Those of you with long memories may remember the celebrated Yamaha NS-1000 speakers that came out in 1974. Loaded with technology not previously possible (including beryllium in the drivers and special alloys developed originally for Yamaha's piano frames), they became a hi-fi classic.
Yamaha have now brought the classic back in the form of the NS-5000 - combining the looks and technological innovation of the original with some seriously funky new technology.
NS-5000: A modern classicThe biggest innovation is the use of a synthetic polymer known as Zylon that has been used by NASA and Formula One manufacturers. It's perfectly suited to use in speaker drivers due to its ideal combination of light weight, strength and elasticity. Here's a quick summary of the innovations in Yamaha's new NS-5000's:
- The first drivers to be 100% made of ZYLON®, a synthetic polymer that is incredibly light & strong yet has optimal elasticity
- ZYLON® tweeter, midrange and woofer that deliver homogenous tone and acoustic velocity throughout the entire frequency range
- Custom-designed Resonance Suppression Chambers (see image below) that cancel out resonance peaks behind the tweeter and mid-range drivers
- New Acoustic Absorber design that negates standing waves without requiring large amounts of sound-absorbing material
- Crossover network with hand-picked parts including Mundorf’s MCap SUPREME EVO audio capacitor and MResist SUPREME attenuator
On the outside, the speakers have a high gloss Piano finish using the same dedicated paint, primer and polishing processes used for Yamaha's Grand Pianos. The cabinets themselves were designed in collaboration with Yamaha's musical instrument R&D lab using laser interferometry to come up with a structure with incredibly low resonance.
The recommended retail price for the NS-5000 is $19,999 a pair, including the speaker stands. They have a 10 year warranty. Full details and specifications are available on the NS-5000 page on the Yamaha website.
Keith Howard & David Price in Hi-Fi News: (Click here to view full review). "Its balanced seamless portrayal is extremely rare, yet its powerful demeanour ensures high levels of sound are carried imperiously. Moreover, it sounds extremely detailed, but doesn't force things at the listener in the way of its ancestor."
Edgar Kramer in Audio Esoterica Magazine: (Click here to view full review). His conclusion: "The Yamaha NS-5000 is an outstanding package of cutting edge technology, imaginative engineering, aesthetic beauty and extraordinary performance… it’s a new icon worthy of veneration indeed." In addition, some very respectable audio reviewers heard them at the Tokyo International Audio Show late in 2016 and have given their initial reviews, which we've summarised below, with links to the original review pages
Robert Harley - The Absolute Sound: "All this effort apparently paid off; the NS-5000 sounded superb in two different systems. I couldn’t get a good seat in either room, but even off-axis the NS-5000 had outstanding midrange clarity, purity, and openness. The sound was exceptionally uncolored, and didn’t seem like it came from two boxes. Dynamic agility was also excellent, with quick transient attack and no overhang in both rooms." Read full review >
Julie Mullins - The Absolute Sound: "There was an easy naturalism and an effortless musicality to these speakers; my hunch is they’d be infinitely listenable and non-fatiguing. The transducers simply seemed to get out of the way of the music. The presentation was highly resolved, crystal-clear, but not clinical." Read Full Review >
Doug Schneider - SoundStage HiFi: "What really took me aback was the NS-5000s’ sound. As with the other speaker demos, I had a tough time finding a good seat; however, in each of my five visits to Yamaha’s room, I noted levels of midrange clarity and detail that were the best I heard at TIAS. Recordings of acoustic piano, in particular, were reproduced exceptionally well, and voices sounded as if they were there in the room." Read full review >