Yamaha A-S801 - horrible experience


I've read many good reviews of the Yamaha gear that I thought I'd give the A-S801 a try.  Through Accessories4less.com, it was only $650 and had a return policy, so there was little to lose.  I took the unit out of the box and set it in my rack.  I noticed the that the speaker selector button had come off during shipping.  I hunted through the box and found it under a layer of cardboard.  Not a good start.

I tried to hook up my speaker cables and found out that it wouldn't take spades.  The plastic guide has such a narrow opening that there is no way to fit an average sized spade through it.  I tried to put one end of the spade in it and tighten down, but the weight of the speaker cables made the binding posts sag quite a bit.  They have a very flimsy connection to the chassis, and I was afraid that I would rip them off completely.  I found some old bare wire cables, and hooked them up.  

I put on a Lucinda Williams song and it sounded ok.  A little thin, but it wasn't warmed up.  I wanted to see how piano sounded, so I put on a Thelonious Monk album.  Here's exactly how it sounded:  pop, hiss, crackle, silence.  The amp died on the second song I played.

I know that every company has the occasional defective unit, but there were so many things wrong with this amp that it was comical.  Just a warning that if you have speaker cables with solid spades, the unit will not be usable.  I certainly won't try another Yamaha product after this.  Live and learn.


smrex13
Sorry to hear about your experience with a lemon. Regarding your spade issue...

https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00EGPHQG6/ref=oh_aui_detailpage_o02_s00?ie=UTF8&psc=1

Problem solved.
Unfortunately, I find that using an adapter like that degrades the sound too much.
On a $650.00 integrated amp, I wouldn’t worry too much on sound degradation. 
I mean it could just be a shipping issue which might have damaged the amp. What does Yamaha have anything to do with that? Their recent series of integrated stereo amplifiers are getting great reviews and look fantastic.
Sounds like the OP is saying it was a piece of ...... right out of the box and things just got worse. There is nothing wrong with expecting a solid piece of equipment for $650.00, I know I would. Just sayin.
The list cost of the A-s801 is $1000, and I’ve had several other integrated amps at that price point and below - Rega Brio, Arcam A19, NAD 316BEE and 375 BEE, Jolida, and they were all very solidly made. The Yamaha binding posts and control knobs were like something you’d find on a $250 Target table radio. I am sure the Yamaha sounds good (based on the reviews), but the construction was so shockingly bad compared to others at its price point that I would certainly not recommend it to anyone. Perhaps the A-S1100 and above are more robustly built, but I have little desire to find out.
Didn't you check this unit out (physically) before you bought it? It's worth the effort for your time and travel, if possible.
It says right in the accessories4less ad that it's factory refurbished.  Probably best to avoid those. 
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Sounds like you got a lemon.  Were you able to return it or have it repaired? 

I've bought a number of refurbished items from Accessories4less and have been happy with my experiences.  How did they respond to your problems?

I'm surprised that the quality of the speaker connections didn't come up in any of the reviews you read, usually that's something that reviewers will touch on.
I've bought from Accessories4Less before and had a unit arrive DOA. I returned the unit as defective for a full refund.

In regards to the Yamaha integrated line up. I had an A-S801 in the past and it was a great little unit. I was a bit disappointed in the SQ initially, but after 2-3 weeks of play time I began to really like it. I do agree with you that the build quality was lacking. Plastic knobs and I specifically remember the flimsy speaker connections and back panel.

I've also had an A-S1000 and an A-S2100. Both of these units have far superior build and sound quality than the A-S801. The A-S2100 was particularly good.
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On a $650.00 integrated amp, I wouldn’t worry too much on sound degradation.

+1

Stereo5 said it perfectly. Beat me to the punch. 
I an sure your experience was horrible. I doubt that Yamaha was the cause. Take it back to Accessories4less and ask for your money back. If it was packed properly, nothing should have come off. If refurbished properly, nothing should have failed. The A-S0801 is a great, but small amp.
You fail to detail what speakers and speaker cable you used and what digital/analogue input was used. A title "Yamaha A-S801 - horrible experience" is bound to draw many to read, however after the short post lacking in information makes me wonder what was at fault.

@ troutchoker - there is no need for personal attacks.  I don't know how my "stupidity" is related to poor build quality and amp failure.  There was no way for me to know about the poor quality of the speaker binding posts and the exact width of the opening for spades unit I got the unit and tried to hook it up.  And Accessories4less is a factory certified reseller for many quality audio products. I've bought several items from them over the years, and I've never had a problem.  They will, of course, allow me to return the defective item for a refund.  My problem is not with them but with the very poor quality of the unit compared to other integrated amps in its price range.    
I don't understand how yamaha gets all the love with audiophiles and I never hear any for emotiva. I have emotiva separates for less money than the yamaha a-s 801 and it sounds great and is well constructed.
Not sure why anyone would purchase a Yamaha.  You are better off waiting for a couple of years and then spend $3,000 for something decent.  
The old yamis had a nice build and punch, but then they were solid builds, natural sound units.Luv them and all the retro units.
it's all trade offs, just like cars--with the yami you get a ton of features like 100w, inboard usb dac, etc., while the rega and arcam have nicer builds but more modest specs. personally, i think the yami sounds good and is good value at $650, but if you have other priorities you're better off with the aforesaid.
I’ve had Yammie stuff. I don’t now. I won’t in the future.
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I’m sure you just had the wrong power cord on it. If the Yamaha has an IEC plug in it, try a different PC, it cures all sorts of problems.

All seriousness aside: It is extremely difficult to fault Yamaha for your situation.

Priced at that point, you can’t assume you will get high end quality binding posts.  Since it’s not brand new and straight off the production line, it is B-stock. Expect it’s been worn and gone through. 

For multi-thousand dollar items, I expect it them to hold up better with some use, and R&R, ie expensively machined knobs with set screws, not push on plastic caps, extensive soft foam packing cushions in sturdy boxes, and of course, a better PC.
For about the same money you can get an outlaw rr2160. Build quality is off the charts, has more features and sounds great within that price range.
I owned a Yamaha integrated amp in 1988 with a Nakamichi 3 head cassette deck, Yamaha cd player and some large Infinity floor standing speakers.  If my memory is correct, dull, thin and lifeless comes to mind..  I sold it to a good friend who still has it.  He loves it, I found myself not listening to music through it when I owned 
I have a Yamaha S-2000 that I actually like quite a bit. Anything below their 1000 series is garbage though. Furthermore, accessories4less.com is shady as hell. Stick with tmraudio.com or Echo Hi Fi for excellent deals on used equipment.