I have recently had the opportunity to spend some time listening to what must be one of the most underrated pieces of Hi-Fi in our industry, the Yamaha C-5000/M-5000 stereo pre-amp and power amplifier.
This combination is currently featured in our Hi-End room, fed by a Linn DSM streamer and Technics SL1200G turntable and playing through Sonus Faber Serafino Tradition loudspeakers. You would be right in pointing out that this combination is somewhat low-key compared to some of the systems we have showcased in this room – but that would be in terms of price (and perception) only. This combination is thoroughly engaging – more so than some of the considerably more expensive and more widely known ‘audiophile’ brands that we have featured in that room.
The only drawback with this amplifier is that it is a Yamaha.
Even though it performs as well as – or better than – many audiophile brands, and is certainly better built than most, it does not have the bragging rights or street cred that they have. There has been a lot written about ‘unconscious bias’ in recent times, usually associated with cultural or gender related subjects, but I suspect it can be applied to most things in our lives – including pre-forming opinions on what we expect a piece of audio equipment to sound like based on looks or your perception of the brand.
If we were able to put our unconscious bias to one side I suspect this Yamaha combination would be a lot more popular than it is.
Full marks to Sound+Image Magazine who named the C-5000/M-5000 combination as the Pre-Power Amplifier of the Year for 2020. Sound+Image, and their sister publication, Australian Hi-Fi, get to test a lot of high-end equipment, so this is a telling, and brave, award.