Yamaha YH-5000SE Review

Yamaha is a particularly recognizable brand in audio. Speakers and keyboards have been their main bread and butter, but they’ve made a few headphones before. However, Yamaha has never made anything quite up to the scale of the new YH 5000SE. These are their freshly launched audiophile headphones going for $4999.95. For such a steep price, can Yamaha’s big swing impress the high-end headphone enjoyers?

What You Get

  • Yamaha YH-5000SE Open-Back Orthodynamic Flagship Headphones
  • 2 Meter Braided Cable with 4.4mm Balanced Jack
  • 2 Meter Braided Cable with 3.5mm Unbalanced Jack
  • 3.5mm to 6.35mm Adapter
  • Headphone Stand (Assembly Required)
  • Alternate Ear Pads (Velour)

Look & Feel

After taking the headphones out of the box for the first time, I was shocked by how small they were. Their build is immediately reminiscent of the HD 800s from Sennheiser, but the ear cups are much smaller. Aesthetically, they don’t really look the most appealing or stylish for the price they’re going for, and don’t feel too high-grade in terms of construction. Its frame dosn’t seem like it has a ton of durability, but the supplied cables are definitely the most fitting aspect. It’s almost like it belongs to a different looking headphone, as the thick braided cable doesn’t really fit the headphone’s complete look. These criticisms go away right away when you actually start wearing the 5000SE. This is one of the lightest audiophile headphones I’ve used, relieving you of any pressure when wearing the headphones for a significant amount of time. You can switch the pads from leather to suede easily, and they both feel just as comfortable. 


The 5000SE incorporates an orthodynamic driver, which is pretty much the same principle as a planar magnetic driver. For a pair of open-back headphones with a planar driver, the 50000SE is particularly easy to drive, and you won’t need to go all out on an amplifier in order to properly use them. It’s only 34 Ohms with a sensitivity of 98dB/mW at 1kHz. You can drive the 5000SE from portable DAC/Amps or digital audio players, but the headphones will tend to scale better with higher-grade amplifiers. 


At first, I was surprised by how closed in the 5000SE seemed. This isn’t a planar headphone that will extend very far in terms of the width of each channel. Instead, the 5000SE keeps its headspace close, but not in a way that feels spatially limiting to the soundstage. Almost every tracks orbits around you in an immersive bubble. The imaging is exceptiaonlly accurate, and showcases a ton of inward layering that offers dimension to each section of the mix. Separation between instruments helps bring out the room even more, as the sonic environment becomes a more breathable space. I felt like I was able to identify each element in their exact position consistently, and the 5000SE makes localization pretty effortless. Instruments can dance around the soundstage with ease, jumping from left to right, to up and down with great precision. Piano keys, and high strings feel like they’re being played right in front of your face or right next to your ears. While the headspace of the 5000SE won’t grow beyond a certain point, the depth of the imaging will almost make you forget about it immediately. 

Low End

To really get a sense of the bass for the 50000SE, I switched over to the LE leather earpads to get the best extension possible. From the SU suede pads, the bass response is definitely leaner, and a bit more reserved. When you’re wearing the leather pads, the bass has significantly more growth and form to its tone. Its timbre is extremely smooth but it isn’t the fastest transients you’ll hear. This bass is one that blooms from a specific foundation, one that features solid sub-bass vibration with great control. You’ll get an expressive response from the bass, but nothing about it seems particularly accentuated either. It’s an effective bass feel, but its punch won’t be quite as energetic.


There is an incredible balance going on in the midrange, with just enough emphasis to give the 5000SE a certain flavor. You’ll get a wonderfully full and natural tone throughout most of the low mids and fundmanental mid-bands. Performances are highly transparent and communicated through the sound signature with uncompromised fidelity. Instruments have more than enough room to showcase articulate frequencies throughout the mix, resulting in perfectly individualized elements and biting notes. There is a certain snap to the frequencies, particularly in the upper-midrange, where the timbre feels even more excited. 


The 5000SE continues its grace well into the high frequencies. There is a refined quality to their timbre that makes the response come off as pristine. It’s not a shy response, but nothing about the treble here is too bright or fatiguing. Certain spikes in high-end detail add height to the sound signature, but I can see some of that character being a deterrent for those who are very sensitive to that region.


Any headphone that costs five thousand dollars is asking for a lot, but the 5000SE really makes a case for itself. Just judging from the sound signature, the 5000SE matches what all high-end headphones do, all while adding its own character to make the headphones even more unique. It’s a compact and comfortable item that you can use for a significant amount of time, providing a detailed and immersive audiophile experience. 



  • Spatial depth
  • Bass clarity
  • Natrual midrange
  • Energetic highs
  • Lightweight and comfortable
  • Extra earpads
  • Great cables
  • Not a quality build for the price

The Yamaha YH 5000SE is available here. 

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