Yamaha is back with what looks to be a very promising headphone competing with other top dogs in the hp space. Discussion here…
Looking forward to demo-ing a pair when I visit Japan in Jan 2023!
Nice, will be curious on your thoughts! I want one myself but whether I can get one is another story. Lol
Whoa!!! 5k??…didn’t expect to see that price tag! Expected to see a 2-3k range.
If Vader wore headphones…it’d be these!
@taronlissimore any chance you guys will have the yh5k in stock soon?
Did you ever get to demo? Any impressions?
Perhaps! We’ve got some talks coming up. I know a couple people checked them out at Audio46 today so I’m sure some impressions will be dropping soon on them!
Was planning on getting one myself but they’re all out of stock for now. Had my fingers crossed that you guys might have the next shipment soon after but it looks like I’ll have to wait a little while.
Anyway, thank you for the update!
Trade show thoughts here: Yamaha YH-5000SE — a flagship from an orthodynamic headphones veteran! | Page 52 | Headphone Reviews and Discussion - Head-Fi.org
I’ve got a lot to say about this headphone but, for now, I’ll say these are exceptional and on par with other totl hps (mysphere, utopia, d8kp). Plus they are damn comfortable for my small head, on par with empyrean (but based on memory)
I haven’t done comparisons with other hps yet on this specific chain (though i can make some generalizations), other than the mysphere. Things like cables, pad swaps, amp/DAC combos, i haven’t gotten around to it yet. But here’s my experience with it so far…
The BIG Picture
Current main chain:
Auralic Aries G2 (PSU mod) via lightning DS —>
LinnenberG Satie DA Converter (IIR filter) —>
Crayon Audio CHA-1 —>
Yamaha YH-5000 (stock leather pads)
[all connected to a PS Audio Power Plant 3 outfitted with Allnic ZL technology cables (from digital to analog to power) / all components are isolated with Gingko isolation products]
In general the YH5K, to me, goes for a very “clean analytical” approach. What do I mean by this? In a sense, its goal is to showcase clarity and resolution to the max. I don’t think this translates to being natural or true-to-life but there’s also nothing wrong with that. Tonally, I’d classify this as a neutral-bright headphone on this setup.
One of the two main standouts of this headphone is its extreme treble presentation, and I do find it on the brighter side of what I’d consider neutral. It is supremely extended, energetic, and airy while being very delicate at the same time. In other words, the treble is front and center but it’s never harsh or piercing, assuming synergy is on point. As a result, I think the YH5K handles organic music very well giving it a great sense of energy and life. There’s almost a sense of heightened clarity but without sounding artificial as to cause problems and, in effect, ends up sounding hyper accentuated which isn’t really realistic, but damn is it engaging. How they pulled off this kind of balance in the treble while delivering so much is really something.
The second main standout is its “traditional” but very open stage. What do I mean by “traditional”? Basically, you have a very defined stage boundary on your left and on your right (ie. right where the earcups are), resulting in a direct line of sight toward the center stage. And within the center stage is a very open, free, and layered view. Although it’s not a very wide stage, the depth and focus more than makeup for it. It sort of forces you to look forward toward the music rather than to the sides of your head or behind.
To briefly address its weaknesses, the YH5K lacks some impact in the fundamental notes (ie. sub-bass). It extends just fine but there’s not enough weight and impact behind it. Overall, it’s not a big issue with most music I played through it but it is a bit disappointing. However, the upper harmonics (ie. mid-bass) are punchy, fast, and tight with some nice added warmth (ie. not lacking in quantity to me), despite it being neutral-bright on this setup. The overall bass here is actually very good and I feel like I’m underselling it here with my explanation, but it gets overshadowed by how standout the treble is that I’m unable to give it justice.
Next up, I think the timbre and tonal density lean a bit dry here so for the dedicated timbre heads, you probably have better options out there. Personally, I don’t think it’s a big issue considering the presentation it goes for but it’s still worth mentioning. I will say that the YH5K handles texture very well so I think that balances the lean timbre a bit. In addition, you do get an upper-mid emphasis so the upper-harmonics do get emphasized over the lower.
What I think are standouts:
- extreme treble extension, delicacy, energy, and air
- very great resolving power and microdynamics
- traditional yet very open stage presentation
- very nice energy and handling of texture
- a natural sense of dynamics
What I think could be improved:
- stage width
- sub-bass impact
- tonal density could be richer
- timbre might not satisfy the dedicated
Found out some things since the previous post… I was using a danacable lazuli ref for the yh5k but since then I have tried the stock cable. I think the stock fixed most of my issues previously mentioned, mainly the timbre and the overall sense of weight. So I thought the stock cable worked better in terms of synergy with the yh5k but didn’t match the danacable in performance. So imo it held back the yh5k just a bit in terms of synergy. Since then I decided to get a new cable for it but it won’t come for a while…
Anyway, I got around to doing a comparison to the utopia on the same chain (ie. linn satie → crayon cha-1). My thoughts are kind of scattered but I’ll share it anyway…
Utopia pre-20 VS YH5K
These two cans are a lot similar I find, they still sound different ofc but in terms of overall sonic picture, they’re very similar in goals. Both seem to go for that ‘analytical reference’ type of sound. Hands down the bass on the yh5k is just better (not surprised)–well-extended, textured, and more realistic. The utopia can slam a bit harder though but I’d rather take quality over quantity in most cases. For mids, it’s a little unfair since I think the dana synergizes much better with the utopia but, in general, the utopia is the wetter (slightly extended decay) of the two while the yh5k is dryer here, and both seem to emphasize the upper-mids a little more, with the yh5k having the more accurate and less smoothed-over texture. The treble performance are both standouts imo but both are different in their presentation. The utopia gives me the impression of, “I have all this potential in the treble but I don’t want to overwhelm you so I’m chillin’ (ie. smooth).” The yh5k, on the other hand, has this vibe of “I’m shoving all this treble down your throat cause I know I do it well but I won’t hurt you (ie. delicate).” Resolution-wise, I’d say on this chain the yh5k pulls out a bit more information here and, in addition, has slightly better depth, focus, and timbre/tone. Last thing to mention here is that the utopia likes to impress you with some party tricks–dynamics are more exaggerated and the stage presentation is holographic with a spherical shape. The yh5k doesn’t really have that and is likely the more natural of the two (although both aren’t particularly natural by default imo), but it does like to impress you with its heightened sense of clarity.
Tallying all these points individually, it seems like the yh5k mostly takes it here… BUT really it comes down to whether you want a smoother more romantic sound sprinkled with some party tricks (ie. exaggerated dynamics, holographic spherical staging, and slam) with the utopia or the more cleanly focused, heightened, and open-sounding yh5k… and ofc your chain and tastes, etc… Both are great cans but if I had to personally pick (on this chain) I’d choose the yh5k (with a different cable), it has quickly become my 2nd pick.