Yamaha HP-3

General Information

The Yamaha HP-3 was Yamaha's bottom of the line orthodynamic headphone in their original 1970s HP-x line up. The low-frequency response of HP-3/HP-50 headphones varies significantly from unit to unit and this is not yet attributable to any specific model variations. That is, the differences don't correlate with, say, cosmetic or packaging changes or, as yet, with serial numbers (see below).

Apart from the sound differences, it has also been noted that the HP-3 has been sold in at least two different retail boxes. Different packaging can be attributed to different production runs, or perhaps to different international markets for which the headphones were intended.

A notable difference between the HP-3 and the HP-50/a/s, is that the HP-3 often has a 'gasket' on the baffle side of the driver, whereas the HP-50 variants do not. HP-50a/s variations also have a white paper disc in front of the driver and leather imitation headband cover, whereas the HP-3/YH-3 sometimes do not.

It's possible that the sound differences in HP-3/50 models can be related to their serial numbers (stamped inside the left side of the headband). Here is a provisional list of serial numbers with comments:

HP-50S: 162906 - used to belong to DAC

HP-3: 270880 - Tony's HP-3 - Bassiest pair known (still underdamped after usual damping for bassy pairs), from UK

HP-3: 390282 - Ludo's original HP-3 - Bass-heavy with super-loose diaphragm

HP-50S: 463014 - Kabeer's HP-50S - Bassy HP-50 from France

HP-3: 770738 - Ludo's office HP-3 - Bass-heavy sound but less damping required

HP-3: 771138 - The “Irish” HP-3 - Bass-light HP-3

HP-3: 781739 - World Tour HP-3 - Tensioned diaphragm, almost no damping required, not a lot of bass. From Germany

HP-3: 830446 - Kabeer's HP-3 - Bass-heavy from USA

HP-50A: 920115 - Kabeer's HP-50A - Bassy HP-50 from Germany

HP-50A: 1y1133 - Shivesh' HP-50A - Bass-heavy sound but less damping required from Lincolnshire, United Kingdom


Thanks for this overview, I have managed to get a pair in very very good condition, still boxed in pretty much as new condition complete with the plastic bag and cardboard support, black and orange boxing wtih great design. First listen the right channel did not fire, I turned the volume up and it came alive, so assume it was stuck and needed some juice - I am in a current flux state and don't have my high powered headphone amp and feel I am going to need it with these, almost feel like they need a run in. Anyway, serial number is 731529 for your info, and location New Zealand.