Zoë Blade's notebook


The NS-10M was an infamous hi-fi speaker made by Yamaha in 1978.[1] It was repurposed as a nearfield studio monitor speaker so often that Yamaha released a revised model intended for that specific purpose, the NS-10M Studio. It's seemingly both ubiquitous and universally loathed.

The NS-10M's popularity may be somewhat arbitrary. It didn't have to be perfect, it merely had to be good enough that a few popular freelance producers favoured it early on. To keep their sound consistent from one studio to another, they'd lug it with them. Studios that were eager to hire them noticed this preference, and decided to adopt the same speaker in-house, to tempt them with the lack of hassle that comes from having their favourite speaker already installed. It snowballed from there.

The NS-10M does, however, have a very useful characteristic: it's very quick at stopping, which is important when reproducing short, quick sounds, like percussion or transients (essentially the featureful head-end of notes).

The general consensus, as much as there is one, seems to be that it sounds bad in the sense that it's good at highlighting the problems in your mix, and that once you get your mix to sound good on a pair of NS-10Ms, it should sound good on anything.

Notable users


  1. "The Yamaha NS-10 Story" Phil Ward, Sound On Sound, Sep 2008
  2. "Apollo Four Forty: Ad Astra" Sam Molineaux, Sound On Sound, Nov 1999
  3. "Aural Technology Redefined?" Simon Trask, Future Music, Jan 1995, pp. 51—53
  4. "Beat Dis" Mike Collins, Sound On Sound, Jun 1991, pp. 24—30
  5. "International Rescue" Tim Goodyer, Music Technology, May 1990, pp. 40—46
  6. "Classic Tracks: Fatboy Slim 'Praise You'" Tom Doyle, Sound On Sound, Jan 2017
  7. "What instruments were used on Leftfield's Leftism?" Entropy, Gear Space, Nov 2007
  8. "Machine Head" Simon Trask, Music Technology, Jul 1991, pp. 56—62
  9. "Message In A Sample" Phil Ward, Music Technology, May 1993, pp. 36—42
  10. Everything Is Wrong Moby, 1995
  11. "The Magic Circle" Phil Ward, Music Technology, Jun 1993, pp. 56—60
  12. "Music of Spheres" Nigel Humberstone, Sound On Sound, Apr 1994
  13. "Soul Searching" Tim Goodyer, Music Technology, Jun 1989, pp. 42—47


Speakers: NS-10M

Yamaha: DX7 | DX21 | DX21 guide | NS-10M | TX81Z