Review: Yamaha A S-2000 Amplifier

Category: Amplifiers

Dear Audiogoners, this is a joint-review of both the Yamaha A S-2000 amp and CD S-1000 SACD player.

I will skip the part on my listening biases and musical tastes, as they are covered in an earlier review of the Anthem 225 integrated. I still agree 100% with this review - it's just that the Yamaha proposition goes further. My Anthem review can be found here:

About this current review of the Yamaha, this will be the SAME review for both units – the amp and cd player- as it is much easier to treat them as a whole, being so close in form and performance factors.

I have been reading a lot of posts about the Yamaha gear. I even came across an analogy that Yam makes good motorcycles but ordinary audio gear. Very funny, and I think negatively biased. If one is to compare Yam's audio expertise to something as irrelevant as motorcycles within the Yam family, why not at least compare to their musical instruments, especially their famed Grand Pianos (like the C-7) - and the whole range of other musical instruments they make. I played a Yamaha piano for real - and ask anyone in the know of musical instruments; They make honest, good sounding (sometimes exceptional-sounding) instruments.

My point is - they know a thing or two about music (and how it should sound) that even the best electronic whiz kid from digital and transformer-row don’t. Fact is I think, they just didn’t take things seriously again until these current components – as maybe (just maybe) they have recently set corporate goals to be active in the high-end in the last few years.

I have owned many ''high-end'' audio units in the past. Cary monoblocks, Sonic Frontiers Power 2 and line 2 combo, Bel Canto REF 6000 (still own them but wish to sell them now), Electrocompaniet, Simaudio I-5 – and value-leader Anthem 225, a very nice bang for the buck amp. And I won't bother you with a similar list regarding CD players, where some of those units were obscenely priced. This feeling coming when you eventually find out it was all smoke and no fire.

Why have I chosen the Yamaha A S-2000 integrated and CD S-1000 player? For the following reasons:

1. They SOUND exceptionally good, and not just for the price. More on sound later.

2. The build is absolutely first rate. Call me old-school, but I still enjoy boxes that have chuck-full of high-quality, carefully put-together parts with impeccable assembly, in a hefty package. The Yam has it in spades.

3. Tone controls that actually work the way they should. Meaning in a gentle way, without altering the sound other than what you are looking for. This is a blessing as my listening room, my cd's, my audio cables, hell, my listening mood - are less than perfect. Cheaper and less trouble to turn the knob at 12:05 than to change (again) interconnects or to move the furniture around to suit the speakers. I know I said the same thing in a previous review of the Anthem 225, but on the Yamaha, everything is microprocessors and relays – the Anthem is more of your typical set-up – the Yam is very up-to-date technologically speaking.

4. The Looks. This is of course highly subjective, but I for one enjoy the seductive tactile feel of those retro square knobs, the faint LED lights (no more retina-piercing blue LEDs for me, thanks), the very classy faceplate AND of course those real-wood side panels. Maybe I am secretly drawn to the ‘70s design in audio gear – I just think the Yamaha is all class regardless of age.

Special mention given to the SACD player – it is a real looker with that clean uncluttered design and the same real-wood panels.

How they sound.

These Yamaha’s don’t sound like your typical Japanese fare, which I consider somewhat dry, flat and somewhat bright.
They sound very neutral, and remind me of a very much liked Accuphase integrated I used to own. I regrettably sold this one as it was just too much money to have sitting in my listening room. Build quality is – in my opinion – surprisingly almost in the same league however – you MUST see this thing for yourself to believe it. Maybe it is best I try to separate my impressions of the amp from the cd player.

Yamaha A S-2000

Sound is very neutral, and subjectively much more powerful than its 90 watts (8 Ohm) rating. I would say it sounds close (power wise) to a previous Anthem 225 integrated. I think the Anthem 225 is fabulous value, maybe one of the all-time best buys in audioland. But as much as I can recommend its purchase (and I still recommend it as it is wonderful), I feel the Yamaha amp is on a higher level sonically speaking. It just sounds more resolving and more refined. The soundstage is wide and open, the mids are liquid and the bass control is in Bryston category nothing less.

Sounds are so subjective and it is pointless for me to rave on. Is it the best sound I ever heard in an integrated? Up to maybe $ 3K and maybe more, from past experience, for sure. And I would even put separates in this field. I just find it very satisfying.

About the differences between the AS2000 and AS1000. Sorry to disappoint, but the 2000 just sounds more refined than the 1000. If you can A-B both units, you should easily come to the same conclusions – it is not just about those extra XLR inputs on the 2000. Still, the 1000 is a fine amp – not just as stellar as the 2000.

Yamaha CD S-1000 SACD player

No why did I NOT go with the CD S-2000 player as I did with the amp? For two reasons mainly.
1. I could not find the slightest of differences in sound with an A-B comparison using very revealing speakers and cabling. I had both units in my home on trial for 3 days.
2. I have NO USE for the XLR outputs – My amp’s XLR inputs were reserved for the XLR outputs on my DacMagic – which is itself used with both a Wadia 170i transport and an ipod Touch.

Sound of the player.

After lengthy listening sessions with this player used on its own and as a transport with the DacMagic , I prefer using the Yamaha on its own. With the DacMagic, the sound is a bit too forward to my taste, a bit ‘’in your face’’ – this is fine for me with music, but with vocals, it’s just too close for comfort. On its own, using the cd player only, the voice are set back a little, and you can feel the character of those voices more easily – very enjoyable. It is just more natural and pleasurable for me – but that’s only me of course. By the way, my testing was done using standard redbook cd's only - the SACD sound is of course excellent.

This player is a SILENT operator on all fronts, and I cannot recall a smoother operating loading system. I confess to never owning an $8,000 Esoteric machine, but I did own 3K players in the past. This Yammy is something else. The tray just silently wooshes out and back in with no clunking sound at all. It is not a flimsy tray as those found on even 3 times the price players, it is solid metal and feels very strong and stable.

Forgot to mention about the remotes. I wish they were illuminated (of course). Other than that, they have a nice jewel-like finish and are nicely executed, perfectly in line with the quality of the associated gear (have a look McIntosh- and many other manufacturer’s remotes and see what I mean). No cheesy finish here – and they are a joy to use.

Manuals. Now this is a nice change. An actual real manual with real graphics and photos, and nicely executed. Well done and respectful of the owner. Between a pair of white cotton gloves and a crappy manual AND no cotton gloves but a well-executed manual, I’ll take the latter any day.

Packaging. The only flaw in an otherwise stellar ‘’package’’.

It’s ok, double box and all, but just so. The compressed styrofoam does the job or protecting the gear but breaks easily in small pieces. By the time static electricity comes into play, you will be picking stuff off your clothing and taking the vacuum cleaner out! Small detail but wanted to mention it.
That’s about it – Yamaha did a nice job with this series – just to show what a huge company (as far as audio is concerned) can do if they put their minds to it. The pride of ownership factor is certainly there – photos don’t do justice to how beautiful these Yamaha look in real life. More importantly – they sound just as good and have nothing to envy to the ‘’boutique’’ brands.
My apologies for this (again) too long rant.

Happy listening everyone!
Just noticed a typo mistake in my review. No such thing of course as Bel Canto REF 6000 mono's - REF 1000 is more like it. Thanks for reading.
Great review. I too own a CD S1000. I'm a small, home based retailer (Departure Audio) and since I don't sell a player I was looking for a unit to use to show off the other gear I sell. Agree completely with your description of build quality and sonics. It's a good sounding red book player on its own, and a very, very good sounding SACD player. I use it as a transport for the Blue Circle DAC's I sell and it works very well at this task. Ergonomically it's first rate and I too like the look and feel of it. There's a lot of technology in that box, as you'd expect from a big player like Yamaha. My understanding is there's a VSE mod done on this player that takes its performance into the stratosphere. It's around 2K, I think. The VSE people also attest to its build quality as superior to the Sony 5400 they also mod.
Nice website and products by the way! I can imagine this player with a top-notch mod, the LAST machine many folks would ever need...

It surely feels oversized and overbuilt, nice for a change in this price range.

Would be interesting to try it out with a Blue Circle Dac...
The last four months I have an A-S2000, replacing my old KAV300i. I bought it ex-demo because of the very low price, without trying it and now I feel very lucky.
It is built like a tank.
I won't say about bass, mid, treble and so on.
I say that it doesn't sound like an amp.
It sounds like a "no" amp! Totally out of the way!
It makes me feel that it just lets the music through, as it is recorded with no effort at all! Exactly what we are all looking for, I think.
Turn it on, forget about it and enjoy your music!
A really great amplifier.
This Yamaha a-s2000 puts out 190 watts as you can see in this review here.. .Also they was a French reviewer that just loved the yamaha a-s2000. He was using some Verity Audio Parsifal Ovation (25,000) and these speakers are hard to drive too...sensitivity is only 85.0db. He said the yamaha a-s2000 is an incredible it to integrated amps in the $5,000 to $7,000 range !.. A Classic that we will talk about for a long time!
I now have a new yamaha a-s2000 and I'm just shocked at how GOOD it sounds! It sounds more like a really good Class A amp.. like the Luxman L590a mk2 or Accuphase!.. I can see why some just rave about this amp now. I'm going to let it break-in good for about 400 hours or so..
This amp sounds much better after you use good vibration feet under it. I'm using 4 large Wagner anti-vibration pads "stacked" at the middle "front edge" of the amp and 4 more stacked pads at the middle "back edge" of the amp. So I'm only using 2 stacks of these pads under this amp only. You can get these large.. 4 inches by 4 inches Wagner anti-vibration pads at any HVAC service department for $4 each.
I just bought an A-S2000 and it sound very good. I won't post my comments until it has at least 12 hours of breaking time. I will say that its very very strong in its output power. It sound stronger than another amp i own thats twice the rated power. I will report back tomorrow after she bakes in a bit. Im running it in over night.
Just bought a Yamaha A-s2000 and its breaking in right now. So far 16 hours on the clock.

How many hours b4 i can judge the sound.?

Its got more RAW power and punch than my NAD 373bee , but so far the NAD sounds more natural, and i like the sound better.

Im hoping this changes !
Mmm208 , If you want to get the best out of this amp then just try putting two stacks of large Wagner anti-vibration pads under this amp and let it "settle-in" good for 3 or 4 weeks.

Your not going to believe the difference this tweak makes to this amp !!..

I now put these pads under all my audio/video components. I only put two stacks of 4 pads under each component only.

Let us know what you think about this......
Thinking of getting one of these AS - 2000 critters. Read somewhere in a review that it had analytical sound. Did the reviewer just not give it enough run-in time or give it proper isolation? I'd rather NOT analytical - want a warm natural sound - any further comments?
bump - more user comments?
very good review. elitists scoff at yammy gear (much like a porche driver wouldn't consider a honda), but they've been doing audio for a long time and have limitless resources for r&d--when they choose to trot out statement products the results are often exceptional.
Has some one had a chance to listen to the Yamaha versus gear from Accuphase, Luxman, McIntosh (or smaller integrateds from LFD, Lavardin, etc.) and other top flight integrated SS contenders. I expect it would be a very solid vale, especially at street prices for the Yamaha gear, but how does it fair against some if top gear out there? Love the look as an added bonus (yup, in my early 50s).
FWIW the vintage yamaha gear used to sold in many "hi end shops" years ago. I still have a vintage Yamaha receiver from the 70's and a cassette deck from the late 80's and both are solid performers in all regards. I suspect the modern Yamaha gear to be a very reasonable place to look for top notch sound in a value oriented package.
Did you think Denon was a step above at the time? Seems those were the brands I wanted but could not afford - maybe Sansui too. Mac was for Dad.
Denon and Yamaha have both produced a lot of rock solid audio products over the years IMHO. Marantz also. Nakamichi as well when they were in their prime.

Sansui was good back 30-40 years ago but had some issues even then.
Forgot all about Marantz, though they may have the one most owned - loved that spinning dial control for the tuner. The number on receiver in the dorms were undoubtedly Technics with match TT.
These Yamaha amps sound their best when left on all the time 24/7.
Well, I am closing in on 1 year of ownership of the Yamaha AS2000.

I enjoy this great amplifier as much as I did on day one.

Have to be patient with break-in though - after about 400 hours, this classy beast opened up even more - still my highest recommendation for anything approaching this price range and much above it.

The phono stage turns out to be a dandy also.

I find myself keeping the treble control at 2 o'clock and bass control just a notch off at 11 o'clock, and this permanently - my imperfect listening room demands it and is thanking me.

Still an amazing value if you can get your hands on one !
I did a very cheap tweak to my Yamaha a-s2000 that made it sound much more musical. I took off the top cover and put four layers of Wal-Mart brand of teflon tape all the around the top chassis where the screw holes are for the top cover.

Next, I took off the middle metal part and put four layers of teflon tape where the middle metal part goes.

Next, I did the same for the bottom of my Yamaha amp. I took off the bottom plate and put four layers of teflon tape all around where the screw holes are on the bottom chassis of my amp.

You don't put any teflon tape on the top cover or bottom plate, you only put it on the top chassis and bottom chassis of the amp only.

This is a must try tweak for all your components !!......
Have any of you Yamaha owners has a chance to compare it with something from McIntosh or Luxman? Does it compete with these higher priced integrateds? I'm considering an integrated up to $6,000 or so, but am more than open to the idea that something like the Yamaha is right there with its higher price brethren.
I am to receive this amplifier from Crutchfield tomorrow. I only noticed after it was shipped that the balanced input maxs out at 2.8v and my Oppo BDP-95 has a 4v balanced output. I am worried that I am going to over drive the balanced input and cause it to clip. Do any of you have the Oppo 95 hooked up to this amp?
Geared4me...I just tried out a Audio Magic Nano-Liquid Fuse for my Yamaha a-s2000 integrated amp and this fuse made my amp sound very.. very tube-like now !! This fuses are amazing !!.. The fuse size for this amp is 10A amp fast-blow.. small 5x20mm. These fuses cost $60 each
Amazing indeed.
Yes Pubul57, it is AMAZING ! When you use BOTH the teflon tape vibration tweak and the Audio Magic Nano-Liquid fuses together, its a "MATCH MADE IN HEAVEN" for the Yamaha a-s2000 integrated amp !!...

If you own a Yamaha a-s2000 you need to try these two tweaks and HEAR what you have been MISSING all this time !!..
I received the amp yesterday right on schedule. I agree with Sonicbeauty on the overall sound of this fine amplifier as I am a former Accuphase owner also. The Oppo BDP-95 did overload the input just I suspected it might. Fortunately the Oppo has a built-in volume control and lowering it by two clicks from 100 to 90 fixed the problem. I wish Yamaha would have made the balanced input max voltage higher so I didn't need to do it this way. If I had a fixed output on my player and it overloaded the balanced input I would have had to return the amplifier.
Got mine last week! Luv it so far. Excellent build & functionality. Biamping
a pr. of Castle Conway III's. Great bass & extension on top. Liquid mids,
very refined. Running a Modwright Transporter & it's never sounded
better. Don't have balanced ic's yet so rca's only. Any idea as to 'what' to expect?
"Any idea as to 'what' to expect?" Based on my experience so far I would say to expect the extremes to extend a little further and for the amp to have a greater ease of presentation with even smoother flow. The attack and decay of notes seem more present and easier to hear now then during the first few days.I am even more impressed now that the amp has had a while to break in.
Regismc,it has been a week now and I am wondering what you think of the amp at this point?
During the first week I was so pleased w/the flexibility the A-S2000
provided in my rig; bi-amping my Castles, amp in/pre-out, spkr mute
function, remote, ect I went all 'nostalgic' for my old Naim CDS-3, so I
went & ordered the matching CD-S2000 player.

I rolled a lot of tubes into the Transporter, put a tube pre in & took it out, looking for the right combination, as I had been running a full tube rig for the last several yrs. I also had some new Black Treasure & Psvanes I
knew needed some breaking in so I had been happy to 'log some hrs' on
the whole unit.

When the CD-S2000 arrived I had plans to send it to VSE for modification. Well, my units drive had a 'clunck' opening & closing. What 2 do? I really didn't want to return it via Amazon unless I really had to, so I opened it up &
poked around, Nothing obvious, but I had the tray out of the unit b4 under-
standing their was a way to loosen & adjust the height of the whole assembly. Its a very easy adj. & took care of the problem. Did I mention I
went back in the unit twice over a 3/4 day period to get it 'just right'.

So back on track & everything works perfectly. During this 'sorting out' time, i had also began using the CD-S2000 as a transport into the Modwright Transporter. During the whole process the A-S2000 performed
like a champ. Believe me when I say I was cabling in & out, trying out a lot of combinations. It has continued to impress w/it's liquidity & resolution.
Plenty of power w/ the ability to present inner detail, tempo, & pace in a highly musical manner. Tonite I slipped some 'metal base' chrome tops into the Transporter. Perfect! If you know these tubes, (& most won't) they
have an excellent reputation, but....often get moved aside because they
can sound a bit 'mechanical', w/ tons of detail but not as 'beautiful' or liquid
as others. They sounded like that in my tube rig too....but not tonight.

Using the
CD-S2000 as transport into the Modwright Transporter, into the A-S2000
is pretty phenomenal! Balanced, detailed, musical. This is probably the
best resolution of inner detail I've achieved. Listening to Esperanza Spalding, her bass sounds tight & resolved like you may hear w/digital amps, yet her vocals have that magical tube presence & texture, while the
cynbals r just right. Drums have that percussive edge & drive & yet the
whole presentation remains musical & liquid. It's damn good!

So yeah, I'm liking the A-S2000..... A lot!
Regismc, I'm glad to see that you are enjoying it as much as I am. Did you compare connecting the cd player xlr output to the amp vs through the Transporter?
Don't own xlrs as of yet, so rca only. Any difference?
Xlr or not, this 'guy' continues to impress. I've been running the CD-S2000
more, bypassing the transporter, & the tonal colors r outstanding. On all
Tpes of music too! Foster the People was very good & Jesse Cook, Live
In Montreal is all 'alive' feeling/sounding. These r just regular CDs, so I
would guess the player is breaking in.

I was reading the manual & noted that the A & B spkr. connects have
different ohm ranges. I had to reverse the way I had set them up, as I
had 'assumed' they were the same for both outputs. My bad. The amount
of fine detail, resolution, while keeping all of the musical 'pieces' distinct,
and presented as an organic whole is really very good. The Yamahas
'Natural Sound' is evocative, drawing one in & inviting the listener to
consider the performance & appreciate the artistry.

My interconnects, though rca's, r Audio Magic top of the line 'liquid cables'.
Same w/ the bass portion on the spkr run, the top end being solid silver.
Those 'four individual' balanced amps r doing a terrific job driving the
Castle Conway IIIs in a rather large room. Honestly, I was not expecting
the cd player to be as satisfying as it is. I had already talked to VSE, but
I can see that for all but the 'obssed', this could satisfy. It's never harsh, & very well balanced. There is gobs of musical detail & an organic, satisfying
presentation that draws one in. It's really quite good.

Natural Sound, indeed...
I was just wondering,in my previous post,how the cd player sounded going direct to the amp vs as a transport and you have answered that. I too am very satisfied with this amp and glad I gave it a chance. I also wanted to add that in my system the amp produces a huge enveloping soundfield and I believe that is due to its ability to resolve every little spatial nuance. My system consists of Kenwood KT-5020 tuner,OPPO BDP-95 universal blu-ray player,BG Radia 520i speakers,GoldenEar ForceField 3 subwoofer and Zentara Reference II cables.
Those BG Radias look interesting. I' ve heard the Oppo & thought it
sounded quite good. This Yamaha combination Is really very good.
Today I brought my Daedalus spkrs. upstairs to give the Yammy a
bigger spkr. to drive. The Conway III's r my 'poor mans' Living Voice OBXs. The Daedalus r a tougher load. Well, no problem, they sound
fabulous. All the beautiful layering & detail resolution r still in place,
w/the added fullness provided by the larger drivers. The channel
separation, the ability to differentiate the musical instruments is really
superb. The musical clarity is quite astonishing & I could not be
happier w/these two components.
Plugged in $90 worth of Mogami gold XLRs...

"...produces a huge enveloping soundfield". Yes! With enough current
to bring my 'hot rodded' Daedalus alive... The 'void' btw. btm & mid, the
difficult to achieve mid-bass seems to be easily handled by this amplifier.
The harmonic textures & layering of vocalist, keeping each separate & distinct is great, & like noted above 'the soundstage' ginormous! Not
something I have experienced w/solid state b4. It's difficult to believe that
'this thing' is going to open up even more. Should be it is
already outstanding. Match it up to something neutral or slightly dark to drive & I don't believe it would disappoint. These pieces r doing so much right...

Together they offer so much of the, 'you r there sensation', that many of us
r after, it's really quite astounding. The huge soundfield, the resolution of
micro detail & 'colour', seems 'dead neutral', nonplused through the
freuquency range, organic not etched.

There is definitely 'magic', in these two boxes. Lightening in a bottle Yamaha! Race on....
Wanted to correct my 'misinformation' regards the A & B spkr. outputs; they
r both the same, not different as stated above. Sorry 4 any confusion....

The Yamaha amp/player combo continues to satisfy. The pr. presents
music w/a certain 'gestalt', details r easily differentiated in space & yet the
organic wholeness of the presentation is never lost. The performance is
delivered in a tasty yet holistic manner w/abundant dynamic & musical
contrast. It does not so much as, imprint a viewpoint, as suggest an intention. Recordings you may have overlooked or dismissed are made accessible & enjoyable. Lindsey Buckinghams latest album,Seeds We
Sow went from 'bud to bloom' . From, 'I don't quite get it' to 'crank it up, cause now I crave it'. These pieces seem able to lay bare the artistry & the intent by removing a veil many components impart. Most enjoyable!
Mmm208. Did you have a Threshold 400A for sale? If so, contact me.


I just picked up an A-S2000 and am enjoying it very much. However, the balanced inputs are not usable as Geared4me pointed out unless your source has an output voltage of 2.8 volts or so. The balanced outputs of my ps audio dac are too hot for the input and cause audible distortion. Fortunately, the combination sounds very good through the single ended inputs/outputs.

I was hoping to use the balanced input. Any ideas on how to make them usable with a source other than the matching CD player (CDS2000)?
The DacMagic Plus works great using the volume control. Just reduce the volume a little, and it works fine.

The previous-generation DacMagic (with no volume controls) worked great also - hard to explain....I just noticed the distortion once I made the move to the Dac plus.
I just received an A-S2000 yesterday and so far I'm impressed with the build and sound quality of the unit. One thing concerns me though, the included cord does not have a ground on it, it's just a plain old 2 prong plug. I know I'm showing major lack of electronics understanding here, but is this safe to use? Is the amp more at risk using an ungrounded plug? Can I use one my nicer, grounded after market plugs with unit? Thanks for any advice you can give!
I see this is an older post, but I thought I would give it a shot. I have the S A1000 and love it. So much so that I just ordered an A S2000 demo unit. I read that there are various issues with the XLR connections. I have a Cambridge Audio 840c and was wondering if that would be an issue?

Speaking of motorcycles and sound gear: Sviatoslav Richter enjoyed playing Yamaha grand pianos..
Great review!
Just bought the a-s2000, cd-s2000 and np-s2000 all in silver. I really like the way the new yamaha stuff sounds with my B&W 805S speakers
Great review!
After many months of research I bought the a-s2000, cd-s2000 and np-s2000 all in silver. I really like the way the new yamaha stuff sounds with my B&W 805S speakers
Just got finished listening to Underworld "dark train" '11 remix with the A-S2000 with B&W 805S....GREAT!!!
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I currently have a Yamaha RX-Z9 with specs that exceed the A-S2000. Would the 2000 be an improvement? has anyone heard the two ?
My latest tweak to my a-s2000 takes it to a whole new level! Unhook all the connectors wires going to the Transformer and amp and pre-amp and coat all the tips of the pins with QuickSilver Gold contact enhancer.

The QuickSilver Gold is Cryoed treated and my a-s2000 now sounds like its been Cryoed treated now!!....

I was thinking about getting the new a-s2100 before I tried this tweak but now I'm just LOVING how my a-s2000 is sounding that I'm going to keep my a-s2000 until the a-s2100 goes on closeout in 5 or 6 years.