When I first heard from Yamaha Canada about its yet-to-be-released integrated amplifier with an integral DAC and streaming capabilities over a year ago, I wasn’t quite sure what to expect. All of the previous models in the company’s four-digit series of high-end integrated amplifiers and preamplifiers have been all-analog affairs requiring an outboard DAC or optical disc player for digital playback. Case in point, the gorgeous A-S3200 integrated amplifier I reviewed a couple of years ago. While I loved the sound of the A-S3200, including its fabulous MM/MC phono stage and its absolutely stunning cosmetics and build quality, I lamented its lack of an internal DAC.
So when the R-N2000A network receiver was officially announced last fall, I was a little surprised to learn that not only would it have an internal DAC, but it would also include the Yamaha Parametric room Acoustic Optimizer (YPAO) room-correction system and the company’s MusicCast streaming platform in addition to adding an FM tuner and maintaining a phono stage, albeit with only MM compatibility. Best of all, it would be part of the brand’s four-digit series of components and thus feature Yamaha’s top-notch build quality and absolutely beautiful looks. I was all in. I made arrangements to have a review unit shipped to me when they became available earlier this year. It is priced at $3999.95 in the United States.
As can be seen on the outer packaging of the solid double box that arrived at my doorstep, the R-N2000A features all sorts of digital connectivity in addition to YPAO and MusicCast, including support for Tidal, Qobuz, Spotify, Amazon Music, Bluetooth, Apple AirPlay, HDMI, and more. In addition to the accessories usually included in the box, there was a microphone for YPAO calibration and an FM antenna, as it has the aforementioned built-in FM tuner. European and Australian models even have a DAB tuner.
The elegant, vintage look of the front panel and high-gloss black side panels makes the R-N2000A quite striking and just as beautiful as the other components in Yamaha’s four-digit series. In addition to the handsome analog VU meters, there are the usual finely machined aluminum controls and, unique to the R-N2000A, a small but informative OLED display in the middle of a glossy black strip at the bottom of the faceplate. The display provides access to the menu system and shows the status of the unit, and the volume is displayed both graphically and numerically, making it very easy to read. The dimensions of the amp and the layout of the front panel are just about perfect, and the beautiful soft glow and movement of the analog meters are mesmerizing.
The back panel is not quite as gorgeous as the front, but it does feature two sets of Yamaha’s extremely high-quality speaker binding posts cut from brass. Inside the top vents, a large toroidal transformer and four very large capacitors are visible, hinting at the renowned build quality of Yamaha’s amplifiers. The R-N2000A also features the company’s Mechanical Ground Concept construction, bolting the chrome-plated brass feet directly to the chassis to reduce vibration and increase rigidity. The power output is rated by Yamaha as 90Wpc from 20Hz to 20kHz with 0.07% THD into 8 ohms or 110Wpc into 6 ohms, with a damping factor of 250 or more. Judging by these provided specifications and its internal construction, the R-N2000A’s analog amplification section appears to be very similar to that of the brand’s A-S1200 integrated amplifier.
What sets the R-N2000A apart from the A-S1200 and the rest of its Yamaha integrated-amplifier brethren is its onboard digital section. It features an ESS Sabre ES9026PRO Ultra DAC chip and DSP in the form of YPAO room correction and streaming via the company’s MusicCast platform. Its iOS or Android app is used to control MusicCast and make adjustments to YPAO, such as setting crossovers and speaker distances. Some of these options are visible in the screenshots. Although I used Roon almost exclusively to stream Tidal to the R-N2000A, when I did try out MusicCast, I found it easy and stable.
Setting up YPAO is as easy as plugging in the provided microphone and following the prompts on the front-panel display. The menu system is also simple to navigate and quite intuitive. The remote is well thought out, with buttons for the most common functions placed at the bottom, and they’re easy to access and distinguish from the rest of the buttons. This layout, along with the informative and easy-to-read display, made it a pleasure to use, and it speaks to the great care and extreme attention to detail that went into its design.
The R-N2000A network receiver appears to meld all the classic design features of Yamaha’s beautifully engineered and built analog integrated amplifiers, and it combines them with a fully modern digital section that includes not only a DAC but also room correction and a music-streaming platform. You’ll have to wait to read my review on SoundStage! Hi-Fi on June 15, but all I can say right now is that I’m stoked to have the R-N2000A in my system.
Senior Contributor, SoundStage!