Has anyone tried these yet? I know they look a bit like Beats, but Yamaha is known for creating the most legendary studio monitors in the world: the NS10. Their IEMs have a very strong following as well. I'm curious to see if their expertise translates to full size headphones.
I bought the Yamaha pro 500 yesterday morning. The headphone has already about 10 hrs of burn-in time, so I can already get some impressions to share and two questions to ask.
First the impressions. I think this is an excellent sounding headphone. I have also an AKG K550 and a Logitech UE600. In my view the tonality, the separation and clarity and the stereo imaging or the Yamaha is superior to even the AKG K550. The bass is present but well controlled and never blooming into the mids. The mids are forward but with sparky energy and not too far from neutral, and the highs are not strident at all, very well managed. The tonality appears to be in-between the UE600 and the K550, so that it has less bass presence than the UE600 (that is a bit too warm for my taste) but more than the K550 (that has very well controlled bass but to too powerful in presence). The Yamaha Pro 500 has a tonality that is not as warm as the UE600 but not as lean as the K550, just in the middle of them
This is an great headphone overall, and I am surprised how little appreciated it is, maybe because it is new (?).
Very easy to drive from an iPod. Compared to the MDR-1R, SQ-wise to my ears, the PRO 500 is an overall upgrade and sounds better than any headphone I have ever heard. The 1R tonally is warmer especially in the mids, very much like a wooden headphone. The 500 has more impactful bass and more detailed as well. All the instruments have more body and sound more accurate. The mids and treble are perfectly in line with the bass to my ears and the highs sound crisp and clear without ever sounding strident. The 500 sounds more coherent to my ears and just sounds 'right.' I loved the 1R while still having them but when I first heard the 500 (on a train coming back from work) I instantly fell in love with the natural sound and ambience and knew this was the headphone I was looking for. To me, it's not just a headphone - its an audio experience and this is the first headphone that I like so much that I'll most likely write up a formal review. Drums, strings, vocals, etc. never sounded better, clearer and overall more natural than any headphone I owned before. The imaging is fantastic as well as the layering and detail. The soundstage is just as wide as the 1Rs to my ears with more depth. Sometimes I felt vocals were slightly too warm on the 1R but on these they sound just right.
As for comfort, the 1R takes the crown in that regard. Definitely lighter and more comfortable and I'll miss the style of the headphone as well since I prefer a more head-conforming headband. The PRO 500 feels more solid and is a little bigger and slightly heavier. Ear cups are on the slightly small side as well and sometimes when I move my head around I can slightly feel my left ear touching the driver. However all these issues are not really all that bad. I'm not even the biggest fan of the style (wish they were more conservative-looking I guess) but its growing on me - they don't look as gaudy to me as Beats. They feel and look more elegant. Anyway, in the end they will be keepers for life - the SQ is just too good and I give a lot of props to Yamaha for tuning such a great-sounding headphone. With other headphones, I'd be thinking about the characteristics of that headphone vs. other headphones - what sounds right, what doesn't sound right. It would bug me because music should sound one way IMO and that should be natural no matter what genre. I never thought I would find a portable that sounds as close to natural as this one and I'm glad I went out on a limb purchasing this can. When I listen to these, I stop thinking about other cans and just enjoy my music, since I don't feel anything is missing in the music. It's all there.
This headphone might not meet everyone's preferences but this is my personal experience so far. Every time I put this headphone on, I'm blown away and feel very satisfied with my purchase, even though it's the most I've spent on one headphone. I feel very lucky to have them. Anyway these are just one person's impressions and as is on HF, I'm sure everyone will have different opinions. Take this with a grain of salt.
Ok, so I took time to write a couple of things regarding these guys. This is mostly "preliminary" as I'm one of those that feel sound signature grows once you give a lot of listening time to gear. Anyway, mini review.
Pros: Impactful sound, bass extension and impact is present, feels sturdy, good accessories.
Cons: Bass overpowers lower mids (quantity is too much), puts pressure on top of the head, they are HUGE!
THIS HOBBY SUCKS!!!
You read this right! lol
I thought I was done buying headphones for a while as I think I found what I was after with MrSpeakers Mad Dogs and Ultrasone Signature Pros but, as always, new ones come along that you just get the "itch" to try and this is exactly what happened and why I got these (and why I still want to try the Ultrasone Signature DJs and the Paradox ;-))
Anyway, on with the show.
Yamaha Pro 500
Closed 50 mm neodymium drivers
20 – 20,000 Hz frequency response
106 dB/mW sensitivity
23 ohms impedance
* 1/4th adapter
* 2 detachable cables (1 with controls)
* Sturdy good looking case
* Stickers and a wipe
Comfort and build:
As listed on top, one of the "cons" (at least for me) is that the headphones are HUGE! In fact, I haven't even used the "adjustable" part of the headband. Basically, without extending it, it fits good for me (I'm thinking that someone with a tiny head, or maybe a woman, will not be able to enjoy listening to these! Maybe they'll fit a bit loose? Not sure). Bear in mind though, that this may happen only to me? I'm kind of long-faced (lol), pinhead type or something like that. What this does though is put pressure on top of my head :-( It becomes uncomfortable after a few songs so I have to keep adjusting them to mitigate the pressure. Extending the headband makes the headphones loose so, Gelocks is Sad!
Even though the headphones as a whole are Huge, the ear pads are tiny. Comparing them side by side (I'll try to include photos once I get home or later on during the day) to my Signature Pros and my Mad Dogs, it is very apparent. BUT I do have to say that they feel very good once touching the ears. For someone with big ears it might actually feel like an on-ear headphone though but at least to me they feel better than the V-Moda M100s.
Build quality seems top-notch. Not sure how much pressure the plastic can widthstand but they seem to be sturdy enough. Paint quality (I have the blue ones) is great! Really lights up the room and everyone ask which brand it is ;-). They DO look like Beats clones though which might be a problem for some and as mentioned earlier, the size makes you feel like you have a "Halo" or something.
I guess that's all I have to say about that so let's go to...
These impressions are done using/listening my usual test songs:
Damian Marley - Welcome to Jamrock
Thrice - To Awake and Avenge the Dead
Miguel Bose - Este Mundo Va
Kaskade - Fire in your Shoes
Blink182 - Kaleidoscope
Jon Cleary - When you Get back
Mima - Oigo Voces
Esperanza Spalding - What a Friend
Sara Bareilles - Vegas
Killswitch Engage - Fixation on the Darkness
Juancho - Pillala
Boston - More than a Feeling
J-King y Maximan - Ella me Pide Something
Calvin Harris - Feel so Close
Tenacious D - The Metal
Three Six Mafia - Late Night Tip
First off... These guys GO LOUD!!!!! I'm using: Cowon C2 --> Schiit Magni --> phones.
IMPACTFUL bass! Lots of Quantity and good quality actually. Listening to Jon Cleary's "When you Get Back" it's actually a treat and I think this track shows the abilities of the Pro 500s. Stepping to something more "club-like" such as Kaskade's "Fire in your Shoes" and Calvin Harris "Feel so Close" is actually a very good experience carrying enough bass and sub-bass to make the headphones shake and rattle a bit at high volumes. And talking about sub-bass, "Late Night Tip" by Three Six Mafia is one track with CONSTANT bass and sub-bass attack and the Pro 500s handle it quite well, no complaints (very similar to how the Denon D600s and V-Moda M100s handle it... this is from memory of course.)
Falling Down to a more laid back type of track, "Oigo Voces" by Mima, her voice stands out as it should in the recording, once the bass line starts it again provides good presence, separation is very good. Continuing with Esperanza Spalding's "What a Friend" piano doesn't sound as natural to me in comparison with the Mad Dogs or Sig Pros, not sure if it is because of the bass response not being as fast or a recess in the mids. And speaking about that, some tracks with male vocals don't sound as forward but again, not sure if it's due to the Bass being a bit boosted/boomy, or slow decay/response, or recessed mids. Maybe it's a combination. Either way, it's NOT unpleasant! So don't get me wrong.
Ok mids/upper mids (female vocals sound better and more forward than males, so might have a bit of a recess),
Good highs (I could not detect not even a good deal of sibilance, on some tracks they were just a BIT harsh or at least reaching the limits in which I would say that the highs hurt my ears...).
Sound Stage/sound separation is very good (I find it a bit better than the Mad Dogs and on-par with the Sig Pros!)
If I were to order closed cans by preference (the ones I have tried)
Comfort: Mad Dogs --> D5000s --> Sony MDR-1R --> Denon D600 --> Yamaha Pro 500 --> Signature Pro --> SRH940 --> A900X --> V-MODA M100
(this is taking into consideration both earpad and headband feel)
Build: Signature Pro --> Mad Dogs --> A900X --> Denon D600 --> Sony MDR-1R --> V-MODA M100 --> Yamaha Pro 500 --> D5000s --> SRH940
(if you wonder why the M100s ranked low, cracked wing-tips on supposedly indestructible headphones! BAH!)
Sound Quality: Signature Pro --> Mad Dogs --> D5000s --> Yamaha Pro 500 --> Sony MDR-1R --> V-Moda M100 --> Denon D600 --> A900X --> SRH940s (note, ALL of these have a GREAT sound and some are "special" on specific genres, but when nitpicking, this is how I would choose them)
Contents: V-Moda M100 --> Signature Pro --> Yamaha Pro 500 --> Denon D600 --> SRH940 --> Sony MDR-1R --> Mad Dogs --> D5000 == A900x
All in all, the final verdict is what counts, either YAY or NAY... Sound-wise these are definitely a YAY!!! Someone looking for "good sounding big bass having headphones" can see these Yamahas as a very good purchase! Not only is the bass at full throttle but the whole spectrum seems alright to my ears except some "unnaturalness" and recess in the mids/lower mids (probably due to boost in bass).
If you ask: "well, why should I choose these instead of the M100s, Denon D600s or any other "bassy" headphone?
And the answer is... depends on what you are looking for... Some people like different styles, some people have different ear/head shapes, some people might value comfort more than anything else. If it were to sound and only sound, I WOULD take these over the D600s and M100s!
(M100s would be second, D600s would be third)
The other usual question would be: "Is the price right for these Yamahas?" And here it gets tricky. I FEEL the cost of these headphones is quite
alright for what they bring to the table:
- Good Sound
- Good (if similar to other brand) style
- Great deal of accessories
- Proven name brand
Current prices put the M100s as cheaper by $100 and the D600s cheaper by $60 or so (if you get them through fumfie.com new). Bearing in mind this, would I still choose the Yamahas? I would say Yes.
As always YMMV, it all depends on your taste! Hopefully I could provide an idea with these impressions and whenever one has a chance to test all or any of these headphones I have mentioned, do it!!! Always trust your ears.
Good luck to whoever reads this.
Review by Mark2410: http://www.head-fi.org/t/653626/yamaha-hph-pro-500-review
Edited by tseliottt - 3/5/13 at 12:19am