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Are NS10's really all that?

Discussion in 'Monitoring / Headphones' started by joshuac, Jan 28, 2011.

  1. joshuac

    joshuac Active Member

    I need to get some monitors for my little recording setup. I have heard that yamaha's NS 10's are the way to go as far as reference monitors. Are there any that are better that are cheaper. i do not want to spend over $150 and with the ns 10's i would need to get an amp too.
     
  2. Big K

    Big K Well-Known Member

    The NS 10s are probably the worst monitors that ever found their way into pro studios.
    BUT they were one of the first speakers used for monitoring and, thus, many engineers have worked and learned the NS10s.
    They have next to no bass fundament and suck in their hights.
    Therefore, some engineers stick a piece of toilette paper or kimwipe ( tune to taste...LOL ) in front of the tweeter.

    If you want , you can use the old saying: if it sounds good on these, it sounds good on any other crate out there.
    Not entirely correct, but widely true.. .IF you know their sound and IF you can compensate their limitations by heart, when mixing.
    Nevertheless those are classic standart, per se, and many are still preferring them over any other ( unknown ) monitors when working out of house.
    I have a pair on my shelf... if anybody wants them... not cheap, and don't forget the shipping costs.
     
  3. natural

    natural Active Member

    Well, if you send your 'way back machine' back to 1985, then yeah. They were great at that time, because there was nothing like them prior.
    Since then, things have changed. There's hundreds of different types of nearfields to choose from now.
    Those that grew old with them, will still swear by them. (but they have probably lost a bit of hearing in the midrange)
    I find them dreadful. (and painful)

    (BIG K beat me to it, so this is now redundant)
     
  4. Big K

    Big K Well-Known Member

    Not redundant...supporting...
    :)
     
  5. Liondog

    Liondog Active Member

    No, they weren't. At best, they were part of the 2nd generation of near-fields. I agree that they really sucked.
     
  6. Davedog

    Davedog Distinguished Member

    I'd really like to see a pair for $150. Thats never going to happen.


    I had my pair for about a year. I bought em as a 'second opinion' to my JBL's. Never did like em much except for really guitar heavy rock and only to hear if the guitars were too loud in the mix.

    As always....YMMV.
     
  7. joshuac

    joshuac Active Member

    thanks for the info, sounds like since I have never heard a note through them I would be better off getting a decent pair of active studio monitors! Any suggestions?
     
  8. Davedog

    Davedog Distinguished Member

    Lots of suggestions. Just dont know your budget(good= more than $150) Decent is a relative term.....
     
  9. joshuac

    joshuac Active Member

    Well If it is more than that i will have to save up some more....I would rather only buy monitors once. $150 is probably a pipe dream. What do good active monitors run or what would be a good amp and passive speaker combo?
     
  10. moresound

    moresound Active Member

    Start saving big, for not only will you need monitors, you'll need (more than likely) to acoustically treat your room and it wouldn't matter what monitors you end up with till that is done.
     
  11. hueseph

    hueseph Well-Known Member


    Well, I don't know if I could agree with that. Monitors are going to affect the mix as much as the room. In fact a good set of near field monitors in an untreated room will be better than a well treated room with poor monitors IMHO. Someone with more experience might argue that. Spending money on both would be ideal. I would look into at the very least $400 for a pair of entry level monitors. KRK or Yamaha HS50M or better. $600 will have you sitting in the mid entry level. KRK RP8 or Yamaha HS80. Still not awesome but fair for the price.
     
  12. RemyRAD

    RemyRAD Guest

    I've never been able to use NS 10's. I couldn't stand them. It didn't matter how much toilet paper I used! Bright & horrific sounding. So, no. It's certainly not a please all oriented speaker. I like some of their others but I just generally steer clear. Too many Japanese speakers all sound the same to me also. And so yeah, China included. But some of these Chinese built speakers today are knockoffs from the earlier inception of the company. In that respect, many manufacturers have tried to keep a certain traditional aspect to their Chinese cuisine. So, some are making some decent sounding pieces that were essentially originally designed in the US and elsewhere and have retained a certain amount of consistency.

    A lot of us are old JBL guys. I particularly liked my 4311's with Crown amplifiers. Meanwhile, my studio partner liked his 4311's with a Macintosh 2100 and I designed and built his studio. So I did a lot of mixing and recording with the McIntosh amplifier even though I prefer Crowns. And they were the difference between night and day in deference. So that amplifier manufacturing difference could make for huge differences even with the same speakers.

    My next option was to find a smaller 2 way monitor to use as an alternate smaller source in my control room. I had used JBL 4308's and loved those. But then those darned polyurethane suspensions died. Even though I knew I could get those fixed. Instead, I had heard these KRK speakers that I liked. I also tried 2 different pairs of Tannoys that didn't translate well to my JBL world in my control room. But 3 different pairs of KRK's, both passive & active monitors did. I really enjoyed the RP 5's, currently have a pair of V6's & KRock-it passives and find that they translate well to my JBL worldly perceptions. Sure, there are plenty of other speakers I've heard, that sound good, that I can and do work on at other facilities. What I've suggested, these are both ultra-affordable and have a great rock 'n roll flavor to them that is classic in its nature. The company has since changed hands from their original Californian inception inception with Keith Klawitter or something like that. To some other Chinese manufacturer now. A lot of folks got to know them because of their, back in the day, unique, amber colored Kevlar woofers. In a way it sort of matched those white/beige woofers on my 4310's, 4311's, 4312's, 4411's. And I only purchase my speakers in pairs & rarely part with any.

    So it really helps to try and audition as many active self-contained mini monitors as you can. What sounds good in the store may sound completely opposite to you at home. And I've had problems just like that so make sure you've got a good store with a good exchange return policy. The simple fact is is that everything affects everything.

    The biggest trick is, you do have to become intimate with your monitors. To become one with your monitors. To understand them before you go to bed and understand them once you wake up. It's sort of like your underwear, generally stick with a single brand you like but you may vary a bit from time to time. Once you know what your favorite songs sound like on your favorite monitors, you'll understand how to work on any other monitors as long as you bring the same CDs with you as your reference jumping off point.

    Active monitors are perfectly suited to work with most any professional computer audio interface. These kinds of monitors go way beyond the silly consumer utilitarian specifically labeled " computer speakers". Those are fine for personal enjoyment but not fine for reference monitors. So go for a small professional active monitor. I even have a small pair of these Radio Shaft looking active self powered monitors. They use a single 4" full range driver, (instead of the Radio Shaft version with its 1 inch additional Tweeter, passive Minimus 7's) with internal 10 want amplifier by Fostex. You can mix albums on these things because they are not hyped in the low-end or the high-end like computer speakers are. And you don't need sub woofers. I only occasionally mix in another facility that has sub woofers and I deal with them. I really don't like the timing errors introduced by sub woofers. Even though the experts tell you that's not a problem. It is a problem. It will always be a problem. Of course, if you wanted to utilize 2 subwoofers and put them directly underneath the other two speakers, I might consider it. Of course that would look too much like a 3 way speaker system and then you wouldn't have that single sub to look at. Boo-hoo especially for those 5.1 kiddies out there.

    To sub or not to sub? That is the question.
    Mx. Remy Ann David
     
  13. DanTheMan

    DanTheMan Active Member

    Here's some Yammy dope: ns10m

    Yes they are that bad. They do however perform well in the metrics we can't readily hear...... well except with test tones and training.

    Dan
     
  14. Signature Sound

    Signature Sound Active Member

    I guess the allure of the NS10s is that they aren't that great but that they "transfer" very well - meaning they transfer to most consumer stereo systems - which is after all, the main market for your music. We have a pair of NS10s here in both studios and a lot of engineers like using them as one reference (not the only reference). They're passive speakers, so they require an outboard amplifier, which will color the sound a little bit. So they are just one reference for your mix, one of hopefully a few (car system, headphones, etc etc).
     
  15. DanTheMan

    DanTheMan Active Member

    I'm not really sure they transfer all that well. There are a million ways to screw up a speaker and the NS10 only accomplishes half a dozen of them or so. Ha ha. Market research might lead to a better "final check" monitor, but good luck getting ahold of that. That's one of the biggest problems with producing music--too many screwed up speakers/headphones available on the market in every price bracket. If companies had to show their speaker's performance in the metrics correlated with our perception, we could make real progress though listening environments would still be a sizable obstacle. Maybe the NS10 is as ideally screwed up as we can reasonably do.....

    Dan
     
  16. Signature Sound

    Signature Sound Active Member

    Definitely don't feel like you're required to use NS-10s. Go to a few different audio equipment stores and try out a few pairs, start getting used to what different pairs can offer and figure out exactly what it is you're wanting from them. As has been mentioned, the NS-10s became the standard low quality speaker to test mixes on. Before that were the Auratones. If what you're wanting is a set of speakers that mimics most home scenarios, I'd suggest just getting a nice pair of computer speakers -- after all, earbuds and laptop speakers are the new norm for most home systems.
     
  17. DanTheMan

    DanTheMan Active Member

    My point really was that there's no point checking your mix on a bad speaker as there are just too many ways to screw up a speaker to account for them all or even a majority. Same goes for ear buds and cans. Without some standards, the thing is somewhat a crapshoot. My goal is to just make my mixes sound great on good speakers in a good room or on good headphones/ear buds. That way when you sell music to people who care deeply about the quality of the recorded music, they'll appreciate your efforts. Heck, recent studies have shown that even teenagers prefer good sounding recordings and accurate loudspeakers. Audio Musings by Sean Olive: Some New Evidence That Generation Y May Prefer Accurate Sound Reproduction

    Dan
     
  18. kmetal

    kmetal Kyle P. Gushue Well-Known Member

    what i know about the ns-10's. get some tissue paper. they originally started as a comsumer 'bookshelf' type speaker didn't sell. since (already) professional engineers were using them to hear what their mixes done on mains, sounded like on on a very limited comsumer type speaker yamaha renamed them the ns-10m. The are good for hearing if your guitars are too loud. I've heard they should be used with a very overpowered amp like 250w per channel,(that one comes from a guy who worked on new kids' hanging tough). i think that is to keep amp distortion out of the question, with plenty of headroom they are quite expensive for a 'reality check'. a pair of 'em plus a couple halfer's could will cost well over $1000. And some people love 'em, since i haven't used them myself, i'm spitting out whats been told to me. I use meyer hd1's in the studio i work at. just installed the last cloud, wow what a difference in bass detail...we're still finalizing everything.
    My mixes translated better from my low end consumer stereo, in an untreated bedroom room, than they did in my treated bedroom w/ mackie hr's. The learning curve was fairly steep for me. All i did was try to make the sounds sound good on my consumer stereo, cuz thats what they'll likely sound like on everyone else's avg stereo untreated room.
    What you get w/ studio monitors in a good room, is the ability to here 'more', like detailed pick articulation, drum pedal noise, details that would get masked, or not even reproduced on a consumer system. With this type of system, the room is already sort of compensated for, so you can make it sound like you want it in the room. With monitors, unless you have them in an acoustically designed (not just treated) room, you need to mix for how you know it will sound outside. For instance, in my bedroom, i get the bass-end the way i like to hear it, then turn it down a couple notches, this makes me confident it won't be boomy in my car.
    The reason i like mixing at the studio so much, is that i can make it sound the way i want to hear it in there, and be confident it's going to translate well. But that took us a lot of time, money, and a bit of trial and error (speaker placement, aditional room treatments, learning the control room.
    One of the main features in powered monitors is the amp built into it, this has been designed to work nicely w/ the speakers, and encloseure, and takes away alot of the research, trail/error in a passive speaker.
    My boss uses hs80's at his studio. they work there. My hr's mk2's took me a while to learn in my bedroom, althought good mixes sound really good on them. The meyers i like very much at the studio. Hr's work nicely in my cousins project studio. And my friend likes his behringer's, i don't.
     
  19. DanTheMan

    DanTheMan Active Member

    Anytime you switch your monitors, you will have to relearn them and it will take some time depending on how different they are than the previous ones. I used to mix on poorly engineered speakers, but my mix would not translate well on other poorly engineered speakers or even good ones. It was frustrating. Then I learned of just how many ways there are to screw up a speaker and it became obvious why this is. There's just no way to account for all the bad designs out there. If people are not picky enough to choose good sounding speakers and set them up in a good location for listening, are they going to be upset if the sound isn't very good? Yes, some of them will. Hopefully they'll figure out that it was there poor reasoning. Truth is, the end user doesn't even need a well treated room--it helps, but it's not make or break. There was an experiment done several years ago where listeners were taken to four different room with a number of loudspeakers behind a giant grill cloth screen. All the rooms were radically different in size, shape, and acoustical properties. In every instance, the most accurate speaker was preferred and the least accurate despised. Our ears/brain have the ability to adapt to the acoustics of a room minutes after arriving. That's not to say that a better room isn't worth it, but the end user doesn't need one to enjoy stereo reproduction. They do however need decent speakers. There are several decent speakers that are cheap. The most interesting part of that experiment is that they also dummy head recorded each room then later played it back to the same listeners through individually HRTF compensated ear buds(almost seems redundant I know but apparently they wanted to leave no doubt). From the recorded version, the room became the dominant factor for preference--not the speaker. The ear had no chance to learn the room acoustics and couldn't be separated from the source. At the moment I can't remember if this was a Floyd Toole experiment or not, but that's what my memory is telling me.

    Dan
     
  20. kmetal

    kmetal Kyle P. Gushue Well-Known Member

    the whole point is the avereage listener doesn't have 'decent speakers'. the person in their toyota corolla probably has paper cones, well at least in the older ones.
    Your quoted as "I used to mix on poorly engineered speakers, but my mix would not translate well on other poorly engineered speakers or even good ones". What seems to be the problem, the engineer?
    Gotta know what your listening for reguardless of room. I've made decent mixes in the corner a bar room just left of one of the mains. i've made bad mixes in the best studio i've worked at.
    Dude really...i mean really....really... what experience is this one coming from "Truth is, the end user doesn't even need a well treated room--it helps, but it's not make or break."
    the truth really is we all don't have properly treated rooms, And all worthwhile studio's will!
    You sound like you google more than you record man. don't get me wrong i read alot too.
    I also have been building/mixing everyday professionally for the last 2 years, and for fun for the last 12yrs.
    Our ears sure do compensate for room acoustics, doesn't mean we all have the skill to critically adjust the playback material in a manner that will paint the picture elswhere that fast. just beacuse you make it sound good in one room, which is realatively straighforward, doesn't mean it will sound good evrywhere else. it is the point, and very expensive necessity of a nuetral room/honest monitoring system.
    The first thing any mixer does is check his mix elsewher why? beacuse unlike numbers, physical rooms, speakers, equipment, ain't perfect. Both the studio's and the end-listener's. Balance, is it man.
    The reason i did so well on a home stereo was beacuase it compensated for my untreated room, which is what the majority of listeners will be in. It was well before i knew what room treatment was, even what a studio monitor was. i just tried my best to make my stuff sound like what i was used to hearing. speaker companies spend alot of money on RD so that consumers get a pleasing/perhaps exaggerated depiction of the sound from the recording in an untreated room, figuring the typical painting, couch, ect.
    Studio monitors assume you have a very flat room and pick their components based on that.
    If your talking audiophile stuff then that's different consumer stuff, and out of my realm.
    do you have any experience on ns10m's, or the profound amount of amps they (could) run on?
    Studio monitors are designed for just that, monitoring in a studio situation. some for project studio's some for pro level, some custom design for the control room. there are no, i mean none, 0, zilsch, 'untreated' professional control rooms.
     

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