Hi everyone. I do not post reviews often, and when I do it is a challenge to come up with things that have not been covered in reviews published elsewhere.

I have published only a few reviews in all the years that I have been a member here on the ‘Gon. My first review was about the Verity Audio Parsifal, then many years later I followed with the Anthem 225 integrated review my review of a Yamaha A S-2000 integrated / CD S-1000 duo, my first-ever owner experience of Yamaha gear. I have owned a truckload of amps in my 30+ years in this hobby, some quite high-end, and some value products.

This is about the Yamaha A S-3000 integrated amplifier.

What first initiated my interest in this Yamaha A S-3000 integrated was actually a ‘’lukewarm’’ What HiFi? review, with words like ‘’unexciting’’ to describe the sound. Otherwise it was politically correct I suppose. It was the very first review I came across about this amp.

At the beginning of that review, I felt that What HiFi? had lost some credibility with me from the start with a somewhat negative introduction of Yamaha as a company. WHF?... "The company, of course, makes a massive range of products - including a selection of motorbikes and the odd grand piano…we’d be surprised if too many people connected Yamaha with high-end hi-fi; it’s not that it doesn’t have pedigree in this area, it’s just that its concentration has always been elsewhere”

Wow. Yamaha makes the ODD GRAND PIANO? They have a reputation for making many of the very best pianos in the world, (as well as virtually most instruments in a symphonic orchestra) played by some of the world’s best artists. They have a HUGE line of pianos that are stellar at each price point. And I personally played on one for years. As far as the audio pedigree is concerned, Yamaha was there before most of today’s ’’boutique’’ brands. And Yamaha’s audio division is LARGER than many of those boutique manufacturers that have come and gone. And of course Yamaha’s financial, R&D and distribution resources and network are pretty significant. For me, back in the ‘70’s, aside from dreaming about (and not being to afford) McIntosh gear as a student, Yamaha was pretty much up there, along with Luxman and Quad in my own definition of “high-end’’. This was true for many of my friends also. I am not associated with Yamaha even remotely, but I found this What HiFi? review introduction pretty negative if not downright cheap. So whatever they came up with as far as the amp’s appreciation following this introduction, I had to take it as UK-centric and biased for the home team.

So, after reading the WHF? review, I came to the following conclusion: THIS amplifier must be doing something RIGHT, and might be somewhat of a potential threat somewhere under the What HiFi? protective umbrella. And not just the Yamaha S3000, as it is much pricier than most small brick integrateds the UK press often rave about, but including the trickled-down less expensive Yamaha integrateds such as the S-2100 model and others. This was only my perception and I could be totally wrong on this, but still, my curiosity was sparked.


This got me started on a small journey to discover what this Yamaha A S-3000 was about, meaning reading most of what is out there as far as reviews, forum comments, and also visiting a dealer for an audition. I also have a business acquaintance that owns this machine, having just replaced his McIntosh MA-7900 with the Yamaha. I spent two evenings at his home as he graciously let me go through the motions of auditioning the 3000 with my own music on several sources, high-rez downloads, cd’s, and LP’s with through the built-in Yamaha phono stage (versus a nice EAR 834 tube-based unit plugged in to one of the Yam inputs). Long story short, I ended up purchasing this gentle giant of an amp.

UPS delivered the box on a Friday morning, but I just unpacked late that same evening around 10 pm.


I guess I had not noticed how much of a ‘’presence’’ and personality this chunk of retro-modernism had when I saw it for the first time. The unit I had seen and heard at my business acquaintance’s place was black. Mine is in that sumptuous silver attire. Once the amp unpacked, I did something I had never done before with any newly acquired component. And it was a reaction on the spur of the moment. Instead of immediately install the amp in my audio rack, I just…went over it with my eyes and hands for the better part of 45 minutes. I was so impressed. I guess for the first time in my 30+ years of this audiophile craziness, I found out what the term ‘’eye candy’’meant, at least for me. The whole thing exudes luxury, and maybe more importantly fanatical attention to detail. The knobs scream ‘’CNC machined to perfection from solid blocks’’. The VU meters are in this Swarovski-like cut window that gently come forward out of the faceplate at an angle. The soft LED illumination is intriguing: In another review, it was mentioned that it ‘’projected’’ light instead of backlighting like a McIntosh. I agree to a point. Standing in front of the amp in almost darkness with just the meters ‘’on’’ (they can be turned off) there was sufficient light so that the controls located directly below could be seen and usable. You could not read the print of course, but you do end up remembering the function of most buttons and dials. That hidden LED light bar is located at the VU meter’s top. From my listening position, 10-15 feet away, the illuminated meters were not unlike the glow of a nice set of 572 tubes (Cary monoblocks I once owned). I remember saying to myself ‘’that’s funny, looks like a modern-day definition of tube glow!’’ Now the 572 tubes do shed some light, and in my memory, more light than an EL34 or KT88 tube, but still, the Yam made for a lovely light show. Not ‘’white LED like’’ but a warmish tint of white, again, like tubes. While on the topic of light, I do turn the meters off sometimes to listen in total darkness. And this is where another part of attention to detail (and I might ad design sensibility) comes into play. There is NO annoying and aggressive retina-piercing bright blue LED light. I cannot count the times that I have had components where I had to hide those blue lights with some electrical tape. Those who have stared directly at those for even a few seconds know what I mean. The Yamaha LED indicator lights are a faint and amber yellow. The off/standby pilot light is actually so faint that you do not know it is on during daylight. Nice touch. And it keeps darkness dark when I want to.

The rest of the design / build quality is quite impressive, and I would say to a much higher level to a previous Yamaha integrated that passed through our home, including the A S-2000, a very well-executed integrated in it’s own right. The A S-3000 is indeed a beautiful machine, and probably way overbuilt too. For example, the control and input selection dials are tapered, with that satin texture on the parameter for a nice tactile experience. The sharpness of the tone control angles, the rocker switches, the whole operation of it is very satisfying. The high-gloss piano finish on the edge is magnificent, (just like the “odd” Yamaha piano ;)

The faceplate and top for the unit are not overly thick, but are just right to suggest something special. And there are no screws to be seen.


I used to be what you might call a "purist" but no more. Those tone controls are great! Maybe it is because I am old enough to remember that familiar place where I started with this audio stuff years ago. I feel like adding: “when audio was nothing but fun’’.

During all those years in this hobby, and starting with my first “audiophile” product, the diminutive Naim Nait original model in 1984, I have owned a truckload of gear, as I said in my introduction. Many pre/amp combos, and many integrated amps. Prior to this Yamaha A S-3000, the only 2 other amps I have owned that had tone controls were a Yamaha A S-2000 and a McIntosh MA-6400. All the others were of the more “audiophile’’ no-tone-controls type (Cary, Electrocompaniet, Audiomat, Musical Fidelity, Naim Supernait, Bel Canto REF 1000, McCormack 225, Simaudio…OK I’ll stop it here for now!)

The Yamaha tone controls deserve mentioning how efficient and subtle they are about tailoring the sound. Very refined and easy on the ears. A lot of my music collection (mostly cd’s and some vinyl) is less than stellar on sonics. Now, with a slight adjustment to the right or left, and the music becomes at least tolerable, and even pleasant to listen to.

I cannot overstate how great those tone controls are. 80% of the time, I keep them out of the signal path, but for the rest of my music, it is just very welcomed. Same goes with Spotify streaming, and especially FM listening. When the sound gets ‘’thinned out’’, Mr. Bass control comes to the rescue. And at low volume, I feel like I have a sophisticated loudness control.


I will try not to get into soundstage description, the“air” around the instruments and whatever. The Yamaha does all of those superbly – but it won’t reveal much in the end. There are too many variables, starting with the room itself. But I could admit to having a room that is far from perfect. Irregular in shape, pretty large at 25 X 17 feet, with furniture, drapes and hardwood NOT strategically place for music!

The low frequency performance of the Yamaha A S-3000 is exceptional. This amp digs in deep, and you do hear everything with great resolution. You would think that such low-end performance would murk-up the sound, but no, everything is there mids and highs.

The midrange on the Yamaha is lovely, and I feel that, contrary to the review in the Feb. 2017 edition of Stereophile (the A S-3000 made the cover page), I do think that the sound, particularly the midrange, is incredibly close to the sound of a fine tube amp. And I have owned many tube units to feel at ease with my comment.

There are a certain up fronting of voices, within images larger than life maybe. Voices are probably a bit warmer yet still very neutral, if this makes sense, with absolutely no hint of dryness. It completely fills the room.

High frequency performance a directly in-line with the music selection. Nothing added, nothing subtracted. It is not a spectacular performance, nor is it attention-getting on a quick listen. But it does grow on you for sure. Sometimes, depending on the recording, the high frequencies seem less projected. But then again, maybe it was my previous amplifier that accentuated the highs and I had accustomed myself to it.

All I can say about the high frequencies is that they sound natural. But if I want a spotlight on them, I call Mr. Treble control to the rescue (rarely though). Just a slight rotation of the dial and you are locked-in to a bit more treble energy WITHOUT affecting voices and mids in the recording. And this is where I hear the most difference with the treble control, use it past 3 o’clock, and it will affect and ‘’thin-out’’ the vocals, but past 12 up to 2’oclock (and reverse to 10’oclock), only the top highest frequencies are affected. I have changed speaker and interconnects quite a few times over the years for such things in the past, wrongly most of the time.

So, I would qualify the overall sonic presentation as: Enveloping, huge and touching-you midrange grandeur, and powerful. And of course neutral, except for some vocals that sound a bit warmer, but then, it is probably the recording. Everything is definitely smooth for sure, always. For some weird reason, versus previous equipment owned, I hear more midrange information, like as if new sounds or instruments were introduced. This happens pretty often actually with the Yamaha.


My speakers are 89db sensitivity. For comparison, I once used an Anthem 225, and remember it being quite powerful with 225 watts on tap. (find my review of this amp). Well, the Yamaha A S-300 is a lot more authoritative in controlling the speakers and filling the room with music effortlessly. The Anthem played as loud if not louder, but you could feel the limit and distortion coming in. Not the Yamaha, it is just not working that hard and it stays crystal-clear across all frequencies. Now, they Anthem is an incredible value-king, but all watts are not creating equal, I found this out long ago. The Yamaha could easily pass for a 200 watt amp, if not more, no problem.

As a side note, I also owned once the Bel Canto REF-1000 mono amplifiers at 500 w per side. Honestly, those 500class ‘’D’’ watts sounded more like 80….


My turntable is a Marantz TT-15iS. I should write a review on this also as it exceptional for the price. This is actually an upgraded Clearaudio Emotion with a Marantz label. Pretty honest table, including a nice cartridge on a nice Satisfy tonearm.

Preamp prior to the Yam 3000 purchase was an EAR 834 tubed preamp. I am not a heavy vinyl user, but I do listen to LP’s once or twice a week. Both the EAR and the built-in phono inside the Yamaha sounded nice. I would say they both sounds different, with the edge given to the EAR – rich and full sounding. I may give a small advantage to the Yam for detail retrieval, but it does have a smaller soundstage width and depth. The Yamaha’s phono is very good – could be all you need, and it is all I need at least for now. But if you are a die-hard vinyl user, probably a few phono preamps will better it, but probably not many under $800-1k and maybe more.


This was a pleasant surprise for me. I had been accustomed to using the dedicated headphone output on my Oppo 105 for 3 years now. The Oppo is quite pure and enjoyable as the Oppo’s headphone is a direct link to the Sabre DAC… But the Yam’s output is just so much more full and powerful, and the trim button provides for micro adjustments in volume. I was limited to digital for headphone listening with the Oppo, now this extends to vinyl listening as well. And I am enjoying it.


Most Yamaha A S-3000 reviews mention the steep price. I am most certain that most McIntosh integrateds, regardless of models past and present, will hold their value better than any Yamaha or Luxman amp. Unless this Yamaha A S-3000 becomes somewhat of a ‘’Classic’’. But who knows, I certainly don’t. So, if the ‘’investment’’ part of the equation is of crucial importance, you know what you need to do. Get a McIntosh! But on strictly musical terms, build quality, feature set, and I would most certainly add pride of ownership for those who appreciate obsessional attention to detail (just check those huge and solid brass speaker inputs at the back), I doubt very much that anyone would be disappointed making this overbuilt wonderful amplifier the heart of their system. And that retro-chic styling (matter of taste always) is icing on the cake.

It is a very special amplifier for sure, and fills the house with glorious music – but do sit in the sweet spot if you are the only ‘’audiophile’’ in the house ;)

Will be glad to provide further info for the asking,

Cheers all !

Well done!  As a Yamaha AS3000 owner for almost a year and a half I couldn't agree more with your comments.  Spot on.  I wrote a post on this about a year ago and mentioned that when folks suggest a solid state amplifier sounds like tubes I would typically roll my eyes, but this Yamaha has more than a passing resemblance to power tubes without the drawbacks.  Forceful, solid sound while delicate at the same time.

Due to a recent move I have been unable to have my speakers connected but have relied on headphones, and I too have been very surprised with the headphone output.  I had a Teac HA501 headphone amp and, while a very nice little head amp in its own right, simply couldn't compete with the Yamaha with the phones I had.  It has powered a number of different planer headphones including HiFiMan HE500, HE560 and HE1000 and powered them well, though I currently have the HE1000 hooked to the speaker taps via HiFiMan adapter.  Spectacular!

Long and the short of it, even if I use headphones exclusively from here on out I'm keeping the Yamaha AS3000.  Pride of ownership being one reason (I have it in silver too).  Sound quality the other.  I just hope I don't, for whatever stupid reason, decide to sell because this is an integrated I would kick myself if I ever abandoned.
Thanks for your comments arch2 and winoguy17
I just realized I forgot to include one section of my review about the remote, so here goes ( I wish the A’Gon administrator could insert it somewhere in the review).


First of all, I wish manufacturers would include two remotes: a dedicated one for the amp, CD, whatever, plus a ‘’system’’ remote as they seem to think we will all be completing our systems with same-manufacturer components. Which of course is unlikely for many.

For the most part, I don’t care for tuner or Blu-ray player controls as there is little chance they will be used. At least, they should not interfere. Take the Yamaha A S-3000 remote. The volume buttons are at the bottom third on the remote, and the mute button at the very bottom. This is pretty awkward if you are listening concert-level and the phone rings, creating a mad dash for the mute! I find that, strictly on the ergonomics front, the remote functions are the only area not quite up to the very thought-out design of the amp itself.

On the plus side, the A S-3000 remote is very stylish with the fairly thick aluminum surface and the wedge tapered shape of the remote body. Because of this shape, the remote seems to ‘’float’’ on top of whatever it is resting on. Very cool!

Another plus (a big one for me) is that it is not a huge chunk of heavy metal. A few manufacturers seemed to try and make ‘’statements’’ with their remotes (that some reviewers used to describe some remotes as ‘’good enough for using as weapons to defend yourself’’ !) I remember a past Simaudio Moon I-5 integrated remote that was so imposing that I was nervous of dropping it for fear of damaging furniture. Now there are small Class D "T-amps" that are no bigger...

The Yamaha A S-3000 is very stylish to say the least and seems extremely well put together with tight tolerances all around. It is a quality piece, even though it is not all metal - and does it really need to be all metal?

Concluding the ‘’remote’’ part of my initial review, I wish to say that I have always felt that remotes should be an extension of the product itself, and the manufacturer. I was always surprised in the past to see expensive McIntosh and Acoustic Research gear being shipped with cheap plastic remotes worthy of a Sanyo cd player.

I know that for many, remotes and they way they look or built are unimportant, as long as they work ok and I respect that.

I think however that past a certain level of monetary investment, included remotes have to look the part too.

For what it is worth, my own ’’Hall of fame" preferred remotes over the years:

First place: Sonic Frontiers "hockey puck" remote - Lovely, fun, and compact.

Second place: Pathos Logos remote: All wood. So few buttons, so classy.

Now my review is complete!

Hi. Question for the as3000 owners, how hot does your amp get? I've just bought. A brand new one on Friday. After 4 hrs of playing music the top plate is so hot I cannot leave my hand on the top plate. Last night I tried just turning the amp on no music and same result - the top is that hot I can't rest my hand on the top plate. 

Regard dave 
@corks67 My first 3000 got very warm to hot and also had the "shut off" issue.  My dealer replaced the unit and now it's barely warm.  

okay thank you for you quick response, seems I have a dud one. 

Back to the dealer


cheers dave 
I had a "hot" Harmon Kardon receiver in the 1980s,second one below their most expensive model back in 1984.Returned it for other one with no heat issues ever afterwards.

I have a respect for most  Yamaha products and I'm sure yours sounds superb!Congrats!
I've never heard the slightest hint of strain or distortion from my Anthem, including when it was driving Maggies.
Agree with the above- Yamaha, when made in Japan, can compete with any other company.  Happy Listening!
Hi Sonicbeauty, thanks for your review. I have just bought an A-S3000, in part because it looked so nice, inpart as I quite rate the Japanese ability to do quality audio (eg Rotel, I had an amazing CD player in the 90’s and a brilliant DAC from them)..

i also gambled that there attention to layout and visuals quality would be replicated in the choice of components and sonic performance, not least from the Flagship product. Of course I have the benefit of sending it back with 14 days if I hated is so won’t loose my £4K...

yes, got is yesterday and I have never heard such fantastic audio coming from my speaker... it is a brilliant piece of equipment.

my listening is limited at the moment, but this is what I hear:-
1) no harshness or forwardness
2 incredible clarity across the upper and mid range
3) super tight and musical lower frequencies 
4) audio where I thought the recording was poor, where I had heard a little distortion in higher frequencies, turns out to not distorted at all.. must have been my previous amp not quite making the grade  (and that was a Chord amp!)
5) this is the best bit, during complex higher volume full orchestral swell (I am thinking e.g.  5 variations on Dives and Lazarus for example) there is no loss of composure, no reach for the volume control.

So just cannot express how good this am sounds.. regarding What HiFi reviews, I have long learned not to trust them.. i think their a re totally swayed by the name and what’s in vogue.. (actually, what I really think might be construed as libellous... sorry diverted on a Sepp Blatter wig-bubble)

Yamaha not only make amazing piano’s but they own  Steinberg for heavens sake https://www.steinberg.net/en/home.html

Post removed 
@winoguy17  I happily own the CD-S2100 and will write a  review today.

@sonicbeauty  Nice  job on the flagship unit. I am  very interested in the  A-S1100 unit to pair  up with the S2100. Prices are  dropping on these units  as well.

I also own a Nikko NA-890 integrated amplifier,  60 watts and the original owner, with VU meters and love it!
I have had the 2100 CD player for 4 years and find it amazing in sound and performance.  
I sold my 2100 amp and replaced it with a Prima Luna integrated. As nice as the PL is the Yamaha had better headroom and detail
Nice review.
I have to say that while I haven't heard the Yammies, I own a Luxman and the quality of the tone controls vs. a lot of previous products is outstanding. I can't hear them at all when in neutral, and they do what they do without any down sides.
In particular I love the Loudness feature, which on mine is rather subtle and not as complex as some Yammies have. It's just on/off, but at night, with low level listening, it can really transform an experience.
Hi Erik, thanks for your comment on my almost 3 year old review!
The Yam is still going strong, flawless performance so far. Still impressed.

Luxman are beautiful amps too. Can’t go wrong with that choice really. You mention the loudness feature on the Lux not being as complex as those on the Yamaha. Just for your information, the AS3000 does not have a loudness control. You can of course create your own with the tone controls...

Great review.  I'm thinking of making the investment in the 3000. Is yours still running well?
Thank you very much for what seems to be one of very few Yamaha reviews that don't start off assuming Yamaha only do mid-fi. I have been thinking of buying the A-S3000 for sometime now but wasn't sure if the costs were justified but after your review and an offer from a fantastic audio shop I took the plunge. Wallet is a little lighter now but my house is full of beautiful music.

For what it's worth to other readers they have matched up rather nicely to my Kef R series speakers and have never sounded as good as they do now. 

Many thanks
regarding the hot running Yamaha, more than one owner has had a "dud".  A shame.  But I recall reading the cause of this was a bias pot that seemed to drift (during shipping??). In any event, the fix is an easy adjustment of that pot.  With the right equipment you could probably do it yourself (and not have some careless technician scratch up that beautiful amp).
I've owned my A-S3000 for a 1.5 years. I love it. The looks of it are more pleasing to me than any other amp I've seen. Perhaps the Dan D'Agostino Momentum amp is up there too but I'm not prepared to spend that kind of money.

Given the price of the unit, I would have liked to see more power from the flagship Yamaha integrated amp and other things. I had the Yamaha A-1000 which was rated at 120 watts @ 8 ohms and went to 320 watts @ 4 ohms. I bought Infinity RS4b speakers in 1985 and I'd turn the volume dial up about 1/4 turn. The A-S3000 requires a 1/2 turn of the dial to reach the same relative volume. Although the sound quality is much better with the A-S3000! Damping factor may play a large role there as the A-1000 was 90 and the A-S3000 is 250.

Along the lines of power, I would have preferred that the Pre Out connections on the back would have had an XLR option. I ordered Magico A3 speakers and everything I've read so far suggests the A3's may sound better with more power which only leaves the option of using the A-S3000 as a preamp and it only has RCA Pre Out connections available. I will have to consider adding a power amp that has RCA connections if I decide I need additional power but I may be losing something by only being able to connect RCA cables to the A-S3000. I think Yamaha over looked logic regarding this point.

One more thing that I wish the A-S3000 had was another set of phono connections. I use two turntables, one for stereo and one for mono. Since I don't use a separate phono preamp yet I have to disconnect one set of cables in order to use the other TT and switch back and forth. My old A-1000, which was the Yamaha flagship integrated at the time had two sets of connections for turntables.

I do love the sound of the A-S3000. It made my 35 year old RS4b's sound better than they ever have, which is part of the reason for looking at new speakers. Given that the new Yamaha sounds that much better than the old Yamaha, how much better would the system sound by adding new speakers? Initially I started looking at the A3's because they have the same number of tweeter, midrange and woofer drivers and are close to the same size and have a closed cabinet design too, like the RS4b's. I just hope the A-S3000 has sufficient power to drive them.

Hi guys
Thought I add my 2 cents. I bought mine about five years ago and paired it with Monitor Audio PL200's. Mostly listen to hi-res Tidal, full range from Classic to Jazz, Rock and Punk. First, I bought a medium-level Rotel integrated amplifier. For some reason, it could not drive the MA's properly, sent it straight back. So got a great deal on an A-S3000 and snapped it up. 
I still remember the first time I switched everything on, think I had a grin on my face for hours afterwards. I never owned anything that sounded as good as this combination. 
The headphone amp is superb for an integrated. I had a pretty solid dedicated Chinese headphone amp that I regarded as very good, but the Yamaha was better. I could listen to it longer without getting listening fatigue.
For the last five years I spent hundreds of hours listening to music, enjoying every minute of it and the unit still looks exactly the same as on the day I unpacked it and it has never let me down. 
All I can say is, thank you Yamaha for a superbly engineered and beautifully designed amplifier.