Reviews of Attainable Hi-Fi & Home-Theater Equipment

Reviews of Attainable Hi-Fi & Home-Theater Equipment

Yamaha’s R-N1000A Network Receiver ($1799.95, all prices USD), as I said in my unboxing blog post, represents a trend in audio that I absolutely adore. It is, in a sense, a two-channel A/V receiver, what with its HDMI ARC connection, YPAO room correction, and subwoofer output with legitimate bass management, but it doesn’t compromise on pure two-channel performance to make such accommodations (well, for the most part—more on that in a bit).


As far as Yamaha stereo receivers go, the R-N1000A is the second from the top-of-the-line, beneath only the R-N2000A ($3999.95). It boasts a substantial 100Wpc of output into 8-ohm loads or 120Wpc into 6 ohms (20–20,000Hz, 0.07% THD), which one assumes is RMS given that Yamaha also reports dynamic output of 140Wpc into 8 ohms, 170Wpc into 6 ohms, and 220Wpc into 4 ohms. Apparently, this puppy won’t self-destruct into 2 ohms, either, as the company reports 290Wpc dynamic output into such brutal loads.

You almost certainly don’t need that much power, especially if you’re shopping for a sub-$2000 stereo receiver, but it’s nice to know that it’s there. The R-N1000A also has a nice mix of modern and legacy connectivity that should fit just about anybody’s hi-fi needs, with three line-level inputs and a phono stage (MM), along with preamp out (all stereo RCA), two optical and one coaxial digital in, a USB Type-B DAC input, AM/FM antenna connections, and a 12V trigger out.


There’s also the network connection (Wi-Fi and ethernet), Bluetooth (with support for SBC and AAC codecs), AirPlay 2 and Roon support, and the MusicCast multiroom streaming ecosystem you’d expect from a Yamaha product at this price with this sort of connectivity. MusicCast, if you’re not familiar, is Yamaha’s answer to Sonos and HEOS and BluOS and the like. Services supported natively include Qobuz, Tidal, Spotify, Pandora, Napster, SiriusXM, and Amazon Music.

The receiver is available in your choice of black or silver, though I cannot for the life of me figure out why anyone would opt for the former having seen the latter. In short, this thing is sexy as heck, and if it had the VU meters included on the step-up R-N2000A, it would be stiff competition for the NAD C 3050 and Technics SU-G700M2 in the looks department. Then again, neither of those units has Yamaha’s distinctive flat knobs, which are as ergonomic as they are gorgeous, and which give this away as a Yamaha piece of kit at a glance from all the way across the room.

Installing and configuring the Yamaha R-N1000A

As I often say with products like this, which center on network audio but support both digital and analog legacy sources, the setup process is as in-depth as you want it or need it to be. Just wanna connect a turntable and CD player, attach a pair of speakers, and sit back and enjoy musical bliss? It’s practically plug-and-play. Wanna add a sub, dial in the crossover, integrate your streaming services? That can get slightly more complicated, but only slightly.

I wanted to fully test everything the R-N1000A has to offer (except for its Amazon Alexa integration, as I’m in the process of completely de-Amazoning my life, and also except for its MM phono stage—but I’m working on rectifying that!), so I did the bulk of my setup through the MusicCast app for iOS.

Initial setup

The app does a wonderful job of walking you through selecting the right product, connecting it to your network, assigning it to a room, and setting up your music services. And once done, it even prompts you to download and automatically install any available firmware updates. The process represented the sort of effortlessness and intuitiveness that other tech companies should be ashamed of not offering. Seriously, if Yamaha can dial in an app, hardware, and multiroom streaming service setup process that’s this painless, companies like DTS have no excuse for hair-pulling, fit-pitching nightmares such as Play-Fi.

Where I think that Yamaha could stand to make some serious improvements is with YPAO, aka Yamaha Parametric room Acoustic Optimizer—at least in the way it’s implemented in the R-N1000A. And that distinction is important, because I’ve been able to get YPAO to work quite well in some of Yamaha’s mid- to higher-end A/V receivers in the past few years. But in those cases, we’re talking about YPAO-R.S.C. (Reflective Sound Control) with 3D, multipoint measurement, precision EQ, and low-frequency mode. In my unboxing blog post, I expressed some doubts about which implementation of YPAO is employed in the R-N1000A. Turns out, it’s just plain old YPAO with none of the enhanced processing. We’ll dig into some of the consequences of that in the course of my listening impressions below, but there are some considerations for setup that we should discuss here.


Firstly, as the lack of multipoint measurement capabilities indicates, when running the YPAO test tones, you don’t move the included mike to multiple spots close to your main listening position. Measurements are taken from one spot, and that’s it. It’s over and done in a flash.

Now I’ve seen some people online incorrectly opine that this is a good thing—that measuring at the main listening position only means that the room-correction filters aren’t attempting to fix more problems than they can handle, and that multiple measurements diminish the accuracy of the results. The reason this is the exact opposite of correct is that with multiple measurements, a room-correction algorithm can, in some instances, see that one particular measurement location has some anomalous problem that should be ignored or heavily de-weighted in the filter calculations.

With more advanced systems like Dirac, you can even look at the impulse-response and frequency-response graphs of each measurement position and decide for yourself, “Hey, self, that one spot looks a little janky—let’s remove it from the equation, rerun that measurement, or better yet, make some seating adjustments so no listener will sit there.”

With but one measurement position, basic, barebones YPAO doesn’t make those sorts of decisions, nor does it let you do so. Furthermore, there’s something funky going on here, and I don’t know if it’s the microphone, my speakers, my room, or what. (I’ve never run YPAO in my two-channel room, so I have to consider that last one as a possibility, however unlikely.)


I plugged the microphone into the port on the front of the unit, placed it on a camera tripod in my main seating position, ran through the brief chips and chirps, and was met with this message: “W-1:Out of Phase.”

Strange, that. I’d just connected my reference Paradigm Studio 100 towers that day, using Elac Sensible Speaker Cables. I’m always anal about matching red to red and black to black. But we all have our oopsies, so I humbly walked around to the back of my speakers—and found them wired correctly. Same with the connections to the R-N1000A’s (really nice) binding posts.

So I ran through YPAO setup again. And again, “W-1:Out of Phase.” A quick check of the manual revealed this in the troubleshooting section corresponding to this error message:

Check the cable connections (+ & -) of the corresponding speakers.

If connected incorrectly: Reconnect the speaker cables.

If connected correctly: This message may appear even when everything is connected correctly, depending on the kind of speakers and installation environment. Save the settings and use the system as-is.

(This message prompts you to check the system, and it does not affect playing this product if used as-is.)

So that’s a thing. At any rate, this first run-through of YPAO setup was just a trial, to see how it handled a purely stereo setup. I wanted to test out the R-N1000A’s bass-management capabilities, though, so I then connected my SVS PB-1000 Pro sub and ran through the measurement process again. And again, I was met with the “W-1:Out of Phase” error. So I did as instructed and used the system “as-is.”

Speaker setup

Once that was done, I checked the bass-management settings from within the MusicCast app and found that, curiously, it’d set a crossover point of 40Hz. I bumped that up to 80, but was thrilled to see that Yamaha offers crossover points of 40, 60, 80, 90, 100, 110, 120, 160, and 200Hz. Puzzlingly, the bass-management settings are only accessible when you have YPAO turned on. Which means that if you want to run a 2.1 setup without room correction (you probably should), you have to turn YPAO on but toggle the EQ setting under YPAO off.

I also did as much setup as I could with the included remote control, assuming there will be some users who don’t have any interest in the app, and found the options very limiting. The remote feels nice, though. It is a little cluttered for my tastes, and the buttons are too small. The biggest problem, though, is that it’s missing source buttons for things like AirPlay 2, and if there’s any auto-input-switching functionality that needs to be turned on, I couldn’t find it. So you really need to use the app to get the most out of the R-N1000A.

How does the Yamaha R-N1000A perform?

So, what do I mean when I say you probably should run the R-N1000A with YPAO on for the bass management functionality but with the EQ turned off? Well, the first bit is simply a reflection of the fact that I think 2.1 is better than stereo, given that the right position for your speakers is not always the right position from which to generate bass in your room. But why turn the EQ of YPAO off, given that I’m a huge advocate of room correction?

It’s simply because the basic, barebones version of YPAO—sans R.S.C., sans multipoint measurement functionality, sans precision EQ, and, most importantly, sans low-frequency mode—does more harm than good in my experience. And this evaluation merely added to that experience.


“New Speedway Boogie” from Grateful Dead’s Workingman’s Dead: 50th Anniversary Deluxe Edition (24-bit/192kHz FLAC, Grateful Dead – Rhino / Qobuz) makes for a great demonstration of the things this feature-light version of YPAO does to music. For the bulk of the song, turning the EQ on makes Jerry’s vocals simultaneously smaller and more diffuse. Image specificity is diminished overall, but the soundstage feels more congested and constricted. What’s more, the height elements of the soundstage are all but eliminated, leaving you with a pretty tight, flat, claustrophobic listening experience.

Overall, I just don’t like what Vanilla YPAO, as I call it, does to the tonal balance of my music. Starting at around the three-minute mark, engineer Bob Matthews made the decision—probably unnoticed by most casual listeners and reviled by most audiophiles—to hard-pan Jerry’s lead guitar and ping-pong it from left to right and back again to accompany each mournful refrain of “one way or another . . .”

I’ve always loved this element of the mix, but I don’t love what YPAO does to it with the EQ turned on, because the filters do more harm to the harmonics and upper frequencies of the vocals and acoustic instrumentation than they do to the more twangy, mid-heavy lead guitar. And as a result, said twangy, mid-heavy lead guitar feels disconnected from the rest of the mix. It stands out more. It becomes obtrusive.


And on top of that, basic YPAO does nothing to tame standing waves, which is the bulk of the benefit I get from room correction in this room. Plus, you cannot set a maximum filter frequency, which is a major bummer for me. So for the rest of my time with the R-N1000A, I listened with the EQ and dynamic volume turned off except to make brief A/B comparisons.

And wowzers, did it sound good. Not merely by comparison, mind you. With the filters removed, the soundstage sprung back to life, not only in terms of height and width, but also with regard to the specificity of the image. It was, in short, everything “New Speedway Boogie” should be in my room through my speakers.

Much the same was true with “Dancing with Ghosts” from Hania Rani’s Ghosts (24/48 FLAC, Gondwana Records / Qobuz), an ethereal piece dominated by Rani’s inimitable piano playing—if you’re not familiar, she makes use of the entire instrument, and here the clack of the pedals and the muffled phwump of the dampers serve as a sort of percussion—and a vocal duet with Patrick Watson. What was lost here with the YPAO EQ filters engaged was the sense of space, the proper decay time of the space in which the song was recorded, the subtleties of the clicks and clacks of the instrument itself, and the natural noise floor of the studio.


Turning EQ off made the song come to life and breathe with a natural, transcendent effortlessness, even if the bass was a weensy bit unruly (my room’s fault, not the Yamaha’s). Moreso than the Dead record, this was the track that I used to evaluate the R-N1000A’s DAC, and I didn’t hear anything stupid going on here, which is very much appreciated. I don’t know what sort of reconstruction filter Yamaha is employing, but I don’t really care. It works. It does its job unimpeachably. And when compared directly with my reference iFi Audio Zen One Signature DAC, I could hear minor differences between them, but couldn’t consistently identify which was which without using my eyes. That’s also high praise.

“Dancing with Ghosts” was also a great track for evaluating the R-N1000A’s volume control. I mentioned in my unboxing that I didn’t love the physical feel of the volume knob itself. But in terms of functionality, it’s a nice, consistent volume control that operates in half-decibel steps—plenty sufficient for precise attenuation without getting into silly, hyper-overkill territory.

At this point, it was abundantly clear to me that, with the exception of room correction, the R-N1000A was doing everything very well. But I hadn’t really stressed the amps and power supply, given that I had a sub in the system. So I turned off YPAO entirely—not merely the EQ filters—which shut down the sub and turned off bass management, and also removed delay and channel balance from the equation. I then loaded up “Them Changes” from Thundercat’s 2015 EP, The Beyond / Where the Giants Roam (24/44.1 FLAC, Brainfeeder / Qobuz).


There’s a lot that can go wrong with this one if your amps can’t provide sufficient current or if the damping factor is too low. You’ll lose some impact from the in-your-face kick drum, and depending on the frequencies of the impedance dips of your speakers, the lowest notes of Thundercat’s bass line can get a little swallowed, a little lost in the mix. Or worse—I’ve actually obliterated drivers in speakers with this song, using amps that were underpowered.

The R-N1000A, by contrast, drove my three-way tower speakers like it had road rage. The slam of the percussion and tummy-rumbling lope of the bass came through with startling clarity and authority. What’s more, all of the bap that goes along with that boom was delivered flawlessly. High frequencies were precisely the right amount of crisp, vocals were delivered with the sort of clarity we all long for, and the overall mix had a wonderful sense of enormous space.

With “Them Changes” grooving, I also turned the volume low and plugged my thirsty Audeze LCD-2 cans into the R-N1000A’s headphone jack. Much to my surprise, the Yamaha’s headphone output drove these fussy open-back planar-magnetics without issue, even at louder-than-safe listening levels. It’s also nice to see that plugging in cans automatically mutes the speaker-level outputs. The only nit to pick with regard to the HPA is that the R-N1000A doesn’t have volume memory, so if you have easier-to-drive headphones, you’ll need to remember to turn the volume down before plugging them in if you have music already playing, lest your ears get blasted off your cranium.


I also briefly tested the FM radio reception and found it to be typical of or perhaps slightly better than what you’d expect for a product in this price range with built-in terrestrial reception—which is to say pretty darned good. I had to do the dance of the relocated antennas to pick up one of my preferred public radio stations, but it did indeed pick it up, which isn’t always a given. Reception overall was pretty strong, noise wasn’t egregious, and channel separation was acceptable.

What other integrated amps in this price class should you consider?

The NAD C 3050 BluOS-D ($1899) is serious competition. It doesn’t have as many line-level inputs, nor AM/FM reception, and it’s short one optical digital input compared to the Yamaha. But I prefer its BluOS multiroom music streaming ecosystem to MusicCast, and when it comes to room correction, there’s no contest. Dirac Live is a massive step up from the basic version of YPAO. The results simply speak for themselves.

You might also consider the Marantz PM7000N at $1299. This one is a little long in the tooth, and doesn’t sport the current Marantz aesthetic that so many of us have fallen in love with. It’s missing a few key features of the R-N1000A—namely terrestrial radio reception, HDMI, and bass management. And it doesn’t have room correction of any sort. But it has HEOS built in, and as of the most recent update, I’m starting to dig HEOS as a streaming platform.

I think you’d also be remiss if you didn’t audition the Emotiva BasX TA2 at $999.99. It doesn’t have an integrated streaming platform or room correction, it’s not exactly a head-turner, and it lacks HDMI connectivity. But its bass management is very nice, its FM radio reception is great, and it sounds superb.

TL;DR: Should you buy the Yamaha R-N1000A Network Receiver?

That’s a tough question. I think it really comes down to what you need from a stereo receiver or integrated amplifier. Because I don’t know of any direct competition at the price. Is AM/FM reception important to you? That’s getting rarer these days, unless you want a standalone tuner or Software-Defined Radio USB setup. If you’re already locked into the MusicCast ecosystem, the R-N1000A also integrates seamlessly, easily, and quickly.

This would be a much harder question if good room correction were the norm in the two-channel world, but sadly, it’s still a rarity. So the deficiencies of the basic, barebones version of YPAO can’t really be held against the unit. It’s best just to ignore that bullet point on the spec sheet.


So overall, yeah, I think the R-N1000A is a pretty darned good deal. It has way more clean power than anyone shopping for a $1800 stereo receiver or integrated amp needs. It has really nice bass management. It’s just lovely to look at, even if it’s not quite as bulletproof as Marantz’s gear in this price range. So if it’s on your short list and you’re OK with the limitations detailed above, I can’t think of anything else that would scare you off. The performance of this thing is absolutely stunning, and for most people reading this, I think it’s safe to say that’s what matters most.

. . . Dennis Burger

Associated Equipment

  • Speakers: Paradigm Studio 100 v.5.
  • Headphones: Audeze LCD-2.
  • Speaker-level connections: Elac Sensible speaker cables.
  • Interconnects: Monoprice Monolith #33464 USB Type-A to USB Type-B cable.
  • Sources: Maingear Vybe PC; iPhone 12 Pro Max.
  • Power protection: SurgeX XR115.

Yamaha R-N1000A Streaming Stereo Receiver
Price: $1799.95.
Warranty: Five years, parts and labor.

Yamaha Corporation of America
6600 Orangethorpe Ave.
Buena Park, CA 90620-1373
Phone: 1-800-292-2982