Yamaha C-5000/M-5000 Pre/Power Amplifier Page 2

On the front of the amplifier, controls permit input and speaker output selection, plus VU or Peak settings for the meters. This last switch also offers clever meter illumination dimming. Hold it against resistance in the 'Dimmer' position and the lamps cycle up and down in brightness. Release the switch when the level you like is obtained and the unit remembers this.

sqnote Rattle 'N' Roll
The M-5000 was connected to my PMC Twenty5.24 speakers [HFN May '17] with the C-5000 fed by a Naim CD5XS CD player with FlatCap XS PSU, and a Michell Gyro SE turntable with SME 309 arm. Both Ortofon 2M Black moving-magnetic [HFN Mar '11], and Clearaudio MC Essence [HFN Aug '17] moving-coil cartridges were used with the turntable.

920yam.remSome components will leap out at you with a grand flourish, only to disappoint once you begin to explore their performance further and more critically. The Yamaha pairing couldn't be more different, slowly drawing you in until you realise that life in your listening room will never be quite the same again.

The first thing to grab is the unerring backround silence when these amps are powered up, the result being that their dynamic capabilities seem almost endless once the music flows. What's more, I actually found myself listening a little quieter than usual as everything from a lead vocal to the merest hint of a background effect was easy to discern.

But don't be misled by the seemingly unremarkable 100W-per-channel power rating that Yamaha quotes for the M-5000. The amp has huge power reserves waiting to be tapped and is more than capable of raising the roof, should you wish it to. Having explored these power limits, I can think of few power amps able to remain so utterly composed and effortlessly dynamic while rattling the rafters. Whether it was a rock band in full flight, or the majesty of an orchestra in full flow, the M-5000 thundered forth without breaking a sweat.

At more normal listening levels, it was the clarity offered by the Yamaha pairing that proved particularly gripping, while I have rarely heard vocal plosives sound cleaner. In the second verse of Steely Dan's 'Jack Of Speed' from the CD release of their Two Against Nature [Giant 924719-2] I am used to the brief sibilant spit that occurs on the 't' in the word 'routine', but heard through the C-5000 and M-5000 it was conspicuous by its absence.

Smooth Operator
Equally, gone was the clash of the 'dustbin lids' that punctuates one of my regular treble torture tracks, The Corrs' 'Only When I Sleep' from Talk On Corners [Atlantic Recordings 7567-83051-2], the Yamaha duo revealing these to be the sound of cymbals being struck. I actually spent the best part of an evening throwing poor recordings at the C-5000 and M-5000 and didn't manage to catch them out once.

Furthermore, this sense of clarity and detail was not the result of an unnatural boost in treble. The Yamaha pairing is as smooth and beguiling as you could hope for at the top-end – qualities that were evident through the entirety of the frequency range.


The amps were also capable of producing a remarkable sense of depth perspective. Yes, central performers were perhaps not projected as far into the room as would be the case with some rival amps, but each was wholly distinct in his or her own space. And the accuracy with which they were placed in the soundstage could not be criticised at the price.

Just For Kicks
Switch to the phono input, however, and in particular the MC option, and the C-5000 places the action right in front of the listener, this time with fine projection. On the track 'C-Side' from Khruangbin's Texas Sun EP [Dead Oceans DOC214], Leon Bridges' vocals appeared to be emanating from the centre of the space between my seat and the equipment rack, with Laura Lee's bass positioned directly behind him and the steady percussion coming from just behind the right loudspeaker.

Don't think for a minute, though, that this was some soulless forensic dissection of the music. Rather, the sheer clarity, detail and atmosphere offered up by the Yamaha duo meant that being drawn into the performance as a whole was both easy and utterly captivating.

Bass was another area in which the C-5000 and M-5000 proved effortlessly capable, with all inputs. Kick drums pounded with a sense of physical impact while the warmth and resonance from double-basses was an absolute joy to behold.

Similarly, the deep synthesiser bass line underpinning London Grammar's 'Wasting My Young Years' from their If You Wait LP [Metal and Dust MADART1LP] powered from my speakers, across the floor and into my listening seat but without ever swamping Hannah Reid's vocals, which remained soaring, rock solid and, above all, uncannily lifelike.

Hi-Fi News Verdict
Both the C-5000 preamp and M-5000 power amplifier show Japanese engineering ingenuity and construction quality at its very best. Yes, the feature list looks impressive in a brochure, but the technology used has a direct bearing on the ultimate sound quality of both amps here. The result is typically sublime, with Yamaha's longstanding 'Natural Sound' moniker rarely feeling more appropriate.

Yamaha Corporation
Supplied by: Yamaha Music Europe GmbH (UK)
0844 811 1116