Customer Reviews: Yamaha R-S201BL 2-Channel Stereo Receiver
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Style Name: Receiver|Size: R-S201|Change
Price:$109.95+ Free shipping with Amazon Prime
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on January 21, 2014
Alright, so now that I've had this for about a month, I feel like I am safe to finally do a proper review.

My set up: PC into this receiver, then to JBL ES20 speakers, and a Polk PSW10 subwoofer.


The sound is exactly what I wanted, clean and crisp with no distortion.

The appearance of this receiver is fantastic, couldn't ask for more

The display turns off when "pure direct" is on (99% of the time for me) looks great this way

The volume allows for very precise tuning, which I really enjoy.

The most common adjustments are right on the front of the unit, easy to get to and simple to adjust.

The connections on the back are the most solid I've seen in some time, easily takes 14awg speaker wire.

The sound, again, seriously. It's really that good.

The con's:

Some items are only adjustable with the remote, or just on the receiver. Should be able to do everything with or without the remote.

Includes sirius capabilities, which is antiquated at this point in time. I don't feel like I paid extra for it, but streaming audio is that much better.

The Ipod port is specific and will not be of use to me, but then again you don't see it unless you look on the back. Just seems like a way to sell you more stuff.


I got this receiver as a first step into high-fidelity listening and it is perfect for this. The sound is clean across the spectrum, and will not negatively affect the quality of your input. Paired with lower end bookshelf speakers, I know I can get much more out of it later on when I decide to upgrade.

I looked for a month or so before deciding on this, and having compared it to the same speakers with a different receiver, I can tell you that this receiver creates the cleanest sound in the price range.

I would buy another if I had to, but I would strongly consider the A-S500 on the next go around for my uses. I don't need the display and rarely use it, but this R-S500 was an overall better deal.

One thing to consider here, if you are looking for a simple 2 channel receiver, the R-S500 offers a great deal of clean power, but if you want lots of little things to adjust and program look elsewhere.

**Updated review**

I've now had this receiver for around 2 years or so and I wanted to give an update on my experiences with it. I've since upgraded to much larger and much harder to drive speakers than what I started with and I'm just as happy with it today as when I first wrote the review. Now, to get into the nitty-gritty of the thing.

I've yet to experience any issues with this receiver, and it is in use around 8-10 hours a day on average at moderate levels. My new speakers only run around 5 ohms and are much harder to drive than the 8 ohm bookshelf speakers I was running before, and this receiver is still dishing out clean enough power for moderate listening. It does eventually start breaking up a bit at higher levels of volume, but honestly I wouldn't expect anything more for the money.

The only way I can see upgrading this receiver at this point in time would be to go to a pair of monoblocks, and I congratulate Yamaha on making that happen for this price.
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on October 4, 2015
This review is for the R-S201, in order to avoid any confusion owing to the fact that all amps from this line are reviewed in the same place. PLEASE NOTE that specs on this particular model are fairly deceiving, which I hope will spare some prospective customers some trouble.

I bought this amp a while back because I was trying to create "the perfect budget HiFi" for under $250 using the famous Pioneer SB-BS22-LR speakers. These are pretty power-hungry, which is why I ran into problems with this amp. The specs according to Yamaha are "Maximum Power(8 ohms, 1 kHz, 10% THD): 100W + 100W". This might sound like adequate power, but the "100W" rating is only possible (again, according to Yamaha's own site) under the condition of allowing for 10% Total Harmonic Distortion. Typical receivers usually like to give ratings at 0.10% THD or less, which is a more accurate picture of power. But basically, the higher the THD quoted, the less "usable" power an amp has. I can tell you the R-S201 does not have 100W of power. I would say it likely has less than half of that, because it couldn't drive the Pioneer's to any reasonable volume without distorting. And by reasonable, I mean loud enough to hear when classical music is playing.

Summing up, if your budget demands you spend no more than what this amp costs, make sure you find speakers that:
1. Have high sensitivity (preferably over 88dB). This is essentially a measure of how loud a speaker will play at a given level of power, higher being louder. Klipsch and Polk Audio come to mind. Micca's (no matter how well reviewed) are not sensitive, so I doubt they'd be any better of a match than the Pioneers.
2. Have an 8ohm nominal impedance rating. This is basically a measure of how easy a speaker is for the amp to drive, lower ratings being more difficult. Again, Klipsch and Polk Audio would probably be better fits.

I don't want this review to look like a hater wrote it. I'm sure it's a perfectly good amp under the right conditions. If you have, or can find, speakers that fit these recommendations, you might have better luck with this amp than I did. But if you're set on, or already have, low sensitivity and/or low impedance speakers, you should consider a more robust amp/receiver - one that hasn't so badly inflated its specs.
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on November 8, 2010
If you love classical music CD's this is for you. Power, clarity, timbre and atmosphere; puts my old Marantz to shame. Makes my 30 year old Technics speakers sound like a state of the art system. There's also receptacles for a second set of speakers in another room. Unless you have a really huge house I don't see why you'd need an s-r700.
W/respect to FM reception; if the signal is a bit weak, it'll go on mute rather than play static interference. I may have to hook up an outdoor FM antenna.
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on February 28, 2011
This model is for all who are looking for a simple receiver resembling vintage audio equipment while built around modern technology, providing essential functionality with only a few welcome extras. It is not for those who like to play with feature-loaded gadgets offering seemingly infinite range of settings and features. Yamaha R-S300 has been designed to deliver music: set it up and forget about it.

This receiver delivers clean sound, which is not processed or enhanced in any way and may sound a bit empty at first, but don't worry you'll quickly get used to it and learn to appreciate the details and definition. At the same time it also means Yamaha R-S300 is very demanding in terms of input signal quality. Make sure you pair it with other high quality components. The FM radio tuner is sensitive and delivers good sound, although it may be a bit too restrictive, cutting off all radio stations with less then excellent signal strength. Tuner does have RDS capability, which is not indicated on packaging or unit front panel markings. Mechanical construction and finish are very good, black version looks very classy and is completely unobtrusive. Controls are simple and easy to operate, but make sure to read the manual for a few convenient extra features accessible only through the menus.

On Pure Direct feature: It bypasses the tone controls extending frequency range to 10Hz-100KHz, but it also blanks the display (which briefly comes back to life if operating digital controls or using the remote). Some reviewers could not see any reason why Pure Direct should have anything to do with the display, however, Pure Direct aims to minimize or eliminate all possible sources of distortion or interference and since most displays are refreshed at a high frequency which at least in theory could result in signal interference, it makes perfect sense to turn the display off. (I doubt anyone would be able to hear any difference, but it is good to know Yamaha engineers are thinking about details.)

Matching speaker impedance: Yamaha R-S300 has two speaker impedance settings. HIGH to use with speakers rated 8-ohms or higher (16-ohms or up in A+B configuration) and LOW for speakers rated 4-ohms or higher (8-ohms or up in A+B configuration). Following the instructions, I selected LOW for my Wharfedale Diamonds 10.1 which are rated at 6-ohms. Not good! Sound was in a way flat and not too exciting. However, I have always used 6-ohm speakers with 8-ohm amplifiers or receivers with great results and no problems, so I decided to ignore the instructions and set the switch back to HIGH setting. Problem solved! Full, well defined and dynamic sound, while receiver produces barely noticeable heat at medium volume levels. To quote the specifications sheet: "High Dynamic Power/Channel (8/6/4/2 ohms): 70/77/89/100W". I presume this is all at 8-ohm (HIGH) setting, and I was unable to find any warning anywhere related to using 2, 4, or 6-ohms speakers with 8-ohms (HIGH) setting, so I'd say it is perfectly safe. (Plus, there is a thermal and short circuit protection built-in anyway.)

A few minuses, mostly minor annoyances though: Deleting FM preset returns tuner to the first preset. Can be annoying if cleaning up 30 or so presets; Continuous Loudness dial: I'd prefer a simple button; Display dimmer: there is high, medium, low setting. No display off, only with Pure Direct; Display layout: PRESET, STEREO and TP are packed close together so it is hard to see if TP is there or not. A red STEREO or TP indicator would have been better (SLEEP is red colored BTW); Also, selected input display indicator is barely brighter than non selected inputs, should be better contrast to see selected input more easily. (Online pictures show more contrast than there really is!); Volume step of 0.5db is not really necessary making adjusting volume from the remote somewhat slow (I would welcome either no 0.5db steps or faster change); Remote control design is visually symmetrical, I often grab it and point it the wrong way (it is good otherwise); Black finish is a magnet for fingerprints. Fortunately, you'll be rarely touching it since once you set it up almost everything could be accessed from the remote control.
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on July 12, 2011
Writing this review after using this product for about three months. In this era of HT receivers, stereo amps/receivers have become rare species. Point blank HT receivers are not for music. The Yamaha R-S700 is truly an outstanding stereo receiver. Yamaha's power ratings have always been extremely modest. The R-S700 does not sound like a 100W/channel receiver. Like the retro knobs!!....although they are made of plastic and not metal like in the amps from the 80s. Overall it looks tough and crude and thats exactly why I like the looks so much..........reminds me of the amps from the 80s. The unit is quite heavy. You get two remotes. One big remote for the main zone and another smaller one for zone 2. Both remotes look really cool. The receiver has a pre-amp out which may be used to connect an external amplifier. So your system may be upgraded anytime you want more power! The receiver in that case will work as a pre-amp. Also, the heat sinks in this unit are amaaaazing!!!! Even if you use it for a couple of hours the unit remains unbelievably cool.

I also looked at integrated amps/stereo receivers from Harman Kardon, Denon, Marantz, NAD. Also, I was looking for something with at least 100Ws/channel. Harman's HK3490 and Denon's DRA-697CI scored way low on THD.....too high for my liking. NADC375BEE, NADM2, NADM3(unbelieveably low THDs!!!!)are beyond my means at this time. Marantz-PM11S2 has a THD of 0.01% as opposed to Yamaha R-S700's 0.02% ....i.e., pretty much the same. The Marantz however costs $4000!!!!!. So this Yamaha was the only choice.

Using Yamaha's CDC600 CD player with Burr Brown 192kHz/24-bit DAC. Because of this DAC, this CD player pumps crystal clear sound to the receiver. So this CD player and the receiver make quite a pair:D! I am using Yamaha NS777 as my towers and JBL ES250P is my sub. Overall, this makes a pretty good system if not outstanding. The price at which this receiver (with such low THD) is currently selling for on Amazon is IMHO very very reasonable. If you have the means go for NAD otherwise get this baby. I am happy with it. Thanks for reading.
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on November 2, 2015
Great receiver . Very clear sound deep strong base . Lots of power . It drives my two vintage Vmps super tower twos with no problem . Don't buy the lesser model more power is always better
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on October 31, 2011
I've had this receiver for a few years now, so I'm totally familiar with it. First off, I have a kilo buck high end rig that most audio folks would likely agree is a killer rig. I've been into audio for 36 years so I'm no wet behind the ears rookie either. This was bought to replace an old brut Sansui receiver that finally died in a very modest man cave system. This had everything I was looking for, low cost, decent build, decent power, all the inputs like phono and tape(yes I still spin some vinyl and home made cassettes of my old band) and just STEREO, no multi channel BS to clutter things up!
It's mated to the companion Yamaha CDC600 CD player & 2 sets of speakers, Pioneer DSS5 & Pioneer SX540D, (lovely little guys in their own right)as well as a killer Pioneer CT93 cassette deck, and for vinyl I'll steal my classic heavily modded Empire 698 out of my main rig when duty calls.

Frankly, build quality is astounding for this price point, a look outside as well as inside would impress even the most avid audio enthusiast for such little coin.Solid aluminum front panel, Buss bars everywhere in place of most circuit board traces for power, wonderful heat sinks, premium components abound. Functions and controls are all smooth. Honestly my only complaint is the useless variable loudness control, they could've skipped that.

The tuner sounds very good, but it's sensitivity is poor at best, my old Sansui it replaced picked up more stations stronger with only a wire. After muct testing I settled on a powered antenna and still station "pull in" is fair at best.

Sound, here's where this thing really shines. It IS lush, has lots of air and depth and enough power to pull off strong low end heft. I can listen to it for hours on end with no fatigue. Odd in this day that this would come to market in the world of multi channel stuff, the designers really pulled it off. For modern multi input use it has it all. It's very hard to find any compromises at this price point, as a matter of fact it's astounding they pulled this off at this price. My hats off to Yamaha, you score a 10 on this one! And coming from me, Mr. Critical that says a lot.
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on September 15, 2011
My 32 year old Technics receiver silently passed away, so I needed a quick replacement. I had bought an inexpensive Sony 100 watt receiver as well as a Pioneer 100 watt receiver in the recent past, and I was not very pleased with either. They both struggled with complex music and both eventually gave out after about a year. What can one expect for $100? I have owned many many stereo systems in my 54 years on this planet. In addition to the Technics, Pioneer and Sonys; I have owned Marantz,Yamaha, Nikko, Onkyo and Nakamichi. The sound from this receiver is the best I ever owned as it is so so clean and effortless. Only the Nakamich is in the same league.

The Yamaha goes from the quietest passages to extremely powerful music with total ease. It is a total pleasure to listen to. The instruments sound so clean. My old Bose 301, and new BIC F12 subwoofers speakers sound new and awesome once I hooked this up to them. As for the radio, I am not a big FM user as I listen to radio via the internet. The FM however does seems excellent, but I did not play with it much. Just using the basic fm wire that came with the receiver worked quite well. I was so nicely surprised. With an antenna this should work exceptionally fine. I did not try the AM or Sirius feature. The knobs seem to require just the right amount of pressure to be turned. I find the box and layout refined and ---- attractive. The loudness knob works great, as it allows you to adjust the loudness to your taste and volume.

To sum up, all is very good... with the super clean effortless strong sound.

I did not give this unit 5 Stars because the first one I received from Amazon was Dead On Arrival. Quite upsetting for such an expensive unit. Amazon had another one at my house the next day while I shipped the first one back. Amazon service so far has always worked great for me. I paid $320 on Sept 10th, and I see that the price has already gone up $20. For the money this exceptional sounding receiver should last a long time (like my old Technics did), and I truly hope it will, as it really performs.
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on November 11, 2014
These units sound good but I received two in a row that would fail to turn on if they had not been used in several days. They had to be unplugged from the wall and plugged back in before they would turn on. The voltage in the house is correct. I got tired of moving a very heavy desk to get to the outlet. I decided to repair the old Harman Kardon amp that has been quite reliable.
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on December 18, 2014
For starters, I've only had this hooked up for a day and I'm not even running decent speakers yet, BUT, so far I'm very impressed. I already have an expensive 5.1 set up in my living room and I was in the market for a fairly small 2.1 system for a small home office. This fit the bill exactly, and for a price that I really couldn't pass up. Most used receivers in my area, of just about any style, are hard to be had for less than about what I got this receiver for new.

I was drawn to Yamaha primarily because I've run a 5.1 Yamaha receiver for 10 years and it's been bullet proof. Hours of use every single day and still looks and works new; not one single problem I've ever had with it. I've loved its reliability and most of all the performance. Stumbling across this little stereo box was the best accident I've made in a long time.

Like mentioned, I don't have my good speakers for this setup yet, so I took the speakers for a low end compact component stereo (15+ years old) and tried pushing them through this receiver instead of the 200W one they came with. I was never dissatisfied with the original CCS these speakers were a part of, but I will say that this receiver really brightened them up. The sound is notably more crisp, to the point that my wife came in and commented on it, not knowing I was pushing the speakers with the Yamaha.

Overall, I'm very happy with the performance I'm getting from this so far, and can bet this will be passed down to my kid when they leave for college in many, many years. I'm excited to hear this system when it's complete, and I"ll definitely be updating this review if I need to, good or bad.

Definitely worth the money if you just need a solid little stereo receiver with not a lot of bells and whistles, which is exactly what I was in the market for when I bought this.
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