Last summer, Yamaha announced new top-of-the-line sound components: the 5000 series. Now the Yamaha C-5000 and M-5000 come to our market, together representing amplification of the highest level. It is a preamplifier (C-5000) and stereo power amp (M-5000). They are available and their price marks their exclusivity: 7,000 euros each of these Yamaha components.
We are used to seeing one-piece amplifiers , what is called “integrated”. In most cases, in a single chassis we have all the necessary functions to reproduce music. Even in some cases, inside is the source. It can be a radio tuner, or a file player connected to the network. And even more music is coming through the internet.
But when excellence is sought, it is time to specialize. Those sound sources involve some components that can generate interference. Anglo-Saxons call the components of good stereos "separate" in contrast to mini-systems for this. The first step is to free the amp of those other functions . That only has the inputs of the different sources, allows you to select them, control the volume, and power the speakers.
But there is a step further: separating those two functions . On the one hand, what we call a preamplifier, where we connect the sources. It is used to select what we listen to, control the volume, and eventually use some tone adjustment. It inherits the name from when the main source was a record player and the capsule (needle) signal needed more amplification, before the power amp. Its level is a thousand times lower than that of a CD and hence the term “pre-amp”.
This component in the present case is the Yamaha C-5000 . The other separate part of an integrated amp is the power section. It is called, when it is independent, "power stage", although it is itself an amplifier. The signal from the preamplifier will reach you, with the determined volume, and amplifies it to make the speakers sound. These need an electrical signal much more powerful than the one emitted by the sources or the previous one, more voltage and above all more current. The Yamaha M-5000 .
This Yamaha preamp and stage represent the brand's best effort in stereo sound quality. That is why they are two separate components: the C-5000 preamp and the M-5000 stage. In addition to their exquisite design, they use top-quality components and their circuitry design hides few compromises . For example, all the circuits are totally symmetrical so that the musical signals of the two channels have the same path. This increases balance and helps to form a wide, accurate and deep stereo scene. Let us know more internal details of these two devices, which should justify that price of 7,000 euros (each).
The Yamaha C-5000 will be the brain of the team, its core, since all the sources will be connected to it and with it we will control what we listen to and at what volume. Starting with a massive chassis, in copper, supported by bronze feet and with panels finished in glossy black lacquered “piano”. The volume knob for each unit is machined from aluminum and rotates on ball bearings.
The entire sound circuit is disconnected from the earth to isolate it from background noise, that is to say "floats". The symmetry of the design perfectly separates the signals from the two stereo channels. In fact, the C-5000 is a “double mono” design that completely separates the components of both channels , from the toroidal power transformers. The inputs and outputs are both normal (RCA) and balanced (XLR), a type of circuit that duplicates the components but further reduces background noise.
The amplifier (stage) also stands out for its quality, rather than the amount of power. Although 100 W into 8 Ohm loads doesn't seem like much, if the speakers are more difficult the Yamaha is capable of delivering more power : 200 W into 4 Ohms. And this with a very low distortion, 0.07 percent in the audible band from 20 Hz to 20 kHz. That ability to power through tough speakers sets normal amps apart from exceptional ones.
The chassis plays its importance on the stage too, with a massive base and feet. The toroidal power transformer and also the main capacitors (filter and power reserve) are fixed there. Also the heat sink of the power transistors: any part with sufficient mass eliminates its vibrations through the main chassis. The front shows two large illuminated vumeters that will dance with the music, indicating the power delivered.
The inner circuit, also symmetrical, has been studied to minimize the paths of the musical signal. And as in the previous one, a balanced design with floating ground is used, and the speaker output "live" on its two terminals. It uses MOSFET transistors , capable of offering more current when the speakers to be moved are “hard”.