The Yamaha CR-620 was one of Yamaha’s mid-range units from 1977-1979. It produces 35 watts per channel into 8 ohms. It has the classic Yamaha styling and was rated at 0.015% total harmonic distortion. The unit weighs in at just over 23 pounds. The CR-620 was part of Yamaha’s CR-xx20 series that included the CR-220, CR-420, CR-620, CR-820, CR-1020, CR-2020, and, eventually, the monster CR-3020.
The CR-620 stereo receiver has a sleek and minimalist design. The front panel is made of satin aluminum with a long dial cut-out in the center. The dial cut-out contains no decorative bezels or multi-colored illumination, giving the CR-620 a clean and uncluttered look.
The main tuning dial in the center is flanked by red LED power and stereo indicators. Additional LEDs indicate whether the AM or FM tuner is selected. Two large analog meters next to the dial display the FM center channel tuning and signal quality.
Below the meters are bass and treble tone controls, each with eleven detented positions. The center settings provide a flat frequency response so there is no need for a tone defeat switch. A loudness control boosts low and high frequencies as volume is decreased, improving sound at lower listening levels. Concentric volume and balance (center-detented) controls are on the right, along with a tuning knob.
Two bar-knob switches on the center panel enable flexible input selection. One switch chooses between a tuner, two tape decks, phono input, and auxiliary input. The other switch controls which source is routed to the tape recording outputs on the rear panel. This facilitates dubbing between tape decks.
Push buttons across the bottom of the panel control power, two pairs of speakers, high/low filters, stereo/mono mode, and FM muting. Two headphone jacks are also conveniently located up front.
Yamaha uses the term “Natural Sound” to describe the audio quality and performance of some of their stereo receivers and other components. The CR-620 is part of the Natural Sound series. The key aspects of Yamaha Natural Sound include:
- Flat frequency response – The receivers strive for highly accurate reproduction across the audible frequency range, without artificial boosting or cutting of certain frequencies. This provides a smooth, natural tonal balance.
- Low distortion – Using high quality parts and circuit design, Total Harmonic Distortion (THD) is minimized. This reduces unwanted audio artifacts and coloration.
- Wide dynamic range – A high signal-to-noise ratio and dynamic power provide clear resolution of subtle details at both very low and very high volumes.
- Precise imaging – Careful attention is paid to stereo separation and soundstage replication. This allows accurate placement of sounds and instruments in space.
The goal of Natural Sound is high-fidelity reproduction that conveys all the nuances and emotions of a live musical performance. It aims to avoid artificial effects like boosted bass or treble that may initially seem impressive but ultimately sound unnatural. Yamaha Natural Sound products are designed to be accurate, balanced, and realistic. Some feel this was just a marketing gimmick used by Yamaha to sell receivers but there really is a different sound, especially from the earlier receivers. To some it may sound sterile but to others it sounds clean and accurate.
The rear panel of the Yamaha CR-620 stereo receiver has a number of useful connections. Antenna terminals are provided for 75 and 300 ohm FM antennas. A screw-type binding post for a wire AM antenna is also included, along with a hinged ferrite rod AM antenna.
The two terminals of speaker outputs use insulated spring clip connectors, which provide a secure grip on speaker cables. Three AC power outlets are located on the rear, with one being switched. This switched outlet can be used to turn connected components on and off along with the receiver.
The Yamaha CR-620 combines excellent tuning capabilities and tone control with flexible input and tape recording options. Its refined design focuses on providing quality sound reproduction and an intuitive user experience.
With its refined yet functional design, the CR-620 offers an great blend of performance and flexibility. The FM tuner is excellent and independent tone controls allow you to tailor the sound to your liking. Whether listening to vinyl, CDs, or the radio, the CR-620 delivers Yamaha’s Natural Sound quality for accurate and realistic reproduction. And with useful features like two headphone jacks, switched AC outlets, and connections for two sets of speakers, the CR-620 is a versatile receiver well-suited for a vintage audio setup.