What Hi Fi Sound and Vision Tue, 22 Mar 2011, 11:59am

Yamaha A-S300

Tested at £230

Fine if money’s tight, but we’d save for its bigger, more robust-sounding brother

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  • Decent build quality
  • even tonal balance
  • good timing


  • Sounds too polite
  • lacks the drive of the top amps

We’ve got high hopes for the A-S300. After all, it’s closely related to Yamaha’s A-S500, an Award-winning stereo amp and current best in class under £500.

On the front you’ll find input and volume dials, together with treble, bass, balance and loudness for the sonic tweakers among you. Alternatively, hit the Pure Direct button to bypass all the tone controls.

The remote isn’t too shabby for a budget offering. Button presses are acknowledged instantaneously and it’ll also control a Yamaha CD player if you’re going to venture down the one-make route.

Unlike its bigger brother, you don’t get the gold-plated input sockets and speaker terminals. There’s no sign of a Recording out control either, but these absentees won’t necessarily be missed at this money.

Too mild-mannered for us
The biggest difference is that power is down from 85W per channel on the A-S500 to 60W on the A-S300. And you can tell. The S300 doesn’t have the grunt or of its bigger brother, so music sounds a little weak and too mild-mannered for our tastes.

Rihanna’s What’s My Name times well, but never really grabs your attention. Bass notes don’t kick with as much intent as they should and high notes don’t have the same snap and venom as they do when heard through the A-S500.

Otherwise, timing is good and the Yamaha exhibits a clean tone that works with a variety of genres. There’s no harsh treble or overblown bass, either.

The A-S300 is a solid enough performer, but £70 extra will get you the better-sounding S500. We’d forgo a night on the tiles and put the cash towards that instead.

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