This new flagship Japanese headphone has an incredible price ticket – and efficiency to match, says Matthew Jens…
YH-5000SE Orthodynamic Headphones
AUD $7,500 RRP
I do love bargains, particularly once I come throughout a pair of headphones with a superb price-to-performance ratio, providing very good worth for each greenback spent. In as we speak’s financial local weather, it is reassuring to know that there are choices available on the market that give a lot bang per buck, so to talk. All the identical, whereas shopping for a Toyota Camry stands out as the clever selection, generally you simply must take a Rolls Royce out for a check drive…
So as we speak, expensive readers, should you’re on the lookout for basic StereoNET recommendation on getting the very best sound in your cash, then you definately had higher look elsewhere on our web site. That is as a result of on this evaluation, I get to play with a downright attractive, earth-shattering, wallet-destroying, luxurious flagship headphone design from Yamaha! This firm has repeatedly confirmed that – when it is being actually severe – it may possibly do world-beating merchandise. So what of the brand new YH-5000SE?
Coming in a thick black cardboard field adorned with an internal silky black lining, this lavish pair of headphones greets you whereas comfortably perched in its delicate little mattress. Beneath sits a cable – a woven, silver coated 2-metre lengthy lead that is as chunky as it’s confidence inspiring…
“Yikes! This seems to be costly and heavy,” I believed, gripping the scarf with two fingers to prise the YH-5000SE out. But to my shock, nevertheless, this pair of cans was significantly lighter than anticipated. Weighing in at 320 grams, it is truly 10g lighter than the all-plastic Sennheiser HD800, 100g lighter than the Audeze LCD-5, and a whopping 170g lighter than the equally priced Focal Utopia. This have to be right down to the choice to make use of magnesium for the ear cups, which is even lighter than aluminium.
Impressively, every YH-5000SE can be made completely by hand in Japan. To show it, Yamaha despatched me video proof of the meeting strains – it was much less of a manufacturing unit and extra like rows of artisans fastidiously inspecting and assembling every part with love and care. A second set of pads hides contained in the field, created from Toray Ultrasuede, a fabric utilized in luxurious cars, perforated for simple respiration. These differ from the usual pads, which have a perforated sheepskin leather-based outer and an artificial leather-based internal. Suffice it to say you could’t go improper with both set of pads, and the selection is right down to you.
Different goodies contained in the field are a second cable (equally as hefty as the primary) with a balanced Pentaconn adapter, and a headphone stand. Sure, a full-on, some-assembly-required, strong aluminium headphone stand, which seemingly takes sturdy inspiration from the costly Woo Audio stands. Excessive-end headphone producers, take notice, please! So far as I am involved, a stupendous bundled stand is much extra useful than a carry case or cumbersome show field – as you should use it each day. All different such equipment are simply good fripperies, not necessities!
The scarf makes use of a chrome steel band with a suspension pad held beneath. Whereas this seems to be related at first look to flagship Audeze choices, the elemental distinction right here is the stepless adjustment slider on either side. The concept is you could make millimetre-perfect changes to the match of the headphone, which works properly sufficient, however I discovered that it could slip every now and then, main me to take the YH-5000SE off and start readjusting it once more…
The earcup design is fascinating, sitting someplace between a Focal headphone and a Sennheiser HD800, with some great Japanese technical love thrown within the center. The cup is circumaural and related in form and measurement to the aforementioned Sennheiser; both facet barely touches the ears when worn, and the pads press gently into the pinnacle.
No matter my readjusting, sporting these is a merely heavenly expertise. The impossibly light-weight and squishy, breathable pads make this pair of headphones glorious for marathon-length listening classes. Even the thick, juicy cable is nice enjoyable to play with and drapes superbly over something it comes into contact with. We’re coping with correct, high-end stuff right here, of us.
This cost-no-object strategy extends to the internals, too. The driving force design is assessed as orthodynamic, a Yamaha means of claiming planar-magnetic – that means light-weight diaphragms for top transient velocity and low distortion, in principle not less than. The corporate explains: “[The driver] is manufactured by etching the voice coil with a novel sample on either side of the movie and making use of minute corrugation. This ends in important weight discount from a traditional dynamic driver, offering excellent responsiveness that absolutely brings out the refined nuances and delicate atmosphere within the music.”
After plugging the YH-5000SE into my Schiit stack, it grew to become evident that it requires severe quantities of juice to realize life like listening ranges. Though quoted impedance is simply 34 ohms, it’s odd that this design requires significantly extra rotation of the amount knob than different such headphones I’ve auditioned over time.
Regardless of being such a power-hungry headphone, the Yamaha handles itself surprisingly properly with refined programme materials. It proved properly capable of be delicate and mild, as demonstrated splendidly by LOVE by Sofiane Pamart. This touching piece of music has one single pianist taking part in a fancy melody throughout a broad vary of keys, expertly recorded and faithfully mastered. The YH-500SE made it splendidly accessible. With an correct soundstage and a heat timbre, it introduced every key press with crisp element with out turning into sibilant.
The frequency response throughout the midband is harking back to my Sennheiser HD800S, which is a praise in itself, because the HD800 boasts among the best dynamic driver designs available on the market. Planar-magnetic drivers are well-known for his or her measurement and floor space motion, which might typically assist lean right into a bass-heavy response. Nonetheless, the potential to supply delicate, correct and interesting piano is a power of the Yamaha. It made me need to play this album repeatedly, which is exactly what I did.
What with this being a big and costly planar-magnetic design, it could be downright impolite to not put it by its paces. So I shifted gears and cued up Whale Tune by Prof. Regardless of being a dance music monitor, it has splendidly mastered piano samples drifting by the monitor, and the nuance of those can simply be missed on some headphones. The YH-500SE does a formidable job of sustaining adequate bass kick, whereas paying these samples the respect they deserve.
Subsequent, it was time to get right down to enterprise and see how a lot bass slam I might tease out of the drivers. Hallucinogen by Chris Lorenzo did the trick, with a relentless thrashing of sub-frequency ridiculousness. The YH-500SE carried out admirably, with that signature planar magnetic sound rendering loads of kick and rumble, with tremendous clear decay tails. I might additionally dial in loads extra bass EQ if required, a specialty of this kind of driver design.
General then, the sound high quality proved very onerous to fault. It isn’t a scientific, tonally correct, flat response studio companion; as an alternative, it is one with which you’ll sit again comfortably late at night time, listening to a few of your previous favourites for hours. Its detail-oriented nature is unforgiving to low-bitrate recordsdata, however should you spend this a lot on headphones, you’ve got most likely forgotten what low-bitrate recordsdata sound like.
Being an open-backed design, do not count on a lot isolation from the surface world – and vice versa. Anybody sitting remotely near you may hear what you are listening to, assuming you are listening at respectable quantity ranges. But the upside of open-backed designs is that it delivers a spacious, pure soundstage with easy instrumental separation and element retrieval. As ever, you get what you pay for…
As we all know, Yamaha’s YH-5000SE could be very costly – however then it is a planar-magnetic (orthodynamic in Yamahaese) headphone made nearly completely out of magnesium, so you may see the place a lot of your cash has gone! Due to its glorious audio engineering, it presents superlative sound. And Yamaha has additionally taken a novel strategy to equipment; as an alternative of simply throwing in seven cables you’ll by no means use, it provides a correct, strong headphone stand, a sturdy pad choice and a cable that appears and feels nice.
General, this Japanese big has once more confirmed that it may possibly produce glorious worth headphones, even on the rarefied value of the YH-500SE. This can be a very good high-end design that is very a lot on the tempo within the high echelons of the market. So must you rush out and purchase a pair? The reply is sure, supplied you will have the funds and are on the lookout for a no holds barred answer. Generally tightening your belt is not good for you.