Cheeky n00b question about Yamaha A S-310

Alright lads,

I'm having a nightmare here with hifi/TV issues. Long story short, I had a Franken-setup with two old amplifiers from the late-80s running into each other, one main one for TV via a Fiio DAC, and one with a superior phono stage running into the main amp via the headphone socket for vinyl (sounded good - honest!). The main one was controlled via a universal remote which is why I did not just use the second amp which had no remote facility. A remote is essential for me because I have around 120 youtube playlists with videos at different volumes and with the optical out into the DAC, the TV remote volume no longer works. Yes I know this is all a bit mental.

The speakers are some 90s Sonys considered audiophile grade at the time. Before I replaced some knackered sub-par Technics with them, they were powered by a cheap £20 caravan amp hooked up to my laptop, and sounded amazing, so I'm confident they don't don't need replacing. And the sound was incredible through headphones (Koss Portapros) from all sources.

Then.. I got a bit sick of all this as the universal remote does not work properly for the main amp (an 80s Kenwood), and I needed to clear some space in my front room (there's a VCR and tape deck in the mix too, and up until I sold it last week a massive valve radio from the 60s). So on a whim I bought this Yamaha A S-301 amp to simplify things. No more need of an extra amp, the DAC, the weird universal remote; and handily the turntable (A Vestax PDX) fits perfectly on top of it.

But.. a week in and I'm sick of; it sounds terrible. Through both speakers and headphones. Favorite music I've known intimately for decades just sounds so wrong. If I had to describe the problem I'd say it's robotic-sounding, too bright and lean. Yes I can suddenly hear every detail but.. the levels are all wrong or something. Tinkering with the tone controls and "pure direct" function doesn't help. Using the Fiio DAC instead of the amp's optical input presents the same problem so it's not the DAC, although it should be said that vinyl sounds better than the TV, still way off perfect though.

Then I read in various reviews that "burn in" is a thing with these Yamaha amps. Like really?? Sounds fishy to me. Reckon I've given it around 40 hours listening time so far between headphones and speakers and various inputs. Should I really hold out another week in the hope that Yamaha's recommended 100 hours does the trick? Or is this, as I suspect, more of a subtle thing that will not make a large difference to the sound? I *think* it has improved but it's still far from what I expect from a supposedly good amp.

I don't have a huge amount of $$$ so may well put it back on ebay (where I got it from in as new condition for £120) and go back to my old setup with an eye on this Marantz 6006 thing I've been looking at for a possible future purchase. But really, for my ears, I'm not sure all this audiophile stuff works. Used to have a cheapo turntable hooked up to a guitar amp, which did me good in the old days. Certainly sounded better than this Yamaha anyway.

Enough, thanks for indulging a newbie here.

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