Yamaha Pro 500 Headphones
For the musically inclined, an excellent pair of headphones is a must
- Fantastic sound
- Good functionality for iOS devices
- Sleek design
- Weight can contribute to discomfort from prolonged use
- Travel case too large to use on a daily basis
Its rare to find a product that reinvigorates your love for music. With the Yamaha Pro 500 headphones that’s exactly what we found. Overall the Pro 500s give a sweet, balanced sound with depth and no undue emphasis anywhere on the sound spectrum. We were transported to the ultimate headstage, and thoroughly enjoyed every moment of the experience.
Price$ 449.95 (AUD)
Headphones are a truly personal thing. Along with phones, wallets/purses and keys, they are often on the mental checklist you make before leaving the house. Weight, comfort, aesthetics and overall feel are just a few things people take into consideration when buying a new pair of headphones. Some want a product that will enhance the listening experience, while others are looking for a fashion accessory.
In the headphone market, just like many others, cheap is almost never cheerful. The Yamaha Pro 500 series headphones are certainly not cheap, but they certainly did provide us with a lot of cheer. When we first tried these headphones we were a bit sceptical; just another manufacturer providing over-ear, smartphone-compatible headphones. Many companies try to do too much with their product and miss getting the simple and most important things right, like sound quality and comfort. Yamaha does have a long history of producing excellent quality musical and stereo equipment, so we were intrigued to see how the Pro 500 headphones would perform.
The sound quality is at a level not many competitor products can reach. However, they are not without drawbacks. They are quite heavy, weighing in at 369g, and prolonged use can cause considerable discomfort. This is due mainly to the weight of the drivers. Now we must say at this point that a heavy driver is generally preferable to a lighter one as it usually denotes better sound quality. Anyone well versed in speaker design will say that a heavy cone/magnet is superior to a light one.
The design is simple and sleek, and two colours are available: blue, and the black that our review pair came in. They have a foldable design that will reduce the footprint marginally when packed. They also come with a smart and durable travel case that would be extremely useful on long trips, but which is cumbersome for day-to-day use. We found — as with many headphones — it was preferable to simply sling the headphones around the strap of a bag or wear them around the neck when not in use. It is nice that the option is there to protect the headphones, and at the price Yamaha is asking, we expected a case of this quality.
There are some other features that set the Pro 500 headphones apart from competitors. They come with two cords: a 1.2m cord with a remote that allows iOS users to answer calls or use Siri and play music, and a longer 3m cord that does not include a remote. A 6.3mm stereo plug is also provided. One great feature of the Pro 500 headphones is that they allow the cord to be attached to either of the drivers, giving the headphones added versatility.
The Pro 500s are an over-ear closed back design. They feature a rigid alluminium alloy earcup, and a 50 mm, dynamic neodymium driver. The cup size seems a little small to us, and we worry about those potential users with larger ears. Those with smaller heads may also find the Pro 500’s a little large for comfortable use. We strongly recommend trying a pair on before purchase.
If you find yourself in the physiological position to make use of them, the Pro 500s would be a fantastic companion for the iOS user who wants great sound to accompany them on their travels.
Android users will still be able to make use of the remote, albeit in a diminished capacity. It can still be used to play, pause and skip tracks, but the volume control will not work. You will still be able to answer and hang up your phone, but for full functionality we suggest you look at a model designed for Android devices.
Most, if not all, music aficionados dismiss MP3 (and even CD) as a subpar musical format. In order to test the sound quality of these high-end headphones, we used vinyl. The analogue signal gives a much warmer and fuller overall sound (for more information on the digital divide between Masters and CD/MP3 see Neil Young’s article on the Pono Web site.
We found the Pro 500s provided very balanced sound across a number of musical genres. Neil Young’s Heart of Gold was a sublime experience, the balance between the stripped drums and high pitch of the great man’s harp was near perfect. Meanwhile, the baseline, which can sometimes be lost, especially in MP3 format, was a constant but not overwhelming undercurrent.
Bad Religion’s True North gave us the opportunity to see how the Pro 500s would respond to a busier musical track. We were impressed at how there was clear definition between all instruments and vocals. Often the sound can become blurred on tracks such as this. It was comforting to know that clarity was not compromised when confronted with the fury and precision of such tracks.
The hip-hop genre allowed us to see how the Pro 500s would represent an often heftier low-end and the sometimes tinny sound you get from samples run through a low pass filter. Gangstarr’s Code of the Streets had a warm low end with crisp hi-hats. Vocals came through clearly with the right amount of emphasis.
Jay-Z’ Holy Grail represents a different type of rap music. We were impressed with the Pro 500s performance on tracks such as this that emphasise bass over mids and highs. Vocals from Mickey Mouse club graduate, Justin Timberlake, had a distinctive tone and there was balance between this and the punchy low end. The mid range came through exceptionally well which is the real tell when listening to such music.
Join the Good Gear Guide newsletter!
Microsoft L5V-00027 Sculpt Ergonomic Keyboard Desktop
Epson EcoTank Expression ET-2500
Everki ContemPRO Roll Top Laptop Backpack
Linksys AC5400 MU-MIMO Gigabit router
Lexar® JumpDrive® S57 USB 3.0 flash drive
UE Boom 2 Bluetooth speaker
Smart LED Bulb LB130
Epson WorkForce ET-4550
Acer Swift 7
Lexar® JumpDrive® S45 USB 3.0 flash drive
Logitech G403 Prodigy mouse
Google Daydream VR headset
3SIXT Ultra HD Sports Action Camera
Belkin MIXIT Metallic Lightning to USB Cable
Lexar® Portable SSD
Epson WorkForce DS-360W
Huawei Mate 9
Dell Inspiron 5000 series 2-in-1
Garmin Fenix Chronos smartwatch
Lexar® JumpDrive® C20c USB Type-C flash drive
Audio-Technica ATH-ANC70 Noise Cancelling Headphones
Lexar® Professional 1800x microSDHC™/microSDXC™ UHS-II cards
HP Pavilion x360 13”
Surface Pro 4
HD Pan/Tilt Wi-Fi Camera with Night Vision NC450
Dell XPS 13 laptop
Blade 28 backpack by Arc’teryx
Most Popular Reviews
- 1 Star Wars Death Star Bluetooth levitating rotating speaker review
- 2 Finally! LG OLED TV 2016 range review
- 3 Fetch TV Mighty review: Better than Foxtel
- 4 Fetch TV Mini review: Make your TV a smart TV
- 5 Panasonic Viera DX900U UHD 4K smart TV review
Latest News Articles
- Apple's AirPods could deliver audio with multiple wireless protocols
- First look: Nuheara IQbuds smart Bluetooth ear buds do more than just music
- Convoy International restructures business focus
- Beats Solo2 headphones go wireless for $399
- Astro A38 review: A staggering price to pay for convenience
PCW Evaluation Team
First impression on unpacking the Q702 test unit was the solid feel and clean, minimalist styling.
- Horizon Zero Dawn review
- How to quit Pokemon Go (or to start enjoying it again)
- Japan's pop culture, anime-friendly, J-Pop shrine, Kanda Myojin
- Which flagship TV is best? Sony 4K HDR Bravia 2016 versus LG 4K HDR OLED 2016
- 10 Blu-ray movies / Best looking Blu-ray movies
- TPSenior Business AnalystQLD
- CCSalesforce - Functional Analyst (BA)NSW
- TPIT Project CoordinatorVIC
- TPBI Commercial AnalystVIC
- TPTechnical Business Analyst - DigitalQLD
- FTFront End DeveloperQLD
- CCTest AnalystQLD
- CCSecurity AnalystACT
- FTJunior / Entry Level IT role - Recent IT TAFE GraduateNSW
- TPOrganisational Change Manager - ICT Services TransformationQLD
- FTSenior Software EngineerVIC
- CCSenior Storage System Engineer - Tivoli Storage SpecialistNSW
- FTNodeJS DeveloperNSW
- FTFull stack Developer - Senior (Java or C# and AngularJS) x 3QLD
- CCPega DeveloperNSW
- CCUser Experience Designer - Part time - Short contractACT
- CCIT Operations Centre EngineerQLD
- FTPrincipal Architect - Infrastructure | Major BankVIC
- CCDigital Communications ManagerNSW
- FTPerformance TesterACT
- FTLead PMONSW
- TPBusiness AnalystVIC
- FTBranch Practice Manager - SecurityQLD
- TPDigital Process Business Analyst - Digital Transformation**NSW
- FTSales Account Manager | Cloud Solutions | Global Tech GiantNSW