Update: This product has been discontinued, but the HS monitors are still in production. See our review of them here.
Speaker type: powered, 2-way, back ported
Continuous power handling: 45 W x 2
Frequency response range: 54 – 40k Hz (+/- 10dB)
Unit weight: 12.5 lbs (child), 14 lbs (parent)
Cabinet dimensions: 7 x 9 x 11 in (width x depth x height)
Warranty: 2 years
Review And Discussion
Multi-room audio has become increasingly popular, and Yamaha joined the market by developing their MusicCast app, which allows you to wirelessly control all compatible speakers and other equipment throughout your house. You can read more about how it works here.
The NX-N500 is Yamaha’s MusicCast compatible powered monitor speaker, but beyond that it’s hardly distinguishable from their highly popular pro-series HS studio monitors (reviewed here). The advantage of powered speakers are that you don’t need an amp or receiver – they can just plug right into the wall and your device and be ready to go.
The cabinet is pretty standard looking single piece MDF with a dull/grain finish.
The tweeter is also a pretty standard looking one inch textile dome with its own protective grill. Housed in a small waveguide.
The woofer is a five inch plastic polymer that’s housed in a rather large basket. Same signature white color that’s themed Yamaha’s monitors for many years.
Inside you’ve got a bi-amp set up, meaning two independent power supplies for the tweeter and woofer. While these do come in pairs and have a parent/child relationship, which means you don’t have to worry about signal splitting yourself, do keep in mind these are still independent, individually powered speakers that will each need to be plugged into the wall separately. Something to keep in mind.
Yamaha doesn’t specify a max SPL, but a pair of bi-amped 45 W speakers should get plenty loud for just about any room that isn’t exorbitantly large. The response range is decent, but not spectacular on the low end. There will likely be some bass drop off before the quoted 54 Hz floor, but this is an understandable limitation of a single 5 inch driver on a 2-way speaker. Unfortunately these only seem to come in that one size whereas the non MusicCast compatible HS monitors come in three sizes with 5, 6, and 8 inch woofers.
Input wise you’ve got pretty much anything you’d need out of a monitor: usb/optical to connect to a device (in addition to the MusicCast wireless app of course), both XLR and, interestingly, an ethernet left/right link, the latter of which presumably helps minimize lag when using the wireless app. Aux-in meaning you can add a subwoofer and solve the potential lack of bass problem.
All in all these are and look very similar to their flagship HS studio monitors, and presumably sound indistinguishable from the similar 5 inch HS5.
Size wise they run pretty middle of the road, but manage to stay fairly light for a powered speaker with two amplifiers built in. They don’t come with covers nor do they have sockets or such to make covering them easy. All of Yamaha’s powered speakers come with a two year warranty which comparatively decent coverage.
Our Overall Take, As Compared To The Competition
The only reason to pay the premium for these is if you have or plan to use their MusicCast app. That said, bookshelf monitors don’t generally make too much sense in the scheme of a multi-room system, but maybe some people would want to be able to add them on?
If you don’t have or plan to use their app, then there’s no point paying extra for these when you can get their HS monitors for cheaper, which are essentially the same thing. Or you could consider any other number of powered near-field speakers.