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Yamaha A-S500 ... finally something worth auditioning from Yamaha

post #1 of 45
Thread Starter 

*** The A-S500 is a speaker Amp with a headphone out, not a headphone amp - pls return to your normal programming if this isnt your cup of tea :)


Generally speaking, you wont find a lot of Marantz/Denon/CA hi-fi gear in A/V showrooms here in Oz, but you will find Yamaha amps. Until recently, that hasnt been cause for celebration - you can imagine my surprise when 'What Hi-Fi' gave the S500 'Best Amp up to 500 quid'.




At $799 AUD RRP, its not cheap, but Amazon have it for $399 USD for those fortunate enough to have the 'right' postcode. If you can find it even cheaper, more power to you.


I have no idea how good the headphone out is, but lovers of vintage amps will recognize the retro styling immediately. Personally, I love it, but it may not be to everyone's taste - good to see Yamaha putting the time in to improve their 2-channel offerings : more power to them.







post #2 of 45

Those are some hot-looking retro pieces.  I'd be really interested to find out what kind of sound they're packing, with speakers or cans.

post #3 of 45

Very classy exterior.  Like estreeter, I would be very interested to see what they sound like.

post #4 of 45

Anyone tried the A-S500 (or siblings) as a headamp?

post #5 of 45

"Tonally the A-S500 is slightly bright, but in any sensibly chosen system this only contributes to the sense of sparkle."


I know then it is not for me.

post #6 of 45

Me neither, but A-S700 and A-S300 is "darker", so I just simply asked in the A-S500 thread.

post #7 of 45

I hate to bump a thread that's too old.  However, I have in my listening area what is essentially an earlier incarnation of this amplifier, but in the form of a  receiver from Yamaha.  The model is the RX-496, which was on the market in 2001 / 2001.  It still has the motorized POT for the volume adjustment, the continuous variable Loudness control, etc. like the A-S500 amplifier has with one exception, my RX-496 does not have a subwoofer pre-out like the A-S500 amp does.


I'm finding "B" stock versions of this amp for $289 (US $$) on eBay and will probably pull the trigger within a few hours to purchase it.  I've used my Grado woodies with the Magnum drivers connected to the RX-496 with my custom extension cable.  I used the variable loudness control and I thought the sound was very good.  It sufficiently provided good quality audio output to my headphones.  Normally, I won't listen to headphones in that area much, if at all.  It's more for my speaker listening area where I'm running a pair of Monitor Audio RS-6 Speakers and an Elemental Designs subwoofer along with a Squeezebox to serve up my music.  I connected the subwoofer to the "B" speaker channel by using a car audio speaker --> to "Line out" connector so RCA female jacks are now present to hook my sub up.


My RX-496 is very capable and just exactly what I was looking for.  I've tried for many years by going through a dozen or so home theater receivers that I thought would provide sufficient 2-channel with a sub listening.  I've been quite wrong, my journey has been long and a bit expensive if you consider that I probably lost $100 on each receiver transaction.


So, with my RX-496 performing so good, one might ask why I'd opt for the A-S500?  Well, due to the cash I have in PayPal from dumping off my home theater gear, I have the capability to buy the amp and try it out.  In the review from What Hi-Fi, they specifically noted that the amp would pair well with the speaker offerings of Monitor Audio, so I feel as though I'm good to go in that area.


If I do pull the "buy" plug, I'll come back and post some impressions in a few weeks because it will take me about a week to receive it.


post #8 of 45

i bought one of these last november for 250$ at buy .com


i'd check there before you purchase


oh ouch.  i just checked prices on it and they have def gone up a little


i'll also say it is a little bright.

more noticably with headphones than with speakers i think.


Edited by Rawrbington - 12/4/11 at 10:15pm
post #9 of 45
Originally Posted by Rawrbington View Post

i bought one of these last november for 250$ at buy .com



Yeah, I've heard of those "special sales".  Buy.Com also had something this past August for about $270.00.  I miss some of the good deals.  My Monitor Audio speakers should be OK with the Yamaha signature sound.  That was the home theater receiver that I just removed from use with the speakers.  Also, I've used the Yamaha before in a pinch for headphone listening.  In my case, though, I think it will be awfully rare that I'll use the Yamaha for headphone listening.  I don't have any "de-facto" standard Grados - just two pair of woodies with the Magnum drivers, which really has a unique sound of its own.


Now, just the wait ... the package has to come 3,000 miles by UPS Ground this week.

post #10 of 45

it is a really good sounding integrated.  especially for the price.  i think you'll enjoy it

post #11 of 45
Thread Starter 

Its good to see some feedback on this amp, even if it does seem bright to folks who have had the opportunity to plug their phones in. Its definitely overkill for someone who only wants a headphone amp - based on form factor alone - but for someone who needs to power both speakers and phones it seemed like a reasonable price for a brand which is traditionally quite expensive here in Oz.

post #12 of 45

i can tell you this much, it makes my bose towers sound pretty darn good.  especially if you sit in the sweet spot chair.

but bose are still bose.

really need to stop spending so much on my can set up and replace those things

post #13 of 45


An excellent amp, and not bright to my ears, at least not in the room I use it in and of course the room is the key component in any system.

The Turntable phono amp isnt bad, good detail and soundstage but not as quiet as some, i,e a little bit of soft hum if you turn the volume up in quiet passages. Would do fair justice to mid price systems I think, though not as good as Cambridge Azur phono amp.


The headphone amp is O.K, but for those that say the main Amp is bright I dont think this applies to the 'headphone out'. The headphone amp on my Marantz PM 15 SACD player is noticeably better and is a little brighter/clearer.


What I do like about the amp is the speed and control of Bass and the general realism of sound and soundstage, this is a better amp than many much more expensive ones I feel.

post #14 of 45

I received my Yamaha A-S500 this past Friday.  I purchased a "B" stock unit off of Ebay, with free shipping.  The price was excellent.  I was able to get it set up this weekend with my Monitor Audio RS-6 Silver speakers and my Acoustic Elegance subwoofer.  I'm feeding it music from my Squeezebox right now.  The Monitor Audio speakers are not bright sounding at all with this amplifier.  I really love the sound and being able to integrate the subwoofer was a big plus.  For once, I feel very happy because in the past 7 or 8 years, I've always tried to use a home theater receiver to perform double-duty in a 2-channel system.  It really left me frustrated.  Also, having to pay extra for all of the video switching and amplifier channels that you don't need seems like such a waste of funds.  It was to the point where we were rarely watching movies with the audio system on and it's been a number of years since I've had more than just the 2 front speakers, so the integrated was a very logical move.



post #15 of 45

Is anyone able to further comment on the quality of the headphone amp on this thing?

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