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
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
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
XLR unbalanced connections.
An excellent DAC.
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
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.
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
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
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
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.
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.