Thirty years of innovations, from the venerable PM1000 console to the REV7 effects processor and the O2R digital workstation, qualifies Yamaha as a major purveyor of innovative and popular audio technology. It is not unusual to see a 20-year-old Yamaha console covered in grime, still passing signal in a club that has seen musical tastes change from the Allman Brothers to Sugar Ray. Recently, I put Yamaha’s new CP2000 power amplifier through its paces to see if it holds up to its predecessor’s reputation.
Product PointsApplications: Live sound, installations
Key Features: Two-channel power amp; variable speed fan; MOSFET circuitry; 450 W per channel at 8 ohms, 650 W per channel at 4 ohms or 1,300 W at 8 ohms bridged output.
Price: $799 list; $549 est. street price
Contact: Yamaha at 714-522-9011 Web Site
The CP2000 amplifier ($799) is a two-rack-space, 27-pound, stereo unit that provides 450 Watts per channel at 8 ohms, 650 Watts per channel at 4 ohms or 1,300 Watts at 8 ohms bridged output. It utilizes what Yamaha describes as EE Engine technology, encompassing a design featuring Metal Oxide Silicon Field Effect Transistor (MOSFET) output devices. MOSFET power transistors are known for their superior low-distortion performance characteristics even at high operating temperatures.
The industrial heavy-duty faceplate, with its two-position power switch and large, articulated volume controls, reminded me of Yamaha amps I had owned in years past. Next to the power switch are three LED indicators, top to bottom: a red temperature sensor that kicks in at 85 degrees Celsius, a red relay-based protection circuit and a green power indicator.
Between the detented level controls (which attenuate levels from 0 dB to -50 dB, counterclockwise) are level and clip LED indicators. From bottom to top: green indicates output voltage of 2 Volts or greater, yellow at 20 Volts or more, and red clip lights when the signal output distortion exceeds 1 percent. A large perforated vent channels heat away from the amplifier via a variable speed fan. The fan will turn off in output idling mode.
At the rear panel, a comprehensive jackfield can be found. Electronically balanced XLR and TRS 1/4-inch phone input jacks offer the options of stereo, bridged or parallel operation via a three-position mode switch. A high-input impedance of 30 k-ohms allows for a good match with most source equipment. Also, a speaker-processing switch activates what seems to be an equalization curve suited for optimum performance of the popular Yamaha S115 speakers.
To the right of the input section, speaker outputs include five-way binding posts and 1/4-inch phone jacks. The binding posts have a protective cover, which discourages curious or invasive people from messing with speaker connections.
Speaking of invasive, I next popped the top on the CP2000 to check under the hood. A large toroidal power transformer is bolted into a subframe, front left. Directly in back of the transformer is the power supply PC board containing four large capacitors, topped with a wedge of transit-shock minimizing foam. The power output section PC board is straddling a centrally located heat sink tunnel that houses the fan and MOSFETS. All thick-mil PC boards are of thru-hole construction and interconnected with Molex connectors for easy serviceability, if needed.
With the top off, I could not easily flex the steel frame, as I have with competing amps in this price range. I suspect this unit would withstand the roadie drop-kick test without significant damage.
At first, I tried the CP2000 with a pair of Community two-way 15-inch trap cabinets. The amp and speaker combo sounded clear, punchy and radiant, handling delicate source material from an opening act featuring a female vocalist with dulcimer and Martin 12 string to a rowdy Les Paul blues-based rock outfit in a small club.
The following week, running four EV Eliminator subs out in the hot sun let it flex its muscles a bit; the fan was purring along and chest-thumping waves of Fender jazz bass and Slingerland 26-inch kick drum were loved by the crowd.
I liked what I found in the Yamaha CP2000 – solid construction, top-shelf materials, excellent sonic qualities and contractor-friendly features. This amplifier is a sweet deal from a company that’s been there, done that.