Yamaha CR-2020

Yamaha CR-2020


If you're familiar with monster receivers then you know that the Yamaha CR-3020 is a Monster! Well, this receiver is just shy of a monster. Maybe Beast would be appropriate? It's the Yamaha CR-2020 and is, of course, the smaller sibling of the CR-3020. Yes, the CR-3020 put out a massive 160 watts per channel but this CR-2020 shells out a very respectable 100 watts per channel. Besides, the CR-3020 didn't even sell all that well.


Yamaha CR-2020 Faceplate


The CR-2020 is a fantastic mix of everything you want in a big, powerful receiver. Lots of power, tons of features, sharp, clean styling and a cool look when the room lights are dimmed. And, for that macho effect it weighs in at about 43 pounds and is over 21 inches wide and 16 inches deep. It was introduced in late 1977 and was priced very well since, at that time, the Japanese were able to build stereos cheaper than other US or European manufacturers.


Yamaha CR-2020 Meter


Yamaha receivers are known to be low distortion and their circuitry was designed to affect the signal as little as possible throughout the amplification path. The CR-2020 lives up to this ideal by having a maximum of 0.05% total harmonic distortion. In fact, Yamaha's sales literature at the time coined the term Noise-Distortion Clearance Range (NDCR). Instead of measuring noise and distortion under lab conditions they setup the receiver in a typical listening situation and then measured the noise and distortion. They also called it Real Life Rated!


Yamaha CR-2020 Knobs


Some interesting features are:

  • Continuous loudness compensation (variable loudness control)
  • Two turntable inputs (one being mc)
  • Independent audition and recording
  • Connections for three sets of speakers
  • Linear differential gain IF stage
  • 4-gang tuning capacitor with dual-gate MOS-FETs
  • Multi-function FM/AM/Signal/Multipath/Power meters
  • MPX section included into NFB loop
  • High-Blend switch (FM)
  • Automatic or Manual OTS tuning system
  • DOLBY adapter switch
  • 2 Headphone jacks for Yamaha Orthodynamic and/or normal headphones


Yamaha CR-2020 Inside


Check out the massive transformer at the bottom right. Those who aren't Yamaha fans usually point to the bright sound of their receivers and overall lack of warmth. That may or may not be the case but Yamaha tried to make the output signal as true to the input signal as possible. I too find the Yamaha's a little dry sounding but I have to wonder if my ear just prefers a little more distortion which is usually what gives a receiver that 'warm' sound.


Yamaha CR-2020 Inputs


Two phono inputs and 3 pair of speakers connections. You can't beat that. It even has a built in pre-amp section for moving coil cartridges. The Yamaha CR-2020 does have a weakness though. The power switch tends to fail and replacements are not that easy to find. So, if you're contemplating buying one make sure the switch works and handle it gently when turning the power on and off.


Yamaha CR-2020 Antenna


Yamaha receivers have a fairly large following so demand is pretty high. The monster CR-3020 is, many times, out of most peoples price range at around $1500 so the CR-2020 fits the bill more often. A non-working but cosmetically clean CR-2020 will run about $300. A fully restored unit can fetch over $800 with most average condition receivers selling for around $400 to $500.


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Yamaha CR-2040

Yamaha CR-2040


The most likely King of the Yamaha family is the CR-3020 but the Queen is probably the CR-2040.  You might get some arguments from owners of the CR-2020 but the Yamaha CR-2040 could probably be considered a "Monster" receiver given it's size and power output. It 1979 it retailed for $859.00 which was a hefty sum of money back then.  Of course the CR-3020 was priced at $1500.00 so I guess it's all relative. Probably underrated at 120 watts per channel, with less than 0.02% THD, this power hungry receiver can easily power most any set of speakers you can find. Many would say that the CR-2020 is a better looking receiver but that the CR-2040 has a better sound.


Yamaha CR-2040 Left


Of course this is one of Yamaha's "Natural Sound" receivers and when one usually listens to one of these receivers for the first time it may sound as though it's lacking a little in bass.  The reality most likely is that other receiver manufacturers "color" their circuitry to emphasize more bass so that's what many listeners are used to hearing. The Yamaha circuitry does not do this so you are hearing the sound closer to how it is actually supposed to sound.


Yamaha CR-2040 Right

The CR-2040 has just about every feature and function you could want including:

  • Triple tone controls with variable contours for each
  • Variable loudness
  • Speakers Off,A,B,A+B
  • Aux/CD, Phono MM/MC, Tape1, Tape2, AM, FM
  • Pre out
  • Headphones out A,B (2 sets)
  • Meter: Level/Signal
  • Filters: High, Low
  • Muting - 20 dB
  • Rec out selector for all functions
  • Phono selector: MC/ MM/33/47/68/100 kOhms
  • Stereo/Mono
  • Adaptor On/Off
  • FM Auto/Local
  • FM Muting/OTS On/Off
  • 3 extra power outlets, switched/unswitched


Yamaha CR-2040 Back


You might notice in the pictures that one of the CR-2040's has a "shroud" case where the wood case extends over the edge of the metal faceplate. The other CR-2040 has a case that is flush with the faceplate. The U.S. version is the shroud case while the flush cases were marketed in Europe.  Not sure why they made them different but I prefer the flush case. The CR-2040 weighs in at around 46 pounds and its dimensions are 23" x 16" x 6 1/2" so it doesn't fit in a lot of 20" wide stereo cabinets.


Yamaha CR-2040 Manual


Since the Yamaha CR-2040 is essentially considered a monster receiver it gets a lot of attention when up for sale. Not as much as a Pioneer SX-1250 or Yamaha CR-3020 but it still can sell for a hefty price. Low end units can fetch around $300.00 but fully functional units in very good cosmetic condition easily get over $500.00.


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