Looking for opinions on Yamaha NS-690 vs modern bookself speaker with sub

Discussion in 'Speakers' started by Onebean, Oct 24, 2016.

  1. Onebean

    Onebean AK Subscriber Subscriber

    Messages:
    907
    Location:
    Nebraska
    I have spotted some Yamaha NS-690 speakers that appear to be in decent shape. I have a Yamaha CR-1020 receiver to drive them with, but I am am wondering how they stack up to the newer generation of bookshelf speakers with a sub. If I can get the NS-690's bought, I'm guessing I'll have $300-$350 by the time I recap them, touch up the finish and replace the grill cloth. I see a lot of positive comments about the NS-690's and the NS-1000's. Are these older designs going to be able to complete with the likes of a $300 bookshelf speaker and sub?

    I'm not looking for wild amounts of SPL, my room is small (12' x 12'). I am looking for a really nice balanced speaker with the capability to throw a good sound stage and image. My musical preference is rock and blues. I currently have Polk Monitor 7's in my system, and they lack in the bass department. If I keep them, I will need to add a sub. Are the NS-690's full range? Because I'm probably aimlessly rambling:

    Yamaha NS-690 vs. Polk Monitor 7b. Which do you pick and why?

    Yamaha NS-690 vs. modern bookshelf speaker in the $300 range. Which do you pick?

    Onebean
     

     

    Please register to disable this ad.

  2. twiiii

    twiiii Addicted Member

    Messages:
    5,922
    Location:
    west Texas
    I liked the 690 way back when and in some respects more so than the colored sound of the NS1000. Our service manager owned a pair that he powered with a Mac 6200 or 6100. He did have mid range issues as I remember and finally parted with the speakers. I think he then went with B&O 5700 or maybe it was 5702 with no further issues. I don't remember our shop having woofer issues with the 690, but I do remember they were a little shy on the bottom octave in some environments. I'm not fond of subs because they tend to sound all like they are playing one note. But a great sub balanced correctly , preferably one for each channel, can be quite enjoyable.
     
  3. Rex81

    Rex81 AK Subscriber Subscriber

    Messages:
    983
    Location:
    Mid-Michigan
    Just keep in mind that subs that are truly musical and integrate well aren't cheap. Certainly nothing under $500, and really closer to $1,000+. Then you're asking yourself why you're looking at $300 bookshelves with a $1,000 sub. So then you're looking at $1,500 bookshelves. Now you've got $2,500 invested and you're wondering why you didn't just buy some floorstanders. ;)

    I don't mean to complicate things, but it's something to consider. I've tried a few modern bookshelf models (including the $1,500 KEF LS50) without a sub and they just don't have the weight I'm looking for. They sound small because they are small. And I'm not willing to invest in an expensive sub. And cheap subs sound bad. So I always find myself coming back to floorstanders. Now, your room is quite small. Maybe you can get a bass-heavy bookshelf model and not even need a sub. I liked the Philharmonic New Affordable Accuracy Monitors better than the ELAC B6, which get great reviews in this price range. They're a hell of a deal and lots of clean bass. http://philharmonicaudio.com/aa.html

    I haven't heard the 690 but they seem to be well respected. I own the Polk Monitor 7 and like them a lot. Especially for how cheap they seem to be going for. They're a good all around speaker with plenty of bass for your small room. I'd pick those over the Phils because they sound bigger. (Makes sense, they are bigger).
     
  4. Onebean

    Onebean AK Subscriber Subscriber

    Messages:
    907
    Location:
    Nebraska
    Rex, I like your way of thinking. I have only had the monitor 7's (and the whole system) going a week, and the room has lots of issues. I've been absorbing as much room treatment info as I can, and I hope to start dialing it in. I think I will stick with the Monitor 7's for now, and work on room treatments. I really don't need another piece of gear to try and figure out how to use effectively. Thanks for the reality check.
     
  5. bhunter

    bhunter The Spherical Cow

    Messages:
    1,689
    Location:
    La Jolla, CA
    Your Monitor 7s are nice listenable speakers. Personally, I like NS500s and NS1000s over the NS690s; however, all three are great speakers and I'd consider them an upgrade over the Polks. That said, the Yamaha speakers have a different voicing than your Polks—less warm and more analytic IMHO. Come to think of it, the NS1000s are worth owning just for the woodwork.
     
  6. Mitkraft

    Mitkraft Super Member

    Messages:
    2,769
    Location:
    Houston
    Something else to consider: If think you can do an overhaul on a pair of 690's and only be into them for $300-$350 when you are done then you don't have much if anything to loose. I'd be surprised if you couldn't sell a fully refurbished pair of 690's for that price or more. I paid $300 for mine (good condition but all original) and I was quite happy to do so. I also think Rex's line of thinking is right on. A musical sub along would cost you more than that. FYI though, the 690's aren't what I call bass heavy. Before I got them they were described to me as more East Coast sound than West Coast. The bass they do have is tight and not boomy.
     
    Last edited: Oct 25, 2016

     

    Please register to disable this ad.

  7. Rex81

    Rex81 AK Subscriber Subscriber

    Messages:
    983
    Location:
    Mid-Michigan
    I think it's wise to stick with your Monitor 7 for a while. They're certainly not the best of the best, but they're very good for what they are and there are a few people on here that swear by them.

    They should provide you with plenty of bass for that room. I find the bass a little overpowering sometimes myself. Work on the usual suspects: move them closer to the front wall, play with toe-in, etc. They're designed to sit on low stands that tilt them back. They'll also sound good on milk crates if you don't have anything else. But they're not designed to sit right on the floor. Also make sure they're air tight. Push on the passive radiator, then release. The mid woofer should extend out and take 2-3 seconds to return. If it's less than that you have an air leak which will affect bass response.
     
  8. bjlefebvre

    bjlefebvre AK Subscriber Subscriber

    Messages:
    1,989
    Location:
    Washington DC-ish
    This is interesting. I'm currently using a set of Dali Zensor bookshelf speakers, which I quite like and have been using for a year or more. I just picked up a set of Yamaha 690s just for fun - I got them pretty cheap. But I'm in the same boat - are these going to be better than the Zensors? I'll set the Yammy speakers up to day or tomorrow and find out.

    Speaking of which, what's the best way to a/b dualing speakers? Hook up on set each to the A and B inputs? Or one speaker each to one set of inputs and fade in/out with the balance selector?
     
  9. gizzyman47

    gizzyman47 Super Member

    Messages:
    1,216
    Location:
    utah
    As an owner of ns-690's I can say what others have stated. The 690's bass will sound lean to you if your looking for a speaker with bass. The 690's do bass, it's tight and tuneful but not hyped. I think the bass on these speakers are actually more accurate than many others.
    Whether a bookshelf system with a sub or the 690's, only you will be able to say whats best to your ears and in your room. If you get the 690's at a decent price and decide they aren't for you, you should be able to sell them without too much problem. I have several vintage speakers. Some do bass more than others but I still like the 690's enough not to sell them. I think they are fine speakers for what they are.
     
  10. janikphoto

    janikphoto Lunatic Member

    Messages:
    10,476
    I had a pair of 690's. They are hard to beat. With a complementary sub, I think you'd be very happy.
     
  11. tubed

    tubed Lunatic Member

    Messages:
    15,045
    Location:
    Aztlan

     

    Please register to disable this ad.

  12. bhunter

    bhunter The Spherical Cow

    Messages:
    1,689
    Location:
    La Jolla, CA
    That's not really a fair comparison. A small stand mount versus a large so-called bookshelf. Properly set up, the NS690s ought easily win overall and significantly so at higher spls. You may still prefer the sound of the Dalis. The only way to really compare is to listen, preferably over time, to both optimally set up. You can't easily AB because to be fair the volumes need to be matched and that opens up another somewhat controversial discussion on proper methodology.

    The above posted testing by Zilch is a good read.
     
  13. neevo

    neevo Super Member

    Messages:
    1,332
    Location:
    Sydney, Australia
    I have some crappy AR28BX's which are large speakers with a 10" woofer. I'm close to getting my LS50's which are lacking in the bass department so I ponied up the cash and bought a sealed woofer that was regarded for music use: Wharfedale Powercube SP-C10

    The result is very impressive, obviously with only 1 woofer I end up with hot spots where the sub excels vs places where it's non existent however i have it set to 100 Hz and it rounds out the sound of the AR's fantastically and gives the music another whole dimension of sound.

    I'm not sure a mega cheap woofer would do the same but I'm a definite fan to the point where I might consider running twin woofers at some point when I've settled the KEF's in so I can remove the dead spots in the bass.
     
  14. tonyk

    tonyk AK Subscriber Subscriber

    Messages:
    3,239
    Location:
    Loves Park, IL
    In a small room I personally prefer standmounts with a sub.

    I recently spent some time with some Cambridge Audio standmounts and when paired with a good sub they were very impressive, and that's no small feat considering my mains are large Magnepans.

    But as Rex81 pointed out, good subwoofers aren't cheap.
     
  15. bjlefebvre

    bjlefebvre AK Subscriber Subscriber

    Messages:
    1,989
    Location:
    Washington DC-ish
    They arrived in the mail today. Holy crap - in what world (outside marketing) are these considered "bookshelf" speakers?!
    To give a simple answer to the OP, I'll just say, "yes," these do compete with newer bookshelf speakers.
    To give a long answer, I've done some very initial a/b listening -a few records and some streaming. Volume is not as big a problem as I supposed - switching from A to B, the Dalis hold up as far as listening level goes, which frankly surprises me. The Dalis are rated at 86.5 sensitivity, with the 690s at 90, iirc. Initial reaction is that the Yammys (obviously) have much wider range and deeper, more defined bass, but the Dali's have a sweeter mid. Will obviously have to do more listening to pick apart sound differences.
    One problem I can already see is the boss isn't exactly thrilled about these new speakers eating even more room out of our main living/eating/cooking space. Even after moving some furniture, these things just added a foot to my listening space, with is encroaching further into the dining space, which then had to be pushed further into the cooking space...ugh. Damned Tokyo apartments. I'm already getting "the look." At least in one respect the Dalis come out on top.
     
    Mitkraft and Onebean like this.
  16. bjlefebvre

    bjlefebvre AK Subscriber Subscriber

    Messages:
    1,989
    Location:
    Washington DC-ish
    I read that the 690s like to be a few inches off the floor - any other advice for optimal placement? Toed in? Any idea how far off the back wall do they like to be?
     

     

    Please register to disable this ad.

  17. captouch

    captouch AK Subscriber Subscriber

    Messages:
    4,424
    Location:
    Bay Area, CA
    They're sealed, so I think back wall isn't so critical. I had them on 5-6" stands tilted up, and that reinforced the bass quite nicely. I'm using the stands now for something else, so now using 14" flat stands. Works fine as far as tweeeter pointing, but bass isn't as strong.

    Heavy suckers, aren't they? :)
     
  18. legalalien

    legalalien Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    733
    I ran my 690's on 14" stands which put the tweeters at ear level and really transformed the sound. Oddly enough pulling the woofer away from the floor made the bass more musical and tuneful. I also preferred the sound with the speakers slightly toed in.
     
  19. bjlefebvre

    bjlefebvre AK Subscriber Subscriber

    Messages:
    1,989
    Location:
    Washington DC-ish
    Thanks. I think one problem is that this is a nearfield listening space so there's little room for me to experiment with placement. Listening last night, I found myself pinballing between "damn that sounds sweet" and "damn I'm starting to get fatigued." But the latter may be my coming down with a cold :) .
    Right now the most likely outcome is that these go downstairs into storage until we move back to the States this coming summer. But we'll see. Maybe after a few days there will be less "space shock." I really wasn't prepared for how big these are.
     
  20. gizzyman47

    gizzyman47 Super Member

    Messages:
    1,216
    Location:
    utah
    I don't know how they labeled them as bookshelf speakers! I wouldn't put them on no bookshelf! I had mine pulled out from the wall about 12" on stands 8-10" high with a tilt. Toed them in slightly. Sounded really nice I thought. If you find the tweeters to "Hot"for you, play around with the height or the toe in. These speakers like some power also.
     

Share This Page