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History of the NS10?

Discussion in 'Monitoring & Headphones' started by mkruger, Feb 8, 2004.

  1. mkruger

    mkruger Guest

    This more likely than not has been talked about here, in the past. My question is what was the model number of the first origional Yamaha NS10? Is it the NS10M or is there an even earlier more origional monitor named "NS10" without the "M"? Is there a difference between the two?
  2. AudioGaff

    AudioGaff Distinguished Member

    Feb 23, 2001
    Silicon Valley
    Yamaha made a hunk of $*^t. They called it the NS10. End of story...
  3. RecorderMan

    RecorderMan Distinguished Member

    Mar 28, 2001
    I like NS10's.

    Nothing is perfect.

    I've only been in one room in my life I could find fault with (A&M A).

    I like ProAc's better, and you never hear anybody talk about them (good...don't want to give ALL the secrets away)

    ...yet, some of the best people I've ever heard a mix from do just fine with NS10's....

    ...in fact, a good portion of people who have to have nifty special monitors can't hear anyway and bought what they got from hearsay as opposed to actually having a valid personal opinion with the experience to justify it.

    Give me a pair of NS10's with a YST-160 sub and a pair of auratones...or a trip to the beach (I think the beach...)


    The NS10 was originally designed/marketed as a comsumer bookshelf and designed to be set up vertically...hence the orientation of the writing on the front...Bob Clearmountain made them famous and every studio started getting them. then Yamaha came out with the NS10M which had the writing on the front to reflect that they wee used horizontally on the meter bridge of a large format console.
    The originals had a tweeter that were never designed to be flat ( for consumer reasons). People (Bob C. again) started using tissue taped over them to tone the top down so that you didn't have to make your mixes overly bright to be right. When Yamaha came out with the NS10M they also modified the tweeter to be less harsh. As usual, people preferred the original tweets.
  4. AudioGaff

    AudioGaff Distinguished Member

    Feb 23, 2001
    Silicon Valley
    True, A lot of people have and continue to use NS10's, I've used NS10's and gotten good results. So? They still are a hunk of $*^t...
  5. David French

    David French Distinguished Member

    Jun 19, 2002
    Wow. Thanks for the great little history lesson, RecorderMan. :)
  6. RecorderMan

    RecorderMan Distinguished Member

    Mar 28, 2001
    even $*^t has it's possitve uses...fertilizer. :D
  7. I guess Gaff's point is that they are honking sh*te, so why not mix using _______ fill in the blank consumer bookshelf speaker (Bowers&Wilkins).

    Since Big Engineer made them famous in the late 1980s, that's why the pro studios have 'em in the mix rooms.

    I heard Brian Wilson used to install a small AM transmitter outside the studio to hear the Beach Boys mixes over the airwaves in his car (!) so whatever works.
  8. realdynamix

    realdynamix Well-Known Member

    Feb 23, 2001
    :) Here is the real story, an interview with Akira Nakamura, the designer. RE: MSP-10, NS-10, NS-1000M and other new models.


  9. millionvalve

    millionvalve Guest

    I really can't say anything bad about NS-10's.

    They're useful, they're great for mix reference (as my second set of monitors), and they will expose mixing issues in a really helpful way.

    The more I use them, the more I'd never get rid of them.


    p.s. Use what you like, I'm not peddling them. Everyone should be beyond that: Use what you dig and dig what you use...
  10. mkruger

    mkruger Guest

    Wow that article was great! Everyone should read it, and if they don't want to they should be forced.
  11. mkruger

    mkruger Guest

    I'm talking about the Interview that Rick Hammang
  12. maintiger

    maintiger Distinguished Member

    Dec 3, 2003
    Whittier, California, USA
    Home Page:
    I agree, its a great interview. Thankyou Rick! :D
  13. Bill Park

    Bill Park Guest


    I can expand upon that story.

    In the past, labels mostly controlled the recording process. Engineers and producers worked the same rooms over and over, as they were booked by the labels.

    As artists started taking more control of recording, the idea of the independent producer and engineer developed. More and more guys were traveling from studio to studio. This means that they were not used to the sound of the big studio monitors in any given room, as the engineers and producers who worked in the same rooms were.

    So guys started carrying (along with their favorite rack gear that a given studio may not have...) their own REFERENCE monitors. These were not used to mix, but were used to check the mixes after the fact.

    Okay so far?

    Now, these traveling guys needed a decent small speaker.

    I don't know how anyone else came upon the NS-10, but I found out about them in a Spin article (about 1986 or 87) about the 10 best bookshelf speakers for under $200 a pair. The top set, B&Ws, were unavailable to me in my area. But the Yamahas... well, I had a friend in home stereo, and he got my first pair for me for $188.

    Interestingly, at the time you could not buy an NS 10 pair at a music store or anywhere else other than at a stereo store. Yamaha highly protected their dealers, and if the model was designated home stereo, that was the only place that you could buy it.

    It was not until later, when so many studio guys were using them, that that Yamaha finally made them available to music stores and sound contractors. (A friend of mine who owns a music store that sells thousands of dollars of Yamaha gear could not buy a certain Yamaha CD player, and he could not get it shipped to his store, he had to get it from a stereo dealer!)

    I want to emphasise that the NS 10 was used as a reference, not as the main speaker. The NS 10 is harsh and fatiguing to listen to for extended periods at any volume level, lacks lows, and has a mid bump. I still have one pair left... hooked up to a computer in my office. I haven't used them to mix with for many years.

  14. doctorfish

    doctorfish Guest

    When I was shopping for studio monitors a few years ago, I thought to check out the NS10's because I'd seen them everywhere (nearly every studio picture I've seen has a pair of them on the console) and I'd heard so much (good and bad) about them. Well, I was told that they were discontinued. Is this true? Hard to say for me because the harsh feelings here in Korea toward anything Japanese still run deep.

    Time to checkout that interview that Rick posted.

  15. One Flight Up

    One Flight Up Flying. Active Member

    Aug 31, 2015
    Sydney, Australia
    Home Page:
    I use a pair during mixdown in my Sydney recording studio. The mid range "bump" is actually very useful for getting everything sitting right in the hardest area of the mix - the mids, where most stuff is. It's like "zooming in" on the mids, balance up, then back to your preferred monitors, and bang, everything is sitting just right.

    Bottom line: they have their uses and they do what they do well. But they're not for everything or for everyone or for all the time! :)

    One Flight Up Recording Studios, Sydney Australia
    audiokid likes this.
  16. Boswell

    Boswell Distinguished Moderator Resource Member

    Apr 19, 2006
    Home Page:
    At least some things haven't changed much since 2004!
  17. DonnyThompson

    DonnyThompson Moderator (Distinguished Member) Resource Member

    Nov 25, 2012
    Akron/Cleveland, OH
    Home Page:
    As far as I know, the original NS10(m's) that were originally released by Yamaha as a consumer loudspeaker in the late 70's, and then which became so prevalent in studios during the 80's and into the mid 90's ( thanks largely to engineers and producers like Bob Clearmountain) have been discontinued for quite sometime now.

    The reasons for which ( depending on whom you believe), ranges from the limited availability of the specific paper that was used in the speaker construction (supposedly due to a certain tree that is now considered to be endangered) to it simply being because Akira Nakamura, the original developer of the speakers, had left Yamaha, and those who had previously worked under him - and who then moved up in rank after he left - feeling as though they could "improve" upon his original design/ sound, and some say that this was motivated by giving in to pressures from consumers, who wanted "more low end" added to the original model.

    I tend to lean towards the latter as the true reason, as it was more the shape and the drivers which defined the sound, than it was the type of paper used - and, considering that Yamaha still makes replacements for original NS10's available, obviously they're still making them... although you'll pay dearly for them these days; and I don't believe that it's because they are difficult to manufacture, either... I think it's more a marketing thing than anything else.

    The reason for their popularity, and eventual wide-spread use elevating them to "studio standard" status, is still hotly debated - some swear by them, and still others hate them... very rarely do you come across someone who is indifferent in their opinion of them.

    I've mixed more than just a few projects on them over the years ( who hasn't?) and I can say that personally, and IMO, I don't hear any difference in the quality of those mixes over the projects where I used other NF monitors...
    What I can say, based on personal experience, is that in general I found them to be very fatiguing - and fatiguing in much less time than other NF's I've used - I have always had a hard time mixing on them for very long without feeling aurally burnt.

    My personal opinion, is that I don't think that it's absolutely necessary to mix through NS10's in order to get a great mix. There are many great monitors out there through which great mixes can be constructed, and many of them are far easier to listen to than NS10's are, especially over longer periods of mixing time ( assuming that you are listening at a "commonly" accepted monitoring level of 75-80 db). I know there are guys who claim to be able to monitor at 80-85 db thru NS10's for lengthy sessions... but I'm sure as hell not one of them. Even at my own commonly used average listening level - which is lower than what most engineers usually cook at - I'm usually around 70-75 db for longer sessions - there's no way I could use NS10's for very long, even at that softer monitoring level, let alone at the standardized and accepted 80-85db.

    Personally speaking, I put more faith - and importance - into the room acoustics of the recording and/or mixing space, the quality of the gear used during the tracking, and, for those who use one, in the integrity of the monitoring control system, than I do in just that particular monitor alone. If asked my personal opinion on a particular preferred monitor, I'd end up choosing Auratone 5C's over NS10's as an "easier to listen to" and better "all-round" reference.

    But... that's just me. We all have our own individual preferences when it comes to what we like to use, and if you feel that NS10's are a crucial part of a workflow that you've come to trust, and that allows you to consistently turn out quality, then I certainly can't argue with that preference.

    For my own workflow - and level of importance - Yamaha NS10's simply don't fall within that hierarchy of priority for me ( and, BTW, yes, I do have a pair of NS10 "originals"). I'll use them from time to time, but I don't consider them to be a "deal breaker" for what I do, although I wouldn't be at all surprised to find that there are pro's who would strongly disagree with me about that ...

    I'm pretty sure that Bob Clearmountain would, LOL. ;)

    IMHO of course.

    One Flight Up likes this.
  18. pcrecord

    pcrecord Don't you want the best recording like I do ? Resource Member

    Feb 21, 2013
    Quebec, Canada
    Home Page:
    I remember ready that before they were sold, they were given away as a promotionnal tool. They were considered very cheap speaker until an engineer mixed on them for fun and was amazed how well his mix translated to other systems. After he spread the word, Yamaha realised they're gold mine and sold them at high price.

    They are being said to not to sound good. But if you make a mix sound good on them the mix will sound good everywhere. . . (never tried them tho)...
    My Yamaha H8 are said to be their closest relative.. but I doubt it very much..
  19. pcrecord

    pcrecord Don't you want the best recording like I do ? Resource Member

    Feb 21, 2013
    Quebec, Canada
    Home Page:
    In anyone cares to read the complete story according to SOS :
    Kurt Foster likes this.

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