I don’t profess to be a guru at product reviews, and I would rather speak in layman’s terms and tell it how it is rather than talk about things a select few understands. however we just received some lovely new Yamaha HPH-PRO400 (Black or White) and HPH-PRO500 (Black, White or Blue) headphones and thought I would review them and give a brief description of what they sound like. I only intend to use three albums which is Seal’s Acoustic Album 24/48kHz .flac and Crowded House – Recurring Dreams .flac and some more up to date JT with Jay-Z -Suit and Tie 320kbps .mp3 played back through my Samsung Galaxy SGSIII. We have the amazing Colorfly C4 here as a source but it’s not really realistic to use the C4 and the HPH-PRO series together! The market these headphones are for is certainly the iPhone / Smartphone user who likes a bit of style and for some better sonic performance than say Beats.
Yamaha HPH-PRO500 Out Box
Yamaha HPH-PRO White Outer Box
On first view of the packaging I must say they both look the part! With a glossy black outer sleeve surrounding the headphone box which slides off to reveal a bright white box with just the silver Yamaha emblem embellishing the box. Inside the box you get 2 leads, one with a mic that is shorter and another longer lead without mic. They are both flat cables rather than round which does help to prevent them from getting tangled. After some listening they also provide no feedback to the headphones either which is ideal. The beauty with the HPH-500 is that this headphone offers 2 3.5mm jack sockets, one on each earcup so that you can choose which side you want the cable to hang. It has become somewhat of a defacto to come from the left earcup so a bit of choice is great to see. They have also thought of including a semi rigid carry case which is a major plus point in my opinion as so many companies forget that you may want to travel with them and keep them clean and tucked away. The case also comes with a carabiner type clasp to attach it to your belt hooks or to secure it elsewhere.
Yamaha HPH-PRO Headphone Accessories
Yamaha HPH-PRO Headphone Carry Case
Yamaha HPH-PRO500 Headphone Case Internals
I think that the Black headphones certainly look the part, more so than the white version! They are slightly more subtle in looks with the silver emblem on each earcup which still stands out enough to make a statement without being too blatent. Along the headband there is also Yamaha text in silver with a smaller logo which again is not too in your face. I actually love the look of the black version and like the white, but personally the white would not be on my wish list. For those that want to make a statement then go for the White! They are a high gloss finish and look like they are unlikely to look dirty after prolonged use. Comfort for me is pretty essential and I must say they feel great being worn, I have found some headphones recently that have clamped too hard and began to irritate, however both the HPH-PRO400 and HPH-PRO500 offer just the right amount of force to stay on your head whilst moving around without being a nuisance. The weight is also not an issue at all and when they are being worn feel very light, there is a slight increase in weight on the HPH-PRO500 but it is not noticeable at all. A lot of people tend to wear their headphones as scarves at times and the design of these headphones means that it is possible to take them off and put them around your neck with no hassle. A few headphones I have tried clamp so much or are so bulky that simply putting them around your neck to talk to someone quickly is not easy.
Yamaha HPH-PRO500 Headphones
Yamaha HPH-PRO400 Headphones
Both of these headphones are very pleasurable to listen to and offer great a great soundstage. If I was to put them on a scale then they are the classic Yamaha sound of being lovely and warm sounding rather than being sterile and thin. They are very musical and the vocals are dominant, however there are times when the bass can muddy the vocals very slightly on the HPH-PRO400. Instruments are kept clean and each individual instrument can be followed easily throughout the track. I would not say that these are ultimately accurate headphones as the vocals, although pronounced and very well singled out from tracks there seems to be a lack of realism. But then I have only heard that on headphones such as the HD650 upwards and some of the higher end Beyerdynamic headphones.
In terms of spec differences the HPH-PRO400 and 500 are pretty much identical, the only difference with the HPH-PRO500 is that there is a rigid aluminium capsule around the driver and…….this does make a difference that can be heard. Instruments have greater separation, the bass has more aggression and the vocals are one or too steps more cleaner and clearer.
Overall I think these are excellent all round headphones for the price. They offer style, they are well made, foldable and are really musical, if you prefer slightly more detail and less, slightly more accurate bass then for a few ££ more I would suggest spending a little extra and go for the HPH-PRO500. After spending time listening to the 400 and 500’s I then decided to put my favourite headphones of the moment on which are the Sennheiser Momentum’s. These lacked the warmth and bass presented by the Yamaha headphones, however this may be prefered by some as the vocals on the Momentum’s are more accurate!