Yamaha MSP5 Studio by keystation
The Yamaha MSP5 monitors, and their siblings, the MSP3, 7 and 10 have been on the market for some time. According to Yamaha, this monitor series was intended to be the true successors to their (discontinued) recording industry standard NS-10s.
The Yamaha MSP5s look small with their typical 5" mid/low polypropolyne driver and 1" metal tweeter, but they each weigh a hefty 17 lbs. and are made of a solid, molded, composite cabinet material that is essentially non-resonant. The mid/low driver is driven by 40 watts and the tweeter by 27 watts of Class A/B power. Being a Class A/B amp, there is a large metal heat sink attached attached to the rear panel. Also, the rear panel has tuning switches allowing up to + or - 1.5db for adjustment of the woofer or the tweeter, as well as inputs for XLR and TRS cables. The unit has two front-firing bass reflex ports, a metal grille protecting the mid/low speaker, a LED indicator and a very useful front-mounted gain pot. All in all, the MSP5 is superbly constructed.
The sound quality can best be described as "neutral". What is in the recording is faithfully reproduced by the speaker. If you get your mix right, it will sound wonderful, but if you get it wrong, it will let slap you upside the head.
The MSP5's excel in reproducing transients, which is a blessing when it comes to mixing percussive instruments. The all-important mid-range is crystal clear, too: Each vocal layer in a mix can be resolved, reverb trails can be clearly heard, other effects are also easy to track and horns/woodwinds sound superbly accurate. All this makes for better mixing decisions and more easy-to-translate productions.
Are there limitations of the MSP5? The mid/low speaker is just 5", so anything below 80hz is out of its league, but to Yamaha's credit, they do not attempt to spoof-up the bass response with DSP like entry-level monitors do. Ideally, the MSP5 should be paired with a good studio subwoofer. Also, the speakers are not powered or sized to play too loudly - they are optimized to be used at a comfortable mixing volume (e.g. 85db). Lastly, these are point-source monitors and are not meant to be used in something like a home surround sound, or hi-fi system.
If you are looking to upgrade from entry-level montiors like the JBL LSR305, Yamaha HS5, PreSonus Eris 5 or KRK Rokit 5s, I advise you to take a hard look at the Yamaha MSP5s. These are a step up to true pro-quality studio monitors at an affordable ($275-each, street) price.