Rooted in technology and expertise with a music heritage that runs over 125 years deep the R-S202 was created from years of experience and technological expertise in receiver design.

The distinguishing “new” feature for this stereo receiver is the addition of Bluetooth technology for streaming music. Coupled with Yamaha sound quality and an attractive price, the R-S202 can be a young audiophiles (I’m talking to you, college boy) ticket to Musicville.

Yamaha R-S202 Stereo Receiver - Front View

Highlights

Yamaha R-S202 Stereo Receiver

  • Improved circuitry design
  • Bluetooth® for streaming from your favorite music server
  • Full 40 station FM/AM preset tuning
  • Brushed aluminum faceplate and clean design
  • Speaker selector for dual systems
  • Easy to use remote
  • Headphone jack
Introduction

I know we have a tendency to focus on high-end, multi-channel receivers with Dolby Atmos and complex bass management schemes, but let’s not lose sight of the final goal: Enjoying the music. Yamaha has been making receivers for many decades and when I was in college, you could always spot the Yamahas on the racks at the audio shop because that had orange fluorescent displays. Of course, back in the days, stereo was King and CO2 tape decks were the rage. The R-S202 carries on that Yamaha tradition of great sound at an affordable price and has been updated for streaming via Bluetooth.

YAMAHA RECEIVER REVIEW SPECIFICATIONS
100w/channel:

(8 ohms, 40 Hz-20 kHz, 0.2% THD)

40 stations:

AM/FM preset tuning

Bluetooth streaming:

(2.4 GHz spectrum)

2 speaker:

System Setup

Company:

Yamaha

SECRETS Tags:

Yamaha, Stereo Receiver, Receiver Reviews 2016

Design

It has been a long time since I reviewed a stereo receiver. No DAC, no bass management, no GUI for speaker setup, no distance or speaker leveling software, no video processing, no sound processing, just stereo. The front panel is simple and uncluttered.

Yamaha R-S202 Stereo Receiver - Power Button

Sporting large push buttons for tone controls and input selection, small buttons for presets, tuning FM mode and memory and speaker selection, the R-S202 has a clean faceplate in black brushed aluminum. In the back of the unit you get analog inputs for a CD player and 2 more unassigned for other devices. There is a set of line/outs for recording in the analog domain. The spring clips allow for 2 sets of speakers (A/B or A+B).

Yamaha R-S202 Stereo Receiver - Front Buttons

The clips will accept bare wire up to 16 gauge and pin terminals. At this price point, that’s not unexpected. The fluorescent display is easy to read from across the room and is white, not the orange like from the 80’s. The black brushed aluminum face is clean and looks smartly dressed. If you use the headphone jack, you must turn off the speakers by deselecting speakers A/B.

Yamaha R-S202 Stereo Receiver - Remote

The plastic remote is fairly basic with a myriad of tiny buttons that are not backlit. It also has the ability to control a Yamaha CD player. Be aware, there is no App to control the R-S202, so you will either love the remote or replace it with a Harmony.

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The updated feature of this receiver is Bluetooth. Being able to stream my music from phone makes this product step up to another level. I know that many of you have streaming devices that already feed into your home systems, but for someone starting out into the first foray into having quality system, this simplifies a lot of things.

Setup And In Use

It has been so long since I have set up a stereo system, that I had almost forgotten the simple joys of listening to music in 2 channels. All you really “need” to enter musical Nirvana is a receiver like the R-S202 and some inexpensive (I did not say cheap) speakers. Some new Elacs Debut B5s would pair well with this receiver. So would other nice bookshelf speakers like Pioneer SP-BS22-LRs, Zu Audio Cubes or Omens, if you have the coin. We live in an age where for under $500 you can get a nice entry level sound system. With many of the newer generation of budding audiophiles going off to school this fall, why not have a killer sound system on the cheap?

Yamaha R-S202 Stereo Receiver - Rear View

Setting up the R-S202 only took me a few minutes to wire up a spare pair of speakers I had lying around and I was streaming music in no time. Pairing my iPhone 6 to the receiver was quick and easy. There was a certain feeling of liberty not having to set speaker levels and distances, fiddling with bass management, or running an auto-EQ program. And once I had the speakers positioned correctly for imaging, it was just me in my favorite chair listening to some great music.

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The first impression I had with this receiver was with its ability to reproduce the full range of the music. I was surprised that the sound had very good bass. The middle range was full without over emphasis and the treble was sweet, without harshness. I ended up hooking my Revel F12s up to the Yamaha and the sound quality was still very good. The F12s have two 8inch woofers/tower and the R-S202 had no trouble driving them to very loud levels.

The Doors

The Doors “Riders on the Storm”

Here are some examples of the music I tested with the R-S202. The Doors: Riders on the Storm, with it hopping bass line, wide soundstage with thunder from over the horizon, tinkling rain and Morrison’s unmistakable voice, I have listened to this song over many years and find it relaxing and intimate. This is great headphone stuff, but on a good stereo sound system, it can still transport you back in time.

The R-S202 did not overplay any specific frequencies, but provided a detailed natural soundscape. I could easily detect the quiet whisper of Jim singing along with himself. Bass was virile, but controlled and not overpowering. When I compared the Bluetooth stream with the CD version, it was difficult to tell the two apart.

Giovanni Gabrieli

Giovanni Gabrieli “The Glory of Gabrieli”

Giovanni Gabrieli (1557-1612) wrote secular and sacred antiphonal music for the Cathedral of San Marco in Venice. The two choir lofts face each other in the chancel and are separated by a 40 foot space. The acoustics in that church are phenomenal. Instruments, correctly positioned, can be heard with perfect clarity at distant points. A single string player could be set against a large group of brass players and still sound perfectly balanced.

In Ecclessis has two boys choirs (left and right), one men’s choir and a full set of brass players in between. The R-S202 was able to cast a believable soundstage with depth and width, capturing the true acoustic space as recorded by those remarkable CBS engineers. The reverberation and seven second decay were well reproduced by the Yamaha.

Streaming Pandora via my iPhone was also quite enjoyable. Because there is no video processing with the R-S202, my phone provided the video interface I need to navigate through the music. Simple and convenient, I spent hours listening to music that fit my mood. I found the reception of the FM tuner to be mediocre at best. I live 35 miles north of Boston and was not able to pull in as many stations as my Emotiva UMC-200 could. Maybe a better antenna than the one supplied would help.

Conclusions

With its Ease Of Use And Bluetooth Technology, THE YAMAHA R-S202 Makes a Great Choice for The Budding 2 Channel Enthusiast

Likes
  • Good sound quality
  • Easy setup
  • Bluetooth
  • Bass quality is solid and punchy
Would Like To See
  • Backlit remote
  • Apt-X Bluetooth
  • Better FM reception

So, with my few weeks of having the R-S202 in the equipment rack, I was able to relive a bit of my youth and enjoy the sounds of plain old vanilla stereo again. I had almost forgotten what a simple pleasure it was to setup two speakers and just listen to music. No fancy DSP or bass management schemes. No APP to download. Just hookup a CD player or turntable and listen to the music. Bluetooth streaming is easy, convenient and sounded fine for everyday listening. Yamaha has taken a decent stereo receiver and made it eminently more useful and enjoyable. I recommend this receiver if you are starting out as a newly initiated audiophile. It is easy to use and easy on the ears. At this price, why would you say no?

  • Jim Milton

    After reading my own review, I noticed that I omitted the MSRP of $150. My apologies. (Yes…it’s $150… That’s cheaper than a pair of some ear buds!)

  • thomaus

    How easy is it to change from one paired Bluetooth device to another?

  • Jim Milton

    I only have an iPhone for my meager Bluetooth needs, but I was able pair in less than 30 seconds. I can’t think of a reason why pairing multi devices would be troublesome.

  • Fwiler

    I would like someone to make a stereo receiver with subwoofer output, as most subwoofers don’t include high level inputs anymore.

  • Jim Milton

    I’m currently reviewing the Emotiva TA-100 which is an integrated amp/DAC/tuner with 2 sub outs. Check it out. It might be what you are looking for.

  • ClarkeJohnston

    The Harman Kardon 3480? (Forget the number) has a pair of L/R stereo pre-amp outputs that are labeled “Subwoofer”, but I think they are actually full-range; thus depending on the subs internal crossover. (Some okay, some cheesy) The majestic old Yamaha RX950 had spare pre-outs, too.

  • Stpaulguy79

    The Yamaha RS-300 (the next step-up from this model) has a subwoofer output.

  • George M

    Hello Jim, I just purchased this receiver from Newegg for 109 incl taxes and free shipping. Can you please tell me if I can connect a subwoofer to it. I also need to know if I can connect a speaker selector to it since I have wall speakers throughout the house with volume controller on the walls as well. Thanks

  • Jim Milton

    Yes, you can connect a sub via the speaker level inputs: So “speaker outs ” on the receiver to the corresponding “speaker input” on the sub, then “out” of the sub to your main speakers. You should set the crossover on the sub to around 80Hz (as a good starting point) because the 202 does not have an internal crossover switch.

    The selector will work, but you could use the speaker “B” terminals to go to the wall speakers. Be careful though! If the wall speakers are in series (connected via daisy chain) the impedance could cause your receiver to over heat if pushed to hard.

    At $109, I’d say Santa came early this year!

  • George M

    Hi Jim, I’m not too tech savvy, so I have to ask this; I have a set of good wall and ceiling speakers in 5 different rooms; they each have their own volume controls on the walls. For some reason when I connected the R-S202 to the speaker selector, the sound was not great and the volume had to be on at least 60 to get any sound and a nice normal sound would have to be set at 75 or 80 which is close tot he max. Why is this happening?

    Also, I now have 4 sets of speakers directly into the receiver with no speaker selector and its the same. Should I be using the speaker selector with the speakers or will they be okay directly connected to the receiver. Not sure if I’m making any sense. Thanks

  • MarkAnalogue

    I think you’re in trouble
    Do these 4 or 5 speaker pairs have a common junction or a switching selector
    And how does the volume of each work independently i hope not by attenuating the amplifiers power as thats just burning up your amps output in resistance
    I would start by stripping all excess wiring and having the speakers connect straight to the amps terminals and control volume with the amp directly
    This would necessitate no more than two pairs at a time maximum but you should ideally not overdrive this amp so try to run one pair of speakers in one room ideally or you will limit your current ability and not enjoy the sound anyway thus blaming the amp or the speakers in turn
    Keep it simple if you want quality or use multiple amps if you intend to drive so many pairs
    Enjoy the music

  • Luis Fernando Ponce

    why this receiver has two imput buttons? as far as i try they both perform the same

  • Jim Milton

    There are actually 4 inputs: CD, 1, 2, line level (for going into a tape deck of equalizer) and Bluetooth. There are also 2 speaker select: speaker A (usually your mains) and speaker B (for speakers you may wish to hookup in another room).

  • Jim Milton

    A general rule is that for parallel connections the impedance is halved, and for series it is doubled. If you have 8 ohm speakers (which are typical for in-walls), connecting any 2 of them in parallel can lead to a 4 ohm load. Since impedance of your speakers fluctuates across the frequency spectrum the overall impedance could at times drop to 2 ohms. Most modestly powered receivers will struggle with that type of load and can overheat your receiver. This is why your volume drops as you add more speakers to the chain. I highly recommend NOT putting speakers in parallel with this Yamaha.

  • Luis Fernando Ponce

    Yes but in front it has two identical buttons labeled “input” with two tiny arrows, I think they both perform the same task, why place two?

  • Vincen Woo

    can I use this receiver as amplifier for my turntable to connect with a single speaker? and how to connect? Should I buy another phono preamp as a bridge

  • Jim Milton
  • Jim Milton

    Now I see what you mean-

    That allows you to toggle up/down (back and forth?) for the different inputs on the display.

  • Luis Fernando Ponce

    Thanx Jim, although I think the design would be cleaner without those extra buttons (basss, treble and imput), letting each to perform both tasks. Best 🙂

  • Vincen Woo

    Can this stereo receiver output connect to Power speaker, looks like power speaker only have RCA out, if not, which Yamaha product has RCA speaker output and also won’t damage the speaker?

  • Jim Milton

    You’ll need to use the line out in the back. You could also use zone 2 out… which might be same line out on the 202. Typically, you need a receiver that has”pre outs”, but those receivers will cost considerably more than $150.
    Hope this helps…

  • John Deis

    The instruction manual says that you must use 16 ohm speakers if using A and B (except for North America model). Does that actually mean I can use 8 ohm speakers when using A and B?

  • Jim Milton

    A and B simultaneously= 16 ohm
    A or B alone= 8 ohm
    I used my Revel F12s which are 8 ohm and they sounded fine with plenty of volume.

  • John Deis

    I was just contacted by Yamaha support. Here is a quote from the email:

    John,
    It is 8 ohms for the USA models on A and B.

    Best Regards,
    The Yamaha Customer Support Team
    P.S. Please do not remove the ” [ref: ” in the Email Subject when replying to this email.

  • Steve Castañeda

    Hi Jim! Very nice review, thanks for sharing the little details. I’d just like to know if you’d consider a good idea to pick this up over let’s say a Schiit Magni or Vali 2 if I’m looking to mainly drive my Sennheiser HD650? (And I say mainly because it’d be nice to have the chance to also drive your speakers with the Yamaha).

    Please excuse me if I’m trying to compare oranges to apples but I’m kinda in a budget and trying to get the best bang for my buck!

  • Jim Milton

    If you were planning on just a headphone amp, the Schiits are good sounding and have a nice industrial build quality, but a bit bass shy in my experience. These are VERY basic designs (one set of analog INs and one set of headphone OUTs), though the Vali2 gives you some warm tube sound (2nd order harmonic distortion). For the price of the Vali2, you would still get more features (ie. Bluetooth, more power, headphone and speaker outputs).
    Personally, if I were just going to drive some cans only…Schiit. But if Bluetooth and driving some small decent speakers so you can move about the house are important…go Yammy!

  • Lenny Miragliuolo

    Hello Jim, or anyone that may provide some good advice, i want to pair a descent set of low cost speakers with the Yamaha S 202 or 300 reciecer what would you recommend, something with good highs, crisp and good base without adding a subwoofer, i am a product of the 1970’s and listen to a lot of progressive Rock, like Yes, UK, King Crimson, also Classical music and Jazz fusion ?

    Thanks
    Len

  • Donnie

    Lenny,
    What dollar amount do you consider low priced?

  • Donnie

    Jim,
    Am i missing something? Or have you neglected to include the price of the product under review? It should be posted inside the specs box at the beginning of any review. It could be me but I can’t find the price anywhere in the review.

  • Jim Milton

    I used Emotiva B1s with this and they use an AMT tweeter. The bass was quite solid, too. Oh. And inexpensive!

  • Jim Milton

    In an earlier reply, I mentioned that I had inadvertently left out the price. Currently you can get this around $150 on the web.

  • Donnie

    Thanks Jim. I reiterate that the price(retail) should be included in the specs at the beginning of the review. I’ve not used this receiver as a simple two channel rig only whole house distributed audio type system. It would be interesting to hear it with some Revel M16’s set up properly.