Yamaha CD-S2100 CD/SACD Player


Greetings,

Another member asked for a review of this player so here it goes.

I have owned the Yamaha CD- S2100 CD/SACD/DAC player for about four months now and have put about 150-200 hours on it. Previously I had been big on HT for the last 15 years but recently re-discovered stereo after I picked up a pair of Ohm H’s loudspeakers back in December of 2017. At that time, I had an Oppo BDP-95, but have since upgraded to an BDP-105. I was happy with the Redbook CD quality from both Oppos’s, but each player really soared when it came to DVD-A, SACD as well as HDCD discs. I had yet to experimented with the DAC on either unit.

I am what you consider a “mid hifi” guy and started this hobby back in the early 1980’s when I was in high school when I discovered Tech Hifi, where my preference for Ohm loudspeakers also began.

Disclaimer this review is my opinion and I do not work for any electronics manufacture or for any brick and mortar or online retailer. I have only been on AG for about five months.

Now a little back story.

My old friends and I started hosting listening parties at each of our homes. I had the first last year and it was a big hit and a nice way to spend a weekend afternoon with good food, friends, music, and to showcase your setup. I had recently added the BDP 105 and I felt pretty good that I was where I wanted to be sonically speaking. At that first listening party I showcased the SACD release of Pink Floyd’s “Wish You Were Here” which blew everyone away and was pure sonic joy. I also played the Blu-Ray audio of “How the West Was Won”, one of my buddies is a Zep Head, and that one is outstanding too.

One of these good friends, who worked at Tech Hifi for many years, found a local guy who dealt in vintage stereo equipment. My buddy got a pair of vintage Ohm Walsh II’s from him and I went with him to pick them up. This trip reignited my passion for stereo and maybe inspire me to make the jump back into analog, which I had abandon back in the mid 1990’s.

From this guy I ended up picking up a near perfect pair, still in the original box too, of Ohm C2’s which was an exceptional find. I also own a third pair of Ohm’s the most popular L2’s which are now part of my stereo system in my kitchen, which is built around this Yamaha player. I have the player first going through a Black Ice Foz SS-X then to a vintage Nikko NR-890 60-watt integrated amplifier, which I bought back in 1981 from you guessed it…Tech Hifi.

If someone would like a review of Foz SS-X let me know.

 

Now in my search for a new CD player these were the must haves.

XLR unbalanced connections.

An excellent DAC.

SACD playback.

Superior Redbook CD play back.

I had also considered Marantz and Arcam as possible options as I really could not afford to spend more than $1,500.

 

I had come across one of the few online reviews for the Yamaha and became intrigued. Crutchfield also had many customer reviews as well. For years I had purchase factory refurbished from authorized online sellers and picked up the Yamaha from an online seller from the Sunshine state for 50% below MSRP with a one-year factory warranty.

 

Now what first impresses you is the size and weight of this player. As our current sitting President often states, “It’s huge!” The dimensions are 17-1/8” x 5-3/8” x 17-1/4” and the weight is 35.2 lbs. The BDP-105 only weight 24 lbs. The design incorporated wood sides with metal and brushed aluminum on the front. The display is understated but over all this player is very sleek looking. I have it in black.

Here is the link from the Yamaha site for the technical data and specs.

https://usa.yamaha.com/products/audio_visual/hifi_components/cd-s2100/features.html#product-tabs

 

Now there is one interesting and unique feature this player offers and that is for the audiophile. There is DPLL (Digital Phased Lock Loop) bandwidth setting. I will quote from the O & M “The audio DAC(ES9016) of this unit employs DPLL to generate accurate clock signals synchronized with the clock of the input digital audio signal. The 7-step DPLL bandwidth setting gives the unit tolerance for fluctuation of the clock of the input digital signal and adjustment of the accuracy of the operation clock in the DAC.”

The DPLL bandwidth can be set for each audio source respectively. The factory default is “Med-Low” and there are two lower and three higher settings. “As the DPLL bandwidth setting approaches “Lowest” the accuracy of the operating clock in the DAC improves, but the unit may be susceptible to a change in the clock of the external component. The sound from such a component may more easily skips.” This skip is often a drop out of the audio for one or two seconds.

I have it set to the factory default and have had no issues with CD/SACD play back and the USB. I did try setting it on “Low” and did experience some skips. Not sure if that was a result of my vintage integrated amp. If you increase the setting “the accuracy of the operating clock deteriorates, but the unit is far less susceptible to a change in the clock of the external component, and the sound from such a component hardly skips.” This setting is also the same for the USB as well.

 

Now some other noteworthy mentions. This player will NOT play multi-channel SACDs only stereo. There is no standard USB port or HDMI input on the back of this player.

The disc tray is the same one on the Yamaha’s flagship player and is a little temperamental. As the disc must be exactly placed in the tray or it will not close properly. This has happened to me numerous times and the disc will not get stuck but it is an annoyance and was a slight engineering oversight, as they should have made the guides that hold the disc slightly higher to have the disc fits snugly and not be able to be off set.

The other proverbial kink is when switching from each different source, there are four disc, USB, optical and coaxial, it assumes that that source is already connected or that the CD/SACD is loaded so you will get an error message that it is not and you will have to wait 15 seconds before you can open the tray or power up your PC.

Now on to the road test. I want to share the music I love and how it sounded with this player. When it comes to music it is very subjective when it comes to taste, but I will offer diverse sample pool.

CD: I like a wide variety of music, so this player has played everything from Haydn to Bowie to the Grateful Dead, Broadway and even opera too. I read recently read that Redbook CDs from the 1990’s can be superior to current versions because the analog masters were not compressed. I had picked up a Ryko version of David Bowie’s “Ziggy Stardust and the Spider’s from Mars” for this reason. Now this album has one of the best opening tracks of any album of that period. “Five Years” starts off with a shuffling drumbeat that suggest mankind’s unawareness of impending Armageddon. This player is present and bright but when the David’s pleading explodes along with Mick Ronson’s guitar/piano and then the explosive string arrangement. I was blown away! This player can get loud when it is required.

 

With the release of the film “Rolling Thunder Revue” I played Maria Muldaur’s “Sings Love Songs of Bob Dylan” The opening track is “Buckets of Rain” and Maria raspy voice cleverly inflects the wisdom and humor that this song possesses. “Heart of Mine and “Make You Feel My Love “are simply stunning as her studio band is top notch and all the nuances of the arrangements can easily be heard and enjoyed as Maria’s emotive powers give even greater depths to these often-overlooked songs from Dylan’s catalog.

I am a Sondheim fanatic and one of my favorite OCR is from “Merrily We Roll Along.” This was the first flop for Steven, but this show is all about the brassy Big Band sound and invoking the Golden Age of Broadway. The music is powerful and toe tapping as the trumpets, trombones, and saxophones fill your listening room with warmth and vibrancy, and let’s not forget the drums which are powerful and tight as a snare drum. These older recording were often recorded in an open studio, with minimal over dubbing, and the sound scape produced by the Yamaha put you right there.

 

SACD:

One opera disc I really enjoy is Handel’s “La Magan Abbandonata” featuring soprano Simone Kermes and contralto Maite Beaumont. If you love Baroque music played on period instruments led by the late Alan Curtis, then you will thoroughly enjoy this recording. The power and clarity of Ms. Kermes voices is reproduced with an authenticity that is breath taking. The harpsichord and string instruments come through with warmth, power and depth and you can hear the openness of the room of the recordings as well, which in this case was two theatres and a church in London.

Well we now must consider some Mozart for this road test. Symphonies 38-41 conducted by Sir Charles Mackerra leading the Scottish Chamber Orchestra is full of dramatic and powerful soundscapes and the   Yamaha conveys it with warmth and natural sound. In referencing Symphony No. 40 in G Minor, K550. The Molto allegro alternating tempo dancing back and forth between subtlety and full orchestral power. The Yamaha handles it no with problem as you can feel the music in your chest as it reveals every detail.

Now let’s fast forward 176 years from that recording to the Jefferson’s Airplane sophomore release of “Surrealistic Pillow.” This SACD release by Mofi in the original mono, and for anyone who every was turned on by the Airplane this album, will be completely transported back. It was a revolution in both style and substance.  The opening track “She Has Funny Car” simply just picks up and takes you right into the Haight. The sonic power of Grace Slick’s voice and her emerging feminine rock power is incredible as her voice is still one of the most powerful and searing in rock history. The beautiful harmonies on “Today” and “How Do You Feel” along with all that reverb s comes through perfectly on the Yamaha. Let’s not forget the brilliance of Jorma’s playing throughout this record and his masterful picking on “Embryonic Journey.”  The Yamaha captures that “San Francisco sound” perfectly and you hear every note of Jorma’s and Jack Cassidy’s playing, which is showcased on the closing track “Plastic Fantastic Lover.”

 

USB:

Now this player is my first foray into high resolution music files and the Yamaha has some unique free software suggestions. First is the ASIO 2.3 Yamaha Steinberg USB Driver to download onto your laptop. They also recommend using open source foobar2000 software to play and organize your digital library.  This is from their website. “The ASIO 2.3 protocol is a standard protocol for professional use digital audio or DTM, with a significant sound quality benefit: the ability to achieve lower delay and higher throughput than with a standard OS sound driver. The driver software is the ASIO 2.3 Yamaha Steinberg USB Driver* and allows high-quality playback of digital audio data stored on a computer. The unit is compatible with digital audio of up to 192 kHz/24-bit resolution and supports DSD native playback.”

The short version is that it sounds way better than Microsoft Groove.

One of my first purchased downloads was Yes-The Steve Wilson Remixes. I was completely impressed by the clarity, the natural bass reproduction, and overall fullness of each recording. I will focus on “Close to The Edge.” One may of may not remember that this album begins and ends with an outdoor recording of birds singing and water flowing, and it had been years since I truly heard that…it was kind of one of those ah ha moments. What makes this such an outstanding album is the production and playing and this 96/24 recording lives up to all the hype. I am a Steve Wilson convert also owning his remix Jethro Tull’s “Songs from the Wood.”

The harmonies reproduced by the Yamaha during the movement of “I Get Up I Get Down” were lush and gorgeous along with Wakeman’s monstrous keyboard playing. Bill Buford’s drumming is spectacular as well. The late Chris Squire’s bass is not thin at all and rocks with thunderous authority. Steve Howe’s playing is vivid and detailed.

“And You and I” has possibly the most sublime beginning song in Yes’ repertory but then opens into a full and joyous sonic bloom.  A band at the peak of their powers. It sounds wonderful through the Yamaha’s DAC

Now I did mention the Grateful Dead if you are still reading this review and I love saving the best for last. The Internet Archive features thousands of live recording that are uploaded by people who want to share them with the world. Many hardcore tapers, as they are known, have converted many of the better-quality audience recording to 96/24bit so I have filled up my hard drive with many “killer shows” as we used to call them back in the day.

One such show from Sullivan Stadium in Foxboro MA. on 7/2/89, which is a perfect example. This recording is what we Dead heads would call a FOB (Front of the Board) which was a big no, no back in the day as the GD created a n official taping section behind the sound board. The band and sound crew did not allow these hard working and devoted tapers to go off the reservation too often.

Luckily for us they did this night.

What is spectacular is that this recording captures what it truly sounded like being about 25 rows dead center from the stage. You get the full and powerful bass form Phil Lesh, the sharp and driving drumming from Bill and Mickey and of course the Bob and Jerry show along with some very inspired playing from Brent as well. I won’t bore you with the set list but here is the link to the link show.

https://archive.org/details/gd1989-07-02.fob.thomson.motb.81459.sbeok.flac16/gd1989-07-02d1t08.MOTB.flac

 

Conclusion:

I would highly recommend this player for all the reasons mentioned above. It is very versatile musically, and my apologies that I did not mention any jazz, but I have played Dianna Krall and Coltrane on it and they both sounded phenomenal. I think what has impressed me the most so far is the DAC on this player. Since I started downloaded high rez music files I have spent more and more time listen to music through my PC. I am just beginning to scratch the surface getting into high resolution music and now know more than likely that this will become my ongoing focus for my music collection and listening enjoyment moving forward.

Another reason to consider this player is the price that you may be able to pick one up at… as they are dropping.

Happy trails!

 

 

 

 

 

 


idigmusic64

idigmusic64


Excellent over-view and review of the Yamaha CD-2100 cd player.

I enjoyed reading about your personal Audio journey and can relate to those high-school/college listening parties as well. Old friends with different electronics and musical tastes makes for quite the musical experience. Oddly enough, I recall being struck by the proverbial (audio) lightning in 1986 w/ a Yamaha stack (cd player, separate pre-amp and power amp). On that day alone, I became aware of better electronics.

I wish I could remember the loudspeakers or cabling in that system?

For a teenager, the price was out of range. Still, it was one of the best Saturday afternoons ever. And one of the best Stereo auditions to date.


Happy Listening!

@jafant  thanks for reading the review.
I have one and think it is awesome...at the new prices am thinking of getting a second one...thanks for the great review
Yamaha makes very nice products.My first integrated amp was a Yamaha that served me well for quite a while. 
IME, Yamaha gear that is made in Japan can compete with any other brand in the marketplace.  Especially, their CD/SACD players.
Happy Listening!
Hey now,

Thanks for all the posts. I will share a few more things about the player that I should have of mentioned in my original review.

It does have a " Pure Direct" mode, which is my preference, and only works in regards to the balanced out jacks and analog out jacks.
There is also a " Layer" button that allows you to switch between the CD and SACD layers on a hybrid disc.The player must be stopped to accomplish this function.

One other important thing to mention is that SACD playback can only be played through the balanced and analog outputs only.

There is also " Standby mode" the player will go into standby after 30 minutes of no music.

The player also will retain all the previous settings from the last time it was operated.

There is also program playback which will allow you to make a 24 track "mix tape"

Finally I completely forgot to mention the awesome remote. It feels good and the ergonomics have it fitting in your hand nicely as it has some weight to it and is very well made. It has a silver brushed aluminum face with clear function delineations. It is has no back lit feature so some may not like that aspect.

With the number keys, when playing a disc, you can jump to a specific track by simply hitting the corresponding number, if you know what the track number is or have the cover handy.

This remote will also work with a variety of the top Yamaha integrated amplifiers as well.
idigmusic64
Good to read that your are enjoying this spinner. The spec(s) are incredible in this series of  cd/sacd players. When these  Japanese companies want to build statement products, they do,  in world-class ways.
Happy Listening!