I have always wondered why so many studios had these little white speaker monitors.
A few years ago after listening to some I decided to make the jump and grab some second hand as a second speaker for my studio.
Attached them to a beefy Harman Kardon amp and started integrating them in my work flow.
At first I just used them to match the levels of vocals to the mix but pretty soon I found that I was using them more and more in relation to my second pair of monitors.
They have really detailed mids and it makes critical EQ changes in this band really easy to do and understand.
Whats more is that my mixes began to translate much better into the real world as I began trusting them and using them more and more.
I still need some other way of checking the bass response and the highs but I now I work most of the time on the NS10m and only change to the other monitors to check and fine tune these areas.
I sure hope they continue working for many years more as I dont think that for this price there is a comparable speaker.
For me the phrase "If it sounds good on the NS10m it will sound good anywhere" is as true as it gets. It really made a difference for me and to my mixing abilities.
How many rock & roll classic hits do these things need to be a part of before one's minds can come to the conclusion that, hate em or love em, they work.
I love mine. I love them because they work. They make my music work. They make other people's music I record work.
They have been a part of more hits than all the gearslutz combined.
It doesn't matter if your Genelec's, Focal's, Dynaudio's or your Adam whatever's can do this and that. What matter's is that these Yamaha NS10m's eat Grammy's for breakfast, lunch and dinner, and you don't.
The real question is not whether one should own a pair...
The question is, why don't you already?!
What's your excuse?
You'll notice my pair nestled comfortably atop a TL Audio 40 Channel M4 at my home studio.
Please forward your excuses to U2, Brian Eno, Sting, AC/DC... or any major studio making real music in the last 20 years.
My excuse is, i sold mine because i hated it... those wimpy white woofers couldn't even bark let alone woof...
I am firmly on the camp of those who don't like these things... the only yamaha NS series speaker i currently use for mixing in my studio is the top of the line NS-1000, which also has many of the peculiarities of the NS speakers but with a much nicer freq response (especially low end) and much better highs. the ns-10 suffers from non existent bass response and very shrill trebles.
i would possibly chose any other monitor speaker but the NS-10's to mix.
as a bookshelf stereo speaker though it's quite good... but even then you do have many better options from other manufacturers.
Once you know how to work with those speakers it is very difficult to move from them, you can work for many hours without fatigue and they are as trust worthy as your best friend ! run it with a Bryston for some amazing results !
This has got to be the most hotly debated piece of gear ever made, and they've been discontinued for some time now. Yes, they don't have the bass response of a ported monitor, but that's actually where their strength lies -- the bass you DO get is natural and gradually attenuated, with extremely little time-domain leakage. I mixed with these at a well-known but older studio just a few weeks ago. I like them
The Yamaha NS10m, the SM57 of nearfield monitors, is a survivor. It has seen more monitor trends come and go than any other, having weathered the Genelec storm of the 90s and every trend thrown at it from the Mackie 828, time-coefficient Tannoys, and even recent heavyweights like Focal and Adam. The NS10m just keeps on truckin'.... There are about as many theories to why the NS10m works as there have been hit records mixed on them. Ideas ranging from "if you can get a mix to sound good on these, they'll sound good anywhere!" to the "superior frequency impulses inherent in its speaker design" to "people are just used to 'em." So far, the true reason seems uknowable--obscured by conjecture, hypothesis and a healthy dose of old fashioned BS.
It's a love or hate device, one so common almost everyone with professional time behind a console has spent more than a few evenings with. That being said I should let it be known that I happen to like 'em quite a bit and consider them my primary nearfield when tracking, mixing and even mastering (heresy!). Why? I dunno... they just work for me. For whatever reason, and I'll share my personal theory in a minute, whenever I do the majority of my work with the NS10m things just come out better. Note that I said "majority of my work"--having a second set of monitors as far removed from the midrangey, unflattering, woefully inaccurate NS10's is--in my opinion--key to getting the best from these speakers. It is incredible how much can be revealed when switching from one perception to another; one's mistakes jump out at you, decisions become easier, consequently you can work faster and with less fatigue and, with little surprise, the audio quality increases. Not bad for a speaker not even designed to be used in critical listening environments or ever envisioned as a recording tool!
Using a proper, high quality power amp is critical for getting the most out of the NS10's. I suspect that many engineers, especially ones that haven't had the luxury to work in well-equipped professional studios, may harbor a dislike to the NS10's because they were hooked up to a less-than-stellar PA. Having a clean, transparent signal, with ample gas behind it, to push the NS10's is a major factor for getting the real experience. If you've used them in the past and disliked them, find out what was powering them and maybe consider giving them a second chance.
So what does the NS10 do for you? Although this isn't scientific I can tell you what I think happens when I sit down in front of them to work. First off, the range of the speaker forces you to focus on critical midrange frequencies instead of wasting too much time on the extreme top/low end. Secondly, the NS10 can get really congested in the lower mids, forcing you to make hard decisions for what's going on there. NS10's don't handle low end really great and will distort a bit if you go too crazy--so it saves you from making mistakes higher quality speakers might actually encourage you to do. More importantly, in my opinion, is the narrow "range" the NS10 reproduces 3 things: snare, the top end of the kick, and the vocals. If any of those are too high, or too low, the NS10 will quickly tell you. Probably by happy accident this little "zone" lines up with really nice places to put these elements. Probably most important, however, are its inherent volume limitations--NS10's cannot be "CRANKED UP" loud compared to most nearfields. Yes, the fact that you cannot boost NS10's up to the "everything sounds amazing" volumes is, in my mind, possibly the most important aspect for why good mixes seem to pour out of these monitors. In other words, because of its flaws and limits the NS10 makes you act like a better engineer, allowing you to get a better mix. Weird.
Given their low cost, which places them squarely in the range of a prosumer nearfield, these are an excellent choice for home recordists, project studios or anyone on a budget. Not the only choice, but something to think about. Personally I'll take the NS10's over anything else when given an option, except for the occasional A/B'ing to double check.
Bottom line: the combination of easy availability, low cost, its contribution to your output, and sturdy construction make the NS10 a classic piece of audio equipment. Are they sexy? No way. But, like your slightly boring and plain friend who's your number one cheerleader, they often inspire you to create things that are pretty darn sexy in and of themselves. Are there plenty of nearfields out there that would get you to the same location? Sure there are, but few of them seem to do it as quickly, reliably and cost-effectively. A real winner, which illustrates how the misuse of technology can sometimes turn ugly ducklings into swans.
I feel I'm lucky that out of all the monitors I could have bought, I decided to go with these. This of course was 25 years ago. I totally agree that the way to use these is coupled with a real good power amp. And for some people to use a second set of bassy speakers to cross check with. I don't use any other speaker other than my home stereo system sometimes.
You just get used to the sound and it's amazing how mixes just seem to be right the first time. It is very rare case that I have to go back and adjust the vocals or the bass level. And I have used other monitors over the years and this to me was always the down side of those speakers. You had to "proof" your mixes on a bunch of systems,, why bother when these will do it all the first time out. once you are used to them... I just hope that some of the new offerings are going to actually replace these when the time comes for me.. not looking forward to that,, I'm 60 so they only need to last another couple of decades.
The NS10s are quite polarizing. for most people but i will say that the fact that they've been the reference for so many great songs proves that these are worth the investment. They can go for 250 -600 used.
They will help you locate flaws in your mixes especially in the mid's. Though i wont say the are a detailed sound it is a sound that helps you locate harsh areas in your mix.
You must have a subwoofer with other wise youll be going back and forth from your car all day.
The NS10's had an excellent flat response time and pure sound needed for mixing. That is why they were used and still are used when mixing. Yes, when I first saw them I said to myself, "God, those are ugly!". It's not about looks of course, it's about the quality of sound you get. Just place them up against any other speakers that are used for mixing and you'll hear how clean the sound is. Which is what you want to hear when mixing audio tracks. Anytime you buy speakers you should always listen to them FLAT (no EQ changes or added effects) in a quiet room against the others you consider. Remember to bring a CD with a song (normally a song by your favorite artist) that you're very familiar with and are use to listening to as well. I myself always bring a few different songs to listen to when comparing speakers.
For mixing you want to hear a clear and clean sound to start with before you start adding EQ and effects to your music or a clients music. They were designed in mind to compete with the other studio base monitors for mixing at the time. If you own a pair (like any other speakers) you should after a certain amount of time have them checked out by a professional to make sure that the speakers are in their proper response range. Like any product over time you have wear and tear. Good luck and Happy Mixing.
OK I put 5 stars for sound quality but lets face it, these speakers have NO BASS... AND THAT IS GOOD, for what they are... I use full range monitors for as well as my car stereo for real world test... the NS 10M are for mixing and HEARING CLEARLY and this they do. they sacrifice the bass response, but the give a CLEAR and very REAL picture of what is going on in the vocal, gtr key and other instrument range.
You will hear every echo in your reverb (if you own a good reverb) vocals will be easier to place in the mix listening to these.
just remember, DO NOT turn up to BASS to make up for the speakers lack of bass. a little bass on these translates to a normal amount listening latter on car or home or full range studio monitors. these other speakers and monitors will not be as accurate a reference as the Yamaha's.
I gave a 5 for features, even though this have no cut off or tone knobs... but they are not supposed to they have all the features that these need. AMAZING SOUND that lends itself to creating a GREAT MIX.
Bang for the BUCK, I go mine new for under $100 as they were discontinued!!! so 5 STAR!
unfortunately I sold mine in the move, now I just have some JBL 12"/5"/1" studio monitors and little Mackies. I miss my Yamaha's they are an industry standard for a reason.
Last edited by Paul_Player66; 20th July 2013 at 08:18 PM..
Reason: forgot title
I have 3 sets of these NS10 monitors. They are sought after because if you can make a mix sound good on the NS10...it usually sounds good on everything else...which is probably the main reason everyone on the planet had a pair. I do not remember what I paid for any of them, except one pair I bought from a guy at a garage sale in Hollywood for $30 (20 or 30 years ago) thinking that they would have blown tweeters or something and found out they were both fine. WOW.
When we stopped recording "others" I switched to Tannoys. So I haven't used any of the Yamaha's in many many years. In fact, one pair is now part of my fathers living room stereo (which he probably hasn't turned on for years and years)and I thinkI have another pair that is part of my sister's stereo at her house.
The reason I switched to Tannoys (2 different models so I won't list model) was because they were louder (without risking blowing a tweeter) and they sounded better to my ears. Do not make the mistake of thinking I changed because I could get a better or safer mix using them.
When not mixing for someone else I tend to want to please my ears and not the ears of someone out there in la la land.
So for me, here is the reason to buy and work on NS 10's.
Ultimately, do you want people to turn your music UP or turn it down???
With so many high fidelity speakers out there, the temptation to open up the high mid/top end more and more and MORE is a constant temptation. NS 10's however, keep us in check. It is (one of) the definitive speakers which allows us to know whether the listener is going to turn up a mix, or turn down....
Now that you know this, you will constantly listen for this.
That quintessential knee-jerk reaction to a song is quite honestly just as important than the song itself. And NS 10's keep us in check in this regards.
Yes the low end is not there, you will need to check on something bigger, or on a sub (kept low....right!!). No sweat!! But these white coned little bastards are perhaps the key component in keeping your head in check when mixing (and especially mastering) your own work.
There is a reason why we feel the 'organicness' of so many mixes from years and years ago the ns10's mother effers.