Product Review: Yamaha RN303D Stereo Receiver

Yamaha has been around for over a century in one form or another. From motorcycles to grand pianos, Yamaha has had their fingers in a lot of pies since their creation in 1887.

The one thing I’ve come to know of them over the past decade or so is their hi-fi and home cinema amplifiers. I myself have owned a few of these over this time frame so I always expect big things from anything Yamaha related, both the AV and hi-fi worlds. Today we have a mash up of both of these in just one box. It’s the new Yamaha RN303D. Yamaha’s “entry level stereo network receiver”.

When Yamaha released its AS500 back in 2010 it seemed to reinvigorate their “budget” hi-fi amp range. It was a beautifully designed and sturdy amplifier that produces plenty of power and excitement. They have stayed as consistent as possible with their succeeding amplifiers and all much is the same with the RN303D. The dimensions read 435 x 141 x 340 mm and it’s familiar angular design screams out the quality that you’d crave from such a product.

There’s plenty of dials and switches on the front to keep you entertained so let’s have a look what all of these things do.

As we look towards the rear of the amp there’s plenty of inputs to be able to use this as an audio hub. We have 4 RCA inputs alongside both digital optical and digital coaxial connections. Simply put you can plug in all of your hi-fi components alongside your TV and Blu-ray player. Oh and there’s Bluetooth connectivity included too. Because why not?

Want a bit more than just two speakers? Then the RN303D has got you covered as it offers both A and B speaker outputs. There’s also a wired Ethernet and DAB aerial connections which I’ll go into now.

The “D” in the name stands simply for DAB radio. Meaning you don’t have to use one of your RCA inputs for a separate digital radio tuner as it’s got one built in from the get go. Simple. Oh and you can also add up to 40 DAB radio presets for good measure.

But what about the Ethernet? I mentioned this could be the hub for all your audio sources and with the RN303D you can also hook it up to the internet for even more choice. You don’t have to use a wired Ethernet connection as there’s also built in wi-fi.

So what need is there for this internet connection? Well, there’s Apple AirPlay support, DNLA streaming from a PC or NAS (network attached storage), and also Yamaha’s own MusicCast streaming service which is fantastic.

With a comprehensive streamer, DAB tuner and amp all in one case, the Yamaha RN303D matches sound quality with convenience.

If you haven’t used MusicCast then let me explain what you can do with it. With MusicCast you can stream any source on any product wirelessly to any other MusicCast enabled product. Simply download the MusicCast app and away you go. Say you’ve plugged your TV into the optical input on the RN303D and you head to the kitchen for a brew. If you’ve got a compatible speaker in the kitchen, you can send the audio wirelessly to the speaker to you don’t miss a step. It works with any source, to any product. Not only is it fully flexible but when streaming wirelessly, you can also play hi-res audio files. It supports Apple lossless, FLAC, DSD 5.6 MHz in addition to hi-res streaming services like Quboz and Tidal.

There doesn’t seem to be much that isn’t included and for this price, it’s outstanding.

I guess being able to plug literally whatever you want into it is all well and good but if the sound quality is poor then what’s the point right?

I decide to stream from a NAS drive in FLAC just to see how good this can really be. “Hurt” by Johnny Cash is chosen via the MusicCast app without an issue and away we go. Johnny’s familiar vocals come effortlessly through the amplifier with power and precision. Occasionally I feel it can be a little bright on the higher and less sombre notes though. It occasionally just loses itself on the top end but it’s still a really enjoyable listen.

Switching across to “Money” by Pink Floyd is again simple and straightforward with the app. I want to see how the RN303D copes with the awesome soundstage this track brings to a good hi-fi. The way the cash register switches from speaker to speaker instantly lets me know what I’m looking for here. It picks out most things and creates good stereo imaging. If you fancy listening to it a bit louder then go right ahead. Due to its beastly power of 100 watts per channel, this won’t be an issue. Again there is a little bit of harshness when turning it up but you can’t grumble with what you get for your money here. What it lacks in refinement it more than makes up for it in features and power. To get all of this in one single box is a massive achievement at this price and I’m sure Yamaha will do well out of this.

Come hear it all for yourself at Richer Sounds. Just contact your local store and arrange a demonstration.

Click to find out more about the RN303D.

Author: Bradley, Plymouth store