View Full Version : Another unusual find in my neck-O-the-woods

07-12-2011, 03:56 PM
I keep finding things that spark my interest...

Obviously old Yamahas (24h x 17w x 8d)... asking $50.

Anyone recognize these? No other info supplied.

07-12-2011, 04:10 PM
I think they might be Yamaha NS 230's

Here's a pic from the net

I don't imagine these offer much beyond curiosity value.

07-12-2011, 04:24 PM
The Yamaha ear speakers.

07-12-2011, 04:41 PM
I had a pair with different grille cloth. They have a following.

Sold mine. One tweeter was out or I woulda kept them. I liked the way they sounded. Good midrange presentation.

07-12-2011, 07:33 PM
I forgot why they designed it that way, I know it has to do something with the shape of an actually human ear???

07-12-2011, 07:37 PM
I don't know... I look at that thing and all can think of is that it must sound like @55. It just looks all kinds of wrong.

nissan guy
07-12-2011, 08:41 PM
A friend has a few sets. I didn't get to hear them when i was at his house but he said the tweeters were actually very good in them. I dont think they would have much in the bass department, but if you paired them with a sub(s) they could be good.

07-12-2011, 08:59 PM
They have nice bass. That's quite a bit of cone area going on there. They're dipole-ish too.

Yeah something about the ear.

07-12-2011, 09:06 PM
I don't think I could get used to a warped look

07-13-2011, 08:18 PM
I yearn to find a pair. The theory behind their design is simply to minimize cone resonance by having different radiuses. I don't know if they actually sound any better for not being circular or square, but I think they are very cool.

07-15-2011, 10:47 AM
Well Nat... you can ask me questions about them... I'm going to pick them up in a couple of hours for $25. You bastards talked me into it... not like that's hard or anything. Still for $25... what the heck.

07-15-2011, 11:55 AM
I'd be curious how they sound in a more conventional enclosure or in an open baffle -- my memory is that they are in a small open back enclosure so they are dipoles, but not big enough to produce much bass unless very carefully located.

07-15-2011, 12:59 PM
Well they ended up being NS-250e. Here's ( a good look at them on the Internet. Will post back with actual pics later, along with some listening observations.

07-16-2011, 10:00 PM
Ok... I promised some follow up. The speakers are in excellent condition both cosmetically and functionally. A couple small chips on the cabinet corners and a single "stain". At first, I thought one of the tweeters was dead, but I think the Lpad was just twisted to the far left... Funny I never thought one would set up the Lpad to completely turn off the driver!

Now to sound first impressions (on a Pio SX-636):

The best: Highs. I was totally surprised by the quality of the highs. I turned the Lpad to max and the highs are clear but still sweet and not harsh at all.

The worst: Lows. It's hard to describe what I'm hearing. Sure there's nice extension but the lows are a bit muddy and muffled. The lows seem slow.

I listened to a variety of music but the most critical listening was done with Paul Simon's Graceland. Compared to my RS Nova 6s (which is a bit of an unfair comparison as I use them with my computer as a near field monitors, pointed at my ears, on a Pio SX-770) they are not as good. Perhaps, the highs are equivalent but the bass on the Nova 6s is just better, quicker, more complimentary. I dunno - I guess to my ears.

The Yamaha's can get quite loud, but I didn't have a chance to really evaluate them at volume.

Also the Yamaha's don't really create a sweet spot. I have three chairs: left, center and right and all locations sound equally as good.

I still need to do a proper AB with some other speakers in the house (probably the Maggies) to get a true sense of they are capable of. As it stands I am very pleasantly surprised. These speakers are not a gimmick and sound and look very nice indeed.

I bought them thinking I'll flip them after I have a listen... but I think they might stay for a while.

Here are some pics:

07-17-2011, 06:58 AM
Those will sound better with at least a foot of distance from the wall. The OB design prefers space. I had a set if the big ones...30" main drivers, and they are a really good sounding speaker.

07-17-2011, 07:03 AM
Very interesting speakers. They look to be in great shape!

07-17-2011, 08:05 AM
They are about 1 foot away from the wall. Well... it's not really a wall... it's a curtain in front of a bay window. As a further explanation of what I'm hearing - it's a lack of detail in the lows.

07-17-2011, 08:08 AM
I had a pair of those years ago, I think mine were a very early pair, they looked like late 60`styling, big rectangular chrome horn but the exact same woofer.
Mine also had the open back but it also had a 3/4 inch plywood back. The one you have doesn't look that thick. May be some of the reason for the bass problem, but for sure they need 2-4 feet away from the wall and they are very placement sensitive. Good score though.

07-17-2011, 09:56 AM
Nice find.

07-18-2011, 06:31 AM
What kind of surrounds do they have -- I would have assumed cloth roll, but it looks rather like foam in the pictures.

07-18-2011, 07:06 AM
Kind of similar in basic design respects to the venerable KEF B139 oval woofer with expanded styrofoam / outer aluminum skin woofer "cone" but on a much larger scale. May work much better in a box designed for the woofers TS parameters if those could be worked out. I suspect it isn't so much the driver as the box it's in. Of course, the driver could have some real unusual characteristics too.

07-18-2011, 08:00 AM
I think a weird polar pattern would be part of the issue with them -- a driver that size must beam like mad in the upper frequencies its reproducing -- I would think a three way would be better behaved in terms of how it energizes the room and how it sounds off axis. I wonder how much of the less than stellar bass is the dipole thing, and how much its the relative diminishment of the harmonics of bass notes.

07-18-2011, 08:12 AM
Well...gents this conversation has moved on beyond my understanding of the world. But allow me to add the following:

The foam you see is not part of the surround, it's more of a "covering". That foam is very fragile, so I generally stayed away. I'll have another look tonight, but to be honest I didn't see any surround. I think the way this speaker works is by flexing only the internal portion of the entire cone surface. I don't believe the edges move at all. Just by placing my fingers at the edge of the cone I can tell that very few vibrations make it out that far from the center. As for beaming... I can't say that is my experience - there isn't much of a sweet spot... at the very least it isn't that apparent.

07-18-2011, 09:59 AM
Interesting... Maybe the cone (or diaphragm) progressively decouples so that only the center radiates the higher frequencies, making the polar pattern better.

07-18-2011, 10:28 AM
Just a thought - but when folks talk about "muddy" bass - the recommended solution is often a re-cap of the cross-over. Just a thought.

Cool speakers none the less.

07-18-2011, 11:55 AM
Not sure why recapping would affect the bass much, but maybe it does. I think in this case, though, the dipole nature of the the speakers, and what appears to be non optimal positioning (non optimal acoustically -- often the optimal solution in terms of actually using a room for life, and the optimal acoustic solution are dramatically divergent) are much more significant factors.

07-18-2011, 12:04 PM
What would be optimal for something like this? To place them a foot away from a wall? Because they are at least that right now, on a stand with a slight uptilt. The main difference being that there's no "wall" behind them - it's a curtain in front of a short knee wall. I'll experiment a little...

07-18-2011, 04:19 PM
Typically dipoles seem to work best at 2 to 3 feet from the wall, and often angling them seems to help, too. The reason for this is that the back wave from the open(ish) baffle reflects off the wall and interferes with the front and back waves that are being produced when the reflected wave gets back to the speaker. Judicious positioning can make this interference less problematic. In the case of yours, the back may affect the length of time the back wave takes, so distance out from the wall might be less.
I'd also try the speaker on the floor, perhaps tilted back somewhat. That way part of the backwave is blocked -- that which would come under the speaker.

John in MA
07-18-2011, 04:26 PM
Wow, those are something. Not sure what, but they certainly are something.

07-18-2011, 07:37 PM
Still slightly muddy... But Holy Cr@p! There's a lotta bass there... At volume (and it doesn't take much, remember these are on a 636, 12 o'clock is uncomfortably loud!) the paintings on my walls are vibrating.