Flashback: How the Yamaha HP-1 Headphones Paved the Way for the YH-5000SE

The 1970’s ushered in an exciting new development in headphones. Most headphones at the time used dynamic drivers, the same as those found in speakers.

Manufacturers were seeking something new, that could reach new heights of high fidelity and could keep up with rapidly evolving production techniques used in the studio. Yamaha’s engineers were determined to be the first to create a solution to achieve this goal.

Enter the Yamaha HP-1

The HP-1 Circa-1976

The HP-1 was a ground-breaking and acclaimed set of headphones introduced in 1976. The physical form and unique aesthetics of the HP-1 were designed by renowned industrial designer Mario Bellini, and were crafted to utilise a new technology, known as ORTHODYNAMIC drivers, which offered better sound quality and clarity than the previous dynamic and electrostatic headphones. Yamaha succeeded in the creation of a headphone driver that was capable of a level of performance equal to that of more expensive electrostatic/condenser solutions, but with a simpler and more effective construction closer to that of a dynamic driver. Yamaha named this technology the ORTHODYNAMIC™ driver.

The HP-1 was a critical and commercial success and became a benchmark for headphone technology for many years.

In 2022, Yamaha released a new flagship headphone model called the YH-5000SE, which draws inspiration from the HP-1's design and technological advancements. The YH-5000SE also features Yamaha's proprietary ORTHODYNAMIC driver, which has been refined and improved over the years.

HP-1 Headphone Driver

The ORTHODYNAMIC driver is a brand new, fully custom design that was developed with over 1,000 prototypes based on the original 1976 concept, but refined for the modern age. The diaphragm is supported by a magnetic circuit that provides high sensitivity and accurate sound reproduction. This technology allows the YH-5000SE to deliver a rich and detailed soundstage, with excellent bass response and clear mid-range and high frequency performance.

YH-5000SE Headphones

Cast your mind back to the image of the HP-1 and you will notice that the ORTHODYMANIC™ driver is not the only design element inherited from the HP-1.

The YH-5000 also features a dual layer headband design which creates a light and comfortable fit, facilitates optimal use of lateral pressure across the head, and provides maximum comfort - especially for longer listening sessions.

The arm of the headband is made of stainless steel, while the leather head pad provides a broad level of contact with the head and smoothly disperses the surface pressure.

In addition, the YH-5000 feature the stepless slider which allows you to finely adjust the band for a truly customised fit.

Kakegawa Factory

The YH-5000 are hand made in Yamaha’s flagship Kakegawa factory, a short 30-minute drive from Yamaha’s head office in Hamamatsu, Japan.

The Kakegawa factory is reserved for the production of Yamaha’s finest flagship audio products including grand concert pianos, guitars and other musical instruments where meticulous levels of care and attention to detail are required.

From the manufacturing of the driver to the careful completion of the entire assembly, the production of the YH-5000 requires extremely high technical capabilities and precision and underwent an extensive prototype process.

It’s easy to see how the Yamaha HP-1 paved the way for high-end headphones, and its legacy continues with the YH-5000SE. With its advanced technology and attention to detail, the YH-5000SE represents the pinnacle of Yamaha's headphone design, providing audiophiles with musicality, without compromise.

Yamaha YH-5000SE


Price:$ 7,499.00 RRP

Flagship Headphone that offers ultimate True Sound using an ORTHODYNAMIC™ driver.