Yamaha A S1200 vs A S1100 which is a better choice?

This Yamaha A-S1200 and A-S1100 battle that we have going on today is very, very interesting. We have the Yamaha A-S1200 going up against the Yamaha A-S1100. What we have here today is pretty much the original going up against its replacement! I have been playing around with Yamaha products for years and I have never known them to take a step back. It is going to be pretty interesting to see if the A-S1100 still has a place on the market now that we have this new series of amplifiers from Yamaha!

The Price

If you ask me I can see most people taking a side in this Yamaha comparison contest mainly based on the price. When it comes to high-quality, high-end amplifiers that get the best out of your records, Yamaha are one of the best around. For most folks, it will be a question of if the 1200 is worth the upgrade or not.

Yamaha A-S1200:

As I write this you can head on over to Amazon and get the Yamaha A-S1200 for $2,995,95. It is available in both black and silver and the price is the same no matter which one you decide to go for. I think the asking price here is actually very reasonable and it is the cheapest offering when it comes to this newest series of amplifiers from Yamaha. The bigger brothers are considerably more expensive with the Yamaha A-S2200 being priced at $4,449,95 and the Yamaha A-S3200 being priced in the $7,5000 range.

Yamaha A-S1100:

The Yamaha A-S1100 has actually managed to hold its price very well. This went for $1,995,95 when it was released (I am pretty sure) on Amazon right now the black version is available for $1,998 and the silver one is a little bit more expensive priced at $2,099. There is not much in it, to be honest with you, but as I like the black design more, the slightly lower price makes that an even more attractive option for me! There are some great deals for this over on eBay. I have found a pre-owned one for under a thousand bucks and if you do not mind international shipping, even with the cost of shipping there are some from the UK and Japan that are coming in much closer to $1,000 than $2,000. If you shop around, you can really find some great deals for this.

The Verdict: 

I am actually kind of surprised that the jump in price from the Yamaha A-S1100 to the Yamaha A-S1200 is what it is, to be honest with you. I know that this is still a lot of money. However, it was hard for me to suggest you pay thousands more for a 2200 or a 3200 over the 1200. Yet, here I think that the Yamaha A-S1200 is the better option and you would be better off saving up that extra money and going for that over the older Yamaha A-S1100.  

The Design

No matter if I am looking at turntables, speakers, soundbars, or in the case of this Yamaha comparison article, amplifiers, the design is always my favorite category. While the sound is of course the most important category, I am a very visual guy, so I like my tech no matter what it is to look cool and stylish. These have a very similar kind of design, but thankfully, they both look fantastic!

Yamaha A-S1200:

While the Yamaha A-S1200 is available in both black and silver, it is the black version that I had the pleasure to spend a bit of time with. While the design of both versions is the same, I think the color makes a massive difference. The black one I feel has a more modern style to it, but the silver has a kind of retro charm that I like as well. If I was actually paying for this then I would pick the black, but I can see why some people would want that old-school charm that the silver version has to offer. This is considerably larger than the Yamaha A-S1100 which came before it. The dimensions of the A-S1200 are, 23.5 x 23 x 10 inches. This is the kind of thing that you notice it is a step above the rest when you take it out of the box as it just feels like an epic piece of audio equipment as soon as you pick it up.

If you want to see the Yamaha A-S1200 a bit more up close and personal have a look at this Yamaha A-S1200 Integrated Amplifier Review. It’s big, crammed with retro nostalgia…and VU meters! video. I really like the whole style of this amp. The first thing that catches your eye is that retro style display meter right in the middle. It just looks so cool and it gives the 1200 a ton of personality and even the black more modern looking unit some retro style. To the right of this we have a large volume dial and then on the bottom under the display is where you will find all of your dials and switches to let you change the source, play with the sound, and so on. It has all you need on here to do what you need to do, but it does not look cluttered.

There are an impressive number of ports on the back here, but this is an analog only amplifier so you will not find any digital ports on the back of here. Still, I think that most people are going to be very happy with the amount connection options that they have on here. One thing that I do think is better on the 2200 and the 3200 is that they have the MM and MC switch on the front, here it is on the back. To be fair, that is a pretty minor complaint and will not affect most people who have this.

Yamaha A-S1100:

From looking at a photo, unless these are side by side it is near impossible to tell the Yamaha A-S1100 and the Yamaha A-S1200 apart! These have a very similar design and like the 1200, this one comes in both black and silver and it is the black version I am talking about here. However, look at this Yamaha A-S1100 Integrated Amp Pt. 1: Review and Overview video if you want to see the silver version more up close and personal. This is a bit smaller than the 1200 as the dimensions of this are, 18.25 x 17.13 x 6.13 inches. If you are a bit tighter on space, I am sure this more compact sized amplifier will be preferable. Still, this has that high-quality Yamaha feel to it and it is something that I think really is designed very well.

Now the front of this is the same as the Yamaha A-S1200. You have the same style of retro display which of course, is scaled to be more suitable to the size of the Yamaha A-S1100. The volume dial and all the other dials and switches are the same as what you get with the 1200. In all, it is a very smartly designed piece of tech, so smartly designed that Yamaha just copied the design for their new and improved versions!

Around the back of the Yamaha A-S1100, we have a pretty much exact replica of what the new version has. The ports are all here and they are laid out in pretty much the exact same way. In all, it is a very clean and neat user interface and it certainly has more than enough ports for you. The only thing that is missing on the back of this amp is the two mic style ports that the Yamaha A-S1200 has.

The Verdict:

While the Yamaha A-S1200 and the Yamaha A-S1100 have a very similar kind of style I do have to give this one to the A-S1200. The reason for that is I just prefer the larger size of it. From pictures, you probably cannot tell a difference between the two as the style is pretty much the same, however, side by side I do think the larger version just has more personality to it.

The Sound

Now we have the main event of this Yamaha showdown as we look at how these are going to make your records sound. For this one, we are using the Audio-Technica AT-LP3BK which is a damn fine turntable. This is a bit of a harsh comparison as the 1100 is the step before the 1200 so it is a given that the newer model will be better, the question is if it is so much better than the 1100 is it worth the extra money and that is what I am looking at here.

Yamaha A-S1200:

Yamaha already had a solid foundation to work with, but if you go from the Yamaha A-S1100 to the Yamaha A-S1200 , you will certainly notice a difference in the sound quality. I think that once you get this thing properly set up and just the way you want it, you will feel like you are listening to your records for the first time all over again. I actually had some fun as I have a newer pressing of Slippery When Wet by Bon Jovi and an original from the 80s. Of course, the newer version sounded truly amazing, it really did bring the record to life. It was loud, clear and no matter how I played around with the bass and treble, it well and truly rocked. Older vinyl like my original copy of Slipper When Wet still sounded great too. Even though this is at the lower end of the new crop of amplifiers from Yamaha, it still sounds fantastic at all volumes. It is the mid range where I noticed the biggest improvement here over the A-S1100.

What I think Yamaha has done really well with the Yamaha A-S1200 is to make an amplifier that is just awesome for all kinds of music. While I will always consider myself a rocker first, I actually listen to all kinds of music. One of my favorite pieces in my record collection is my Run-DMC: Singles Collection I loved Run-DMC when I was a kid and playing around with these records through this amp, really did take me back. For more “vocal centric” types of music, this thing makes sure what you are hearing is nice, crisp, and clear. I got my wife 30 by Adele for Christmas and she was very impressed by what she heard when it was played with the help of the 1200. No matter if it is a brand-new record or something older from your collection, you are going to be very happy with how this brings it to life. Be sure to have a look at this short Yamaha A-S1200, w/A: floor stander & B: bookshelf which showcases this pretty damn well.

Yamaha A-S1100:

I think had I not tested out the 1200 before, I would have been way more impressed with the Yamaha A-S1100. That is not to say this thing is not impressive and there are certainly many videos on YouTube like this Yamaha AS-1100 ‘Pure Breed’ Analog Integrated amp Part 1 of a real in-depth review one that goes into great detail about why this is such a great amp. This video also tests this amp with The Beastie Boys which is awesome!. The Yamaha A-S1100 is a great amp and for its time it truly was one of the best you could get and its reputation is well deserved. I went for an album that I know very well, Dr. Feelgood by Motley Crue. Kickstart My Heart is one of my all-time favorite songs and it sounded great when pumped through the 1100. I think that it gets nice and loud and it does possess some real power.

One area that really impressed me with this amp was the way vocals were so crisp and clear. If you are listening to an album like The Eminem Show, for example, you will really appreciate how good this thing makes the vocals sound. I think that there is nothing that this amp doesn’t do well. It can get loud, the mid-range is solid, and overall, it’s pretty great. However, there is a reason we have the Yamaha A-S1200 and its bigger brothers! Yamaha has improved on what they have done here with the 1100 and while it is certainly a damn fine amp, next to the 1200 there is a clear difference.

The Verdict: 

I have to say that the Yamaha A-S1100 for its day was great and I can see why so many people were so high on it. Even now, I am sure there are many people who have it, love it, and have no desire to upgrade. Yet, in my time with it, compared to the Yamaha A-S1200, I have to say that there is a clear jump in the quality of sound you are getting with the Yamaha A-S1200. I think that the asking price for the 1200 is more than fair as the quality is better in every regard.

The Remote Control

One of the things I like about checking out products from Yamaha is that I know they are going to have a good remote control. This Yamaha contest is cool as it shows that when Yamaha nails the design for a remote control, they nail it and then stick with it for a while without making any unnecessary changes.

Yamaha A-S1200:

I cannot really say that the remote the Yamaha A-S1200 comes with is the remote for the 1200… well it is, but what I am saying is that this is the same as the remote Yamaha used for the 1100. This is a very smartly designed remote control, it has all the functions that a person could ever need in a remote control and they make sure things are labeled clearly. It has a very nice feel and weight to it as well which is something that my weird self really likes. My only issue is that this remote is silver even if you have the black version of the 1200.

Yamaha A-S1100:

Yamaha nailed it with the remote control that comes with the Yamaha A-S1100. So much so that Yamaha has not felt the need to tinker with the design of the remote in any major way at all. This is just an awesome remote that gives you full control of the amp. However, what I said about it up above can be applied here as it is pretty much the exact same thing. I have said it many times before, but Yamaha really does make great remote controls.

The Verdict: 

Of course, we have to call this round a tie! These both come with the same style of remote control so I cannot pick a winner here. Some companies would be tempted to change the remote control just for the sake of doing so, but I am so glad that Yamaha resisted that temptation. I just wish that they made a black version as the whole black amp and silver remote control just does not sit too well with me, but I am kind of weird so most folks probably will not care!   

What Is The Best?

It has been very interesting putting this contest of Yamaha A-S1200 and A-S1100 together. I have had the pleasure of looking at the Yamaha A-S1200 a few times already and getting the chance to compare it to what came before it was cool. For its time the Yamaha A-S1100 was a fantastic amp and the majority of people who had it, loved it. However, I do have to say that the Yamaha A-S1200 is the clear winner for me. It offers more power, more clarity and when used side by side with the 1100, you can really hear the jump in sound quality right away. There is nothing wrong with the 1100, but I would 100 percent be willing to save up that extra 1000 bucks to get the 1200 over it.

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