Yamaha NS-600A Review: Tonally Bright, Viscerally Moving

The bright bounce of a Yamaha grand piano holds a special place in the soundtrack of my youth. As a young performer and singer, I spent countless grade school hours listening to the sunny tones of an obsidian Yamaha grand in our local performance hall. So it was probably inevitable that Yamaha’s gorgeous new NS-600A speakers, inspired by the brand’s instrumental legacy from design to tonal delivery, would evoke some visceral nostalgia.

You’ll find plenty of Yamaha’s signature sound in the NS-600A, with sparkling articulation and clarity, a wide and dimensional soundstage, and stirringly dynamic bass. Their premium price further rewards buyers with a posh design, embodied in elegant angular cabinets with a marbled piano gloss finish that oozes luxury.

For all their spoils, the NS-600A’s brighter tonal flavor can sometimes evoke more bite in the upper register than some of my favorite speakers at their lofty price point. That’s more personal preference than gospel, though, and the speakers mostly delight across content. Listeners with a massive budget who favor acute clarity over tonal subtlety may well find the NS-600A hit all the right notes.

Concert-Hall Class

Photograph: Ryan Waniata

Pulling the speakers from their individually packed boxes, you can’t deny their dashing good looks. Rounded corners at the front fade toward the back panel in angled lines, making the cabinets seem to lean toward the listening position ready to spring. The glossy finish looks as stunning as Yamaha’s top pianos, and each speaker’s hefty weight of just under 22 pounds lets you know there’s stout bracing and high-end components within.

At the back of each speaker panel, ergonomic binding posts rest below a beveled bass port, designed to minimize port whistle when the bass ramps up. Even the magnetic acoustic grilles flex some floss, with a sympathetic curve that hugs each speaker’s rounded top, leaving the front face’s gold logo exposed below.

Photograph: Ryan Waniata

Yamaha says its engineers utilized the same acoustic principles for sound absorption and vibration suppression found in its musical instruments to optimize the NS-600A’s internal cabinet design. The speakers use Yamaha’s patented “Absorber” tube to minimize standing waves, while a specialized Resonance Suppression chamber sits behind each tweeter, both aimed at preserving the character and tone of instruments and vocals.

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