View Full Version : Yamaha MSP3s - budget studio monitors

2nd March 2005, 11:00 PM
Heya :)

Since I can't afford a set of NS-10s ;) (and yes - I have checked on eBay) I'm looking at a set of cheap'ish monitors. Currently I'm mixing on (shock horror) a set of Sennheiser 590's (means I can work as night and not piss wifey off) but the results are a bit hit and miss. Been testing on a (more well-off) mates Genelecs to get a better idea of where the mix is going but can't do that for ever.

I'm aware that monitors are a very personal thing, and have planned a reconnaisance trip tomorrow to a few stores with a couple of well-played CD's in hand.

But... I recently read a very favourable review of the Yamaha MSP3's (Future Music) which did well in terms of accuracy in a shoot-out with other monitors in the price range. I'm a fan of Yamaha kit - bullet proof from guitars to mixers to tuning forks(?), but the SoundOnSound review rated them as having a "shouty sound quality" and as having a "Two-dimensional, vague sound stage". Has anyone found this to be the case?

If other monitor in a similar price range can be recommended it'd be appreciated, and I'll check them out. Studio Room dims : h2.3m-2.6m (pitched roof), L=3m, W=2.4m - desk position along short axis. Wood floor, but may be changing to carpet.

cheers in advance


3rd March 2005, 07:44 AM
You're right in one important point... monitors are a personal choice.

In the old days, NS10's ruled the earth.


A combination of reasons.

firstly... they were 'flat' for their given freq response and had a very even phase response.
second... they had the freq resp. of your 'average' stereo at the time... which meant no bass below 100hz! Most studios had 'big' speakers (usually 4415 JBL's during the 80s) so they didn't need bass response... they needed speakers that sounded like what the end user would hear.
third... product placement. Yamaha dumped a few NS10's in a few key US mixing facilities and away they went. You couldn't see a photo of a engineer hard at work and not see those white coned speakers sitting on top. (kind of sounds a little like ipod and those white earphones I guess)
fourth... they were portable enough that engineers could take them with them to a new studio and immediately know what effect the room was having, as the speakers response didn't change, so any difference was due to room acoustics.

Any way..

all this background just to say... NS10's.. or ANY speaker... isn't the only choice.

The best advice I've ever given to anyone about speakers is to get a piece of music you know really, really, REALLY well, take it (on CD or DVD Audio...NOT MP3!) to the store that has a few speakers that you're interested in and sit down and listen to them all with the same track, with your eyes closed. Listen to voices, check to see if the stereo placement of the voice moves around (left/right, up/down) as the singer goes up & down in pitch. Check to listen if the stereo image extends beyond the left & right speaker. Check to listen if you can hear the end of notes, like the quiet breath sounds of a singer at the end of a vocal line or the lift of a bow from a violin in a classical piece.... This is where knowing the piece of music comes in.

As for specific recommendations...

I wasn't a major fan of MSP3's... but they are pretty solidly built and backed byy a good company. They are easily outperformed by Genelecs... and the larger Mackie 10's (and Yamaha MSP10's for that matter)... but each is more expensive! You really need to have a dedicated listen for yourself to make this sort of choice.

FWIW... I used to work for Yamaha looking after their professional audio products.

3rd March 2005, 08:08 AM
I mix on a set of these

and I get a pretty good final result

they also come in digital and many other options

3rd March 2005, 11:30 AM
Thanks for all that info uncyherb - very helpful. :) As long as they're 'accurate', then I'll be happy. Has to be better than mixing on headphones!

Off to do some listening/comparing! :)

And thanks noisypoppy - I've read a bit about the edirols and seeing as they're in the price range, I'll check'em out along side the others. :D



3rd March 2005, 11:38 AM
no problem, I find they have quite a flat response
sometimes they get a bit too much bottom end on them when turned up too loud, but at the right volume they're quite accurate
have a listen, you'll be amazed at the sound of the tiny things
awesome for just listening too, I know my girlfriend just picked up a pair not long ago to pair with a cheap DVD player to act as a quite inexpensive alternative to a stereo
sounds about 60x better than a regular home stereo too :D

3rd March 2005, 04:18 PM
I'm a fan of Paradigms, but I don't know who in Melbourne sells them. Their Monitor Series are excellent to say the least. Their speakers in general tend to be very neutral, and priced way below the quality of the sound they output.

9th March 2005, 09:05 PM
Hi again Guys

Well... I'm now sitting here listening through a set of Alesis M1 MKII's. After a trip to Allans in Bourke St for a comparison listening test, much reading on the net, magazines and asking other guys I know that also mix or have home studios, and UncyHerbs very helpful and informative advice, I have to say I'm a very very happy bunny. I thought that the imaging and clarity on my Senheisser 590s was pretty impressive, but these are simply beautiful. I've been meandering through my CD collection and grinning from ear to ear. I know that these aren't Genelecs, but for the quality, the price is really quite impressive.

So thanks all for your comments, and a special thanks to UncyHerb who answered more of my questions outside of the forum. Cheers :)

10th March 2005, 03:45 PM
A good choice - I have some alesis mkII myself and for the price they are unbeatable. Bit of a sleeper.

You gotta admit though in times of the Yamaha NS-10, that yamaha tissue paper you could buy to put over the front of the NS-10 was taking it a bit to far...

10th March 2005, 11:36 PM
Glad to hear you're happy!

And BTW... Yamaha never sold tissue paper (as far as I'm aware, and I used to work for them).... people just put tissues, stockings etc over the tweeters because hours in front of them would often feel like someone drilling into your ears... but only if you engineered at ridiculously loud levels.

I could name some names... like a certain australian engineer who used to do a lot of work at the now defunct platinum studios. He'd get high as a kite on weed during the coarse of a session... by the time it was late and most tracks were laid down he'd be monitoring at abusive levels... you couldn't sit in the room with him it was so loud... and not on Platinums lovely JBL's... noooo sireee.... he'd be running a couple of hundred watts through those NS10's.

I sat in with him one night working... thinking to myself... "I wonder how many sets of tweeters our service techs send out to these guys each month?"

10th March 2005, 11:51 PM
it's better to mix at louder volumes
ideally, according to Fletcher/Munson (yeah I know my spelling sucks) things should be mixed at around 90dB because that's around where every frequency has closest possible to equal amplitude
as we all know, 90dB is pretty loud
120dB being your average rock concert
most lawnmowers are around 70-75dB

11th March 2005, 07:31 AM
The guy I'm talking about would have been mixing well over 110 db... I didn't carry arround a SPL meter but I have a pretty good technical ear.

I know how loud most people would mix (I've done a bit of it myself), but this guy was at least 20db above that (4 times as 'loud' by human perception - 10 db being generally perceived as twice as loud despite it being well more than 4 times the power)

11th March 2005, 07:39 AM
ah okay
sound theory fascinates me
when I was learning it all, and we had to measure room accoustics people were complaining about writing out pages upon pages of formulae, I enjoyed it

I also find it fascinating that the army was once conducting experiments on resonant frequencies in warfare
quite scary and interesting at the same time

11th March 2005, 08:11 AM
I was going to suggest the Alesis models as well.

Mixing 'loud' is a bad idea. It tires your ears and makes it difficult to balance instruments well. A better idea is to change volume level several times during the session. Almost anything sounds acceptable when you're blaring at 90-100dB, but if a mix sounds good when played quietly you've generally nailed it.