Yamaha has produced the ultra-deep YH-5000SE as a strong demonstration of its sound philosophy, which it calls True Sound. It’s about reproducing music as naturally as possible, but not necessarily as neutrally as possible. Instead, the hi-fi department and the music department have collaborated towards what they call a common sound ideal, where the goal is for instruments to appear with deep timbres in a gigantic soundstage, so that the listener is completely immersed in the music.
Yamaha are very proud of the fact that they make instruments, hi-fi products and studio equipment (they don’t mention their motorcycles in this context), and claim that the departments actually collaborate and use each other’s skills to create the best products possible.
Inspiration from the past
Yamaha has taken the technology of the 1976 HP-1 Orthodynamic model and developed it further. Handcrafted at Yamaha’s factory in Japan, where they also produce their most expensive grand pianos and other audio equipment, the YH-5000SE “combines exceptionally high build quality with outstanding comfort”. Yamaha promises that the headphones are so comfortable you’ll forget you’re wearing them.
Called Orthodynamic by Yamaha, the planemagnetic drivers use a thin, ultra-light diaphragm to achieve “exceptional dynamic contrast between weak and strong passages”.
According to Yamaha, the headphones should deliver an accurate reproduction of the most subtle sound changes, and we are promised a rich and deep bass with great transparency.
The diaphragm is considerably lighter than in a conventional dynamic driver, and accounts for the subtle nuances and mood of the music. Micro-perforated air vanes with high permeability on both sides should guarantee that the diaphragm movements are correct and that the dynamics of the music are reproduced correctly.
Form and comfort
The ear cups themselves completely enclose the ears, and have good internal volume to work optimally with the ultra-thin diaphragm. The open back prevents the compression you would otherwise get from a closed construction due to over- and under-pressure.
To create the optimum shape and comfort, the aim was to make the headphones as light and yet robust as possible. Therefore, the construction is mainly made of magnesium of the same quality as used in the aerospace industry, and the whole construction weighs just 320 grams without cable. By comparison, the Focal Utopia weighs 490 grams, and the Hi-FiMAN HE-1000se weighs 440 grams. The Yamaha’s are also actually lighter than the Sennheiser HD 800S, which is among the lightest in its class. Of all those I can think of, only the Audio-Technica ATH-ADX5000 weighs less.
The Yamaha YH-5000SE comes with two pairs of ear pads; both suede and smooth leatherette. The smooth leatherette ones are perforated, with a fine mesh to protect the driver from dust. The suede pads are of the Toray Ultrasuede type, which should be extra comfortable.
Two different cables are included, both unbalanced 3.5-6.3 mm and balanced 4.4 mm Pentaconn, both with silver-plated OFC copper. If you want a 4-pin XLR cable instead, this can be purchased as an option. As the icing on the cake, a dedicated aluminium stand is also included.
Yamaha YH-5000SE: Availability and price
Yamaha YH-5000SE has supposed delivery in late January, and costs … hold on … around 6,000 euros! We’ve ordered them for review, of course.