Yamaha NX N500
Yamaha NX N500
Yamaha NX N500

Yamaha NX N500: Active near-field monitors

In the field of professional audio, one of Yamaha’s most legendary models was the Yamaha NS-10 near-field monitor, produced with minor modifications from 1978 to 2001. You can find these speakers in the assortment of almost any serious recording studio. Today we will get acquainted with the heirs of the famous model, endowed with the most modern digital technologies and intended for home use.

The concept of storing a music library as files on computers and smartphones is becoming more and more popular every year. And if for the mobile version the question of how to listen to music does not arise, implying the use of headphones of one design or another in conjunction with a portable gadget, then at home there are a great many options for organizing listening. From using a compact wireless monoblock speaker system that allows you to stream music via Bluetooth from a smartphone or tablet, to using a file streamer and/or external DAC as part of a serious audio system. But what to do if there is no time, money, or desire to build such a system, and the almost monophonic sound of a monoblock is categorically unsatisfactory? It is for this case that Yamaha offers active near-field monitors with the NX-N500 index.

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Yamaha MusicCast technology allows you to combine various audio devices – AV receivers, wireless speaker systems, sound bars, mini stereo systems, smartphones, tablets and computers – to work together. This integration makes it possible to use a single music library for the entire system with central or distributed storage of audio files and centralized playback control using a special application installed on your smartphone or tablet. Not only home network servers or the memory of your portable gadget, but also music streaming services on the global web – Spotify, Pandora and others, as well as hundreds of Internet radio stations – can serve as a storage for audio tracks. Moreover, with the MusicCast system you can broadcast music from any source connected, for example, to your AV receiver, to different rooms of your house or apartment. MusicCast technology is fully compatible with high-resolution audio – supporting FLAC, WAV formats up to 24-bit / 192 kHz, as well as DSD.

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The support for various wireless data transmission channels is also noteworthy, which greatly expands the choice of components for your multiroom system. MusicCast technology can use not only a Wi-Fi network, but also Bluetooth as a wireless data transmission medium. In addition, you can connect system components with regular twisted pair cables via Ethernet. The technology supports up to three control consoles (mobile gadgets with the Yamaha MusicCast CONTROLLER application). That is, all family members can take part in managing the system. First of all, these are a pair of separate speaker systems, with the help of which you can realize full-fledged stereo with a wide stage and clear positioning of sound sources on it. Secondly, the monitors have absorbed all of Yamaha’s experience in designing professional acoustics. An indisputable advantage of professional active monitors is the implementation of bandpass amplification (biamping), which is found very rarely in home acoustic models and only in the most expensive segments. The crossover in such speakers processes a low-level signal (unlike the crossovers of passive speaker systems), which allows each power amplifier to work directly with the dynamic head without any intermediaries, and in a limited frequency band. This has the most favorable effect on sound quality, simplifying the task of phase matching of dynamic heads and improving the dynamic parameters of the system.
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Small by Hi-Fi standards, but large for wireless multimedia speakers, the rectangular enclosures are made of dense MDF panels and finished with matte black film. A woofer with a white composite diffuser with a diameter of 13 cm and an inch dome tweeter, covered with a metal protective grille, are mounted on the front panel. There are no grills that completely cover the facade of the column. The round port of the bass reflex is brought to the rear, which must be taken into account when placing the monitors – in order to avoid a decrease in bass response, you should not place them close to the wall.

Unlike the often encountered concept, when the entire amplification and switching part of the system is placed in one of the speakers, and the second is passive and connected to the main one with speaker cables, here each monitor has its own amplification. Accordingly, power supply must be supplied to each speaker. However, the speaker systems in a pair are not equivalent – the left column contains all the digital part and switching, and the right one is connected to it with two cables – a standard balanced interconnect with XLR connectors for broadcasting musical material in analog form and an RJ45 twisted pair cable used for transmission control signals. The use of a balanced connection ensures minimal interference and distortion even with impressive connector lengths and is quite common for professional equipment.

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Let’s take a closer look at the left column and the switching capabilities implemented in it. When connecting sources, the main emphasis is on wireless digital switching. The Yamaha NX-N500 supports both Wi-Fi and Bluetooth networks, as well as Airplay. Like most current models of Yamaha audio equipment, it supports proprietary MusicCast technology, which means this pair of speakers can be used as an executive element in multi-room installations. Support for Bluetooth and Airplay will allow you to stream music directly from your mobile gadgets running iOS and Android without intermediaries. The RJ45 Ethernet port will allow you to integrate the Yamaha NX-N500 into a computer network using a wired method. If there is such an outlet at the place where the speakers are installed, you should prefer this method of connecting to the network. There is also a USB type B port for using the system with a computer as an external audio interface. This connection method is optimal when using the Yamaha NX-N500 as multimedia speakers for a computer. The Toslink digital optical input allows you to connect a TV and use the model for high-quality support for movies and TV programs. And finally, the only analog input on the minijack connector was added here rather for versatility – since it allows you to connect any source with an analog output to the Yamaha NX-N500.
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To control the system, a complete wireless remote control is provided, which allows, in addition to adjusting the volume, to switch sources, establish a wireless connection and select presets for the built-in equalizer. However, if you integrate the Yamaha NX-N500 into a computer network and, moreover, use the system via MusicCast, you will most likely prefer control through a proprietary application for mobile gadgets running iOS or Android.

Despite their compactness, the speakers pleased with their dynamic and punchy sound with elastic and clear presentation of the bass register. The middle is reproduced in detail and legibly, which is especially important when dubbing movie soundtracks and TV shows. High frequencies are both comfortable and detailed. In general, we must note excellent coordination of the characteristics of the amplification paths and the speakers used – both among themselves and with each other. We also note the good overload capacity of the model, which restrains the growth of distortion at high volume levels. The scene was distinguished by its scale with clear localization of virtual sound sources. I was also pleased with the genre versatility of the model – the acoustics were equally good at rhythmic modern styles and orchestral classics.

Specifications Yamaha NX N500

Network functions Wi-Fi
DLNA Version 1.5
Supported formats MP3, WMA, MPEG4 AAC 48 kHz / 24 bit, WAV/FLAC/AIFF 192 kHz / 24 bit, ALAC 96 kHz / 24 bit, DSD 5.6MHz
AirPlay
Bluetooth Version /Profile Version 2.1 + EDR / A2DP
Audio codec Reception: SBC/AAC, Transmission: SBC
Type 2-way active speakers, Bi-amp
13 cm woofers,
cone 3 cm (1 inch) tweeters, dome
Frequency range 54 Hz – 40 kHz (-10 dB)
Crossover frequency 2 kHz
Analog audio input 1
Digital audio input: optical 1
USB 1 (Type B)
Ethernet 1
Power consumption 45 + 45 W
Power consumption in standby mode 0.2 W (only left channel )
Dimensions (W H D) (right speaker) 170 x 285 x 222 mm; (Left speaker) 170 x 285 x 238.6mm
Weight 5.9 kg (right speaker), 6.3 kg (left speaker)