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REVIEW: Yamaha C-4 Preamplifier (SS)

Posted on October 8, 2008 at 12:22:27
Brandon Howard

Posts: 41
Location: GRANBURY, TX
Joined: December 27, 2004
Model: C-4
Category: Preamplifier (SS)
Suggested Retail Price: $599.00
Description: Stereo Controller
Manufacturer URL: Yamaha
Model Picture: View

Review by Brandon Howard on October 08, 2008 at 12:22:27
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for the C-4

There is not much on the web on this unit so here is my take.
I bought a 1978 Yamaha C-4 preamp from an individual on Craig’s list about 3 weeks ago.
This is not as much a review as it is to state what a great vintage unit this is.
The C-4 is an one heck of an amazing Natural Sound Stereo Pre-Amplifier controller and what is really amazes is that it is 30 years old.
This unit is pre-digital back when vinyl was still king.

The C-4 phonostage is state of the art even by today’s standards this unit will give the expensive audiophile high-end outboard phono preamps a real run for their money. Although this unit sold (I think), for around 599.00 back in 1978 with inflation adjustment would sell for about $2,049.87 in 2008 so it would be not a cheap unit if still made today.
At 50 watts power consumption it not as energy efficient as today’s energy star components.
The unit has 3 phono inputs 1 MC and 2 MM with a plethora
of cartridge loading options something only the real expensive
outboard phono preamps offer these days.
Instead of going into all the preamp controls here is the link you can copy and past into your browser for the C-4 user manual
archived for free downloading (3.63 MB 20 page .pdf)
As for the sound it’s mesmerizing it will bring out the magic of vinyl like I have not heard well in a long long time. The C-4 throws a huge and warm soundstage where the music is more involving more than anything I have ever experienced.
It drives my amps like I did not know they could be driven with complete control and total authority the C-4 is the boss of my amps not the other way around.
This unit is particularly useful if you have powered subs because it has selectable dual amp pre-outs nice!
Oh and it is a darn good looking unit with its old school looks your eyes will be drawn to it as much as your ears are drawn to the oh so sweet stereo sound.
CD’s will sound almost analog (use the AUX input) and if you have an outbound tuner it too will sound fantastic.

Product Weakness: its old parts will be hard to come by, will need good ventilation,<br>not energy star, modern (wide spade) a/c electrical plugs will not plug it to the power outputs.
Product Strengths: deep and wide sound stage, dead quiet operation, natural sound, multiple cartridge loading options, 3 phono inputs including Moving Coil, bass and treble turnover frequency controls, dual amp pre-outs, strong drive for total amplifier control.

Associated Equipment for this Review:

Amplifier: DUAL QSC SRA 3622 BRIDGED
Preamplifier (or None if Integrated): YAMAHA C-4
Sources (CDP/Turntable): Elite PD-65 / Technics SL-1210M5G
Cables/Interconnects: MOGAMI 2524
Music Used (Genre/Selections): rock, Jazz, classical, country
Room Size (LxWxH): 25 x 25 x 10
Room Comments/Treatments: NONE
Time Period/Length of Audition: 3 weeks
Other (Power Conditioner etc.): Shunyata Guardian 2 Ffor amps and Belkin PureAVâ„¢ for preamp
Type of Audition/Review: Product Owner


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That pretty much mirrors my opinion of the Yamaha preamps, posted on October 10, 2008 at 09:28:37

Posts: 3910
Location: Iowa
Joined: May 7, 2004
Hi Brandon.

I also have a Yamaha (CX-830) preamp, and oddly - I'm also using it with a QSC amp.

I've found it to have a lot of synergy. It sounds exactly as you describe. Very transparent with great imaging. It's dead quiet, too.

I'm happy with it, anyway.

Bobbo :-)


RE: That pretty much mirrors my opinion of the Yamaha preamps, posted on October 11, 2008 at 09:24:13
Brandon Howard

Posts: 41
Location: GRANBURY, TX
Joined: December 27, 2004
That's the word I was looking for (Synergy)


RE: REVIEW: Yamaha C-4 Preamplifier (SS), posted on October 24, 2008 at 04:43:44
I endorse all the comments above.

I use a C4 in combination with a Yamaha M2 power amplifier and NS 1000 speakers.

The system is magic although the average age of components are more than 20 years old. It plays CD like vinyl but I find the tape input a better option. Build quality is really good and aesthetics wonderful. Full airy and spacious sound - I bypass all the elaborate tone control circuits and go direct into DC input of M2. MC phono stage really good

Will not change anything in the system for modern stuff: equivalent gear will cost the earth today.


RE: REVIEW: Yamaha C-4 Preamplifier (SS), posted on October 28, 2008 at 10:44:13
Brandon Howard

Posts: 41
Location: GRANBURY, TX
Joined: December 27, 2004
I will try the tape input.


RE: REVIEW: Yamaha C-4 Preamplifier (SS), posted on December 10, 2016 at 07:14:24

Posts: 1
Location: UK
Joined: December 10, 2016

Hi All, Just joined up and due to your comments on the C4, I bought a dead one on eBay and just got it back from a very good electronics guy here in Surrey UK. Have been listening the last few hours to both vinyl and CD (In tape output!)and I am sitting here with a big smile on my face- though quite a few bucks down- so what!. I have it hooked up to my Yamaha B2 Amp and Yamaha NS1000M's. Vinyl is technics SL110 with SME4/Goldring 1042 Cartridge (all serviced set up recently too) and CD is a Marantz cd 17, which for me is a very decent player without going mad with your dough (bucks)
Van Morrisons double Album of greatest hits is sounding very very good.

So, thanks to you all for your comments

All the best.


RE: REVIEW: Yamaha C-4 Preamplifier (SS), posted on December 15, 2016 at 20:57:57

Posts: 10434
Location: Alabama
Joined: September 11, 2010
Welcome! mikembtech5


RE: REVIEW: Yamaha C-4 Preamplifier (SS), posted on January 5, 2017 at 13:41:29

Posts: 1
Location: Wisconsin
Joined: November 3, 2010
I am looking for a Yahama C4 preamp. If anyone knows where I can buy one, I would be interested in hearing about it! Thanks! S


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