The Yamaha R-N2000A: A Fusion of Classic and Modern
Upon my first encounter with the Yamaha R-N2000A at HIGH END 2022, I was immediately captivated. Here was a Yamaha integrated amplifier, boasting classic design elements, yet seamlessly integrating modern streaming capabilities, bass management, and room EQ. It appeared to fulfill nearly every HiFi wish in one elegant package, and it certainly lives up to those high expectations.
|Power (4/8 ohms):||2 x 145 / 2 x 90 watts|
|Analog input:||3 x RCA, 1 x Phono (RCA)|
|Digital input:||1 x Coax, 2 x optical, 1 x Ethernet, HDMI (ARC), Bluetooth|
|Output:||1 x preamp output (RCA), 1 x subwoofer (RCA)|
|Network system:||Yamaha MusicCast|
|Special feature:||automatic room EQ via YPAO|
|Dimensions:||43.5 x 15.7 x 47.3 cm|
Design & Build Quality
The Yamaha R-N2000A is a high-end integrated amplifier that combines classic design elements with modern technology and exceptional build quality. Let’s delve into the design and build quality of this impressive audio component:
- Classic Aesthetics: The R-N2000A pays homage to Yamaha’s iconic amplifier designs from the 1970s and 1980s. It features elongated rotary controls and the signature VU meters, giving it a vintage charm.
- Symmetrical Layout: The amplifier boasts a clean, symmetrical design that not only enhances its visual appeal but also contributes to its sound quality.
- OLED Display: Yamaha has seamlessly integrated a modern OLED display into the classic design. The OLED display is discreet and visually pleasing while providing essential information and control options.
- Build Materials: The amplifier is constructed using high-quality materials, including metal chassis components and extra-thick contacts for ground routing. This robust build ensures durability and longevity.
- Weight: The R-N2000A has a substantial weight of over 21 kilograms, reflecting its solid build and reinforcing its high-quality construction.
- Power Supply: The amplifier features a robust power supply system, combining elements from Yamaha’s A-S2200 and A-S1200 amplifiers. This design results in a stable and clean power delivery to the connected speakers.
- Amplifier Section: The R-N2000A uses MosFETs in its amplifier section, which is known for imparting a tube-like sound quality. This component choice contributes to the amplifier’s excellent sonic performance.
- Versatility: The amplifier’s versatility is highlighted by its inclusion of a moving magnet (MM) phono stage inherited from the AS-1200. It allows for precise and captivating sound quality when connecting turntables.
- Room Equalization: One of the standout features of the R-N2000A is its built-in room equalization system, known as YPAO. This technology automatically adjusts sound settings to compensate for room acoustics, resulting in cleaner bass and a more linear mid-high frequency range.
- Digital Inputs: The amplifier offers a wide array of inputs, including streaming services, Internet radio, digital inputs, HDMI (ARC), USB-B for computer hi-fi, and a DAB/FM tuner. This extensive input selection enhances its usability in various setups.
- MusicCast Technology: The R-N2000A incorporates Yamaha’s latest MusicCast technology, including AirPlay 2 support, making it a versatile hub for streaming and multiroom audio.
- Large Converter Deck: It boasts the largest converter deck among Yamaha’s current audio components, contributing to its exceptional audio performance.
In conclusion, the Yamaha R-N2000A excels in both design and build quality. It seamlessly combines classic aesthetics with modern functionality, making it a visually appealing and technologically advanced audio amplifier. Its robust construction, high-quality components, and versatile features make it a standout choice for audiophiles seeking top-tier sound quality and a timeless design.
Classic Design Meets Modern Features
Balancing Nostalgia with Innovation
What immediately stands out about the R-N2000A is its unmistakably classic Yamaha amplifier appearance. In an era where many traditional manufacturers have abandoned their heritage designs, Yamaha has impressively retained the iconic look from the 1970s and 1980s. From its elongated rotary controls to the familiar Yamaha VU meters, it exudes vintage charm. However, it’s not just the exterior design that harks back to the past; it’s also the subtle details like the multitude of relays producing those satisfyingly fine clicks.
Inside the Amplifier
A Glimpse Under the Hood
For those acquainted with LowBeats, it’s no secret that we maintain close contact with Yamaha developers. They value our feedback and appreciate the acoustic qualities of our spacious listening room. This rapport has even left its mark on the final European tunings of Yamaha’s large 5000 pre/power amplifier combination and the three substantial amplifiers, A-S3200, A-S2200, and A-S1200. Among these, the A-S2200 stands as my secret favorite due to its remarkable balance of sound quality and price.
Now, returning to the Yamaha R-N2000A, its construction and power supply draw inspiration from both the A-S2200 and A-S1200. It features the same clean, symmetrical design, reminiscent of the tube sound with MosFETs. The ground routing, featuring extra-thick contacts, ensures an optimal signal path. The only distinction is in the transformer, where the streaming amp slightly trails the A-S1200, resulting in a mere 5 watts less power output on the 8-ohm load resistors. However, this difference in performance is practically imperceptible and doesn’t diminish the R-N2000A’s impressive stature. It’s a robust amplifier, weighing over 21 kilograms, just as it should be.
A Touch of Modernity: The OLED Display
Subtle Yet Stylish
While the R-N2000A embraces classic design, it also incorporates modern elements. A notable example is the OLED display discreetly positioned at the bottom. Yamaha’s decision to use an OLED display with perfect black levels is a stylish touch, almost rendering it invisible. It’s a delightful yet unobtrusive addition that stands out when you swiftly switch inputs.
The R-N2000A offers a wealth of inputs and players, catering to diverse audio sources. Beyond the expansive world of streaming services and Internet radio, it boasts three classic digital inputs, an HDMI (ARC) input for TV signal reception, and USB-B access for computer-based hi-fi. Notably, it features a DAB/FM tuner, solidifying its status as a bona fide receiver.
Phono Stage Excellence
A Vinyl Enthusiast’s Delight
The R-N2000A inherits its MM phono branch from the AS-1200, rendering external phono stages below 400 euros virtually redundant. Even when connecting a Rega Planar 6 with Ortofon 2M Bronze, the result is nothing short of astonishing—open, precise, and powerful sound with no compromises.
Cutting-Edge Technology and MusicCast Integration
Mastering the Art of Connectivity
The R-N2000A serves as a flagship of Yamaha technology in various aspects. It seamlessly incorporates the latest MusicCast generation, evident through its ability to play AirPlay 2. Additionally, it boasts the largest converter deck among Yamaha’s current audio components.
Unveiling Sonic Nuances
Now, let’s delve into the listening experience. In comparison to our reference devices—the Cambridge Audio CXN V2 streamer and the Denon DCD A110 CD/SACD player—it became apparent that the R-N2000A’s built-in DAC showcased superior sonic qualities. It excelled in revealing subtleties and nuances with finesse.
Built-in Room Equalization: YPAO
Mastering Room Acoustics
One of the standout features of the R-N2000A is its built-in room equalization, known as YPAO—a proven tool in Yamaha receivers. Within the acoustically relevant range of 15.6 to 20,000 Hertz, YPAO employs various parametric equalizers to linearize dips and peaks, often encountered in typical living rooms. It also intelligently addresses sound-damaging “early” wall reflections. Utilizing the included microphone placed at the listening position, YPAO automatically adjusts the sound in a mere 30 to 40 seconds, taking slightly longer if a subwoofer is part of the setup.
Simplified Yet Effective YPAO
Optimizing with Ease
Yamaha’s YPAO in the R-N2000A functions solely in an automated mode, omitting manual adjustments. However, for most users seeking classic home use, this automated YPAO suffices. It’s a substantial improvement over non-equalized sound. It’s also user-friendly; it’s easy to set up the microphone for measurement, and the results consistently yield crisper, faster, and deeper bass. YPAO also subtly enhances the mid-high frequency range while preserving the speaker’s inherent character.
A Welcome Solution for Non-Ideal Listening Positions
Optimizing Sound Beyond the Sweet Spot
YPAO serves as a boon for those who can’t sit in the optimal sweet spot of the stereo triangle due to room constraints. Even if you’re directly in front of one speaker while the other is further away, the system adapts, creating an impressive stereo image with a clear “center” between the speakers.
Custom Presets for Versatility
Fine-Tuning Listening Environments
The R-N2000A’s YPAO extends further by offering presets for two different speaker systems in distinct listening situations. This feature greatly enhances versatility and accommodates various listening scenarios.
Listening Tests: A Revelatory Experience
Discovering the Real Magic
During listening tests, the R-N2000A consistently impressed, whether paired with the Dynaudio Heritage Special, Progressive Audio Extreme I, or Mission 770 speakers. While retaining Yamaha’s signature sound character, the R-N2000A introduced a new level of refinement, relaxation, and nuanced quality. This transformation particularly benefited acoustic instruments and vocals, adding depth and sophistication to the listening experience.
YPAO Elevates Sound Quality
A Boon for Bass Enthusiasts
The inclusion of YPAO further tightened the sound, enhancing bass precision and depth. It excelled in delivering intricate bass lines, unveiling subtleties that might otherwise go unnoticed.
Comparing with Other Streamers
Matching the CXN V2
In direct comparison with the Cambridge Audio CXN V2 streamer, the differences were marginal. Both offered exceptional sound quality, with the Cambridge occasionally exhibiting a slightly richer sound. However, the R-N2000A’s built-in DAC proved remarkably competent, making it a versatile choice for connecting various digital sources.
Late-Night TV Enhancement
Variable Loudness for Nighttime Viewing
For late-night TV viewing, the R-N2000A’s variable loudness feature ensures an enjoyable listening experience without disturbing others.
The sound quality of the Yamaha R-N2000A is a defining feature of this high-end integrated amplifier. Its exceptional sound performance is a result of careful engineering and the integration of advanced technologies. Below, we’ll elaborate on the sound quality and discuss a sound test with notable observations:
- Musical Fidelity: The R-N2000A is known for its musicality and refinement. It manages to retain Yamaha’s signature sound character while delivering a more relaxed and nuanced audio quality compared to some of its predecessors.
- High-Quality Components: Yamaha has incorporated MosFETs into the amplifier section, which are recognized for imparting a tube-like warmth and naturalness to the sound. These components contribute to the amplifier’s sonic excellence.
- Versatile Phono Stage: The inclusion of the MM phono stage inherited from the AS-1200 elevates the amplifier’s versatility. It allows for precise playback of vinyl records, delivering an open, precise, and powerful sound quality.
- Room Equalization (YPAO): The R-N2000A is equipped with Yamaha’s YPAO room equalization technology. This feature automatically adjusts sound settings to compensate for room acoustics. As a result, the bass becomes cleaner and the mid-high frequency range sounds more linear. YPAO ensures an impressive stereo image, even if you’re not seated in the optimal sweet spot of the listening area.
- Enhanced Bass: The YPAO technology not only improves room acoustics but also enhances bass precision and depth. It allows the amplifier to reproduce intricate bass lines with finesse, revealing subtle details that might go unnoticed in other systems.
In a sound test with various speakers, including the Dynaudio Heritage Special, Progressive Audio Extreme I, and Mission 770, the R-N2000A consistently impressed listeners. Here are notable observations from the sound test:
- Retained Signature Sound: The R-N2000A retained Yamaha’s signature sound character but with a refined and more relaxed quality. This refined sound characteristic greatly benefited acoustic instruments and vocals.
- Improved Bass Precision: With the inclusion of YPAO, the amplifier tightened the bass response, making it more precise and extending its depth. It excelled at delivering intricate bass lines in music, revealing nuances that might otherwise be missed.
- Comparison with Other Devices: In comparison tests with reference devices like the Cambridge Audio CXN V2 streamer and the Denon DCD A110 CD/SACD player, the R-N2000A’s built-in DAC showcased superior sonic qualities. It brought out nuances and details with finesse.
- Versatility: The R-N2000A’s built-in DAC proved to be highly competent when connecting various digital sources, making it a versatile choice for audiophiles with diverse audio equipment.
- Late-Night TV Watching: The variable loudness feature of the R-N2000A ensured a great listening experience for late-night TV watching without disturbing others in the household.
In summary, the Yamaha R-N2000A offers an exceptional sound quality characterized by musicality, clarity, and refinement. Its combination of high-quality components, room equalization technology (YPAO), and versatile input options make it a standout choice for audiophiles seeking a premium audio experience. Whether you’re listening to vinyl records, streaming music, or watching TV, this amplifier delivers outstanding sound performance across the board.
A Remarkable Triumph in 2023
In conclusion, the Yamaha R-N2000A stands as a remarkable piece of audio equipment. It successfully bridges the gap between classic high-end hi-fi and modern smart capabilities, offering exceptional design and sound quality. It competes favorably with other high-end options like the Marantz Model 40 n, Cambridge Audio EVO 150, and Naim Audio Uniti Nova. Notably, the R-N2000A’s advantages, including its competitive price point, power, YPAO room equalization, and MusicCast multiroom capabilities, make it an outstanding choice for those seeking high-quality sound with modern convenience. In the world of audio equipment, this amplifier has firmly earned its place as a highlight of 2023.
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