Yamaha NS10

Discussion in 'Speakers' started by Reggie_F, Oct 21, 2004.

  1. Reggie_F

    Reggie_F Agent

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    Not sure if this question belongs in the basics section but here goes:

    I don't hear much talk about the Yamaha NS10. If they are used by studios for clean neutral sound, then why aren't they the first choice for home use?

    Thanks.
    Reg
     
  2. Philip Hamm

    Philip Hamm Lead Actor

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    They are used as nearfield monitors, and work best at very low volumes. I have a friend who mixes and engineers a lot of major label pop/rock stuff; he used to hate NS10s till he learned how to use them - very quiet very close - now he loves them. Most people at home want big loud speakers to fill a room. NS10s are horrible at this.

    Also, I was recently told that the man who developed the specific manufacturing technique for the woofer driver in those speakers brought the secret to his grave, so they can not be produced any more. Not sure how true that is.
     
  3. Chu Gai

    Chu Gai Lead Actor

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    The popularity of the NS10, and the fact that you'll find them everywhere, like McDonalds and mildew, has to do to the fact that when first introduced, Yamaha gave them away for free. Recording studios, musicians, producers, engineers, etc., they all got them for nothing. While this could be looked upon as charity, the reason has to do with Yamaha's attempts at saturating the market and basically buying off the professional, the semi pro, and by extension, the amateur markets.

    As to the quality of the speaker itself, it is terrible. If you've ever laughed at Bose' FR, your jaw will drop at the NS10's FR. The woofer is dirt cheap and last I recall, was seamed paper. The tweeter's response and dispersion characteristics are equally the poor match of the woofer. Taken as a whole, the speaker is incapable of accurately representing music either near-field or at a distance. To call it a speaker is worthy of such charity that one may be quite sure they will be nominated for saint-hood by the Pope.

    If the secret has been taken to the grave then my suggestion is let the dead rest. The person did enough damage to not warrant a marker.
     
  4. Philip Hamm

    Philip Hamm Lead Actor

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    Chu,

    My friend worked on the ELV1S record (He has held the actual original Sun records three track masters in his hands), has worked with John Mayer, Dave Matthews Band, and countless other large scale high budget high profile major label projects both mixing and engineering. He has many gold and platinum RIAA awards the walls in his home, all with his name on them. He is no amateur, and his work sounds really fantastic (when it's not wrecked by mastering). I respect his knowledge and opinion on audio more than anyone I've ever known (and I have a great deal of respect for your opinions in audio).

    I've spoken with him regarding this particular speaker in the past since it's such a contentious issue (many share your opinion of them).

    In the first 5 or 10 years of his career he shared your optinion of the NS10s. That was until he learned how to use them. Now he has learned to love them, and not just as a reference, though having a familiar common reference from studio to studio is critically important, but actually the sound quality of them. Not that they are the greatest speakers in the world, some of the most important studios use high consumer level B&Ws like we use. But they are an important reference and can sound very good in the proper context.

    The NS10s would be horrible home stereo speakers, and equally poor studio monitors when driven loud (loud being a relative term here) or used as an exclusive studio monitor.
     
  5. Chu Gai

    Chu Gai Lead Actor

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    Phil I will tell you no lie. The low end performance is poor...frightfully so, the upper frequency response is as ragged as a sea urchin and there is a midrange suckout which is all complicated by numerous resonances. Just as my opinion, and I rarely give opinions on equipment, Tannoys or even better, Genelecs, are a superior choice if you're looking for those kinds of speakers. Listening to the Yamahas at low levels is probably necessary to avoid many of the issues I mentioned.

    Hell Phil, why would one work with a decidedly broken tool for 5 years or more when so many better choices were out there? I stand by my condemnation of them.
     
  6. Philip Hamm

    Philip Hamm Lead Actor

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    Because it's the industry standard and if you know it as a reference you can rely on it being consistent no matter what room you're working in. Since it only really works as a very nearfield monitor it makes it even better for this purpose because room resonances won't come into play; it really will sound consistent across all environments.

    How many studios have you seen with NS10s as the exclusive monitors? None. They are a reference monitor only, not an exclusive one.
     
  7. RichardH

    RichardH Supporting Actor

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    The Yamaha NS-10, like the Genelec 1031A, is a studio standard. It doesn't sound "good" like a good hifi speaker sounds, but that's not the point. It's effective at letting an engineer hear what's going on in the midrange better than a lot of other speakers. The common saying is that if you can get it to sound good on NS-10s, it'll sound good on everything. Personally, I don't think that's exactly correct, but there is some truth in it. They were recently discontinued because the paper used to make those signature white woofers is from a tree that is now endangered (or something like that).

    Conversely, the Genelec 1031A tends to "hype" the sound, and most audiophiles would find its sound to be fatiguing, particularly in the high end. However, it is a standard as well, and many hit songs have been mixed on them. Probably even more have been mixed bouncing back and forth between NS-10s and 1031s.

    Goss generalization alert:
    Most older engineers like the NS-10 and will keep using their's and maybe even buy a backup pair. Most engineers coming up right now won't bother with them (although still reference them occasionally), and just find a newer favorite monitor. KRK, Dynaudio, ADAM, Mackie, Event, and a few other brands are being used more and more.
     

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