Home Review Yamaha YH-5000SE over-ear headphones – Kandō 感動!

Review Yamaha YH-5000SE over-ear headphones – Kandō 感動!

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Pros

  • Very comfortable
  • Smooth, complete sound
  • Easily controllable

Cons

  • Substantial investment

Price: € 5499

Build quality
Comfort
Controlability
Price
Alpha-Audio Approved
Yamaha YH-5000SE

Intro

Contents

Yamaha introduced the YH-5000SE at the High End 2023 in Munich, the top-of-the-line headphones of this Japanese brand. An over-ear planar magnetic system (or in Yamaha speak, orthodynamic). The retail price is quite a statement: € 5,500 for a pair of headphones, two sets of cables, two sets of earpads and a stand. It marks the return of Yamaha to the premier league of headphone heaven, after decades of absence. How will the YH-5000SE perform?

Kandō

Yamaha; we are quite fond of this brand with its logo consisting of three tuning forks. Torakasu Yamaha founded an organ factory in 1887; around the turn of the century, pianos were added, making it the first Japanese piano builder.

Yamaha’s mission was – and is – to add value to leisure, and their products reflect this mission. From musical instruments to audio equipment, but also from outboard motors to quads. What makes Yamaha special is that for each product they offer, an affordable entry-level version exists that already works just fine. A plastic Yamaha recorder (the flute) can be bought for as little as 30 dollars and performs just fine for the money.

Nowadays, Yamaha is the largest supplier of musical instruments worldwide and plays a prominent role as a product innovator in this as well. In 1983, for example, the Yamaha DX7 was the first digital synthesizer; many 1980s pop songs were created with this still-relevant keyboard instrument. Just listen to Aha’s ‘Take On Me’ and ‘Another Day In Paradise’ by Phil Collins, or ‘The Final Countdown’ by Europe. Another landmark was 1988, Yamaha being the first brand to introduce a CD recorder.

Kandō (感動) is Yamaha’s mission, which freely translated means “the deep gratitude for experiencing ultimate quality and performance”

Functional

Yamaha YH-5000SE

Back to headphones. Yamaha has a relatively small collection of headphones and in-ears. The YL-700A was the top model, until the introduction of the YH-5000SE, with a price tag of around € 550. To introduce a top model that is 10 times more expensive is quite something. Inquiries with Yamaha representatives for a background story do not yield much more than the assertion that Yamaha is setting a new standard for top-end headphones. Yamaha just wants to be a significant player in a growing market for headphones in this quality and price range. They are planning to launch a headphone amplifier that matches the YH-5000SE in the third quarter of 2023.

Back in the day, Yamaha sold the HP-1, a planar magnetic headphone that Yamaha launched in the 1970s and which is credited with mythical sonic properties in the vintage audio realm.

The YH-5000SE’s looks differ to great extent from its predecessor. It is an open-back design, the ear cups enclose the ear and the device has a techy and functional look & feel. Don’t expect bling bling, although the headphones unmistakably have a luxurious and high quality feel. It reminds us most of the Sennheiser 800 series.

The Yamaha arrives in a large box that includes, in addition to the headphones, two pairs of cables, two sets of ear cushions and, as a bonus, a table stand for the YH-5000SE. Nice! Not many brands offer headphone stands, not even in this price range.

Specs

Yamaha YH-5000SE

The driver of the YH-5000SE is circular, and made of ultra-light conductive material; the conductive circuits are placed in a concentric shape on the driver and no fixed mount is used. This way, the speed of the driver is not limited.

The housing is also circular and two alloy “Dutch weave” brackets are used to hold the driver in place. The construction aims to secure a fast and lineair frequency response, to reduce reflections inside the headphones and to find an optimum between the sound characteristics of open headphones and the bass response of a closed system.

Another thing to note is the impedance; 34 Ohms is very low for planar headphones. And at 320 grams, it is one of the lightest headphones in this price range, compared to top models at other brands (more on this later).

Testing

We spent a few days burning in the YH-5000SE. Upon arrival, we found the sound still a bit on the rough and raw side. A break-in time of 300-400 hours is needed to make these headphones sing. So we did.

After that, we had about two weeks to listen to this top-notch Yamaha in a number of setups.

  • Streaming software: Audirvana, Roon
  • Burson Conductor II DAC headphone amplifier
  • Weiss DAC2 with streaming module
  • Sennheiser HDVD800 headphone amplifier
  • Oppo HA-2 DAC/headphone amplifier
  • Fostex HP-V1 headphone amplifier
Type test
Single Test
Speaker class
Headphones
Speaker type
Magnetostatic
Speaker system
Open baffle
Signal control
Passive
Frequency range
5 Hz - 70 kHz
Crossover
1-way (broadband)
Efficiency
98 dB
Impedance
34 Ohm
Dimensions
    Weight speaker
    0.32 Kg
    Production country
    Japan
    Measurements
    Yamaha YH 5000 - waterfall
    Yamaha YH 5000 - waterfall
    Yamaha YH 5000 - spectrogram
    Yamaha YH 5000 - spectrogram
    Yamaha YH 5000 - Response + phase
    Yamaha YH 5000 - Response + phase
    Yamaha YH 5000 - distortion
    Yamaha YH 5000 - distortion

    Winkels met Yamaha

    Sint-Antoniusstraat 15
    2300 Turnhout, BE
    Joseph Bensstraat 21
    1180 Ukkel, BE
    Pleinweg 136
    3083 EP Rotterdam, Zuid-Holland, NL
    Hooikade 13
    2627 Delft, Zuid Holland, NL
    Bredabaan 1031
    B-2930 Brasschaat, BE
    Pelikaanstraat 126
    2018 Antwerpen, BE
    Schoenmakersstraat 19
    6041EX Roermond, NL
    Grotestraat 23
    5931 CS Tegelen, NL
    Parkweg 23
    8084GG 't Harde, NL
    Stationsweg 87
    9471 GM Zuidlaren, NL
    St. Ceciliastraat 28
    5038 HA Tilburg, NL
    Hermesweg 2
    3741 GP Baarn, Utrecht, NL
    Korevaarstraat 2 e-f
    2311 JS Leiden, NL
    Steenstraat 54
    6828 CM Arnhem, Gelderland, NL
    St.-Katelijnevest 53
    2000 Antwerpen, BE
    Beethovenstraat 9-b
    1077 HL Amsterdam, Noord Holland, NL
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