereo analog inputs, the R-N301 sports both digital inputs as well as a network jack.

R-N301 Rear

Rear panel of the Yamaha R-N301.

So what kind of networking goodies has Yamaha brought to the table here? For starters, the R-N301 is compatible with both Apple Airplay and DLNA for local network streaming, and it can support playback of WAV and FLAC files up to 192kHz/24 bit resolution. In addition, internet sources including Pandora, Spotify Connect, and vTuner are available for an endless stream of music. Last but not least, like most of Yamaha’s networking components, there’s an app available for iOS and Android devices that gives you full control over the R-N301, which is a nice touch in our book.

Now we come to the matter of power. Yamaha proudly boasts that the R-N301 delivers 100W per channel. However, output is rated a bit more liberally than some other Yamaha products like the mighty A-S3000 integrated amplifier, which is also rated at 100W/channel. Where the A-S3000 is rated from 20Hz-20kHz with <0.07% THD+N, the R-N301 is rated from 40Hz-20kHz with 0.2% THD+N, both into an 8 ohm load. Is this a huge deal? It's obvious that the $350 R-N301 isn’t going to be the equal of Yamaha’s $8,000 flagship (particularly with lower impedance loads); however, the rating is still more conservative than those derived from a 1kHz sine wave with 1% THD that are common in competitor products at this price point.

Conclusion

While those of us used to the advanced features in the A/V receiver segment won’t be overawed by the Yamaha R-N301, it nonetheless represents a major leap forward versus most stereo receivers. With a variety of network streaming options, not to mention a cool control app for smartphones and tablets, Yamaha has brought the stereo receiver firmly into the 21st century. While we can still daydream about things like bass management and room correction, there’s not much question that for a great many people, a simple two-channel receiver like the R-N301 will get the job done.

Unless otherwise indicated, this is a preview article for the featured product. A formal review may or may not follow in the future.

About the author:
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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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