Yamaha CR-3020

Yamaha CR-3020 Receiver

This monster Yamaha CR-3020 hit the audio market in 1978. It is the BIG brother of the CR-1020 and CR-2020. The CR-3020 is rated at 160 watts per channel into 8 ohms. It also has a frequency response of 5-100,000 Hz and total harmonic distortion of 0.01%. It is arguably the most collectable of the vintage monster receivers. It has been speculated that only around 2000 of the CR-3020 were made. Yamaha began manufacturing them at a time when the power war (meaning watts per channel) amongst the audio giants like Pioneer, Sansui and Marantz was subsiding. Other manufacturers were already transitioning to lighter weight designs and cheaper components and demand for bulky, heavy, monster receivers was dwindling. As a result not many were sold.

Yamaha CR-3020 Meters

The CR-3020 has controls for Bass, Treble and Presence.  Speaker selection includes Off, A, B, C, A+C, A+B.  It also has Low and High filter switches and a Mode switch for L, R, Stereo, and Rev.  Input selector includes Tape 1+2, Tuner, Phono, and Aux.

The Yamaha CR-3020’s aesthetics are excellent. It’s housed in an ebony wood case as opposed to the usual walnut. Despite the plethora of controls they are laid out nicely on the front panel so it still doesn’t have a crowded look. The dial scale is a bit small due to the three meters to the left of it.

The lighting is typical Yamaha for the time with white meter lights and white backlit dial face.

Yamaha CR-3020 Knobs


SP OUT Level Meters – These sensitive, wide-range peak meters measure the output power for each channel from 0.01W to 316W. The right-hand meter also doubles as the signal strength and quality meter (changing over to this function when the tuning knob is touched).

Yamaha CR-3020 Meters

SP OUT / SIGNAL Q Meter – This meter indicates the strength of the signal for both AM and FM stations, and indicates FM interference by fluttering, with the amplitude of variation showing the extent of the interference. It also doubles as an output level meter.

FM Tuning Meter – This meter indicator points to dead center when a station is perfectly in tune.

LED Indicators – These indicate whether the POWER, AUDIO MUTING, FM BLEND and OTS STATION are on, and the TONE CONTROL and REC CAL are operative. They also indicate whether an FM STEREO station is being received and whether it is in FM DX or FM LOCAL mode.

TURNOVER FREQUENCY Switches – Select 125 or 500 Hz turnover frequencies (for bass), 2,6 or 8 kHz (for treble) and 2 or 4 kHz (for presence), or defeat all tone controls with the DEFEAT switch.

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FM Tuner Section Controls

TUNER Function Switch – This switch has five positions, FM AUTO, FM DX, FM LOCAL, AM and REC CAL, and permits selection of FM or AM reception, Setting the switch to REC CAL position causes a sine wave of 333 Hz to be generated, thus facilitating checking of FM program recording.

FM MUTING Control – By operating this control, the FM muting level can be freely set at any level between 3 uV and 30 uV (300ohms). In OFF position, FM MUTING is cancelled.

FM MODE Control – When this control is set to AUTO position, FM broadcasts are received automatically in stereo mode. By setting the control to MONO position, the broadcasts can be received in monaural mode, while at the same time the muting circuit is canceled.

OTS ON/OFF – In the ON position, the Optimum Tuning System will correct any slight mis-tuning, to assure optimum reception of FM stations. In the OFF position, accurate manual tuning becomes necessary. Note that even in the ON position, OTS only comes into effect when you have released the tuning knob.

FM BLEND – This switch is used to reduce the hiss noise that affects the weaker FM stereo stations.

DOLBY FM ADAPTOR – Only if you have purchased and fitted an adaptor for FM ‘Dolby’ broadcasts should this switch be ON: without an
adaptor the ON position will turn your FM tuner section off.

PHONO Selector Switch – This switch permits selection of an input circuit to match the phono cartridge being used, when the INPUT SELECTOR is set to PHONO position.

AUDIO MUTING O/-20 dB Switch – This gives a straight 20 dB reduction in listening volume without having to adjust the VOLUME control. Use it whenever operating selector or other switches, and when lowering the phono cartridge onto the record.

Yamaha CR-3020 DX Switch

Some of the other features of the CR-3020 are:

  • Dual tuning and power level meters (right-channel meter doubles as signal-strength indicator).
  • Meters also read tape output
  • Independent headphone level control
  • Dual tape monitors with two-way dubbing
  • Bass, midrange and treble controls with switchable turnover frequency and defeat
  • Separate volume and variable loudness compensation controls
  • Adjustable FM muting level
  • DX/Local/Auto select
  • Audio muting
  • Dual phono inputs with moving-coil head amp (switchable) on one
  • FM high-blend
  • Dolby adaptor switches
Yamaha CR-3020 Wood Case

There are not one but two headphones jacks on the front panel!

Yamaha CR-3020 Inside

The CR-3020 is massive and weighs in at just under 82 pounds! It also won’t fit in most standard audio cabinets.

Yamaha CR-3020 Inside


  • Tuning range: FM, MW
  • Power output: 160 watts per channel into 8Ω (stereo)
  • Frequency response: 5Hz to 100kHz
  • Total harmonic distortion: 0.03%
  • Damping factor: 70
  • Input sensitivity: 0.5mV (MC), 2mV (MM), 120mV (line)
  • Signal to noise ratio: 71dB (MC), 82dB (MM), 100dB (line)
  • Output: 120mV (line), 1V (Pre out)
  • Speaker load impedance: 4Ω to 16Ω
  • Semiconductors: 178 x transistors, 9 x IC, 14 x FET, 64 x diodes, 14 x zener diodes, 11 x LED
  • Dimensions: 24″ x 7″ x 19″ (632 x 191 x 494.5mm)
  • Weight: 35kg
Yamaha CR-3020 Antenna
Yamaha CR-3020 Speaker Connections

The Yamaha CR-3020 is definitely on the top 5 list for most receiver collectors. It’s very hard to find as it had a list price of $1500 when new which limited the amount of people that could afford it. With a low supply and high demand these days prices for the CR-3020 are substantial. But, if you have a chance to acquire one it would be hard to pass up.

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29 thoughts on “Yamaha CR-3020

  1. i recently got a consignment from a binions casino employee estate and the unit was only has one owner prior to this sale. great unit case . has a fewe flaws: couple light out and balance is louder on one side more than another. i was never aware these are theBest yamaha amps ever sot its price at $1500 N/I packing or shipping charges. email stoninlvnv@aol.com week of 7/15 to make a deal to sell with out all hte FEEBAY FEES ;-)

  2. 2000$ for that receiver are you insane i paid 80 for a 1020 and the sound is better, when the keep it simple fact is there


  3. I own one. It’s an excellent receiver. The sound is sweet and plenty of power I am running a pair of hpm 100s.mine is mint. 2000 is a bit high. They normally go for 1000 to 1500 mint. But it is the one to own.

  4. I have a yamaha cr 3020 in mint condition with a pair of Canton speakers tuned for this system asking 2500

    1. Hello there regarding your yamaha cr 3020 reciever I am intrested. I live in ontario canada my number is 1 705 492 0772. If this reciever is still for sale I would want to buy it. Thank you

  5. I owned one back in 1978 or 1979. In fact it was the 9th one sold in Canada. I wish I still had it for a bedroom system. For the guy with the cr1020, it’s not even in the same league as the 3020. The pre section was the same circuitry as the separate c2 preamp. The headphone jacks were from a dedicated built-in head amp. The tuner had an auto station lock in and the tuning knob was buttery smooth. At the time a couple of my friends had the 1020 because they couldn’t afford the 3020 and like I said not even close.

    1. Hey Hey! Finally a man within the Sound Details of the matter at hand, AMEN! Instead of the debating of the biased and profoundly unknown means to speak on a topic with little or no hands on experience with the BEAST known as the CR-3020!!! Thank you for those great and needful details within what makes the CR-3020 stand alone as Yamaha’s 1978 best Receiver world wide, much appreciated information there sir. I must say I just purchased a CR-640 with all original hardware, papers, etc. and the 1/4 amount of power at 40 watts RMS is an insane amaount of pure power already I would absolutely love to try and own a CR-3020 for my pair of Magnepan 3.6R’s in black oak as that 160 watts would be just perfect I can only imagine it now! Always been a Yamaha guy and had NO IDEA THERE WAS A CR-3020 until today, feel kind of well left out ha ha! Anyone with a mint condition, preferably rebuilt and updated caps etc. I would love to upgrade summer of 2023, you can email me at Heavenlyhifi@yahoo.com!!!

  6. I have a CR-3020 in great working order. A few lights are out and I would not tear into the unit to replace those as it doesn’t matter they are out. Everything else works beautifully. I am in Seattle

      1. I have a CR 3020 for sale in good working order. I don’t have speakers to plug into to do a full test but headphones and the tuner function and it sounds amazing. Interested parties can email bermac63@icloud.com

  7. This article needs to be updated. It is currently Jun2 2023 at the time I write this, and Yamaha CR3020 in really nice condition now goes on eBay for 2500 – 3500 dollars. I have a friend who owned 5 of them. I have since completely re-capped all of them with Nichicon UFG series electrolytics, and I acquired one of the CR3020s from him. He also has several CR2020, CR1020, CR850, CR650, CA2010, just to touch on the vintage Yamaha gear he has, without getting into any other brands he collects. Anyway, I love my CR3020. I especially love how feature-packed it is, and the highly configurable phono preamp has to be mentioned. This receiver’s quality and performance have stood the test of time.

    1. That’s true. I’ll update it soon. In fact, I’m going to re-write the entire article and add a lot more detail. Thanks for the heads up.

  8. Would like to buy a Yamaha CR-3020. Ideally very nice condition, packaging and manuals would be a bonus. 612-501-1009

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