|Yamaha NS10 Nearfield
discontinued production of this musical workhorse.
Why, you ask? Don't we see them perched on the meter
bridge of every console in almost every studio? Yes,
we certainly do. So, why are they being
discontinued? It's because Yamaha says they can no
longer obtain the materials needed to produce this famous
speaker. They claim that the wood pulp used in the
woofer cone is no longer available. Yamaha tried
other materials in place of this special wood pulp, but
they were never able to duplicate the "NS10
sound." So, after years of faithful service, an
era comes to an end. Yamaha
NS10 Press Release
The people that hate this little speaker have several
reasons for doing so. They say the speaker just
doesn't sound good. They say it's too bright,
especially in the upper mid frequencies. Actually,
the NS10's have a 7dB peak around 1500Hz. Then, of
course, there's the bass response problem. There
isn't much there to work with. These are all good
reasons not to like this speaker, yet it's an important
component in most recording studios and is used by many
successful recording engineers worldwide. There must
be a reason for this.
In spite of the above claims, the speaker has something
very funny about it. Mixes made on this speaker
usually translate well to other speaker systems.
There is a simple rule of thumb, "if it sounds good
on the NS10's, it will sound good on anything." Well,
maybe, and maybe not. It all depends on whether or
not you know the "secret."
The secret in working with the NS10s, or any speaker for
that matter, is knowing what the speaker sounds like.
It's no different than knowing what other studio equipment
sounds like. Compressors all sound different.
EQ's all sound different. Microphones and mic
preamps all sound different. Everything in your
studio has a "sound." Even cables and
speaker wire have their own "sound." OK,
maybe that's pushing it a bit. Seriously though,
many engineers use compressors not only to control
dynamics, but to color the sound as well. Different
compressors color the sound in different ways. If
you know what your compressors sound like, you can use the
appropriate one to achieve the color you desire. The
NS10s are no different. Like any piece of
audio gear, you need to know what they sound like in order
to have success using them.
One thing you'll enjoy about these speakers is they don't
have the normal 2 to 3db dip in frequency response at the
crossover point. This is usually around 2000 to
2500Hz on most near field monitors. This lack of
frequency dip is probably the biggest reason why these
speakers are loved by so many. As with any monitor,
you need to check your mix on several other systems before
making your final decisions. Use a car stereo, boom
box, headphones, and maybe a good stereo system with a sub
woofer. When your mix sounds great on all these
systems, including the NS10s, you've got it nailed.
Once you learn how the NS10s sound, you'll realize that
for the most part, they are a joy to mix on. Isn't
that what we all want in a near field monitor?
When mixing with the NS10s, there's a way to make sure
your mix will sound good on other systems. Mix at a
low level. Use
a level that's similar to background music at a dinner
party. When you monitor with the NS10s in this
manner, and you hear a good balance of frequencies, you've
got it. Monitoring at loud levels is where the NS10s
trick us into lowering the mids and raising the lows.
This results in mixes that may sound great on the NS10s,
but muffled or bass heavy (dull) on other systems. Now
conventional wisdom says that monitoring in this way is in
conflict with the Fletcher Munson Curve. However,
because of the design of the NS10's, it does seem to work.
Also, the amp has a lot to do with the sound you get from
these monitors. In a test using a 60 watt per
channel Yamaha amp, the high end was brittle and the low
end not impressive. However, when using a 250 watt
per channel Acurus amp, the highs were pleasing, and the
low end, while not over bearing, sounded tight and punchy.
There has long been a theory that placing tissue paper on
the tweeters of the original NS10s may give more desirable
Is this theory fact or fiction? Check it out here.
- Tissue On Tweeters