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Amplifier Yamaha AX-750 review

The Yamaha AX-750 is as voluminous as Technics’ SU-VX800 but with less substantial heatsinking and only one bulky mains transformer it is neither as heavy nor as expensive. On the face of it Yamaha’s amp offers the better value, after all it matches the Technics for power while offering the convenience of full remote control.

In common with other hi-tech amplifiers, including the Dual and Kenwood models reviewed here, this establishes the AX-750 as a nerve centre for matching separates. Both the volume control and rotary input selector are motorised, so both come under the command of the system handset. It’s even possible to mute the output by 20dB -a feature that’s not duplicated on the amp itself.

Drag yourself from the armchair and you’ll discover extra goodies like a variable loudness contour, tone controls, rec-out selection plus subsonic and mono facilities. Then you can opt for ‘Pure Direct’ which bypasses the lot of them! All very macho but, frankly, the Yamaha AX-750’s casework is unnecessarily vast. A concession, I was informed, to the US market where ‘big equals beautiful’.

Sound quality

Not to put too fine a point on it, our listeners were somewhat bemused by this amp. One panellist suggested it be buried in a shallow grave while another was reduced to counting the bricks in the far wall of the listening room. Their minds were really not on the music.

Regardless of input this amp had a decidedly restricted concept of dynamics while its balance was distinctly jangly, lending a dull but metallic tinge to strings and percussion alike. Ambient detail was compressed, suppressing the natural life and vibrancy of different instruments.

A second sample was auditioned, prompting a less dismissive reaction. They thought it a little lean but fast and articulate, good at revealing spatial information and holding individual images well apart. It was crisp and fresh-too, a little sensitive to vocal sibilance but rarely gritty or hard. Bass could have been fuller, the panel suggested, though Christy Moore’s voice was still characteristically dark and melancholy. Good but not great.


For ?400 this amp clearly offers a combination of brute strength and flexibility that’s lost to most specialist designs. Perceived value Is high, certainly, but it’s a promise undermined by an uncertain subjective performance. If the unnecessary circuitry could be stripped out, (and I’m not simply referring to tone controls), the Yamaha AX-750 would have a greater chance of success.

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