Yamaha YH-5000SE — a flagship from an orthodynamic headphones veteran!
Sep 21, 2022 at 6:34 PM Thread Starter Post #1 of 1,563


500+ Head-Fier
Nov 28, 2019
Yamaha is finally making a return to the orthodynamic headphones field. Not only is it making a return, it's making a return in full force.

For those unaware, Yamaha played a major role in history when it comes to orthodynamic headphones. It wouldn't be an exaggeration to say that it's among the most important and influential names in the history of orthodynamics. It was a very early adopter of the then-new technology. The 70's were a very important period in time for planar-magnetic headphones. While Fostex made its name with the "T" series of headphones, Yamaha had a different approach. It made its first appearance in 1975 with the HP-1 headphones, designed by none other than Mario Bellini (who would desig several other headphones for Yamaha). While the majority of companies entering the new market of orthodynamics struggled with sales, Yamaha clearly had the experience and the financial resources to make a dominant entrance into the market. To sum up its active years in the field, the HP series consisted of 8 models (HP-1, HP-2, HP-3, HP-1000, HP-50, HP-50S, HP-50A, HP-50M), the YH series consisted of 6 models (YH-1000, YH-1, YH-2 , YH-3, YH-5M, YH-100), the YHD series consisted of 3 models (YHD-1, YHD-2, YHD-3), and the YHE series consisted of 2 models (YHE-50A, YHE-50S). According to Wikiphonia (@Faust2D), Yamaha was active for 14 years in the orthodynamic headphone industry (1975-1989).

@Faust2D deserves major praise for his contributions in collecting educative and informational material about headphones, gifting this industry with Wikiphonia. Thanks to him, you can read about Yamaha's orthodynamic headphone lineup history:

After 33 years, Yamaha is making a return. However, it's no ordinary return. Oh no, Yamaha could've never done something like that. Not after three decades of being absent! It's making a return in proper Yamaha fashion. The newly-announced YH-5000SE is a flagship orthodynamic headphone that is a direct successor to the HP-1.

Yamaha Orthodynamic driver diagram, fragment from Yamaha brochure
Picture of HP-1's driver.

I am waiting for Yamaha to officially release some information about the YH-5000SE, as well as some photos. Until then, share your thoughts and impressions (if you have them).

UPDATE (17/11/22): MSRP (bold=official information) ¥450,000 (JP) | $5000 (US) | $7500 (AU) | £4800 (UK) | €5700
Announcement post w/photos

Guide to the thread (@doctorK53 contributions):​

1) Transcription of Youtube interview to Yamaha staff (this is the first post in head-fi of mine)

2) Word-to-word translation on the corrugation of the driver from the above video

3) Summary of Otai Audio video with a Yamaha salesperson

4) A short introduction of the engineer's comment on chain-dependence

4) Translation of impressions from Japanese twitter posts (vol. 1) from auditioning

5) Translation of impressions from Japanese twitter posts (vol. 2) from auditioning

6) Translation of impressions from Japanese twitter posts (vol. 3) including the owners'

7) A summary of blog articles by pansaku and yukihira

8) @doctorK53's first impression ("the first headphone review of mine in any language")

9) @doctorK53's second impressions

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Sep 21, 2022 at 6:49 PM Post #2 of 1,563
They look a little steampunk:


Sep 21, 2022 at 7:05 PM Post #4 of 1,563
They look a little steampunk:


They look jaw-dropping to me. I think we'll see Yamaha's attention to detail and insane dedication as time passes and as more details are released.

Sep 21, 2022 at 7:11 PM Post #5 of 1,563

Maybe these will FINALLY light a fire under Sennheiser's A$$!! :L3000:

Can't wait to hear what Yamaha brings to the table!
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Sep 21, 2022 at 7:58 PM Post #10 of 1,563
Sep 21, 2022 at 8:10 PM Post #11 of 1,563
The Yamaha YH-5000SE looks more physically like a successor to the Pioneer SE-Master-1, but the ear cups look more like a successor of the Sennheiser HD700 than Sennheiser HD800. It looks like Yamaha is trying to retain the HD800 soundstage, yet retain the dynamic atmosphere properties of the HD700. Can they keep a (relatively) peak-less sound signature and keep imaging crystal-clear?
Sep 22, 2022 at 4:27 AM Post #13 of 1,563
I don't know about everyone else, but as an enthusiast, I am very happy to see Yamaha's return. This is big news for this industry. Most importantly, great news.
Yamaha truly is a veteran in this space. It has the experience. It has the resources... And now it's finally back. I don't think we have seen a company come back this strongly after such a long time of absence.

Even from the now-available pictures, you can see Yamaha's attention to detail. It doesn't look like they rushed anything, the YH-5000SE looks like a complete product. It's got the world-famous Japanese craftsmanship and dedication, and that's what I love about it.

What makes its return so exciting is that Yamaha is not a small player, it's a conglomerate company. We are likely to see more headphones from Yamaha. More audiophile headphones. You have Sony, Sennheiser, Beyerdynamic, Focal (to an extent), and now Yamaha again. There's only a handful of truly big companies in this space.

Exciting times are ahead! I'm tapping my feet from happiness.

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Sep 22, 2022 at 1:15 PM Post #14 of 1,563
I bought my HP-1 in 1980 and really loved its sound. Even though I’m an iem guy, I’ll be very interested in picking up a set for nostalgia sake, and hopefully they’ll blow me away sound wise.

It also looks like it will be built to last a long time whereas the HP-1 really wasn’t.
Sep 22, 2022 at 1:24 PM Post #15 of 1,563
I also recall all of the popular Yamaha receivers in the 70s had two headphone jacks and had a grey plastic cover over the jacks with the wording “For Orthodynamic Headphones Only.”

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