Review: Yamaha R-S700 Two-Channel Stereo Receiver

This oldie-but-goodie receiver stands the test of time

Stereo Receiver

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Yamaha stereo receivers have enjoyed a good reputation going back to the 1970s. The R-S700 is a throwback to the 1970s-era Yamaha receivers with its clean, uncluttered front panel and finely machined knobs and controls. The notable differences include updated features and a jet-black faceplate.

The Yamaha R-S700 is capable of delivering 100-watts per channel to a pair of 8-ohm speakers. This receiver can be compatible with speakers as low as 4 ohms via an impedance selector switch on the rear panel. The Speaker A, B or A+B switch means two pairs of 8-ohm speakers can be powered simultaneously, which offers some added flexibility. Bi-wired speaker connections are also possible with bi-wire capable speakers.

The six analog ports — CD, tape, phono, three auxiliary inputs, and two auxiliary outputs — are enough for most systems, and the Rec Out feature makes it easy to record one source while listening to another. The Yamaha R-S700 has no digital audio circuitry. It's an analog only component designed to maintain signal purity and clarity. You would need to use the two-channel analog outputs of a disc player to connect to the receiver or upgrade to an outboard digital-to-analog converter (DAC).

Features of the R-S700

A key distinction between the 70s-era Yamaha receivers and the R-S700 is the multizone, multisource feature, which allows someone in a separate area to listen to a completely different source than that of the main room. The R-S700 receiver's nonpowered Zone 2 output requires an amp and two speakers in the second zone. It comes with a separate Zone 2 remote control to operate the receiver from another room. Keep in mind that multizone operation requires running speaker wires and IR (infrared remote) control wires from Zone 1 to Zone 2, which may require professional installation.

The options menu has separate settings for each input source including maximum/minimum and initial volume for each zone, +12-volt Trigger Out, Sirius Satellite Radio, and iPhone/iPod settings for wired and wireless docking. The R-S700 works with the Yamaha YDS-12 wired iPhone/iPod dock, and there are three built-in options for iPod integration to the receiver: wired, wireless, and Bluetooth. When the player is connected, the receiver's remote control can operate many of its functions. The Yamaha R-S700 also features a composite video output to watch iPod videos or streamed content on a television or monitor. Just keep in mind that iPod/iPhone operation screens are not displayed.

The Test Drive

The best stereo receivers have great sound and well-built components and are simple to operate. They tend to include the most important features, but with a minimal front panel. The R-S700 was put through the paces to find out how it stacked up against expectations. The receiver was set up with the Mordaunt-Short Carnival 2 bookshelf speakers and a Morel powered subwoofer with dual 9-inch woofers.

The R-S700 easily exceeds most of the expectations with regards to audio performance. Its overall sound quality is smooth with excellent clarity and detail. Its robust, 100-watt amps are more than enough for the most bookshelf or floor standing speakers. The comparatively high damping factor of 240 lends distinct intelligibility to vocals and musical instruments.

The delightful sound quality delivered by the Yamaha R-S700 stereo receiver is due in part to its circuit design and layout. The receiver's ToP-ART chassis (Total Performance Anti-Resonance Technology) is a valuable yet practically invisible design feature. Simply stated, the power supply and other circuit components are mounted on a composite material that dampens external vibrations, which can result in a degradation of audio performance. Some audiophiles are known to spend hundreds of dollars or more for separate power amplifier stands to provide similar isolation properties. The Yamaha R-S700's ToP-ART chassis is built in, saving much money and effort.

The left and right channel amplifier circuits are symmetrically arranged, which leads to an overall better sound with improved channel separation. High fidelity doesn't happen by accident; it is usually the result of attention to design detail, and those details make all the difference.

Beyond sound quality, the Yamaha R-S700 stereo receiver's complement of features is useful without being a bother or requiring much adjustment. The front panel is nicely laid out, with distinctly clear and easy-to-read white display characters. It's a notable improvement over orange-colored or blue-colored displays.

The Subwoofer Out on the R-S700 is great for stereo music systems and 2.1 channel home theater systems. However, without a way to filter out bass from the left and right channel speakers, its usefulness seems limited. For home theaters, the remote control includes buttons for TV power, channel up/down, and programmable controls for a large selection of DVD/CD players.

The R-S700 stereo receiver's tuner performance is a toss-up. Although it's not as proficient at pulling in distant AM stations as other Yamaha tuners, the FM tuning performance is excellent.

Yamaha's Continuously Variable Loudness Control (CVLC) continues to be valuable today, despite its origin dating back more than 35 years. By lowering the level of the midrange output, rather than the typical boosting of bass and treble levels, the CVLC improves clarity at low volumes without adding any distortion or noise. It's a subtle distinction, but a useful feature at all volumes, especially for low-level listening. The bass, treble, balance, and loudness controls can be bypassed with Yamaha's Pure Direct feature.

The End

The Yamaha R-S700 stereo receiver can still be a top pick, with its up-to-date features and solid audio performance. At a suggested retail price of $549 in 2018, this receiver can be an excellent long-term investment for many.