The Yamaha–Luna Cables Room

(All prices are in Canadian dollars unless otherwise indicated.)

I like how Yamaha, a brand not known for audiophile products, has, in the last few years or so, been making audiophile products. I find it flattering, in a Sally Field kind of way: "You care, Yamaha. You really care."

And by all the signs, they do. Several of the company's high-end products have received good press lately, including in Stereophile, so I was happy to get a chance to listen to a few of those well-reviewed products in the Yamaha–Luna Cables room.

You want serious audio-purist cred? Consider Yamaha's GT-5000 belt drive turntable ($12,000 with tonearm): a 2kg brass platter, a 5kg aluminum platter, total weight of 58lb. You don't even have to hear it to know it's serious.

The demo also included a pair of NS-5000 speakers ($20,000), whose cones are made of Zylon, the C-5000 preamp ($13,000), and the 100Wpc M-5000 amplifier ($13,000), with parallel MOSFET output stages. Also exhibited, and looking serious but quietly so, on static display, was the DSD-capable CD-S3000 CD player ($7500). Adding to the room's audiophile quotient was Luna Cables, whose products Art Dudley spoke highly of, and with whom Yamaha had partnered, synergistically, via a Luna Cables Red step-up transformer ($4850) and a bevy of Luna Cables Mauve cabling. The Red SUT offers 26dB gain and comes with a stereo/mono switch.

The result of all this serious" equipment was sound to sink your body and mind into: sweet, refined, detailed, and pulsating with tactile momentum. The soundstage stretched past the side walls. Drum and bass notes popped out from the mix with satisfying flesh and swing. I remember thinking, as I was soaking in the sound, Glad you're at the party, Yamaha.

Anton's picture

As an audiophile of a certain age, I relate to the retro look!

MatthewT's picture

As another Yamaha fan, I'd love to hear those speakers.

JoeE SP9's picture

Can anyone explain the thinking behind that undersized straight tonearm?

funambulistic's picture

The flagship GT-5000 adopts a short, straight arm designed to deliver superior rigidity as well as balance of weight and mechanics which results in improved traceability.

A rigid mechanism with simple construction means there is no need for an inside force canceler weight.

JoeE SP9's picture

How can anyone get proper cartridge alignment with an arm that short? It probably won't be too bad if a conical stylus is used. However, a elliptical (or higher) stylus would spend most of its time improperly aligned.

If you mean anti-skating (inside force canceler?) that's IMO of less concern than using an improperly mounted cartridge. Rega among others doesn't have antiskating in any of their arms.

In any case, I suspect that underhung arm will be a hard sell with those looking in the Yamaha's price range.

funambulistic's picture

I provided a direct quote from the Yamaha website so I don't mean anything, just showing their marketing. I am sure they have their reasons as an experienced turntable (and tone arm) manufacturer.

JoeE SP9's picture

I'm quite sure they do. However, that underhung arm should arouse alarm bells for anyone who understands tonearm geometry.

I'm not just bashing Yamaha. I have several pieces of Yamaha gear (SACD player, HT receiver). I recommend Yamaha gear to friends and acquaintances. I've "sold" at least two AS-501's and a couple of Yammie HT receivers.

When someone who's opinion I have some faith in says the underhung arm is not a bad thing I'll be open to persuasion. Until then an underhung arm will not be gracing my trusty VPI/Rega/Sumiko.

I suspect I'm not the only one who feels this way.

jamesgarvin's picture

I can't comment on modern examples, but my Rega RB 300 has anti-skate.

BroLip's picture

I noticed that there are two power amps. Are they being run as mono blocks?