Yamaha R-N2000A Stereo Network Receiver Review

Posted on 16th March, 2023

Yamaha R-N2000A Stereo Network Receiver Review

Mark Gusew auditions this sophisticated new network receiver…

Yamaha

R-N2000A Stereo Network Receiver

US$3,999 RRP

Yamaha R-N2000A Review

Yamaha's new R-N2000A receiver is sure to be popular, as it gives audiophiles exactly what they need in today's digital-dominated age. It's a second-generation product from Yamaha's R-N line, following and improving on the R-N803D receiver and the discontinued R-N303D. Positioned far more upmarket and with greater flexibility, it feels a very mature product. Think of it as an A-S1200 integrated amplifier with a MusicCast network system, FM radio, and DAC included.

Yamaha has invested significantly in its MusicCast range of hardware products and the accompanying software app over the years, and it's now a feature-rich system. This streaming and multi-room audio platform is now built into many of the company's products, which include AV receivers, wireless speakers, sound bars and more. It allows the streaming of music over Bluetooth or the home network, with control via Alexa or Google Assistant, Apple Airplay 2 for Apple Music, or an app on your handheld device.

Yamaha R-N2000A Review

UP CLOSE

The R-N2000A's streaming functionality includes the lossy versions of Spotify, as well as lossless high-resolution TIDAL, Qobuz, Amazon Music HD and many more. Its onboard ESS Sabre ES9026PRO Ultra DAC can be used via USB (B-type) with support for DSD 11.2MHz native playback and 384kHz playback, as well as two optical and one coaxial S/PDIF inputs up to 192kHz.

With the addition of DAB and FM Radio, NET Radio and a moving magnet phono input, this product has almost every source covered. There is even an HDMI ARC terminal for connecting to your TV to vastly improve the sound. Three analogue line-in RCA inputs are fitted, plus a single subwoofer output and preamp out for connecting to another power amplifier. The receiver has both a wired RJ45 connection and the flexibility of Wi-Fi.

The front panel uses the familiar Yamaha layout that's dominated by two lovely meters that can be dimmed and set to read either VU or peak levels. The balance, treble and bass controls are a handy addition, especially when listening to a wide range of genres with variable source quality. A loudness control with a variable amount of effect (attenuation at 1kHz) from flat to -30dB can spice up the sound at low listening volumes. All of this can be bypassed with the Pure Direct switch that gives the most direct signal path for maximum fidelity.

Yamaha R-N2000A Review

A small OLED display window with easy-to-read white text shows the source, volume level, speaker outputs and all else essential for a unit of this complexity. It has an always-off function, lighting for a few seconds upon user input before disappearing again. On the black-faced review unit (silver is also available), the display appears to be hidden, which keeps the front face appearance clean and understated. The sides of the receiver are mirror-finished piano black wood sidings which look most elegant.

Essentially the R-N2000A uses much of the amplifier internals from the A-S1200 integrated. However, I'm told that the overall sound is tailored to be closer to that of its big brother A-S2200, with the large toroidal transformer placed on a 3mm thick spacer made of brass, which prevents vibrations from travelling down into the chassis. Claimed output power is 90W RMS per channel into 8 ohms and 145W into 4. With a weight of around 22 kg, it's a substantial and solid bit of kit.

Unlike the A-S1200 – which is best matched to bookshelf speakers – the ideal pairing of the R-N2000A is Yamaha's new NS-2000A floorstanding tower. According to head engineer Susumu Kumazawa, “the R-N2000A is able to drive the NS-2000A well because we tuned it to be the best match.” This combination was first shown at the 2022 StereoNET Hi-Fi & AV Show.

Yamaha R-N2000A Review

A 'Quick Guide' is included with the receiver, and although only eleven pages in length, is enough to get most new users up and running. A QR code links to a far more comprehensive 150-page user manual should you need further instructions. With the power, FM aerial and loudspeakers connected to the network receiver, you have a choice of using a wired internet connection or setting up the Wi-Fi. Either way, you will need to download Yamaha's 'MusicCast Controller' app to your device. Most modern iOS or Android handheld devices are compatible. This done, you can add smart home options like Amazon Alexa or Google Assistant, add streaming accounts, edit sources and more. Being a brand new sample, the menu then asked if I would like to update the firmware, which took around five minutes to complete.

Yamaha's Parametric Room Acoustic Optimizer (YPAO) is fitted, which measures room acoustics and calibrates the R-N2000A accordingly. A small microphone is placed at the seating position and listens for pulses of sound – which are then fed into the electronic brain, and the sound is tailored accordingly. This is especially useful when a subwoofer is being used, as it sets the ideal speaker and subwoofer crossover frequencies and low-frequency cut. It calibrates the speaker output in 0.5dB increments and adjusts timing so that each speaker's sound reaches you simultaneously. It generates precise equalisation for your room and can even automatically adjust the balance between the bass and treble ranges in conjunction with the volume control. The calibration operates between 31.5Hz to 16kHz, and settings can be disabled within the app; the process only takes around thirty seconds to complete.

Yamaha R-N2000A Review

THE LISTENING

Yamaha's new R-N2000A is an impressive performer in the sonic stakes. It has power aplenty, along with fine bass grip, control and speed; the midband is tidy and detailed, and the treble is smooth and fatigue-free. The overall effect is a product that makes music fun and likes to get up and boogie. It has a pleasant and slightly warm overall tonal character that's sure to please most people. I never got the sense that the sound has any annoying brashness, which makes it good for long listening sessions.

It's also punchier than its A-S1200A integrated amplifier cousin, which struggled to drive my JBL HDI-3800 floorstanding loudspeakers; this receiver had no such problem. Yamaha's MusicCast app proved to be stable and reliable in everyday use, quickly finding playlists and presenting me with all the options and control that I could ask for. The result is a receiver that just gets on with the job of delivering musical enjoyment.

This big receiver did a great job of peeling back the layers of the performance, with even lossy streaming sounding very acceptable to listen to – and CD or better streaming being quite delightful. Hi-res tracks from Qobuz and Tidal were far more detailed, with greater spatial information. It didn't hold anything back or make everything sound the same.

Yamaha R-N2000A Review

With YPAO room optimisation switched in, there was no 'night and day' dramatic improvement in my environment, probably because its acoustics are already well sorted, but still, it provided a noticeable improvement. Things sounded smooth and well integrated, with a little more midrange fullness and better stereo spread and soundstage width. I don't use a subwoofer, but imagine that this calibration would be invaluable if one were used.

The Yamaha doesn't shy away from classical, jazz or blues, but well-recorded pop music really shines and fits the lifestyle demographic very well. Billie Eilish's Bad Guy had a balanced presentation despite the track's bass-heavy content, no doubt due to its evenness throughout the frequency range. The four repeating syncopated bass notes in Crystal Ball by Carolin No proved clean and well-defined. Although they sounded similar, the differences in all four notes were easily heard in tone, intensity and soundstage presentation. This Yamaha receiver punched above its weight and price point when it comes to bass definition and accuracy.

The Yamaha displayed excellent definition right through the presence region – so both male and female vocals sounded natural and expressive. For example, Boz Scaggs' Thanks To You sounded smooth, with bass notes digging deep. His voice can come over as dark and muffled through equipment that has a mid-bass hump, but not here. Treble was lively and coherent, with just a slight softening of high-frequency extension and sparkle. It's hard to think of another amplifier at this price point that does better.

Yamaha R-N2000A Review

Daft Punk's Lose Yourself was delivered engagingly. The background was quiet enough for the layering and detail in the complex guitar work to be properly resolved. I also enjoyed the transparency of Africa by Toto, and the wonderful sense of space and air around the performers. The Yamaha succeeded in keeping the track sounding full, densely packed and complete with lots going on, and all of it being carried better than expected.

Bass notes had excellent attack and transient speed, with lovely long decay tails. Temptation by Diana Krall sounded immaculately clean and precise through the Yamaha, and it played with excellent rhythmic cohesion and a sense of timing that was spot on. The same went for Fleetwood Mac's Go Your Own Way – a track I've heard hundreds of times before. The Yamaha didn't disappoint with the fast pace of the song carried concisely, so that the drums, bass and guitars played in a wonderfully tight formation with a high level of precision.

The R-N2000A is well capable of carrying the space and proportion of a recorded acoustic, as shown by its handling of In A Sentimental Mood by Duke Ellington and John Coltrane. Here, the two central performers had a nice sense of air between them, with the saxophone sounding particularly realistic. The performance did lack a smidge of front-to-back detail, slightly diminishing depth perspective, but this is as expected from a product of this price. Lady Gaga's Shallow had an upfront quality to vocals, but lacked some definition to the sound of the audience behind her.

I used the FM radio, DAB+ and Net Radio at times when I couldn't be bothered to look for specific content to stream, all of which worked well. To my ears, FM radio sounded more musical than DAB+, which often comes over as vague and heavily compressed. Net Radio proved far nicer, with Spotify-like tonal accuracy, a wider frequency range, better imaging and musicality.

Yamaha R-N2000A Review

Bluetooth connectivity was easy to set up and proved reliable with a good range of distance. The sound from my Android device streaming Spotify premium over AAC was more than good enough for dinner parties and occasional use. Still, it didn't have the same fidelity and listening ease as the same songs streamed via the app and Wi-Fi.

I was impressed with the quality of the phono input, with an inexpensive Audio Technica moving magnet cartridge sounding surprisingly full and rich. For instance, George Benson singing Give Me the Night was dynamic and punchy, with a smooth top-to-bottom mix and a broad and spacious soundstage. It certainly didn't seem like an afterthought and is likely as good as anything in its price range.

With my pair of Sony WH-1000XM3 cans, I tried the headphone output of the R-N2000A. It automatically muted the speaker output, then served up a clean but slightly undynamic sound. It felt like it was struggling a touch to drive these phones with their stated 16-ohm nominal impedance (in passive mode), so I substituted a pair of Telefunken Audion headphones with a 64-ohm impedance. Things then sounded much better, which isn't surprising as most integrated amplifiers sweat a bit with low-impedance headphone loads. When care is taken to use the right cans, very good results can be heard.

Yamaha R-N2000A Review

THE VERDICT

Yamaha's new R-N2000A delivers quality hi-fi sound to a wider audience, as it perfectly caters for modern lifestyles that demand quality and accessibility. Sonically, it has plenty of power and an inherent balance and control that are addictive. Build quality is excellent, as you'd expect. So for many prospective purchasers, this is a standout value proposition.

For more information visit Yamaha

    Mark Gusew's avatar

    Mark Gusew

    Starting his first audio consultancy business in the early 80’s whilst also working professionally in the electronics industry, Mark now manages a boutique audio manufacturer.

    Posted in:Amplifiers Integrated Amplifiers Applause Awards 2023 Sources Streaming Hi-Fi
    Tags: yamaha 

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