Yamaha's room at TAVES 2016 provided positive proof that the company can hang with the high-end crowd when it comes to designing amazing-sounding speakers. The show is the North American debut of the NS-5000 3-way speaker ($15,000), which Yamaha says is "more like a musical instrument than a speaker."

A signature feature of these speakers is that all three of its drivers are made of Zylon, a synthetic fiber that is touted as the world's strongest. Yamaha says the benefit of using the material for the NS-5000's 1.25" dome tweeter, 3.25" dome midrange, and 12" woofer is low distortion and uniform tone/color.
The Zylon 3.25" dome midrange on the NS-5000. Photo by Mark Henninger

Interestingly, the NS-5000's cabinet does not contain acoustically absorptive material. Instead, the company uses a newly developed "Acoustic Absorber" (patent pending) that nullifies standing waves "with amazing efficiency and pinpoint accuracy." Furthermore, the tweeter and the midrange utilize custom-designed resonance suppression chambers, which are specially shaped tubes that reduce unwanted resonance generated by the driver diaphragms.
The mighty impressive Yamaha NS-5000 makes its North American debut at TAVES 2016. Photo by Mark Henninger
These 77-pound, ported, 6-ohm speakers are designed to handle 200 W of continuous power and 600 W of peak power. Sensitivity is rated at 88 dB/W/m and the company rates frequency response at 26 Hz to 40 kHz (-10 dB).

Amusingly, they are classified as bookshelf speakers despite measuring 15.5" (wide) x 27.125" (high) x 16.625" (deep). The $15,000 retail price does include specially made stands that are specifically designed to diffuse sound.
Form follows function with the NS-5000's resonance-suppressing stands. Photo by Mark Henninger
The demo system consisted of a pair of NS-5000s resting on their dedicated stands, a A-S3000 integrated amp that can pump out 150 clean watts per channel into 6 ohms, and a CD-S1000 CD/SACD player that also serves as a DAC for the laptop that dished out the tunes.

A cover of "Day Tripper" by Petra Magoni and Manu Gavin had the pristine clarity and holographic soundstage that pleases audiophiles' ears. The vocals floated perfectly centered.

When it comes to audiophile-quality sound reproduction, the prowess of the NS-5000 speaker pair was abundantly clear as I listened to "Hey Now" by London Grammar. The impressive 3.25" dome midrange drivers are surely responsible for how clean the vocals sounded.

A switch to "Bass and Drum Intro" from Nils Lofgren Live provided a solid, familiar reference for what the system can do, which is bring that live sound right into the room you are sitting in. It's one of the best renditions of the track I have heard. It highlighted the track's dynamics, clarity, imaging, and eminent listenability. My main thought as I listened was "can I please take these speakers home with me."

My familiarity with Tricky's "Come to Me" from Mixed Race was helpful when it came to recognizing exactly how elevated the performance of this system is. The female chorus pulled off that "soundstage that extends beyond the speakers" effect that is so sought-after, and if you told me a subwoofer was responsible for the deep, tight bass, I'd believe it. Same goes for Daft Punk's "Motherboard." Familiarity with the track enhanced my appreciation for the overall fidelity the system provided.

Jazz drumming from "Dancing Time" by Jonas Johansen from the album Please Move was a great choice for showing off how deftly the all-Yamaha system can image. The uncanny precision of sound placement and the three-dimensional character of the image reaches levels of fidelity that frankly are hard to match. "The Finishing" by Stavroz provided highly textured sax and organ along with a sublime-sounding beat that again underlined the power yet delicacy these speakers can achieve.

Impressively, the system at TAVES used no EQ, and does not contain a sub. Nevertheless, its output is full, deep, and very well balanced. Even though the price of this system may seem a bit steep for Yamaha, what it is capable of appears to justify the cost and effort. I wish the esoteric high-end six-figure rooms at shows sounded this good on a consistent basis.