2020 Golden Ear Awards: Allan Moulton

Equipment report
Solid-state power amplifiers,
Solid-state preamplifiers,
2020 Golden Ear Awards: Allan Moulton

Yamaha 5000 System (C-5000 Preamp, M-5000Power Amp, NS-5000 Speakers, GT-5000 Turntable)
$9999, $9999, $14,999, $7999
An effort of 19 engineers and eight years in development, the full 5000 Series sees Yamaha return to high-end audio’s deep end, making waves with a cannonball dive off the high platform. The NS-5000 loudspeaker will be viewed as the system’s star component, and it rightly takes a place as an underpriced overachiever in the high-performance loudspeaker marketplace. The 5000 uses one material for every vibrating surface. In this case, Yamaha uses one of the strongest fibers in existence—Zylon. The ability to develop materials on this level (in house) is not in the wheelhouse of small, specialty manufacturers. The value of this manufacturing and engineering might be of little value to the listener had Yamaha not assembled an engineering team with their eyes equally focused on the musical prize. But they did. Provided that you have the placement options to deal with a loudspeaker that is proudly ported, you will be richly rewarded with a nearly not-there transducer. Though Yamaha first used the term “HiFi” way back in 1954, the NS-5000 is decidedly not (in my use of the term) HiFi. It’s the kind of product that invites you to just settle in to a very unfiltered, unforced experience. Refined. Carefully judged by people who obviously care. Whether it will become the classic that its NS-1000 ancestral variants were is for the market and time to determine. But it belongs in the now. And we should all celebrate from our tiny little hidden world that parts of the bigger, known world passionately contribute to a better audio future.