This amp has more power than a demented dictator! It will drive any speaker with finesse and authority. In the past years 35 I have had a shameful number of amps, well over a hundred; Krell, Jeff Rowland, Proceed, Levinson, Classe', Plinius, Adcom, Carver,Linn,Creek, Parasound, CJ, AMC, Audio Research, B&K, Dynaco Hafler, Marantz, NAD, Quicksilver, Sim Audio, Sunfire, Aragon, Acurus, Naim, Harman Kardon, and PS Audio. The reason for the list is to say this: All these amps have nothing special on the Yamaha M85! There might be different signatures and thousands more in price but nothing special that beats this amp out. You can listen for hours with not a hint of fatigue. The bass is tight powerful, drums sound like drums. The voices are pure and natural. Guitars sound like guitars and cymbals decay and have a crispness that makes them sound natural and believable. The downside is the amp can second as a space heater! It must be ventilated or a couple of fans installed. The speaker terminals are a nightmare, and it appears to be mandatory that sometime during your ownership, they break! You can listen to any genre and it will deliver a full and wide soundstage that goes beyond your speakers. I have a pair of KEF 104/3 and a Dynaco CD2 cd player and the synergy makes for nothing but pure beautiful music. Some people concern themselves with stats on the amps: dynamic distortion, headroom and all the other technical yada yada, but the proof is in the pudding! I purchased this baby at the swap meet for $250 and I have never been happier! I plan to have the speaker connections replaced, install a couple of fans and alter it so it be used for detachable cords. Anyone reading this be sure and do not hesitate to buy one of the opportunity presents itself. You owe it to your ears. This amp is in the hall of "Legendary Amps" for a reason. Get one and let the eargasms begin!
After 26 or so years of dragging my M 85 all over the world I guess I forgot how fantastic my M-85 sounded when new. I have just been reminded and have been listening to music all over again since unpacking my amp a few weeks ago after being restored by LegendaryAmps. Actually sitting and listening, it's that good. While it looks brand new, I think it may actually sound better than new coupled with the new speakers I purchased a few years ago. Last week an old buddy of mine that was thinking about purchasing home audio equipment again after twenty years or so stopped by to listen to my system. A few days later, he purchased a M-85 amp off eBay and is building a system... just like mine, the ultimate compliment. I did not hesitate in recommending LegendaryAmps. I cannot say enough about LegendaryAmps and their crew for the quality work and patience in answering all my questions. This is the first time I have gone through the process of restoration for a piece of equipment and couldn't be any happier. I am looking forward to sending LegendaryAmps my C-85 preamp for some well deserved TLC. BK. Eugene, Oregon, 8/6/2
I recently got the bug again to upgrade my music listening set up. Having had different levels of systems over the past 30 plus years, my current home theater system while quite adequate for movies just was not "getting it" for my music listening. My goal was to get the best value "Hi-Fi" I could afford. Research is easy nowadays with the internet, so off I started. I have always liked the Idea of"new" and quickly realized the new generation of quality components was out of reach.Looking first for a power amp I scoured all the Hi-Fi and home theater blogs and realized that there was another option, "refurbished". After reading all the reviews on Carver, McIntosh and Yamaha blogs I decided to look for a Yamaha. It seemed like there is a loyal following for all of these brands. I currently own a Carver M0.5t and although it has performed flawlessly when I have used it,I kept being drawn back to the Yamaha. I have listened to Mcintosh amps and while they sound impressive the prices were much more. I was fortunate to find a Yamaha M-85 refurbished and decided to take the plunge. You can read a lot of reviews which use a lot of adjectives to try and convey the sound of Hi-Fi gear, all of can be somewhat subjective. It is using one sense to describe another and I do not know if that can be truly representative of how a piece of equipment performs. One word that comes to mind from listening through my M-85 is effortless. I am able to listen at any level without any listening fatigue whatsoever. I do not believe you can find a better sounding amp that will drive any speakers you choose at any price. As I said I was fortunate to find a refurbished Yamaha M-85 from Skip at Legendary Amps. I was a bit apprehensive on laying out for me what is a substantial amount of cash for "used" (refurbished) but was pleasantly surprised that the amp was in fact restored to like new condition. Everyone at Legendary Amps was great. I contacted Skip while doing my initial research and he took the time to answer all of my questions before I made my decision to purchase. In short, if you are looking for the most bang for your buck in a high powered amp look no further and contact Skip
I have owned a Yamaha M-85 power amplifier for over 16 years. In that time I have used it to power a pair of Polk SDA SRS speakers, listening to a lot of varied music in stereo and in application as the L/R front channels in a home theatre system. Without reservation I will say that I have yet to find any other consumer level power amplifier that performed better than the M-85, and that includes several high-end hallmark brands such as McIntosh and Krell. In my experience, to begin to approach the sonic quality and purity that the Yamaha M-85 achieves you will have to spend upwards of $7,500 to $10,000, or more. Please read that carefully -- I said approach, not equal or surpass.
The main tasks of a power amplifier in a home audio system is to deliver straight-line flat frequency response over the entire audible spectrum that exactly and linearly tracks the changes in the input signal, to do so without introducing any noise and ideally without any distortion or coloration of that iput. Since ideal doesn’t exist in our real world, we look to how well a piece of equipment can do by using standard specifications. The quality achievable with the M-85 can be appreciated by comparison of a few key specifications to those of some of today’s highly regarded top names for two-channel stereo power amplifiers.
To keep this contemporary let me suggest the new McIntosh MC-452 which will cost you about $7,500 or the Krell 302e, which can be had for around $10,000, with the caveat that you can spend more. Given that the frequency responses of all three are comparably flat over the audible spectrum compare distortion levels (THD) at various output levels. On THD the Mac does quite well at 0.005% vs. the Krell’s 0.02%, compared to the M-85’s 0.003% at 230 W RMS per channel. If you further compare dynamic headroom, dynamic power, and signal-to-noise ratios (SNR) you will find that neither the high-end Mac nor the Krell can across-the-board do better than the M-85. Next look at damping factor, which few pay attention to but relates to how tight those bass notes will be and how crisp and ring-free you will hear vocals and high notes – a higher number is better. With the M-85 at 230 at 1 kHz/8 ohms, the Krell comes closest being ~ 150 and the Mac pales at ~ 100. In general you will find that neither the Mac nor the Krell can beat the M-85 across the spectrum of low-distortion, high-powered, noise-free output. In short, the “old” M-85 is a marvel that generally beats today’s expensive, high-end big names in two-channel power amplification.
While listening experience is highly subjective, I have yet to experience any power amplifier at the consumer level that could consistently deliver audio signals as clean, uncolored and distortion free over as wide a dynamic range as the M-85 has for me. If your speakers, cable and front end are up to it you can hear sound details that escape most of today’s systems. Bass notes are amazingly tight, the wide dynamic changes that are typical of many classical compositions and symphonic performances as well as DVD source productions are handled with distortion free ease leaving them clear and un-harshened by clipping, and those high notes are crystal clear. This amp has ample power to easily reproduce the high sound pressure levels characteristic of loud rock concerts without being strained and clipping that typically makes such listening a painful experience with systems of lesser capability. It may sound crazy but with this amp you will discover that loud music can actually be enjoyed without sounding painful or loud because of the distortion-free sonic purity of which it is capable. In my listening experience with this amplifier over 16-plus years I find it really shines with audio sources that cover a very wide dynamic range. That includes a variety of classical and symphonic passages and the demands that are inherent with today’s home theater applications. One fine point worth noting is that because of the M-85’s high damping factor (meaning low output impedance), this is an amplifier with which high-quality, low-impedance speaker cables will make a clearly noticeable difference, which is usually not the case for most consumer level amplifiers.
The issue with the M-85 today is that they are old and the combination of heat and age have likely taken their toll on performance. The good news is that there are a devoted few who appreciate these amplifiers and now specialize in restoring these legendary giants to their original performance and specifications and better-than-new condition for very modest fees (e.g., Legendary Amps in Florida – see legendaryamps.com). Given that M-85’s can be periodically found on ebay or Craigslist for a few hundred dollars and can be restored to their original performance that is largely unmatched with contemporary high-end equipment, they represent an unmatched bargain in today’s high-end audio component world.
Yamaha built their first reed organ in 1887. Now Yamaha is the world's leading producer of pianos and other musical instruments and is involved with music in many other ways as well. Yamaha manufactures professional recording equipment and design concert halls and assists artists at concerts with set up and sound tuning.
This knowledge and experience benefits Yamaha's production of audio components in many ways. Yamaha introduced first HiFi (High Fidelity) turntable in 1954, it is the first company to actually use the term “HiFi.” Thereafter Yamaha was one of the first to offer mass-produced, high quality audio equipment, and introduced many legendary stereo components.
I think this explanation is enough for someone who doubts about Yamaha Products.