Yamaha RN803 alternatives

Pauel

Standard Member
Long story short - after two months of usage my Klipsch The Fives are going to be replaced with something less buggy and more classic without any DSP engineered sound. I'd write a review someday, but not now - it is a bit painful at the moment. If I was young again I'd start a vendetta!

So, I'm building the setup from the scratch.
The speakers model will the one of the following:
  • Spendor 3/5 or 4/5 or A1
  • AE1 Classic or AE 500
I need a piece of advice about the streaming integrated amplifier for Spotify. They swore blind they'll add some lossless format around the end of this year.

A top dog - Yamaha RN803. The main obstacle is the heat. How much heating produces this guy?
The only place for him is a niche inside the TV stand. That niche is just 1/2 inches bigger in every dimension than the amplifier. The rear and front are open, but the sides, top, and bottom are made from solid thick wood. So, I'm interested if this Yamaha survives inside such a small niche. Who has such experience? I like Yamaha since I was a boy. This brand is my soft spot.

An underdog - Audiolab 6000A Play - how good this guy is?

Does anyone have an idea what else should I consider? Please, share with me your thoughts. I'd appreciate any feedback.

My preferences are:
  • Streaming network amplifier, just-add-speakers, because my room is tiny - 13sqm.
  • At least ~50W, just to drive the speakers above
  • Spotify
  • AB class amplifier if possible
  • A budget - similar to 803 and 6000A or a little bit more
  • Preout or preout for sub (SB-1000, bought a month ago)
  • Less than RN803
Marantz, NAD - looks like I don't like such sound, big No-No.

Please, share with me your thoughts. I'd appreciate any feedback.
 
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Solution
I need a piece of advice about the streaming integrated amplifier for Spotify. They swore blind they'll add some lossless format around the end of this year.

A top dog - Yamaha RN803. The main obstacle is the heat. How much heating produces this guy?
The only place for him is a niche inside the TV stand. That niche is just 1/2 inches bigger in every dimension than the amplifier. The rear and front are open, but the sides, top, and bottom are made from solid thick wood. So, I'm interested if this Yamaha survives inside such a small niche.

I would suggest that only a 13mm gap between the top of the amplifier case and cabinet is pushing it for any amplifier which relies on convection cooling through top mounted vents. This means...

Ugg10

Distinguished Member
You could look at the Naim Unitiqute second hand, ok it’s only got 30W but naim have a reputation for strong power supplies and sounding more powerful than on paper. The Bluesound Powernode 2I again second hand is worth a look but I think this may be a class D amp. Both of these are small form factor so no issues with shelf space. With the Naim you can add a NAP100 power amp at a later stage and bi amp if you need more power.
 
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Jester1066

Well-known Member
A top dog - Yamaha RN803. The main obstacle is the heat. How much heating produces this guy?
The only place for him is a niche inside the TV stand. That niche is just 1/2 inches bigger in every dimension than the amplifier. The rear and front are open, but the sides, top, and bottom are made from solid thick wood. So, I'm interested if this Yamaha survives inside such a small niche. Who has such experience? I like Yamaha since I was a boy. This brand is my soft spot.
Since you have a soft spot for Yamaha, but have limited space to fit the 803. Might be worth considering this: (WXA50)


It's an all in one streamer with built in stereo amp. Being smaller, it will fit easily in the space you say the 803 would be tight in. It can also be positioned horizontally or vertically and has 70w per channel.

They also sell the WXC50 - a pre-amp version which connects to any stereo amplifier (see below)

An underdog - Audiolab 6000A Play - how good this guy is?
I have the straight Audiolab 6000A - same as 6000A Play but without the streamer. The streamer part (the "play" moniker), is the weakest part of the amp imo. I don't like the DTS PlayFi App (find it very buggy). It's also worth saying that the 6000A Play does not do gapless playback. This was a deal breaker for me.

The 6000A on It's own: (RRP - £599


Is a beautiful bit of kit imo. Solidly built - good weight to it 7.8kg net. It has a fantastic ESS Sabre based DAC. 50wpc - which easily drives my Monitor Audio Silver 100's, and can be cranked up if needed.

I would then buy a seperate streamer such as the highly reviewed Bluesound Node 2i (RRP £499) and connect it via Coaxial to the 6000A to use the Sabre DAC:


Or if you wanted a cheaper (than the WXC50) Yamaha streamer to use with the 6000A there's also the WXAD10: (RRP £139)


Bluesound also offer the the Powernode 2i - which is a streamer and amp combined. This also has an HDMI (audio only), so could be used to connect a TV to if you wished:


If it were my money, I'd go with the Audiolab 6000A (not Play) & seperate streamer option. The Bluesound app/software (BluOs) is more stable and really easy to use compared to DTS Play Fi as is Yamaha's Musicast imo
 
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Pauel

Standard Member
If it were my money, I'd go with the Audiolab 6000A (not Play) & seperate streamer option. The Bluesound app/software (BluOs) is more stable and really easy to use compared to DTS Play Fi as is Yamaha's Musicast imo
Ok, thank you for the detailed answer.
One more question if you don't mind. I'm not familiar with the optical cable features.
Say, If I use a WXC-50 + 6000A combo connected via optical cable, then will the WXC control the volume or not?
 
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Jester1066

Well-known Member
Ok, thank you for the detailed answer.
One more question if you don't mind. I'm not familiar with the optical cable features.
Say, If I use a WXC-50 + 6000A combo connected via optical cable, then will the WXC control the volume or not?
Nope there's a "mode" switch on the WXC-50 (see picture).... if you set this switch to "Player", the volume would be controlled by the 6000A. Which is the way I'd have it. As the connecting via either optical or Coaxial I'd want to use the ESS Sabre DAC in the 6000a.


Screenshot_20210330-163621_Drive.jpg


I'd connect the WXC-50 to the 6000a via Coaxial though. But the mode remains the same.

Just noticed the WXC-50 has both preouts & a dedicated sub out too which is a bonus.

Edit: to use the streamer, you'd simply select either the coax or optical input (whichever way you have it connected), on the 6000a via its "source" button.
 
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Pauel

Standard Member
Nope there's a "mode" switch on the WXC-50 (see picture).... if you set this switch to "Player", the volume would be controlled by the 6000A. Which is the way I'd have it. As the connecting via either optical or Coaxial I'd want to use the ESS Sabre DAC in the 6000a.
Thanks! Looks like "Great treasures buried here" can be written on the wxc box :)
 
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Jester1066

Well-known Member
If you can stretch the budget a little, the streamer amp combination I'm actually going to be using is the Audiolab 6000a & Bluesound Node 2i.
 
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Jester1066

Well-known Member
Thanks! Looks like "Great treasures buried here" can be written on the wxc box :)
Manuals can be king for this sort of stuff for sure. I always read the online manuals of prospective purchases. Helps to make sure it'll have the functionality I'm looking for, before I part with the money!
 
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Pauel

Standard Member
Manuals can be king for this sort of stuff for sure. I always read the online manuals of prospective purchases. Helps to make sure it'll have the functionality I'm looking for, before I part with the money!
I agree. At the moment I've overburdened with loads of details about dozen or two of devices. That is why I requested help on the forum.
Probably, I should have dug things after I meet the sound, not before :)
 
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Jester1066

Well-known Member
I agree. At the moment I've overburdened with loads of details about dozen or two of devices. That is why I requested help on the forum.
Probably, I should have dug things after I meet the sound, not before :)
This forum is a fantastic resource & help, as it contains members who have real world experience of the products discussed etc.

Indeed, many of my Audio Visual purchases are based (in part at least) on the recommendation of forum members.

Just remember though, what is one man's caviar, may be another's marmite, so it's always best to try and audition things before purchase. Or at least make sure you can return an item if you don't like it.

At the end of the day, it doesn't really matter how I or anyone else rates a product. It only matters that you like it and it works for you.
 
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NifkinFZ6

Active Member
I spent a few weeks directly comparing the BS Node 2i and the WXC-50, and they're pretty much identical, SQ-wise. I went with the Yamaha because it's half the price of the BS, and has more networking options (via Musiccast). The Node 2i does benefit from a newer iteration of Bluetooth, if that's important to you.

The Yamaha is a genuine audio bargain: it's the kind of component that, if it had been brought out by a UK manufacturer, it'd cost at least £500 more. It was a clever idea to share the basic platform between the WXC-50 and the WXA-50, as this is ultimately what allowed for an economy of scale leading to a very keenly priced item. I've compared the inbuilt DAC to a few other sub-£1k standalone DACs and it wasn't beaten.
 
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Jester1066

Well-known Member
spent a few weeks directly comparing the BS Node 2i and the WXC-50, and they're pretty much identical, SQ-wise.
Looks like I'm adding the WXC-50 to my streamer audition! Will be interesting to see if I reach the same conclusion as you @NifkinFZ6. Since I too will be doing a direct comparison with the Node 2i.
 
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Helix Hifi

Well-known Member
Apparently most of the Yamaha equipment need a lot ventilation around it, that is if you’re going to place in in small rack. But many you tubers have little room around it. Yamaha recommendations is 20 cm from the top chassis and the same around the sides, rear.
 
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Pauel

Standard Member
The Yamaha is a genuine audio bargain: it's the kind of component that, if it had been brought out by a UK manufacturer, it'd cost at least £500 more. It was a clever idea to share the basic platform between the WXC-50 and the WXA-50, as this is ultimately what allowed for an economy of scale leading to a very keenly priced item. I've compared the inbuilt DAC to a few other sub-£1k standalone DACs and it wasn't beaten.
I had thought of buying WXC before I bought Klipsch. Instead of WXC I bought WXAD-10. What a shame! It's good, however, but today I'd like a bit more integrated solution. If I thought twice, I would be two steps forward now :)
 
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Onlythesound

Active Member
Think about the Denon DRA-800 h at £449. I think it will do everything you want it to.
 
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Helix Hifi

Well-known Member
It is not my intention to diss Yamaha. I like their sound philosophy. But according to the web Yamaha has some issues with the 803 model. And other models...
 
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NifkinFZ6

Active Member
Apparently most of the Yamaha equipment need a lot ventilation around it, that is if you’re going to place in in small rack. But many you tubers have little room around it. Yamaha recommendations is 20 cm from the top chassis and the same around the sides, rear.
Why would a streamer/DAC like the WXC-50 needs a lot of ventilation around it? It's not an amplifier so it doesn't get warm at all: no more than a CD player does.
 
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Helix Hifi

Well-known Member
Why would a streamer/DAC like the WXC-50 needs a lot of ventilation around it? It's not an amplifier so it doesn't get warm at all: no more than a CD player does.
My bad. I meant the current Yamaha amplifier range. If you look in the manual you’ll then see they need some ventilation around them. This is of course because Yamaha needs their “own security” so they can’t blame the customer. Still I doubt there’s a issue if you’re going to buy an amplifier from them. There well be a circuit that we’ll active if it gets too warm. Still I’ve never heard about Class AB amplifiers that need a lot ventilation around. Normally AB amplifiers need around 5-7 cm in all directions. Class A amplifier of course, but this is because the output transistors are on all the time, not on and off like AB amplifiers.
 
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Jester1066

Well-known Member
I meant the current Yamaha amplifier range. If you look in the manual you’ll then see they need some ventilation around them. This is of course because Yamaha needs their “own security” so they can’t blame the customer. Still I doubt there’s a issue if you’re going to buy an amplifier from them.
Without sounding obvious. Don't all class A/B amps generate heat and therefore need ventilation to some degree?

Surely this need for ventilation is not exclusively a Yamaha requirement? Of course, it goes without saying that some models/manufacturers gear will generate more heat than others. In turn I would expect these to require a greater degree of ventilation.

As an example, Denon AVR's are considered to get very warm indeed. Does this mean it's an inferior product? Not at all, it means I make sure there's sufficient means of ventilation (as per the recommendation in the manual). If I do not follow this advice and the amp fails (due to overheating), is that Denon's fault? I'd say not. Further more, they'd have every right to blame the customer in such an instance imo.

It's not just Yamaha that needs security where ventilation is concerned. If it were, why do all manufacturers include this info in their manuals. If a consumer wishes to ignore or push the limits of this advice, they do so at their own risk imo. If however, they follow the ventilation recommendations, it's reasonable to expect the product to perform as intended, ie not overheat!

Just my opinion. 😊
 
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NifkinFZ6

Active Member
All manufacturers recommend leaving room for ventilation around their amps, regardless of class. Amps have heatsinks and vented casework to assist this. Not sure why Yamaha are being singled out.
 
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muljao

Well-known Member
You had a bad experience with the fives but the streaming active speakers concept would probably work better for you if you get the right set. Takes away the matching and trying to fit things in.

Anyway, something to look at would be the wxc50 that's mentioned and a pair of Acoustics energy AE1 active speakers. Your set is separate so the streaming part can be upgraded separate to speakers if need be
 
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Helix Hifi

Well-known Member
Without sounding obvious. Don't all class A/B amps generate heat and therefore need ventilation to some degree?

Surely this need for ventilation is not exclusively a Yamaha requirement? Of course, it goes without saying that some models/manufacturers gear will generate more heat than others. In turn I would expect these to require a greater degree of ventilation.

As an example, Denon AVR's are considered to get very warm indeed. Does this mean it's an inferior product? Not at all, it means I make sure there's sufficient means of ventilation (as per the recommendation in the manual). If I do not follow this advice and the amp fails (due to overheating), is that Denon's fault? I'd say not. Further more, they'd have every right to blame the customer in such an instance imo.

It's not just Yamaha that needs security where ventilation is concerned. If it were, why do all manufacturers include this info in their manuals. If a consumer wishes to ignore or push the limits of this advice, they do so at their own risk imo. If however, they follow the ventilation recommendations, it's reasonable to expect the product to perform as intended, ie not overheat!

Just my opinion. 😊
You clearly misunderstood me. I just tried to tell @Pauel that it might be wise to read the Yamaha manual regarding the amplifier he asked about. It appears that Yamaha budget range amplifiers need more ventilation around them because they are designed like that. Yamaha high end amplifiers range does not get so hot because they have over designed heat sinks. Is it Yamaha’s fault if it is broken? Of course not. Is it an inferior product of course not? In the end one has to use some proper sense. No, not all AB amplifiers get hot. It all depends on how the heat sinks are designed. And I didn’t single out Yamaha as an inferior product or something like that. I just gave my opinion on the matter.
 
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Helix Hifi

Well-known Member
@Jester1066, if you didn’t read between the lines when I wrote the following line: own security-that does not mean you can stuff the Yamaha amplifier in a stereo rack with pillows around it😊.
 
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