Yamaha M-85 Amplifiers

5/5 (19 Reviews) MSRP : $1100.00


Product Description

Yamaha M-85 Natural Sound Power Amplifier


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Reviews 1 - 5 (19 Reviews Total) | Next 15

User Reviews

Overall Rating:5
Value Rating:5
Submitted by Brad K a AudioPhile

Date Reviewed: September 10, 2013

Bottom Line:   
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

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Used product for:   More than 1 year

Duration Product Used:   AudioPhile

Product model year:   Pre 1995



Overall Rating:5
Value Rating:5
Submitted by Ed a AudioPhile

Date Reviewed: April 13, 2012

Bottom Line:   


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

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Used product for:   3 Months to 1 year

Duration Product Used:   AudioPhile

Product model year:   Pre 1995



Overall Rating:5
Value Rating:5
Submitted by MrEB a AudioPhile

Date Reviewed: January 30, 2011

Bottom Line:   
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.

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Used product for:   More than 1 year

Duration Product Used:   AudioPhile

Product model year:   Pre 1995



Overall Rating:5
Value Rating:5
Submitted by Alpay Sirek a Audio Enthusiast

Date Reviewed: January 3, 2011

Bottom Line:   
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.

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Used product for:   More than 1 year

Duration Product Used:   Audio Enthusiast

Product model year:   Pre 1995



Overall Rating:5
Value Rating:5
Submitted by Yamaha_fiend45 a AudioPhile

Date Reviewed: August 30, 2010

Bottom Line:   
Hi everyone,
This review is from an awesome amplifier from days gone by,the Yamaha M-85. In the mid - late 80's when this Amp came out,folks,most folks I believe,had no Idea that this Amp( which replaced the M-80),would still be layin down the heavy bass,clear well defined mids,and crystal clear transparent highs some 25 years later.I currently own (2) M-85 and have had no issues from them .One Amp,recently, was sent in to my favorite Yamaha repair shop(legendaryamps.com) for a terminal upgrade.(They do AWESOME work on these Amps down there folks!! ) Original terminals just get weak from the years of using large gauge wire..absolutely the ONLY weakness of these incredible Amps folks! With the terminal upgrade,I'm able to run 10GA. cable with gold banana terminals on the cable with no sweat from the weight. The upgrade in my opinion makes these amps perform the way music was ment to be heard,and felt! Through reliable info and personal experience,it is clear to me that Yamaha put alot of research into these Amps and they were way ahead of their time. To me,these Amps are timeless.No doubt about it..the biggest bang for your buck! If you have the opportunity to get one,don't hesitate! These Amps are Incredible.Well deserving of the title Legendary.

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Used product for:   More than 1 year

Duration Product Used:   AudioPhile

Product model year:   Pre 1995




Reviews 1 - 5 (19 Reviews Total) | Next 15

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