YH-5000SE BEHIND THE SCENES
MESSAGE FROM THE ENGINEERS
When developing the YH-5000SE, we wanted to pursue the ultimate musical experience of immersing yourself completely in music, while helping you to forget about everything else going on around you. To achieve this, we insisted on using only the best components and design considerations for all aspects of sound, while also encompassing wearability, build quality, and design.
We hope you will enjoy your favorite songs and freely connect with music you will soon discover with these headphones we have created.
Our ORTHODYNAMIC™ driver was born in the ‘70s. Six years had passed since the earliest days of development when I studied drawings left in the company’s old drawers, to the time when the headphones took shape in their present form after many prototypes and trials. These headphones release as much of the detail that is trapped in the sound source as possible while balancing the density of sound and the sense of soundstage, allowing the user to focus on the music. Ultimately, this was our target objective for the YH-5000SE. For this reason, we worked hard on all components and structures, including the driver unit. When the user can hear the attention to detail in recordings made by great artists and engineers, the music will remain deeply in their hearts with more realism, resulting in a superlative experience.
Mechanical and Housing Design
With the YH-5000SE, we used carefully selected materials, from the structural members to the surface materials and finishes. We adhered to the principle “materials should be chosen for a reason” to achieve the sound quality, wearability, and design we initially set out to deliver. The YH-5000SE headphone uses delicate materials that are difficult to handle and materials that are not often used in audio products. We created them with the utmost care from material selection to the manufacturing process so as not to compromise their ideal acoustic properties and aesthetic appearance. And the letters “MADE IN JAPAN” engraved on the body are also a testament to the level of quality that should satisfy meticulous audiophiles.
“What does it mean for headphones to be comfortable?”
“How do users want headphones to feel when wearing them?”
For the YH-5000SE, we began by taking an in-depth look at the essence of these questions. Within Yamaha's R&D department, there is a team dedicated to affective evaluation, which is working to scientifically quantify human sensitivity and perception in the sound and music domain. For this model, in cooperation with that team, we prepared dozens of prototypes with various changes to the lateral pressure of the headphones, earpad surfaces, and the cushioning material. We then conducted repeated tests to find the most suitable combination for long-term listening. Specifically, we sought to achieve the ideal wearing comfort by meticulously measuring whether the headphones would touch the top of the head and the side of the face evenly, and would apply minimum pressure, even for people with irregular-shaped heads. We did this using a surface pressure measuring instrument, and by evaluating sensitivity over long periods of use. We hope you will immerse yourself in the world of music with these headphones, and that they will be so comfortable you will forget you are even wearing them.
ALL ABOUT ORTHODYNAMIC™
WHAT IS AN ORTHODYNAMIC™ DRIVER?
Headphone drivers come in various types, including the most common dynamic driver, which drives a voice coil bonded to a dome-shaped diaphragm, by sending electrical signals in combination with permanent magnets. On the other hand, there are planar magnetic field drivers that use a thin-film diaphragm integrated with a voice coil sandwiched between permanent magnets to deliver drive. Since planar magnetic drivers drive the entire diaphragm, they are more responsive than dynamic drivers and have the advantage of offering excellent high-frequency performance and low distortion. However, due to their structure, advanced technology is required for development and manufacturing. In addition, even among planar magnetic drivers, different manufacturers have different solutions for the diaphragm and voice coil.
Yamaha’s ORTHODYNAMIC™ driver, however, adopts a true circular shape for the diaphragm, and the coil pattern also has a circular spiral shape. Moreover, with the concentric circular corrugation, the operation of the diaphragm in the piston motion area is smooth, and excellent responsiveness and rich dynamic sound are achieved.
HISTORY OF ORTHODYNAMIC™ TECHNOLOGY
Many manufacturers tried to develop planar magnetic drivers in the 1970s, but only Yamaha and a few others were successful in launching a product due to their complex structure and the difficulty of manufacturing. Our first ORTHODYNAMIC™ driver was manufactured by photoetching a spiral-shaped voice coil on a thin film of polyester, and the very complex structure of five concentrically divided voice coils alternating between the magnetic poles made it extremely difficult to develop and manufacture.
We overcame these challenges and released our first-generation ORTHODYNAMIC™ Stereo Headphones HP-1. The HP-1 was acclaimed for its excellent sound quality, and the simple and practical design by Italian industrial designer Mario Bellini was also very well-received.
A NUMBER OF PROTOTYPES AND VERIFICATIONS LED TO THE EVOLUTION OF ORTHODYNAMIC™ DRIVER
When a project to create an unprecedented headphones product was launched within Yamaha, the engineers were inspired by the Yamaha headphones of the 1970s. They became interested in the ORTHODYNAMIC™ driver as they sought out ways to deliver an excellent quality attack that matches modern music sources, including high-resolution sound sources. Although it was extremely difficult to design a diaphragm that could deliver high accuracy, roughly a thousand different prototypes were made before they finally arrived at the current design. They insisted on choosing the best materials and components and came up with the manufacturing method. The engineers worked to perfect the form and structure by repeating many processes of measurement, analysis, and improvement. The new ORTHODYNAMIC™ driver features a larger opening than the previous model to increase the transmittance of sound from the diaphragm. In addition, the resonance frequency is lowered by eliminating the center fixation on the diaphragm to deliver a full expression of low-range frequencies and a tremendously dynamic sound. The engineers also reviewed the damping method and changed the previous felt damping to a micropore damper, making it possible to deliver an agile attack and minimize losses in the mid-to-high range.