We all know Yamaha makes a wide variety of products from motorbikes to grand pianos. A bit of audiophile snobbery might dismiss the brand entirely when it comes to the line of the beryllium based loudspeakers they produced. Perhaps even more criticism can be found when comparing a speaker like this to small recording studio staples like their NS10, which engineers keep around for if no other reason than to know this: If a mix sounds good on THEM, they'll sound good on ANYTHING. They really do sound terrible. It could be seen as a tragedy that the gorgeous NS2000 is often overlooked by the highest of the high end, or seen as a small victory for those who have experienced them; They know something many others do not. They know these speakers give up next to nothing in terms of sonic performance, and they are an understated 3-way masterpiece of speaker design.
I've been in the hobby about 25 years- ever since my uncle blasted rock and roll through his Pioneer Spec gear to his beloved HPM 100's, and my grandparents had Heath tube fed Altecs. I was hooked on good music at an early age, and although I learned how to play guitar and drums, I mostly became obsessed with speaker design. I learned about field coils, compression drivers, horns, and so on. I learned about the history of Western Electric/Altec, and JBL. I learned about the classic British broadcasting monitor designs. I even spent some time living in a recording studio convinced I would be a producer at some point. All my life, all around me: music. I have had some amazing speakers come and go over the years. Some of the more notable ones were (in no order), Yamaha NS1000 and the rare NS1000x, TAD 4001/TH4001/1601 experimentals, JBL monitors too numerous to mention, Several Altecs but the 9844 was my fave, Lowthers, Spendors SP1 and BC1, Two Harbeth models C7es(3) and the pro version of the famed Monitor 40's, several Tannoy dual concentrics- the little HPD295a ala Eaton being my favorite, Magnepans, Quad ESL57 (awesome!, but needed work), Vandersteen Model 3a, Totem Rainmakers, Ohm model E and H, and a million others. Having a best buddy in the hobby has given me many extended hours of listening to his great speakers- Westlake BBSM15's. JBL 4345's, ATC Audio, and loads of other world class monitors. I can tell you with absolute certainty that the Yamaha NS2000 stands tall and is not the LEAST bit upstaged. Not a bit.
So what makes the NS2000 great? They are faithful. They do not lie. They do not trick you, or fool you in any way. They are the truth. If you think this speaker sucks, guess what? Your gear upstream sucks. In fact, whatever you want your system to sound like, just put the appropriate component upstream and it's what you get. Want a dynamic jackhammer experience? Want a soulful experience? Want a ruler flat linear experience? Want that magical, organic midrange experience? All you need to do is pick the right source and amplifier components and you can have any and all of those experiences. They are the only speaker I have owned that do not impart a personality on the music. The good thing about that is they serve as a lifelong tool (should you be lucky enough to acquire a pair in your lifetime) for the music lover. You can mess around with the rest of your system, but the NS2000's remain a faithful companion through it all. The bad thing about that is that you need to invest in worthy associated gear. You can't just stick these on poor sounding components and expect them to lie to you. They'll play your garbage really loud and accurately.
What strikes you when you first see them is their size. They're pretty big and beefy- more than pictures would suggest. Having had the NS1000 and then the bigger and much better NS1000x come through my stable, I was not prepared for an even BIGGER and better NS2000. They weigh a lot. A wrap of your knuckle on them results in a quiet thud and a very sore knuckle. The American black walnut veneer work is classic, but flawlessly executed. The drivers' faces are not polished to a mirror shine like the gaudy looking NS1000x, but more like the silver of the standard NS1000(m). Very nice. The tweeter is MUCH bigger than the ones on the NS1000 m/x. The woofer is sectoral carbon like the NS1000x (which I enjoyed tremendously), but even LARGER and with double the mounting bolts to secure them properly to the baffles. This was something the NS1000x desperately needed. The level controls are more subtle looking. That's a big improvement. The floating grills are nice. The binding posts are huge gold plated gems that accept bananas, spades, or (my fave) massive gauge bare wire. They do not spin, by design. Every speaker should have these. A look inside reveals a tremendously overbuilt cabinet. Full scale bracing with materials up to 1.5" thick. The crossover is another improvement over the NS1000 and NS1000X. BTW, there isn't any difference in the crossover between the NS1000, and NS1000X save for layout. The components are exactly identical in value and type. Not so in the NS2000. They are HUGE film in OIL capacitors, and the crossover is nearly TWICE the overall size of the other two models. There are NO electrolytic capacitors in the signal path. The inductors and resistors are of the highest quality. The midrange driver is special, too. It might look like the ones found in the NS1000 and NS1000x, but not so. They have even lower distortion characteristics, and a more linear response than their NS counterparts. These are the ones to have...possibly the finest midrange driver ever produced. Ever. Yes, I just said that.
The performance of these is startling and wide open. They throw a huge stage. There is a cohesiveness to the all the drivers that cannot be explained in text. It's the sort of thing owners of electrostatic loudspeakers have come to expect, but these are pistonic drivers. They have that uncolored immediacy you want in an electrostatic, but with ALL the power and authority the music calls for. There are no compromises in these transducers. None. Transient response is instant, and has the ability to make you flinch when a snare is hit unexpectedly- just like live music. The range is impressive. The quality of bass cannot be compared to that of the NS1000 (it's anemic) or even the punchy little NS1000x (it has too much mid-bass bloat). The bass from the NS2000 is perfect. It's tuneful, and effortless. Play a little solo from Avishai Cohen, and you'd swear he was RIGHT HERE! This coming from a guy who has spent his life around live music....I'm telling you. The bass is legit. Keep your classic paper coned 15's and 18's....your JBL 2245's, TAD 1603's, your ATC's. I'll take the bass drivers in the NS2000 for life. They're that good. The tweeters are a slight improvement on the other two models, but with a bit more perceivable extension and a noticeably smoother presentation. They are airy and clear like that first breath you take after a thunderstorm; They do not disappoint.
These are my last pair of speakers. My son will own these one day. It has been a long journey finding them, but now that I have, I can spend my time listening and collecting recordings. I don't tweak about speakers any longer. I don't even think about them. I have been spending the last year focused on collecting and enjoying rare reel to reel tapes for my trusty Revox A77. I track down rare tubes for my stable of classic amps. I listen to more music than ever before. Strike that. I ENJOY listening to music more than ever before. No matter what games I play with source components, and amplification, my speakers are a permanent fixture.That says something about the NS2000. They will be here till the end.
If you ever get the chance to acquire a pair, beg, borrow, steal, plead, drive across the country, do anything to get them. You'll never regret it. Even if you have leather ears, and don't appreciate them, you can always sell them...to me. I need a 2nd system. :)
Wow! do a google on the internet and find others who own NS-2000 Yamaha's. Excellent. I was delighted to read even that other pairs exist out there in the world.
Let me tell you what I know about Yamaha. First got involved with them after six of us EE's built a half dozen pair of Bose 901's in the early seventies from a bootleg set of plans from an MIT student of Prof. Bose.
Soon came to see the shortcomings of 901's and then read fabulous things about the NS-1000's. Carefully AB'd these with Dahlquist DQ-10's for hours, and ended up with the Yamaha's. Had a blast as a young guy with a house where I could rock them at full volume. Then I saw reviews of the NS-2000 that said they solved the shortcomings of the NS-1000's. Could not come close to finding them in any store, so I bought them without even laying eyes on them. I had faith in Yamaha.
Paid $1300 for the 1000's in the seventies, and in the early eighties the 2000's listed for $2900 here in the USA. They were a MAP product, but I searched and called the classified ads in the back of Stereo Review unitl I found a guy five states away who researched and told me you needed a separate franchise from Yamaha just for the 2000's. His store didn't have one, but he worked with a buddy who applied and got one, and cut the mail order price to $2200 shipping included. Illegal. So I sold my 1000's to my girlfriend and have had the 2000's ever since. I never had had a pair of speakers before that I deemed perfect enougth such that I would never need search ever again, and that's still how I feel! These things are built like the rock of Gibraltar.
Along the way I attended a Hi-Fi show where an old timer with Yamaha Corp told me that years before they had stopped importing them into the USA because at 105 lb. each, the shipping costs killed them. The woodwork was done in the factory piano works in Japan, and they wouldn't trust the construction any place else.
So I have my pair that I am the original owner of and they sit in my NYC living room where they were uncrated in the early eighties. Hence they are in prime condition, without a flaw or scratch that I have ever seen on them.
Then one day about four or five years ago I was cleaning them and I removed the grills to witness that the foam suspension for the woofers rotted in place. When I touched the material with my finger lightly, it left a hole. I was horrified and figured that my beloved speakers were toast. I wrote to Yamaha with little hope and received a form letter explaining that rebuild kits were available for two hundred dollars apiece. Gladly I bought two kits and meticulously did the work myself using the particularly noxious Methyl Ethyl Ketone to remove the twenty year old cone glue. Yamaha supplies the new glue and detailed instructions and it was a proud moment when I finished and put these speakers back in operaton and they worked like new!
I do have the original product one sheet literature that came with these speakers when new. Yes, there was no manual for these three thousand dollar speakers, just the one sheet of paper with English on one side and French on the other side. I mention this for two reasons. First, someone mentioned in one of the other reviews that these speakers have 15" woofers. That is not the case. The original NS-1000's have 12" carbon fibre woofers, and the NS-2000's were advertised with 13" carbon fibre woofers. This is confirmed on the specs within my one-sheet. And the weight is listed as 103 lb. 6 oz. Secondly, since I read that many seem to have second-hand speakers, if anyone has the NS-2000's without the literature, it would be no trouble for me to copy the sheet for you. I could make a pdf and email it to you.
Now my girlfriend wants to downsize her NS-1000's so I am trying to find out where I might find a market for them if anyone knows about this? Let me know?