View Full Version : Kenwood Basic C2 vs Yamaha CX-830


Emmbee
01-09-2012, 06:36 PM
I have a chance to get one of these pretty reasonably. I'll give the edge to the better phono stage. Especially the MC stage. They seem closely matched. I may have to buy them both.

jhoyt
01-09-2012, 07:38 PM
Please do and report back! (What a terrible problem to have. :D) I'm a former C2 owner, and present CX-630 owner, and would love a good assessment of how they compare!

I do know that the Yamaha uses nearly all discrete circuitry in the audio path, whereas the Kenwood IIRC uses op-amps that could stand replacing. And the Yamaha is remote-controllable.

Emmbee
01-09-2012, 09:01 PM
Whoot! Looks like I'll get a chance to buy both! Going to check them out tomorrow morning:)

Emmbee
01-10-2012, 07:12 PM
Bought them both. First impressions:
The Kenwood is smoother and pretty neutral sounding. It has a smallish. soundstage. It is easy to listen to. It wins in the looks and aesthetics. It has an older look with nice knobs and switches. The Yamaha is bright, detailed and has a large soundstage. It is not particularly neutral and can sound shrill and a bit harsh at times. When not sounding shrill and harsh it sounds great. It looks more modern and digital and is in my opinion fairly ugly. Which is best? I'm not sure yet. Both seem to have excellent phono stages. Both sound good, but in very different ways. I need to listen to more types of music to make a final choice. I guess I'm leaning towards the Yammy, despite some of the issues I have with it.

jhoyt
01-10-2012, 08:08 PM
Check the signal path caps and op-amps in the Kenwood. Replace as necessary. Then I'll bet the Kenwood will have the great soundstage of the Yamaha, and even smoother sound.

Emmbee
01-10-2012, 08:23 PM
After listening to "Kind of Blue", I have to say the Kenwood does produce noticeably
'breathier" horns and more organic sounding piano.

Emmbee
01-11-2012, 07:51 PM
After much listening and lots of plugging and unplugging I've decided to keep the Kenwood. In the ways that matter most to me, it sounds best. Instruments and voices are smooth and realistic with decent depth. The soundstage is not as wide or deep as I'd like but it's good enough for now. Sacds, CDs and records all sound pleasing. As said before, the Yamaha had sharper detail and a large and deep soundstage but often was fatiguing and shrill. Horns sounded particularly bad and had no meat at all. Overall, the C2 beat my Carver C-1, though the holographic doodad was really nice for certain music. The C2 can also be modded, especially the phono output. It took some time and at times I second guessed myself a lot but I think I've made the right choice. (till the next score at least:)

vintageboy
01-11-2012, 08:51 PM
Nice, I am a proud C2 owner too

Yamahalic
01-11-2012, 10:20 PM
MB-
I have a CX-830 myself, and I was wondering how you set-up the controls for your listening? For example, did you go source direct? Did you try the "Loudness" feature (difficult to figure out without a manual to explain how to adjust, not like other Loudness functions on other brands*). Did you try and adjust the "Turnover Frequency" buttons to better match your speakers? Did you try and adjust the bass and treble? I like to tweek, and this unit rewards those like myself. To simply go with the pass through is not , in my opinion, the best way to highlight this pre-amp.

*Loudness: Set the Loudness control to flat, then set volume to your loudest listening level, then turn the Loudness knob counter clockwise to reduce the volume "without losing the natural tone".

RebelKat
01-11-2012, 10:33 PM
I still kick myself for letting go of the basic c2. I never had the pleasure of a listen to that yamaha, thanks for the comparison.

maddog37
01-14-2012, 01:25 PM
I believe I contacted the same seller of that C2 - hope you enjoy it. That's the problem being so far from the big city.

I passed because he said it had a noticeable hum in the headphone output. Hope that info isn't a surprise.

Emmbee
01-14-2012, 02:16 PM
Yea, its the same guy I got it from. I never listen via headphones so it's not a big deal.
I just got a Sansui AU-7900 integrated amp and I'm testing out as a pre-amp. It sounds SO good I may just keep that as my pre. I have to do some more testing before I make up my mind. Depending on how this goes, I may have both other pres up for sale.

kotofei
01-14-2012, 04:56 PM
The "bright" Yamaha sound might be a result of improper settings, bias that it out of spec or lack of synergy between Yammie and interconnectors that you use to connect her to the power amp. Or perhaps Yammie needs more run-in time in your system than Kenwood.

If I were you I would get the CR-830 service manual and tune her to proper settings. Then connect her to your system and run for 2-3 days at least. Most likely, at the end sound will improve; my CR-7 lost brightness only after a week or so of use and AFTER bias set-up. If you have different interconnectors try to swap them.

I recently got a CR-830 that according to seller needs some work; didn't get my hands on her yet. By specs and pedigree, Yammie should be a great preamp.


After much listening and lots of plugging and unplugging I've decided to keep the Kenwood. In the ways that matter most to me, it sounds best. Instruments and voices are smooth and realistic with decent depth. The soundstage is not as wide or deep as I'd like but it's good enough for now. Sacds, CDs and records all sound pleasing. As said before, the Yamaha had sharper detail and a large and deep soundstage but often was fatiguing and shrill. Horns sounded particularly bad and had no meat at all. Overall, the C2 beat my Carver C-1, though the holographic doodad was really nice for certain music. The C2 can also be modded, especially the phono output. It took some time and at times I second guessed myself a lot but I think I've made the right choice. (till the next score at least:)

Emmbee
01-17-2012, 08:00 PM
The Sansui as a pre-amp smokes any of the stand alones I've used in the last month or so.