The Yamaha A-S301 Integrated Amplifier looks more expensive than it is but delivers incredible value. It’s a throwback to a more vintage style while holding true to the Yamaha sound. It’s also not lacking in inputs or features. It’s a great little amp for an entry-level two-channel system that’s sure to put a smile on your face, so let’s dive right into the review!
60 watts per channel @ 8 ohms
1x optical, 1x coax
8x RCA (2x RCA outputs)
(HxWxD) 5.9 x 17.1 x 15.2 inches
My initial impression of the sound was not what I expected. It was nice and warm, almost tube-like, not the usual coldness I get from most amps at this price point. Although this may not be everyone’s favorite, I found it quite enjoyable to listen to through a pair of B&W 603 S2 floor-standers. Playing a few tracks to warm up the system, I was able to hear a more natural, full sound, definitely fuller than other similarly priced amps. I experimented a bit with the bass and treble controls on the front and found they could have a positive impact on the sound. Mostly though, I preferred to keep them flat. Sometimes I would turn the bass up slightly as the 603s needed the extra boom. The only thing I missed was a wide sound stage. Music felt a little cramped into the listening space at times. Although it has a few harmonic downsides, it’s still a fun amp to listen to, much better than most others at this price point. It produced solid bass and crisp treble and handily kept up with the demands of my tower speakers. It’s a solid performer and a few more watts of power would have made it really sing. For an affordable and easy to use system, this is a great choice for someone looking to get into audio.
I really, really wish more brands would build a nice two-channel amp like this. From the front knobs to the A/B speaker outputs with bi-wiring, digital inputs, subwoofer out, and the ample supply of RCA inputs, this is a dream come true. Do you love to A/B speakers as much as I do? If so, this is a perfect little amp that allows you to do so with the twist of a knob. And that’s just scratching the surface of the many features this amp has. The front-mounted quarter-inch headphone jack and pure direct mode button both show this unit’s devotion to the audiophile looking for every way to enjoy music at an affordable price. To me, the amp itself felt a little light and the metal case seemed slightly thin compared to other units. While this is likely a cost-saving measure, it did affect my first impression when pulling it from the box. However, once I saw its wonderful feature set, its weight and heft mattered less.
While the sound of the Yamaha A-S301 Integrated Amplifier can be nitpicked, its feature set leaves little to be desired. Add in the $350 price point and I think we have a real winner for entry-level audiophiles looking to get their feet wet in the audio world. With a classic and timeless look and good overall build quality, it is sure to sound and look good for years to come. I only wish it had a bit more weight to it and the power cord was upgradable. Other than that, there nothing to complain about. It’s a value- and feature-packed win.