Yamaha NS-10M

1 9 7 7 1977
2 0 0 2 2002

200,000 pairs sold - I'm sure many manufacturers would want to be able to say that.

Developed by Akira Nakamura (among other engineers), as a small bookshelf consumer loudspeaker, the NS-10M became several years after its launch in 1977 a permanent fixture of studio and broadcast monitoring. A craze, really - but sonically justified.

Selling as it did, the NS-10M became a de facto worldwide industry standard for near-field monitoring, thanks to its very precise midband and impulse response, correct power handling and near-perfect imaging.

After having tried every kind of available pulp for the bass cone Yamaha found the wanted sonic material by a photographic paper manufacturer !

Weighing only 3,7g, the JA1801 bass cone reacts very precisely, even to low-level signals, and the magnet assembly can take a lot of power - a lot.

The JA0518A tweeter is a laminated soft dome topped by two different dampening resins ; the three layers are put together through special manufacturing allowing utter precision in alignement. Weighing a tiny 0,6g (edges + dome !), response is swift, precise and controlled.

The filter uses low-distortion componentry and film caps carefully organized for low-loss and maintained low-distortion. The enclosure is sealed and made of thick special 2,5cm wood particles, topped by seven layers of black varnish.

Whether real or marketing lookalikes, Yamaha made many many many many versions of the "10" - the ones everybody knows are the NS-10M STUDIO and the NS-10M PRO, both from 1987.

The NS-10M Studio version was launched after some mid 1980s engineers prefered their NS-10M with a layer (or two, or more) of tissue paper in front of the tweeter ! Given the popularity of this (rather... thin) mod', Yamaha revised the tweeter to adress that (t)issue.
It is this version which had the most success and which formed a big crowd of 10M haters and an equally large crowd 10M lovers (among which is me).

The NS-10M PRO has the big terminals of the Studio but an opaque front cover like the original 1977 NS-10M, the latter having the typically 1970s' small cable terminals with push/slot system.

The NS-10M X is a magnetically shielded PRO with a sligthly different tweeter sans grille around it.

The NS-10MT is a mid 90s bass-reflex version of the 10M X with a different tweeter and front cache. The T stands for (home-)Theater and its bass response extends to 43Hz with a lowered nominal impedance of 6 Ohm and a slightly better maximum power handling at 180W.

Sadly, all good things have an end : if controversy didn't kill the NS-10M, the great white pulp did.
Twenty-five years after its inception, due to technical and ecological reasons, its manufacturing couldn't survive 2001. Yamaha however had (and perhaps still has) a fair stock of spares. The tweeter ages perfectly but the woofer's surrounds/suspension tends to stiffen with age.

No matter what the haters may say, the 10M Studio was a truly excellent near-field monitor : unjustified success doesn't fare at 200,000 pairs in the broadcast world.

The absolute article about them, complete with plots, measurements and bibliography, here.

Yamaha NS-10M, image 1 Yamaha NS-10M, image 2 Yamaha NS-10M, image 3 Yamaha NS-10M, image 4 Yamaha NS-10M, image 5
Yamaha NS-10M specifications
Title Value
(1977 model) (1977 model)
Frequency response : 60Hz...20Khz
Power capacity : 25W
50W max.
Nominal impedance : 8 Ohm
Sensitivity : 90dB / 1W / 1m
Crossover : 2Khz
Drivers : JA1801 18cm cone
JA0518A 3,5cm soft dome
Enclosure : 10,4l sealed
Dimensions : 38,2w x 21,5h x 19,9d cm
Weight : 6kg.
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