The Best Yamaha Speaker Reviews – Buyer’s Guide

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Yamaha is one of the world’s largest and best known brands. The Japanese corporation, founded in 1887, makes consumer and professional audio and video gear and speakers, musical instruments, motorcycles and motors (now under a separate corporation), industrial parts and equipment, home and commercial appliances, sporting goods, software and IT solutions and much more.

But can such a large, sprawling multinational corporation really do well at one specific thing? For example, and for our interests here, can Yamaha speakers really be that good?

Without getting into my opinion yet, or the feedback we have gotten from friends, fellow music lovers and musicians, the current audio/video industry and customers around the world, we should say a couple of things to answer that question.

1 – Yamaha is the largest, and probably the most highly respected, manufacturer of musical instruments in the world. Yamaha and Bosendorfer pianos, both made under the Yamaha corporate aegis, are clear choices for many of the leading virtuoso concert pianists and orchestras of the world., and all of Yamaha’s acoustic, electric, electronic and digital musical instruments are widely considered to be as good as it gets.

This gives Yamaha’s speaker designers a unique advantage, helping them really understand what musical instruments, and music, should sound like.

2 – For decades now, the entire range of Yamaha audio and video gear, including hi-fi stereo music and home theater systems, have been though of as the very best gear coming from Japan, and among the very best gear made anywhere in the world. From speakers to CD and DVD players, receivers, surround sound systems and their superb flat screen televisions, Yamaha has enjoyed a more consistently high reputation than perhaps any other company.

And, not a company to rest on those laurels, Yamaha continuously invests in research, new technology, quality control and customer feedback studies to make their products better and better. And so their reputation grows.

So, are Yamaha speakers any good? Let’s explore the question further.

Yamaha Speaker Reviews – Comparison Table

Product ImageProduct NameShipping WeightDimensionEditor's RatingPrice
Yamaha NS-6490 Bookshelf Speakers30 pounds13.2 x 10.5 x 16.2 inches4.7Check Now
Yamaha HS5 Powered Studio Monitor16.3 pounds7 x 9 x 12 inches4.9Check Now
Yamaha NS-SP1800BL Home Theater Speaker33.8 pounds21 x 17.5 x 16.2 inches4.3Check Now
Yamaha NS-AW150BL Outdoor Speakers8.02 pounds10.1 x 6.1 x 5.4 inches4.8Check Now
Yamaha MusicCast 50 Wireless Speaker9.90 pounds7.90 x 15.80 x 4.90 inches4.7Check Now

The Best Yamaha Speakers – First Thoughts

It must be said though, right here at the beginning, that Yamaha speakers are not for everybody.

I myself absolutely love them, but they have a certain kind of sound – a “sound signature” – that apparently doesn’t suit everybody. Or, better put, Yamaha speakers have a certain lack of sound.

Yamaha speakers have a bright, clear, wide open sound which lets you hear pretty much everything. They have very low distortion, low coloration (that is, they don’t change the sound, making it darker or brighter that it really is), and reveal lots and lots of detail and quality just as it appears on the original recording.

The brands most people are familiar with, like Klipsch, Bose, KEF, B&W, Altec Lansing and Polk, also have their own sound signature, and each one is a little different. But in general all of these admittedly great and deservedly popular speakers can be said to change the sound a little bit.

Some offer a bit more bass than the music really has, some make the vocals a little darker, or the sound of a piano or saxophone, some cut off the high notes to make the sound “smoother,” some make the music brighter than it really is to sound a little more dynamic and exciting.

But to me a speaker should sound completely and totally neutral. I want to hear the sound of the original CD, LP or digital stream just as it is, and just the way the original sound engineers wanted it. I do not want to “hear” the speaker itself.

And that’s why I love Yamaha – or at least one of the reasons.

Don’t get me wrong – the other brands mentioned above make superb speakers. None of them change the sound that much, and their most expensive models approach complete neutrality. But for Yamaha, neutrality is their sound signature and one of their main engineering goals – as much on the least expensive speakers as the top-end audiophile monitors.

Yamaha loudspeakers also offer, up and down the line, great deep bass, extended highs, good power handling and high sensitivity for exceptional dynamic range (the ability of a speaker to play very soft and very loud and to capture all of the changes in volume or dynamics).

So, I guess this buyer’s guide isn’t so much about answering the question “are Yamaha speakers any good?” as much as finding the very best of each type of Yamaha speakers – not the easiest task, given the consistent excellence of pretty much every model they make.

We will examine 5 different Yamaha speakers or speaker systems here, including:

  • Basic Stereo Music Speakers
  • Professional Studio Monitors
  • Home Theater Speakers
  • Outdoor Speakers
  • Wireless Speakers

Using my own experience listening to and living with these speakers, as well as reports from the industry, customers, friends and fellow musicians, I have done the homework for you, so that you can choose your new Yamaha speakers easily and with total confidence.

The Best Yamaha Speaker Reviews

Yamaha NS-6490 Bookshelf Speakers

Yamaha NS-6490 Bookshelf Speakers

Yamaha NS-6490 Bookshelf Speakers

A basic three-way bookshelf or stand mounted speaker system, the NS6490 speakers have much bigger sound than you might expect for their size – or, for that matter, for their price.

The Yamaha NS6490’s 8 inch cone woofer is quite large for a bookshelf speaker, and should offer good, deep bass response. And in our listening tests this was definitely the case.

Listening to the stunning new BIS SACD of Bartok’s Wooden Prince, the low strings and timpani have real force and power. Sure, these speakers don’t go as deep as some larger or more expensive models (they are, remember, quite inexpensive), but to their credit, they also don’t add a lot of extra mid-bass to sound like they have more deep bass than they really do. Just natural, neutral and surprisingly deep.

Vocals, though the 4-inch cone midrange, sound pleasingly smooth and real. This is true even with the obviously digitally processed vocals of so much of today’s pop music, which sounds nice and open here, but even more so with honest, simple and unprocessed recordings. Try the great 1999 remastering of Carole King’s Tapestry, and also hear the physical presence of not just the piano notes, but the hammers hitting the strings – real audiophile quality at this price?

And high frequencies, through the innovative 7/8th inch balanced-dome tweeter, are smooth and extended, with no harshness, hiss or smear. The cymbals in the beautiful ECM jazz CD, Not Far from Here, as played by the Julia Hulsmann Quartet, hang naturally in the air with clarity and bite, but not a touch of over-bright presentation.

The Yamaha NS6490 loudspeakers have high sensitivity, meaning they will play loud with a small amount of power, and this also lets them capture the subtle shifts in loudness that can make music so emotionally powerful. They also have a fairly high maximum power handling capacity, and can play really loud with the same unforced and natural sound.

Features and Specifications of the Yamaha NS-6490 Bookshelf Speakers

  • Three Way Acoustic Suspension Bookshelf Speakers
  • Magnetically Shielded Cabinet to prevent interference with TV monitors and other electronics
  • Recommended Power: 70-140 Watts
  • Sensitivity: 90 db
  • Frequency Response: 45 Hz – 23 kHz
  • Crossover Frequencies: 2.5 kHz, 8 kHz

Pros & Cons of Yamaha NS-6490 Bookshelf Speakers

✅ Pros❌ Cons
Clear, neutral sound from the highest to the lowest notesDon’t go as low as some larger speakers
No artificial boost to high or low notes
Low distortion
Great dynamic range and musical energy
Yamaha NS-6490 Bookshelf Speakers

Yamaha NS-6490 Bookshelf Speakers

Yamaha HS5 Powered Studio Monitor

Yamaha HS5 Powered Studio Monitor

Yamaha HS5 Powered Studio Monitor

Listening to the Yamaha HS5 Powered Studio Monitor reminds me of Yamaha’s current marketing slogan: Sound as the Artist Intended!

My ideal as an audiophile is a speaker which doesn’t change the sound, but faithfully plays whatever is being fed into it.

And as a musician, and an aspiring studio engineer and sound mixer, this is even more important. I want voices to sound like voices, guitars (especially my bass!) to sound like guitars, and drums to have the punch and energy on a track, and though a speaker, that they do when sitting in front of me in the studio.

And I want my mix, good or bad though it might be, to sound just like it does, so I really know what I’m doing, what I’m working with, what to change and what to leave the same.

I can think of no other studio monitor anywhere near this price that offers my ideal honesty and clarity like the Yamaha HS5 Amplified Studio Monitor does, and I love hooking it up to my sound board and using it to honestly access my mix, the band’s sound and everything else.

And while they aren’t really meant for home use, I have to say that the Yamaha HS5s work great in home audio setups as well.

Here I turn to one of my personal idols, and one of the world’s greatest audio engineers, in a perfectly recorded disc of his own music. David Chesky’s The Tangos and Dances, on his own Chesky Records label, is an amazing example of how simple and intimate music should sound – just a piano and a guitar, which somehow ask a speaker to offer really extended high frequencies, really deep bass, accurate imaging and soundstage (listen to the room around the two musicians, and how they appear in front of you) and full dynamics.

An extremely good and extremely demanding recording, then, but the Yamaha HS5 speakers get it all right, from the highs to the lows, the space, the musical energy and the individual tones not just of each instrument but of each string.

For not much money, in fact, the HS5s offer that elusive thrill of the real audiophile experience, and as a powered speaker they offer it with any kind of equipment from home stereo or home theater systems to PCs and Laptops, Music Players, Phones and Tablets, even Gaming Systems.

And these Yamaha active speakers are becoming my go-to studio monitors, their honesty and lack of coloration making me – slowly but surely – a better musician and sound engineer.

I should mention that the whole range of Yamaha HS powered studio monitors are wonderful, and as you go up in the product line they just get better and better. You might also want to check out the:

Yamaha HS7 Powered Studio Monitor

Yamaha HS8 Powered Studio Monitor

Yamaha HS8S Powered Studio Subwoofer

Features and Specifications of the Yamaha HS5 2-way bi-amp powered studio monitor

  • Two Way Active (with Internal Amplifier) Studio Monitor Speakers
  • Amplifier Power: 70 watts (bi-amplified: 25 watts tweeter :: 45 watts woofer)
  • Sensitivity: 90 db
  • Frequency Response: 54 Hz – 30 kHz
  • Crossover Frequency: 2 khz
  • Level Control, HF Level Control, LF Room Level Control
  • Connectors: balanced XLR & Phone

Pros & Cons of Yamaha HS5 Powered Studio Monitor

✅ Pros❌ Cons
Absolute HonestyLess deep bass and less ease overall than the bigger HS models
Beautiful Sound Quality – especially with good recordings and gearKeeps me up at night working for a better mix!
Deep Bass for their size
Clear, Detailed Highs – quite extended for this price range
Lots of Dynamic Punch
Clean, Low Distortion Amplifier perfectly matched to the speaker
Real Audiophile Experience
Yamaha HS5 Powered Studio Monitor

Yamaha HS5 Powered Studio Monitor

Yamaha NS-SP1800BL Home Theater Speaker

Yamaha NS-SP1800BL Home Theater Speaker

Yamaha NS-SP1800BL Home Theater Speaker

I absolutely love home theater! I must admit that I still feel like a little kid when watching a movie with a really dynamic soundtrack through a high quality surround sound system – the deep bass rumbling through my body, the action moving all around me, the immediacy of sound effects and the uncanny reality of a human voice. I’m completely transported.

But I am still, first and foremost, a musician and a music lover. If I am going to buy a home theater speaker system I want to make darn sure it will sound great with old-school stereo music recordings – whether they are LPs, tapes (yes, I still have some), CDs or SACDs, downloads or streaming digital. I listen to it all, and in each case I seek out the very best recordings available, and my home theater speakers need to keep up.

But here’s the great part, and a discovery I only really and completely made when listening to these Yamaha NS-777 floor-standing 3 way home theater speakers: if speakers sound really great with music – I mean really great, like top notch, hi-fi, audiophile great – they will be fantastic speakers for movies as well.

I listened to the NS-777 speakers by themselves, as a stereo setup, with one of my favorite go-to full range test disks – 2L’s Nordic Sounds Demonstration Disc – and they sounded amazing. This blu-ray disk is a sonic spectacular, and a must have for any audiophile worth his or her salt, and on the NS-777s every track – from solo instruments to full orchestra – sounded natural, dynamic, smooth and detailed, really allowing these simple acoustic recordings to breath.

I then had the great pleasure of listening to the NS-777 tower loudspeakers with matching Surround Speakers, the Yamaha NS-333, Center Channel Speaker, the Yamaha NS-C210, and Subwoofer, the Yamaha NS-SW200.

Among many other well-recorded movies I watched, the Blu-Ray of Christopher Nolan’s Inception perfectly represented what the system can do. The extraordinarily vivid surround sound imaging was as seamless and believable as I have ever heard, the deep bass had a stunning impact and dynamics were both wide and subtle, really imparting a sense of excitement to my viewing experience.

If you are like me, and want a home theater speaker system that sounds just as good with music, the Yamaha NS-777 floor standing loudspeaker is a perfect choice. In fact, even if you are just into movies, and want a really superb surround sound system, I’m not sure you could do much better than the Yamaha NS-777 – especially at the price.

Yamaha NS-777 Home Theater Speaker Features and Specifications

  • 3-way Bass Reflex Design
  • Wavehorn Guide
  • Internally Wired with Monster Cable
  • Bi-Wiring Posts Included
  • Speaker Stands Included
  • Magnetically Shielded Cabinet to prevent interference with TV monitors and other electronics
  • Recommended Power: 100-250 Watts
  • Sensitivity: 89 db
  • Frequency Response: 30 Hz – 35 kHz
  • Crossover Frequencies: 1 kHz, 4 kHz

Pros & Cons of Yamaha NS-SP1800BL Home Theater Speaker

✅ Pros❌ Cons
Beautiful sound qualityNone at this price
Equally good with music and movies
Deep bass
Extended high frequencies
Extremely low distortion
Play really loud with absolutely no strain
Yamaha NS-SP1800BL Home Theater Speaker

Yamaha NS-SP1800BL Home Theater Speaker

Yamaha NS-AW150BL Outdoor Speakers

Yamaha NS-AW150BL Outdoor Speakers

Yamaha NS-AW150BL Outdoor Speakers

I once had a friend whose house became the most popular hang out spot during the summer – not because she had a swimming pool or a hot tub, or because she mixed the best margaritas, or because she had some big, fancy grill, or even an especially beautiful yard or garden. What she did have was speakers – medium sized all-weather Yamaha speakers that would fill the whole yard with a fun and dynamic music.

I couldn’t help but think of her – and some of her legendary parties – when I auditioned the next speakers on our list of Best Yamaha Speakers. The Yamaha NS-AW150BL outdoor speakers.

These nice looking little speakers don’t do what many other party speakers do – they don’t bloat the low midrange notes to sound like they have more bass than they really do. They don’t boost the highs to sound more bright and “exciting” and they don’t make vocals sound more pronounced or more recessed than they really are.

What they do is simply project sound into a large space with great effectiveness and great clarity – with all of the original music’s dynamics, energy and original sound intact. And that ability, to really fill the space with energetic, low distortion sound at any volume, along with their ability to play quite loud, make these my favorite inexpensive outdoor speakers.

I won’t get into a lot of detailed listening reports with these, since they aren’t really “sit down and critically listen” kinds of speakers, but I will say that with just the kind of music we might play at a party they sound fun and exciting. I listened to, for instance, Eric Clapton’s Slowhand, The Black-Eyed Peas fun album Elephunk, and deep, driving electronic dance music in Armin van Buuren’s best anthology in many years, A State Of Trance Ibiza 2018, and all had a great feeling and energy, with clear vocals and instrumental lines, surprising bass response and the ability to get loud when necessary. And this sound quality was evident across a wide area, and didn’t fade or fall apart from any listening position.

Very well built and durable, these Yamaha speakers are clearly the descendants of my friend’s party-making speakers from several years ago, and are highly recommended for any outdoor installation.

Features of Yamaha NS-AW150BL Outdoor Speakers

  • Yamaha NS-AW150BL 2-Way Indoor/Outdoor Speaker Features and Specifications
  • 2-way Acoustic Reflex Design
  • Magnetically Shielded Cabinet to prevent interference with TV monitors and other electronics
  • Recommended Power: 35-120 Watts
  • Sensitivity: 85 db
  • Frequency Response: 55 Hz – 40 kHz
  • Crossover Frequencies: Not Specified

Pros & Cons of Yamaha NS-AW150BL Outdoor Speakers

✅ Pros❌ Cons
Great sound for their size and priceYou may not like so many people hanging out and having fun?
Really fill any space – even outdoors
Very well built and durable
High power handling
High Fun Factor
Yamaha NS-AW150BL Outdoor Speakers

Yamaha NS-AW150BL Outdoor Speakers

Yamaha MusicCast 50 Wireless Speaker

Yamaha MusicCast 50 mulit-room audio powered speaker

Yamaha MusicCast 50 Wireless Speaker

Let’s be honest – the Yamaha MusicCast 50 is an expensive wireless speaker system. And, to be sure, it has a hard time of it, going up against such perennial favorites as the Bose and JBL Bluetooth systems, which their legion fans are quite sure are absolutely unbeatable.

And maybe I wanted to end this survey of the best Yamaha speakers to challenge that assumption – that Bose or JBL wireless speakers are the best you can get at any price. I have spent a lot of time with the MusicCast 50 now, and feel that my own expectations of what a Bluetooth speaker should sound like have dramatically changed.

Other wireless speakers, the above-mentioned not excluded, have a lot of tricks up their sleeves to make themselves sound bigger and more satisfying than they really are – like darkened mid frequencies, increased mid-bass (to compensate for the lack of real deep bass) and artificial reverb or phase correction to make them sound like they are casting a big, realistic stereo image into the room.

But the Yamaha is, well… it’s a Yamaha. It seems to sort of do the opposite. Well designed,well built speaker drivers which offer flat frequency response and low distortion, a well engineered cabinet which helps the speakers project sound into a wide area, little or no apparent adjustments in frequency response, phase or other aspects of audio reproduction, and natural, honest bass response – which obviously can’t go as deep as big speakers, but does remarkably well and offers real foundation and weight to the music.

I listened to a wide range of music with the Yamaha MusicCast 50 Bluetooth speakers, including a beautifully recorded disc of Chopin Piano Music sensitively played by Elisabeth Leonskaja, James Taylor’s wonderful mid-career album That’s Why I’m Here, an extraordinarily realistic and palpable recording of Biber’s chamber music on Chandos Chaconne, Pink Floyd’s classic Dark Side of the Moon, in all of its sonic glory, and the strangely beautiful Realm of Spells by Jah Wobble and Bill Laswell – a bass-head’s dream!

All of these recordings sounded full-bodied, dynamic, clear and natural with the Yamaha MusicCast 50 wireless speaker system. I never felt the speakers were trying to prove themselves, or make something of the music that wasn’t really there. One of the most refreshing listening experiences I can remember for some time.

Please don’t get me wrong – I actually love both Bose and JBL speakers, and have enjoyed listening to their wireless systems, as well as the wireless speakers of many other manufacturers. But at the end of the day I still prefer honest and natural sound, and believe that a speaker system like the Yamaha MusicCast 50 will be much easier, nicer and more satisfying to live with over the years.

Yamaha MusicCast 50 mulit-room audio powered speaker

Yamaha MusicCast 50 Wireless Speaker

Final Verdict

Most Yamaha speaker models have, for decades now, carried the pround prefix of “NS” – which stands for Natural Sound – on their model number, and this sums up the Yamaha approach to speaker design, and the Yamaha sound, very well.

I don’t think any other speaker manufacturer has such neutral and accurate speakers all the way up and down their line. Even the most inexpensive Yamaha speaker has remarkably low distortion and coloration and flat frequency response, and so they all do a wonderful job of just playing music as it is meant to sound.

And every Yamaha speaker I have ever come across – whether for audio, home theater, studio, outdoors or wireless use – is an extremely well built product, and will undoubtedly play music for many years to come.

Whatever your budget or specific needs, and whatever Yamaha speaker you end up with, you can’t possibly go wrong!

Yamaha Speaker Reviews
Timothy Scott
Timothy Scott
Hey there, I am Timothy and I am an aspiring bass guitarist and lover of high-quality speakers. Music has been my life. I've owned several high-quality speakers over the last few years and have become obsessed with them. At Speakergy.com I share my knowledge on choosing and using speakers. I hope you enjoy my articles!

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