Yamaha NPS303 and AS1100

Discussion in 'Hi-Fi Stereo Systems & Separates' started by Cornish Dave, Jan 16, 2018.

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  1. Cornish Dave

    Cornish Dave
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    I did promise a couple of you that I would share my thoughts when I received the above units. Well they came yesterday and these are my initial thoughts I guess. I should say I just enjoy music and am not an expert in explaining the nuances of it, bit like I enjoy red wine but have yet to spot one that had a rasberry tinge. My system now comprises

    Yamaha NP-S303 Streamer
    Yamaha AS1100 Amplifier
    Rega Planar 3 Turntable
    Q Acoustics Concept 20 Speakers on dedicated stands

    I have also tried out a very old CD player with it an Arcam Alpha 9, it sounded fine but is now back in the cupboard as it is not something I play that often.

    The Streamer does what it says on the tin I guess it streams from my wi fi! I had a problem getting it to connect to my router it took about ten attempts and then it connected without me realising it. There are several ways to do this in the instruction booklet and I tried three and to be honest I have no idea which succeeded and was just about to tear what little hair I have left out. One thing which I feel is a backward step is Airable Radio I very much prefer the old V Tuner on the RN-602. With the latter I went on line registered my device searched for stations and registered them as favourites. On this unit you end up scrolling through radio stations that appear in a muddled order, it reminds me of my old Denon CEOL and this in my view is a backward step! It connected to my Spotify account without any problem at all, and I have tried out Bluetooth briefly which was OK but the quality of sound was not as good. I have always used a streamer for Internet Radio and Spotify so cannot really comment on anything else.

    The Amplifier is I noticed heavy and I mean HEAVY! The DPD driver said be careful this box is very heavy and he was not joking. My wife reckons it is just ugly and it is big and very deep but I like hi fi that looks like it used to and the AS1100 certainly fits this bill.Connecting everything up was quite simple although I am only using a small number of it's connections. It all looks very well made, mine is black and on the Yamaha website you can clearly see the wooden sides. Mine has very shiny piano black sides, I cannot tell if this is wood or metal. Listening to it it is much more detailed than the old Receiver if that makes sense, the instruments seem more spread apart and can more easily be distinguished from one another. The sound is I think much clearer and sharper if that makes sense, the Receiver had a more laid back smooth sound. Even though I am using the bookshelf Q Acoustics there appears to be a lot more base coming through, probably would be even more so on a decent pair of floorstanders. I am though perfectly happy with the amount of bass I can hear, I do not listen to heavy rock so can do without too much anyway.

    The RN-602 cost me around £400 and these two units were around £1400 so I suppose the question is are they worth the extra. I like the improvement in sound so I will be keeping them but even I have to question if the sound is a grand better. My wife who thinks a portable radio has fine sound would definately say they are not worth it. If you are reading this you like Hi Fi and Music so I guess to us we always like to try and improve the sound we can hear and I have done that. Perhaps I should mention I binned the awful cheapy connects that came with the streamer and I am using a pair of Chord C Line. I have no idea if the supplied connects were up too much as I did not try them! I have connected the Rega but have not tried it yet, it is at least 25 years old so a modern deck may sound better in any event.

    Hope this is of use to those who asked me to put my thoughts on here, no doubt the sound will improve as the system is run in and I will update these thoughts in due course. Any questions I will try to answer to the best of my ability, but as I have said I am no expert!


    Dave
     
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  2. Khazul

    Khazul
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    Thanks for taking the time to post this.

    Which receiver did you have before?
     
  3. Cornish Dave

    Cornish Dave
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    An RN-602.
     
  4. Khazul

    Khazul
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    OK Thanks - duh - you mentioned it in the original post :facepalm:

    I am considering one of these amps (or the 2100) to serve as a front amp for a Yamaha AVR and also serve as phono stage/pre-amp/amp for a turntable (technics sl1210m5g - probably have an ortofon blue or bronze mm cartridge on it by then). Probably also as a pre-amp/amp for streaming as well with AVR as the source from zone 2 outs unless that turns out to be terrible :).
     
    Last edited: Jan 16, 2018
  5. Cornish Dave

    Cornish Dave
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    Quick update Airable have explained how I can find stations using Musicast, very impressed by their speedy response!
     
  6. Hixs

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    I've set my sights on the AS1100. Need to get the pennies together though!

    I was originally going to get the AS801 as @BlueWizard recommends it quite a lot, and then found an Audioholics review video where they raved about it, but then someone mentioned the AS1100 was miles better @droidlike I believe, so I began researching that...

    Problem is, the AS1100 is nigh on 1700 euro here. I have found a UK website that ships, bu it'll still be around 1400 euro + shipping (40ish via slowmail).

    Since we'll make this the official AS1100 thread...;)

    I could use my Marantz 5010 as a streamer right? if hooked up via preouts. I don't really want to have to buy a streamer on top.
     
  7. Khazul

    Khazul
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    TBH - if I was just looking for a HiFi amp, I might be tempted by the 801 - by accounts its a decent amp for the price. My interest in the A-S1100 is for its AVR integration capability which regardless of make tends to stick you in premium amps territory. Other alternatives for me are up to A-S2100 or the way more expensive Parasound Halo 2.1 integrated (which seems to have even better AVR integration including fully taking over bass management in music mode).

    Remember this amp is an HT Bypass capable amp - so you can use it as front power amp for your AVR (AVR front pre outs -> main ins), but you will be missing out on the integrated pre-amp (AVR will still control volume, EQ, tone etc). It can also use the AVR trigger output to turn on from standby and automatically select the main direct input for basically invisible use with an AVR.

    Other option is AVR zone 2 analog outs to another line in on the amp (tuner in for eg), then you can use the pre amp as well, so you control volume, and tone controls from the amp and leave all of the AVR switched off except zone 2 (if that's how you AVR works). If you use a trigger as above, then also check if your AVR can be set to only output the trigger when main zone is on (Don't know about Marantz, but Yamaha AVRs seem to have such a setting).

    The only problem with zone 2 on AVRs is many seem to use cheaper/simpler DACs and output stages for the second zone outs relative to those used for the fronts and front pre-outs so sound quality via this route might not be as good.

    In the end try both (you can make both connections at the same time and just select between main in source and tuner in or whatever source). If you feel something is missing still, then that's the time to think about a better streamer/NAS media player/DAC.
     
  8. Hixs

    Hixs
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    The HT bypass is of interest to me for sure. The one thing the 1100 lacks (for me) is sub out option. Focal speakers are not really known for their hard hitting bass. Plenty of bass for most music, but lacking for hip hop and electronic.

    I'm still weighing a few options.

    Going cheaper AS801 @ 999 or RN803 @ 899 and saving some pennies towards new speakers. An online shop has reduced Focal Aria 936 down from 2200 to 1300...(as you can see, France isn't cheap for electronics)

    Or looking at other options in the 1.5-2k price range.

    It's going to be another month or two before I can buy really, so time to think.


    I do love the look of the Yamaha though...the weight, the build quality, the design all appeal more then smaller plastic black boxes.
     
  9. Cornish Dave

    Cornish Dave
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    I got mine from Peter Tyson for £1149, they say they do not normally sell overseas but I have read somewhere if you ask they will consider it. Nothing ventured nothing gained and all that!
     
  10. Hixs

    Hixs
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  11. Cornish Dave

    Cornish Dave
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    Good enough I guess, did notice one thing, 2/3 year warranty, I got a 5 year warranty from Peter Tyson.
     
  12. Hixs

    Hixs
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    Oh btw, can't have a thread without pics... ;)
     
  13. Nat64

    Nat64
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    Dave , thank you very much for posting the update . Im still very tempted by the A-S2100 . My interest is only as an amp , no interest in the AV capabilities.
    I can only hope it will sound better than a 28 year old Technics.
    If not its going straight back. I just need to find someone that has DSR that are longer than 7 days and has one in stock.
     
  14. Hixs

    Hixs
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    I thought you had 30 days for returns under EU law?
     
  15. Khazul

    Khazul
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    You can always use pre-amp outs to drive a sub - that is what I use for sub with music. The headache without active bass management is its harder to get it setup right without something like the room eq wizard app to balance the sub's level and crossover, but quite straight forward with that and a suitable measuring mic.
     
  16. Hixs

    Hixs
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    Probably add a miniDSP to the shopping list then.
     
  17. Nat64

    Nat64
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    It depends on the retailer. Peter Tyson advertise 7 days in their blurb. Superfi advertise 30 days. I don't think there is a mandatory by law fixed number of days.
    If you buy an item and it fails within the first 30 days they send you a new one instead of sending yours for repair. That I do know.

    Regards,
    Nat.
     
  18. Hixs

    Hixs
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    Yeah just looked. It appears only faulty goods are covered under the 30 days law.
     
  19. Nat64

    Nat64
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    I found an A-S2100 on demo today
    So I had to go see/hear .
    Black unit , connected up to Kef R700's.

    Initial thoughts

    I cannot stress how heavy this unit is. Think heavy , then double it when you try and pick it up.
    Quality..........this is a top quality item . In fact its at £1649 at the moment. Having seen the Yamaha, when you see other amps at £2000-£3000-£4000-£5000 or more you will ask yourself where did the other thousands of pounds go. Obviously I haven't seen every amp on the market, but I would dare suggest you wont beat this amp on quality . Period. The knobs are all metal , the polished sides are mirror finish and every switch / knob moves with a quality feel/click. With the switches you can tell there is a proper switch behind the scenes, you feel it and can hear it operate. Top notch.
    Sound quality. I am no hifi tester that has swallowed a book full of adjectives. I will try to convey what I have heard.
    The yamaha is very clear. With my current technics I have the tone controls set at ............treble turned up about 8/10 th of the way and the base turned up 3/4 of the way. Of course every song is different but these are normally around these levels.
    The Yamaha sounds very clear. I hardly needed to raise the treble.
    The base was lacking. I had to have about 3/4 base on the setting.
    That said i run Kef 500's at home. They are set in the corner 0.5/0.5 from the side wall/back wall , toe'd in to a central point about 6 meters away. The base ports at the back are open and they currently give strong/fast base.
    The Kef 700's I tested with were at least 2.5/2.5 from the back wall and I was sat 3 meters away and they didn't have much toe in. The base was disappointing . I think it was due to the positioning / room layout rather than anything else. For all I know the foams were in the rear ports. I didn't ask /look.
    The sound separation, the clarity and ability to differentiate between the instruments was very good indeed. Vocals were loud and clear without sounding harsh. The one area that stood out was the silent parts. By that I mean the bits in between the notes or singing , which were totally silent. That really stood out and made the music sound very clear.
    Over all In was very impressed with the Yamaha. The short demo I had was enough to confirm to me that I want to test this unit in my own home.
    Note : Of late I have been to many shops and looked at many units and I have said it quite a few times on various chats, but having seen it/heard it in the flesh , I will repeat what I said before , namely that I fail to understand why everyone isn't going mad over this piece of equipment. It really is in a different league to everything else , especially at the same price point. I would suggest the same should be true of the rest of the A-S family , the 1100 and the 3000. It really is a fantastic piece of equipment.

    Regards,
    Nat.
     
    Last edited: Jan 17, 2018
  20. Khazul

    Khazul
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    That might simply be a case of better bass control. I have often found with higher quality amps and speakers is while the overall perceived bass seems to be reduced, the bass you hear is actually tighter and more accurate to the original signal. You may find the bass has more impact as well even if it seems there is less of it.

    Also within 0.5m of a corner at home, I thinking you are still getting considerable corner gain.

    While its a matter of personal taste and what you are used to, I do find it a bit odd that you normally have bass and treble control set so high. Treble I can kind of understand as many rooms tend to absorb more high frequency and reflect it less than low frequencies with the result that room sound can often be a bit on the dull side.

    Maybe most people find me odd because I tend to have them flat unless something is seriously missing and even then I must admit I dont really like the frequencies chosen from most tone controls. I also equally dislike most loudness controls as well. The usual thing I might tweak is just sub level as that is where I find that many releases are most variable as mix/mastering engineers will often low cut to some degree or other.
     
    Last edited: Jan 17, 2018
  21. Cornish Dave

    Cornish Dave
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    Nat, you are tempted now ! You are right about heavy, think the AS1100 was 23 kg, imagine the 2100 would be very similar! The bass is fine for me but I have limitations on my expectations given the small bookshelf speakers I am using. It certainly has more than the RN602 did.
     
  22. Khazul

    Khazul
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    Considering what I have heard about construction and component differences between the 1100 and 2100 then I was surprised that the weight difference between them is so small - only 0.1Kg.
     
  23. Hixs

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    I didn't think there was that much difference between the two? Biggest being the 2100 has a better phono and headphone stage.

    This small review goes through the biggest differences between the audiophine end of the A-S line - 6moons audioreviews: yamaha A-S2100
     
    Last edited: Jan 17, 2018
  24. Nat64

    Nat64
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    It may well be that the Yamaha is better and has more control over bass.
    One of the reasons for looking at the Yamaha is because I would like to try ............and you will all probably disapprove , is to connect a sub . I don't wan t to spend a fortune, but I would be really interested to hear what it would sound like with a " musical " sub.

    As for positioning , I tried loads of different distances and toe in. The current position sounded the best to me and I have thumping tight bass if I want it.

    This kind of explains what I did ...........

    Speaker Placement for Stereo Music Listening


    I think the fact I need / like to turn up the treble , & of course its a personal choice, but perhaps my Technics is one of these amps we hear described as " warm ". Its certainly not what I am guessing they describe as " bright ". I have to be honest, its done the job really well for the last 30 years so it can't be that bad.
    The question I now have to answer is .........Is the Yamaha £1649 better ?

    The only way to find out is to bring one home and try.
     
  25. Khazul

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    I see no reason to 'disapprove' :)

    I prefer the sound of large full range speakers for music, I think the end result is more coherent than I can typically get even after being really careful with sub placement and properly measured setup (assuming the usual 80Hz or so crossover).

    That said, even though my large floor standers can almost act as subs in their own right (especially if corner loaded a bit), I still prefer to tuck a sub in under them - I just like really deep bass for a lot of the music I listen to. I just run the sub off pre-outs for music listening.

    The other thing is many active AV subs have some DSP in them which adds a bit of latency and I personally find that can get in the way of them being useful music subs for normal hifi amps at higher crossover frequencies, but I find it isn't a problem when they are only picking up the very low end (40Hz or so and below) if the sub is also positioned suitably.
     
    Last edited: Jan 18, 2018
  26. droidlike

    droidlike
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    If you go to hifiengine site (sister's site of the famous vinylengine) you can download for free all 3 yamaha amps service manuals with detailed schematics in there, that is, a-s3000, 2100 and 1100

    you have to register on hifiengine to download the pdf docs, but it's free don't worry ;)

    then
    in those 3 service manuals
    you'll discover that the 3 amps are exactly the same ,
    component by component and values by valus, yes sir !

    phono stage is exactly the same on all 3 amps

    3000 and 2100 do have balanced input which is missing on 1100

    1100 has 4 x 18'000 microFarad filter capacitors
    while 3000 and 2100 do have 4 x 22'000 microFarad, and this may help in case you have to drive monster speakers like b&w 800 series ;)

    hp-amp is

    on 3000, 2 x 75milliwatts made of discrete components, that is transistors
    on 2100, 2 x 50milliwatts made of transistors
    on 1100, 2 x 25milliwatts with integrated circuits

    1100 and 2100 do have exactly the same main transformer , frame EI , 700 VoltAmperes
    3000 has a toroidal main transformer, lightweigth and smaller than 1100/2100
    but 3000 has a heavy copper screening around the transformer, that's why it weitgths a little more

    on the back label all 3 amps you can read exactly the same power rating
    that is , 350 Watts max

    hth
     
    Last edited: Jan 18, 2018
  27. Hixs

    Hixs
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    So technically different, but real world difference is negligible.

    Also, what's the wpc? some sites claim 90wpc, some are claiming 105wpc.
     
    Last edited: Jan 18, 2018
  28. Khazul

    Khazul
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  29. droidlike

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    not at all
    again,
    only if you download the service manuals with detailed schematics from hifiengine ;)

    Yamaha A-S1100 or A-S3000

    =======================
    PeteD
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    Posted June 15, 2017 (edited)


    The 3000 has XLR - apart from that you would be hard pressed to hear the difference in SQ. If you're not using XLR then get the 1100 and save the cash. A friend lugged his 3000 over to my place and we compared the two amps using RCA interconnects - we couldn't tell the difference.

    Edited June 15, 2017 by PeteD
    ===========================

    Yo got it :thumbsup:
    Exactly !

    :smashin:

    these 3 identical amps are based on a special amp topology called circlotron,
    which is being used only by the best amps in the world

    Build The Amazing FET Circlotron | Pass DIY

    :rolleyes:
     
  30. toon10

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    Good write up. I have the RN-602 and I'm never sure whether I should spend extra money and get a better amp and separate streamer or to stick with what I have. I'm very happy with it but realise better sound can be had (at a cost!)

    I often find in life, sometimes things are better but cost a lot more so you have to then question the value to performance ratio.
     

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