Follow-Up: Yamaha NS-5000 Loudspeakers – Editor’s 2nd Opinion

As much as audio has advanced in the last 40 years or so, many enthusiasts will fondly – and admiringly – recall the Yamaha NS-1000, a truly iconic speaker that with its beryllium-based drivers heralded an unprecedented technological advancement in transducer design. Equally time compressing is my recollection, as if it was only yesterday, of the pleasure I had reviewing the Yamaha NS-5000 loudspeakers for another publication in another life (and this is a follow-up to Joshua Givorshner's first-dip review, link here). Over several weeks I had naught but sheer enjoyment from these highly-developed music communicators.

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REDGUM Audio RGPH2ENR Signature Series Phono Stage

REDGUM Audio’s Ian Robinson (Chief Designer) and Lindy Gerber (Marketing and Administration) run this uniquely ‘Aussie’ manufacturing concern and the team rate among the most dynamic, and nicest, duos in our local high-end industry. The company’s website, product instruction manuals and the nomenclature of the wide variety of product offerings also reflect the laconically quirky “larrikin” humour Australians are renowned for. But be reassured here and now that, while appreciating the lighter side of life, both Gerber and Robinson have their feet firmly planted on solid ground – REDGUM Audio designs are the fruit of astute design and concrete engineering principles.

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Yamaha NS-5000 Loudspeakers

Japanese conglomerate Yamaha is a company that to most would need no introduction. Now with over 20,000 employees and holding the position of the world’s largest manufacturer of musical instruments, it is a far cry from its relatively humble beginnings. If it wasn’t at first obvious, the three interlocking tuning forks encapsulated in its logo are an obvious reference to the musical beginnings that have subsequently followed the company from its inception as a piano and reed organ company dating back to 1887.

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Nordost Sort Kone BC Resonance Control System

While I've been a music lover for as long as I can remember, I've also been into audio equipment for many moons, from an over-zealous enthusiast in teenage years, to subsequently morphing into an ardent audiophile to, for over 15 years, the ever-passionate professional reviewer for a number of publications. In that time, I’ve come across all-manner of audio accessory. From the tweaky to the freaky. Some made noteworthy differences and others were… well, either ineffectual or just not copacetic with my system or biases at the time. But I’ve never held staunch close-mindedness about ‘tweaky’ accessories – I was always prepared to give stuff a go despite snake-oil-ish claims made about what are sometimes near-whacky products. But then other products are based on science, despite their seemingly tweaky nature, and promise worthwhile gains within the context of a revealing audio system. Enter the Nordost Sort Kone Resonance Control System.

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Vinnie Rossi LIO Modular Integrated Amplifier

As audio system complexity grows in relation to our rising demands for a wider choice of music listening alternatives, manufacturers have had to make product development decisions based on either product integration, additional stand-alone offerings or a mixture of both. As an example, you may have an integrated amplifier – itself, an amalgamation solution – which may present the option of a factory-fitted in-built phono stage or an independent unit which could be acquired when convenient when funds allow. Another method of providing multiple functionality, added features and diverse playback options is by way of modular design. This method requires particular design attention and presents its own engineering challenges but, when done right, a modular design can provide extended functionality, simplicity in terms of component count and, importantly, potential performance benefits by way of eliminating added componentry and interconnecting cables. Vinnie Rossi’s LIO integrated amplifier takes this extremely clever and challenging-to-implement concept to its full potential.

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Sennheiser HDV 820 Headphone Amplifier

Recently, under guarded supervision (actually I’m often under guarded supervision but that’s another story…) this reprobate listener had the privilege of experiencing the distinctly esoteric and musically liberating Sennheiser statement headphone system, the HE-1. The music selection was limited but that serene aggregation of valves and marble and electrostatic drivers brought me ecstatic peace in an instant.

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Bowers & Wilkins 705 S2 Loudspeakers

Bowers and Wilkins. Yes, B&W... A name familiar to almost every audiophile that ever obsessed over their bits, bytes or tonearm balance. From the almighty Nautilus, an absolute landmark of a speaker, the DM6 and its unusual shape, the mighty 801 and 808 which are coveted, collected and admired to this day.

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Vermouth Audio Black Pearl Mk.II Interconnect, Speaker & AC Power Cables

Back in August 2017 I had the pleasure of living with the Vermouth Audio Little Luccas Mk.II Limited Edition loudspeakers in order to assess them and, subsequently, formally review them on SoundStage! Australia here. I was thoroughly taken by these Indonesian speakers’ engaging sound based on the superb RAAL ribbon tweeter, SB Acoustics mid-bass driver, high quality crossover componentry and solidly-built solid timber enclosure. I also admired the pleasing aesthetics, the world-class finish and a number of other design choices which served as evidence of a passionate and dedicated designer capable of thorough attention to detail. Move forward some time to the present and here, in situ for review, is the company’s Black Pearl Mk.II loom which sits at the top of Vermouth Audio’s cable line-up.

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Sonus faber Amati Tradition Loudspeakers

From the Editor – Sometimes the convergence of worlds results in events that flout with the laws of the universe. While SoundStage! Ultra’s Aron Garrecht was thoroughly putting the Amati Tradition through its paces, SoundStage! Australia’s own Joshua Givorshner was tenaciously penning his own views on this important speaker from Sonus faber. Garrecht’s excellent review published on November 15 can be read here, while below, as an independently reinforcing viewpoint from the other side of the world, is Givorshner’s thoughtful take on this remarkable design… Edgar Kramer

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HiDiamond D3 Balanced & D7 Single-Ended Interconnect & D7 Speaker Cables

Audio cable prices continue to sky rocket with statement pieces often costing as much, if not more, than the rest of a music system combined. Competing technologies continue to proliferate at a rate matched only by often garish advertising and boastful claims of patent (-ed) superiority. Cables are, of course, a crucial means of transferring those precious signals from your source to your speakers but are so system dependent that reviewing them causes me some trepidation in seeking to do so.

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SPEC Corporation RSA-M3EX Integrated Amplifier

The first time I was called an “audio-maniac” was as I was trying to put my left shoe on my right foot at a sake restaurant after a night out in Tokyo with Junji Kimura, the master craftsman of then underground Japanese brand 47 Laboratory. It was the mid-1990s and this then student had travelled to Berlin to study, of all things, Japanese law. But yours truly had an ulterior motive: to stop over in Tokyo on the way home and, with the help of Yoshi Segoshi, the US distributor for 47 Labs, go hang out with Kimura-san and convince him to sell me a Gaincard amplifier and a Flatfish CD transport and Progression DAC at a ‘student’ discount price.

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