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"Powerful sound, versatile features, elegant design."

Yamaha A-S301 Review

Elevate your audio experience with the Yamaha A-S301 integrated amplifier. Discover its high-quality design, impressive features, and exceptional sound performance.

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Yamaha A-S301
Yamaha A-S301
Yamaha A-S301
Yamaha A-S301
Yamaha A-S301
Yamaha A-S301
Yamaha A-S301
Yamaha A-S301
Yamaha A-S301
Yamaha A-S301
Yamaha A-S301
Yamaha A-S301
Yamaha A-S301
Yamaha A-S301

Introduction

As far as integrated amplifiers go, Yamaha presents a compelling option with the A-S301. At the intersection of high-quality audio performance and impressive functionality, the A-S301 exemplifies the brand’s dedication to delivering superior sound and user-friendly features. As part of Yamaha's line-up of A-S series amplifiers, this model continues the legacy of its predecessors while offering a few modern tweaks to cater to contemporary audio needs.

With an impressive balance of size, power, and features, this amplifier promises something for every audiophile. Particularly, if you are looking for a device that delivers crisp, clear sound and can seamlessly integrate with a variety of audio systems, this amplifier is worth your consideration. Whether you're a vinyl enthusiast looking to amp up your turntable or a movie buff seeking to enhance your home cinema experience, the Yamaha A-S301 has potential to be a noteworthy addition to your audio gear.

Over the next sections, we'll be delving into the details of the A-S301's design, features, sound quality, user experience, and more, to help you evaluate whether this amplifier is the right fit for your specific needs and expectations.

Design and Build Quality

Let's dive right into the design and build quality of the Yamaha A-S301. Yamaha is well-known for its high-quality audio equipment and this amplifier is no exception. The A-S301 exhibits a clean, straightforward design that oozes sophistication. It's housed in a robust all-metal chassis, which not only offers a sleek look, but also reduces vibration and enhances overall durability.

While its exterior is relatively minimalistic, the Yamaha A-S301 still manages to exude a certain level of charm. Finished in brushed aluminum, the front panel features a large volume knob, smaller knobs for bass, treble, and balance, and buttons for direct, loudness, and speaker selection. The simplicity of this design speaks volumes of its ease of use, which we'll discuss more in the 'User Experience' section.

At first glance, you might notice the well-placed ventilation grills on the top surface. These are crucial for maintaining optimal operating temperatures, ensuring the longevity of the internal components. The back panel, meanwhile, is populated with gold-plated connectors, promising solid and secure connections while also reducing signal loss.

One of the standout features is the weight of the A-S301. Weighing in at 19.8 lbs, this amplifier demonstrates a level of heft that speaks to its solid construction and quality components. While this might be a factor to consider in terms of portability, it also suggests that Yamaha hasn't skimped on the materials. What's more, the build quality extends to the internal components, with the unit featuring high-quality capacitors and other elements that contribute to its stellar amplifier performance.

To sum up, the Yamaha A-S301's design and build quality are in line with what you'd expect from a top-tier brand like Yamaha. Its robust and elegant design coupled with high-quality components makes it a standout amplifier in its price range. However, it's always the sound that matters most, and we'll delve into that in the 'Sound Quality' section.

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Features and Connectivity

 

The Yamaha A-S301 is packed with multiple features that make it a highly versatile and functional amplifier. Notably, it comes with an integrated Phono Preamp which can be very beneficial for turntable users as it bypasses the need for a separate device, thus providing a more straightforward setup. It supports both MM (Moving Magnet) and MC (Moving Coil) cartridges which covers a broad range of turntable setups.

In terms of connectivity, the A-S301 does not disappoint. It features six RCA audio inputs, including the aforementioned phono input. Additionally, it boasts two RCA audio outputs and a headphone jack for personal listening. Furthermore, there is also a subwoofer output if you wish to add a bit more bass to your audio setup. Remarkably, it also includes a digital input (optical and coaxial) which is a considerable advantage considering many modern sources use digital output.

The A-S301 also comes equipped with a Direct Mode which essentially bypasses the bass, treble, and balance controls to deliver a purer audio signal path. This feature is particularly useful for audiophiles who prefer their sound unadulterated. In terms of power, the A-S301 delivers a substantial 60 watts per channel into 8 ohms which should be more than sufficient for most home audio setups.

In the realm of convenience, Yamaha also provides a fully functional remote control enabling you to control the A-S301 from a distance. It's also worth mentioning that this unit is compatible with Yamaha's YBA-11 Bluetooth adapter, although this is sold separately.

While this amplifier may not boast wireless connectivity features such as Bluetooth or Wi-Fi built-in, the range of connections it does offer along with its integrated phono preamp and digital input make it a viable choice for both analog and digital audio lovers.

 

Yamaha A-S301

Sound Quality

When it comes to sound quality, the Yamaha A-S301 does not disappoint. It brings music to life with a level of detail and clarity that's quite impressive. The bass is deep and well-defined, while the midrange is rich and full-bodied. The highs are crisp and clean, without any hint of harshness or sibilance. This is a feat not so often met with amplifiers in this price range.

The A-S301 offers a total harmonic distortion (THD) of just 0.01%, which means the signal it amplifies remains remarkably clean and pure. You'll have no worries about unwanted noise or distortion marring your listening experience. Also, with its high dynamic power, it ably handles demanding passages in music and delivers them with energy and precision.

Also noteworthy is the amplifier's Signal-to-Noise Ratio (SNR) of 99 dB for CD and 110 dB for Phono. These figures indicate how well the A-S301 amplifies the desired signal while suppressing unwanted noise. In practice, what this means for you is that even at low volumes, you can enjoy your music with an incredible level of detail and without any unpleasant background noise.

Lastly, for vinyl enthusiasts, the amplifier's built-in phono stage is a real treat. It's designed to bring out the best in your vinyl records, delivering a warm and satisfyingly analogue sound that will take you back in time.

Overall, the Yamaha A-S301's sound quality is nothing short of exceptional. Regardless of the type of music you listen to, this amplifier will bring out the best in it, giving you an immersive and truly satisfying listening experience.

Yamaha A-S301

User Experience

 

From the moment you unbox the Yamaha A-S301, it becomes apparent that the user experience was a focus during its design. The layout is intuitive, with clearly labeled knobs and buttons that make operating the amplifier a breeze.

Switching between inputs is straightforward, thanks to the large, easy-to-read input selector. The volume control is smooth and precise, allowing for fine adjustments. Additionally, the amplifier’s remote control offers comprehensive functionality, providing users with the convenience of controlling their audio experience from a distance.

The amplifier also has an automatic standby function that conserves energy when the unit is not in use. This feature is particularly useful for those who may forget to switch off the amplifier after use. It's a testament to Yamaha's attention to user-friendliness and environmental consciousness.

When it comes to setting up the Yamaha A-S301, users will find the process quite simple. The clearly marked rear panel makes connecting speakers and other devices hassle-free. Even for novices, setting up and running this amplifier will be a smooth process.

Lastly, it's worth noting the A-S301's Pure Direct Mode. Activating this feature bypasses non-essential circuits to deliver cleaner sound, enhancing the listening experience. Although this might sound somewhat technical, the implementation is as simple as the press of a button, making it accessible to all users.

In conclusion, the Yamaha A-S301 provides a user-friendly experience that doesn't compromise on quality or performance. From its intuitive controls to its simple setup, it's clear that this amplifier was designed with the user in mind.

 

Amplifier Performance

The Yamaha A-S301 utterly shines when it comes to amplifier performance. This unit boasts a high power output of up to 60 watts per channel at 8 ohms, or 70 watts at 6 ohms. With these numbers, it can easily drive most bookshelf and floor-standing speakers, making it highly versatile and adaptable to various audio setups.

The overall power and clarity of this amplifier is really a step above the rest. Noise distortion is kept to a minimum, even at higher volumes, thanks to Yamaha's ToP-ART (Total Purity Audio Reproduction Technology) design. This technology aims to maximize sound quality by ensuring that the signal remains pure, undistorted, and true to the original recording.

Furthermore, the A-S301 also includes Pure Direct mode. This feature bypasses any unnecessary circuitry, reducing signal degradation and ensuring the purest possible audio reproduction. This is a substantial asset for true audiophiles who crave that unadulterated sound.

This amplifier also performs well in terms of thermal management. Even after hours of intense operation, the A-S301 maintains a cool exterior. This temperature control is due to Yamaha's use of an aluminum heat sink, which effectively dissipates heat and keeps the unit running at optimal levels.

The A-S301 is also built to handle a range of impedances. It can comfortably drive speakers with an impedance of 4-8 ohms, providing flexibility and making it compatible with a wide range of speaker systems.

Finally, Yamaha has equipped the A-S301 with a loudness control. This feature allows you to adjust bass and treble levels independently, giving you the ability to tailor the sound to your personal preference.

This amplifier's performance certainly stands out, testament to Yamaha's commitment to delivering superior sound. The Yamaha A-S301's powerful, clear sound, its flexibility, and its ability to maintain optimal temperatures make it a solid choice for any audio enthusiast.

Yamaha A-S301

What's in the Box

Upon unboxing the Yamaha A-S301 amplifier, you are instantly greeted with the high-quality construction of this impressive piece of audio equipment. Contained within the package, you find the main unit, a well-packaged remote control, which allows for convenient manipulation of your audio experience from anywhere in the room. In addition, the box includes batteries for the remote, ensuring that you're ready to start using the amplifier right out of the box. To connect your devices, there's a set of RCA cables provided. These cables are decent quality, suitable for initial set-up and testing. A detailed, multi-lingual user manual is also included. This comprehensive guide provides a wealth of information about the functionality, setup process, and features of the amplifier. It ensures that even those new to amplifiers can quickly get up and running with the A-S301. For those interested in digital connectivity, the box also contains an optical cable. This inclusion is a pleasant surprise, as it's not always a given with many amplifiers. Lastly, the package includes a power cord that is well-insulated and robust. This ensures a solid, safe connection to your power source, further reinforcing the overall safety and reliability of the Yamaha A-S301. In summary, the box offers a complete set-up for your Yamaha A-S301, ensuring you have everything to start your immersive audio experience.

Pricing and Value

When evaluating the Yamaha A-S301, it's crucial to factor in the pricing to assess its value. The cost may vary slightly based on your location and the retailer, but generally, the A-S301 is strategically priced in the mid-range segment. This makes it a worthy contender for those who seek a high-quality amplifier without breaking the bank. In terms of value, the A-S301 offers a comprehensive feature set, impressive build quality, and a powerful performance for its price point. This puts it ahead of many similarly priced amplifiers and even some pricier models in the market. For the price, the A-S301 boasts features such as optical and coaxial inputs, a phono input for turntables, and a subwoofer output, all of which are seldom found in this price category. It's a versatile device that can cater to a wide range of audio setups, making it a rewarding investment for both novices and audiophiles alike. The A-S301's build quality, as discussed in the section "Design and Build Quality", also contributes significantly to its value. Its robust construction ensures durability, ensuring that your investment lasts for a long time. This durability factor is often overlooked but is crucial when considering the overall value. While it's important to note that there are cheaper alternatives available, they often lack the breadth of features, build quality, and sound performance that the A-S301 offers. Given the amplifier's price point and the quality it delivers, the Yamaha A-S301 indeed offers excellent value for money. In conclusion, if you are looking for a mid-range amplifier that delivers a rich feature-set, robust build, and superior sound quality, the Yamaha A-S301 is worth every penny. It's a strong performer that offers significant value, making it a worthy investment for audiophiles on a budget.

Yamaha A-S301

Final Thoughts

In the final analysis, the Yamaha A-S301 stands out as a remarkable amplifier that delivers value, performance, and versatility. Its elegant design, coupled with its robust construction, makes it a worthy investment for any audio enthusiast. The amplifier's robustness and reliability are in line with Yamaha's tradition of delivering high-quality audio equipment.

The A-S301's wide range of features and connectivity options are impressive, especially considering its relatively affordable price point. This amplifier offers a rich and dynamic sound experience, proving that Yamaha has put considerable thought into the internal components and circuitry.

With its intuitive user interface, even those new to the world of amplifiers will be up and running in no time. The amplifier's performance is consistently solid, regardless of the input source or speaker pairing.

Ultimately, the Yamaha A-S301 offers exceptional value for its price. It outshines many other amplifiers in its class and even some above it. This amplifier is an excellent choice for anyone seeking to elevate their audio experience without breaking the bank.

My final impression of the Yamaha A-S301 is overwhelmingly positive. Yamaha has struck a balance between affordability, performance and design with this model. If you're in the market for a robust and reliable amplifier that delivers excellent sound quality and a wealth of features, the Yamaha A-S301 is certainly worth considering.

Video by: cheapaudioman

Pros & cons

Pros

  • High-quality sound
  • Robust build
  • Integrated phono preamp
  • Digital input
  • User-friendly design

Cons

  • No built-in Bluetooth
  • Limited wireless connectivity
  • Not very portable

Technical specifications

Product Name Yamaha A-S301
Power Output 60 watts per channel into 8 ohms
Frequency Response 10 Hz to 100 kHz (+0/-1 dB)
Total Harmonic Distortion 0.019% (50 watts, 8 ohms, 20 Hz to 20 kHz)
Signal-to-Noise Ratio 99 dB
Input Sensitivity/Impedance 200 mV/47 kohms (Line), 3.5 mV/47 kohms (Phono MM)
Dimensions (W x H x D) 435 x 151 x 387 mm
Weight 8.1 kg