Yamaha NS1000M Help, Advice, PLEASE

Hello all. I purchased a nice pair of the legendary Yamaha NS1000M today. I got a good deal on them, and I actually bought them with the intention of trading them for a nice pair of Planar speakers. Then I made the mistake of hooking them up. Oh my. These things are wonderful. Perhaps the ugliest speaker ever made, but truly astonishing sound. I hate to say it, but in some ways superior to my (formerly) unassailable Meadowlark Shearwater "Hotrods". Enough background. I have several questions.

1. This pair was made in 1981 (original stickers still on the rear), and they use the old-style spring-loaded terminals. I hate those things. Will it ruin the value or be a bad idea to install a nice pair of WBT 5-way binding posts or similar?

2. If keeping the original terminals is best, what type of speaker wire should I use? The darn things won't accept anything heavier than bare 14 ga. wire. Is there an audiophile wire designed for this application, or am I relegated to the ole Radio Shack "zipcord"?

3. This pair has the black ash finish, and they are not attractive. Would it be a bad idea (or affect the value) to have the cabinets refinished and stained a medium cherry or oak?

4. The 12" woofers are dirty; really dirty. Is there a way to get behind the metal mesh covers to clean them up? My vacuum will get some of it, but I really need to run a tacky cloth over them to get all the crud. Suggestions?? Are the metal mesh covers removable?

5. I currently have these monsters on my carpeted floor, and the mids and tweeters are significantly lower than my ear-level. What brand, type and size speaker stands are recommended for these speakers.

Thanks all. I'm awestruck. Any other suggestions from you NS1000 fans will be greatly welcome!! -David
I owned a pair of these from 1980 to 1985. They were a fantastic speaker in their day and in demand - I bought a demo pair and sold them for more than I paid 5 years later.

The mid range and top end on the Yammies is first class. The beryllium tweeter and 5" midrange drivers were out of this world technology, only possible by a company like Yamaha with deep pockets and huge research labs. The cabinets borrowed some of the bracing and finishing techniques used by their piano division.

The bass is flat to 50Hz and then slowly rolls off, in the normal sealed box (acoustic suspension) slope. The bass is nice and deep, but slow compared to other speakers I owned (for example, Linn SARA).

But the NS1000s are extremely listenable and sweet, but they need a REALLY big room to allow the images to form properly - in my opinion. I took mine once to an audiophile friend who had a huge room and the sound there was much more impressive than at my place.

1. I had vampire wire speaker cables that were terminated with a gold pin. This works fine in those speaker terminals.

3. Mine were also the black ash. They were very nicely finished and yours must have deteriorated over time. I loved the look of mine, but I do like black.

4. I don't know how to get the grill off.

5. Stands are very important. I had a shop make me some custom all-welded stands out of very heavy square tubing.

Enjoy your Yammies. I still regret selling mine when I had to move from the city to the coutry, and was heading to a smaller room. When I bought a pair of Coincident Super Eclipses 7 years ago, in memory of the NS1000s, I ordered these in black! ;-)

Metralla: Great response; thank you! I'll look for the slender pins. Now that you mention it, I have seen those before, and wondered what in the world they were for. I would love to know how the "Yammies" stack up against more modern high-end loudspeakers. My guess is the mids and tweets more than hold their own, but you're probably right on the big 12" cone. I'm going to try to blow the dust off the woofers with compressed air. We'll see...
I agree with Metralla that stands are very important. I grew up with a pair (and my parents still use them and love them to this day, 30 years later) and still find that without the right stands, they suffer. I do not know about the grills either. Ours were black ash too, and I thought they were nice, but I too like black.
Yeah, if you like black ash or piano black, they're nice. I don't, but I'm reluctant to re-finish them. Anyone have any idea what they're worth?
they are becoming increasingly rare in stock-mint condition, and sonically they better some of the esoteric megabuck speakers..keep them that way.....it you don't like using bare wires, use gold pins.
I have owned/upgraded many pairs of these classic speakers. If I had room for three sets, one would be the Ns1000, one the Quad 63, and my current favorite the Wilson WP7(negotiable). Somewhat in order of importance:

TRY TUBES. These speakers love tubes. Adds more "music" than the "clinical" that ss shows.

Rewire internally with good wire. Internal wiring looks like door bell wire attached to cheap spring connecters. Instaal connecters you like. Bypass the tone controls since they inevitably become dirty and degrade the sound. My personal favorite was Audioquest single strand SILVER that I bought from the company after helpful consultation with the Co. Again, silver takes a very small but wecomed edge off the tweeter which is mostly too hot.

The exterior is simple. Take out the drivers and either lightly sand the cabinets to get as much black off as possible and refinish. The problem with this is that the veneer is thin and you will probably sand through unless you are quite good a woodworking. A second amd much preferred option is to re-veneer the cabinets. You can buy what are called "doorskins" which are door sized peices of veneer in most any wood you want. Golden oak was visually fun, the only oak monitors to my knowledge. You have infinite choices.

The height of stands is important to room size and base. The best "stand" ever was another MS1000M on tiptoes with tweeters in the middle. It was scarry good and still makes me smile. I forget how we wired the four speakers but I'm sure someone can come up with suggestions. One of the best sounds in my near 40 years of hign end including the big Wilson X-2's. More practical and effective are cement blocks. Speaker stands need to be inert. Nothing I know of is more inert than cement blocks. Try the old knuckle test one. After you have deterimed the correct height for your room with different combinations of blocks, have a stand built to your needs or have an exterior built of the same wood as your speakers have become and leave the blocks in place. Now, I would fill the blocks and exteriors with spray foam to eliminate stand resonances.

I would be open to discussing and other issues with NS1000M speakers. It would be fun to revisit the crossover since parts are fare superior. I did get a pair down to a very usable mid 30hz with careful placement. Black works for thses as monitor speakers but a Yamaha also sold a 1000S that was done in teak if my memory serves me.

You guys are the best! Many thanks. I'm going to start on the "doorskins" next weekend. I'm not too worried b/c the cabinets are not mint; they have a few blemishes already and a few small chips. If anyone thinks I would be MUCH better off leaving the cabinets black, please advise. Meanwhile, these things are a blast to listen to. I love my Meadowlarks, but now I'm not sure which I like better. The Meadowlarks are more laid-back, but the Yammies are scary accurate. Hmmmmmm...
I have owned a pair of black oak NS1000M since 1980. I still have them, and use them in my audio system in my study. I also owned a pair of Snell Type AIIIi for 20 years until I upgraded them in my main system with Snell XA Reference Towers. In my experience, both these speakers were the "best in class" at the time in early 80's. My Yamaha's are in absolute mint condition, and they have been set up on the Yamaha heavy metal stands, 9" high, that were made for them. They sound just as thrilling today as they did 29 years ago! I paid $1100 in 1980. Anything comparable today would cost 8-10 times more.

The ONLY change I made to the speakers was to replace the spring clips with 5-way binding posts. IT WAS NOT EASY. The original connectors cannot be removed easily because Yamaha sealed the soldered joints with some kind of glue. The crossover circuit board is a sandwich of two boards and it is practically attached to the spring clip board. I had to extract the crossover combo out carefully (still connected to the tone controls), separate the two circuit boards by removing several wires to get to the clip, use a knife to remove all the glue from the cracks to free up the spring clip and remove it. You have to do this twice. PLEASE TAKE PICTURES OF THE ORIGINAL WIRE CONNECTIONS ON THE COMBO BOARDS BEFORE YOU UNSOLDER THEM TO MAKE SURE YOU RECONNECT THEM THE RIGHT WAY LATER. You can use any decent 5-way posts. Eichmann's would fit quite well.

I like black. I believe the originals M's came only in black. They made another cabinet variation which came in various veneer finishes. If your veneer surface is damaged, I would go with the "doorskin" approach, but I would strongly recommend keeping it black to maintain the value of the "original". Please make sure that you sand the surface down to very smooth - remove all "bumps" and fill any gouges. Otherwise the doorskin veneer won't look good.

A heavy stand, 9-10" high, slightly tilted upward, is absolutely necessary to get the best out of these speakers. You lose the striking clarity of the beryllium tweeters and the world class midrange if you put them on the floor.

I don't know how to remove the metal grill from the woofer, since I never had to. I suggest you use pressurized air to gently blow the dust from the cones.

Good luck.
More great advice!! Vjay00 you must have gotten your Yammies half-price; the retail in 1981 was $2,100 per pair. My seller still had the original receipt, and that price is posted online otherwise. Anyhow, I'm going to use the "doorskin" approach very carefully, and update you guys after the deed is done.
FWIW, they sound nice with J-FET-based amps too.
Klipschking, I believe the list price in 1980 was $1,350 and my dealer gave me a "system" discount.
Vjay00: No need to quibble over 30 year-old speakers, and I'm sure you're right, but looks like the price went up dramatically by '81. According to the sticker on the back of my pair, they were made on 10/21/81. According to the receipt (dated 3/22/82), the price before tax was $1,910.00. Mark up?? Who knows. Thanks for all your advice!
Ah, nostalgia, nothing quite like a pair of Yamaha NS-1000Ms to bring back audiophile memories. I have a pair that I purchased new in 1981 (I think), still have them in fact and will keep them for as long as I can. Over the years I have owned many speakers from Quad ESL 63s to B&W N801s, the NS-1000Ms always held their own against virtually any speaker I compared them with (excluding my dream speakers, Apogee Divas, but that's another story). Personally I do not find the black finish ugly, in fact I find the overall design (without grills of course) very attractive. However, each to their own opinion on aesthetics. The other speaker finish Yamaha offered was solid (not veneer) ebony with the NS-1000. I believe there is also a NS-2000 (15" woofer) and very special NSX-10000 model. Mine are on 12" substantial stands with original clip speaker wire connectors on the back. Personally, I find the speakers wire connectors just fine, OK not as good as WBT connectors on the N801s. Mine are used with heavy gauge Monster speaker cables (12AWG ?). I simply trim the cables down to fit into the spring terminals. In the 28 years I have owned the NS-1000Ms I have only had one problem, self induced by an act of shear stupidity, I blew the midrange units in both! Replacement units were painfully expensive. One final comment, the first time I heard the Yamaha NS-1000Ms was at a HiFi show in London, England. Yamaha were demonstrating the speakers using Jean Michel Jarre's Oxygene (part 3) at very high volume. To say the sound was impressive is an understatement, these speakers immediately became a must have for me! Enjoy your classic speakers.
Wow, great to read this. I bought a pair new in 1975 or 76 for I think $1000, maybe it was a little more. I sold them about two years later and got Quad ESLs. As a young and impressionable audiophile, I was discouraged by the fairly negative review the Yamahas got in TAS, which caused me to feel maybe I shouldn't hang on to them.. And I felt they always had a bit of a hot, metallic sound. Great bass though. But, jeez, back then we used lamp cord for speaker cable and committed all sorts of other sins by contemporary standards. I think I blew a tweeter twice, not sure how.

I drove them originally with a Yamaha integrated (overrated if you ask me) but subsequently with a Threshold 400A (wish I still had that!) and a few other things. I don't regret the Quads at all, but I wish I could hear the Yamahas again in a modern system. Any owners in the SF Bay Area willing to have me over for a listen?
Great stories guys. These things really sing. I keep the tweeter and mid-range pots in the neutral position, and I don't find the treble so much "hot" or "bright" as much as I do "accurate". The detail is simply amazing; very much like a good electrostatic. I think I'm going to gently remove the black paint/stain, and attempt to stain the underlying oak. In that way if the finish doesn't look good, I can go back over it with the original black. I'm going to keep the original spring-clips, but use some Vampire wire pins to terminate my solid-core Audioquest cables. Hey, they're only "original" once, right? Thanks one and all.
I actually own one pair of NS-1000Ms, two pairs of NS-2000s, some B&W, Manger MSWs and Quad ESL-63s. There's a bit of an interesting story behind my 2000s; they are NOS with one pair still in the wrapping, but that's for another day. The woofers are actually 13" diagonally, not 15" and the mid and high drivers have a different visual texture than the NS-1000s, and the tweeter frame is larger on the 2000. For the Yamahas I would venture to say the weakness is the absence of time alignment (I'm not even sure if people notice this) and wide acoustic axis spacing due to motor structure size, but remedying this likely would have raised end buyer cost by a notable margin.

I found the Yamahas by accident in a showroom while in search for something much different and had no idea what they were. Needless to say after listening a few times I was impressed and I paid a bit on the higher end of the spectrum I suppose but from inquiries I've learned the prices varied. The bass is great and dynamic but its not as refined as the 63's bass. So far I haven't found another loudspeaker as clear or color free from the mids up as the NS-1000M apart from the NS-2000. While the driver placement doesn't allow as flat of a response with the 2000s', the highs are noticeably clearer.
Sorry if this was mentioned already but you can use "speaker pin connectors" with those spring terminals.
The ones @ Monoprice are gold plated, take up to 12 AWG wire, and are less than $4 a pair.
Congrats on finding some speakers that you love.
Thanks again everyone. I found a nice pair of 24K gold plated brass pins at Radio Shack, and used them to terminate a pair of Audioquest cables. I can't believe how good these speakers are!! I would love to see John Atkinson @ Stereophile compare them to some of the newer high-end speakers. I know where my money would be!
The cheapest way to stand (that I know of) with no signature is stacked concrete blocks from Loew's. Open face out. You can spray paint em anything.
On the pricing ... I bought mine new from a dealer in Brisbane Australia in 1980. The list price was $1400 and I paid $1250 for a demo pair.

Like many here, I have the best of both worlds S/H Yammys + Quad 63s with VTL power amp ... for subtlety in the living room; NS-1000Ms upstairs for power and clean fast impact together with subtlety
[Thinks: Should I logically unload the Quads :-) ]. With Spectral 150 power amp and DMC6 pre and their model 1000 CD, MIT giant-killer speaker cables -- best system I ever had.
In other words, anachrophilia rules.
Good choice and lucky find. I live in Japan and I've had a pair of NS-1000X's for many years, and like them so much I finally got a second pair. I've A/B compared them to many, many high-end speakers and in many systems at the shops over the years, and I am convinced they are among the best all around speakers ever made, and certainly so in their price range. Few speakers can compete with them across all musical genres, and they play all the positives and expose any flaw in your system clearly.

The NS-1000X has the same wonderful beryllium dome midrange and tweeter as the NS-1000M, but a better woofer, made of carbon fiber, and a heavier cabinet. The sound quality is similar to yours, but with improved bass.

The NS-1000M is very common here in Japan, and they go for about US$500 in ok condition to about US$800 in minty-new condition. Unless yours is a flawlessly new-looking collector's item, which from the "dirt on the speakers" it sounds not to be, a modification of the terminal would not lower the price here in Japan. I've seen several units with such modification in the same price range as for unmodified units here.

The NS-1000X's have a screw-type terminal with holes too small to run thick cable through. On mine I just painstakingly stuff as much thick Monster cable into the holes as I can. I use heavy Monster cable that I've had since the '80's, because that was the going thing at the time the speakers were made and used by many recording studios here at the time. The sound result is excellent.

As for stands, there were wooden stands made for them originally, and not difficult to find through Japanese shops and auctions on the net. Their virtue is an angled board at the bottom that projects the bass outward.

I have two different systems in different rooms, and different approaches to stands. In one room the floor is soft tatami mats, and so I have first a wood sheet, then a marble slab, both about half an inch thick, and then brass cones that are fitted on stone cylinders about 2 inches thick. The cones are thus sandwiched between marble. They are not expensive cones, about US$8 each or so. In this room I usually sit on the floor or listen in bed, and the height is fine, with the tweeters at about ear level.

In the other room I usually sit at a computer desk with the Yammies behind me. These are up on cement building blocks, and isolated with stone tiles and then the same kind of cones on marble cylinders.

I tried loads of isolators and stand systems over the years, and these work well for me. The cones sandwiched between stone really sharpen-up the bass especially, and make everything even more clear.

Welcome to the Yammie sound world. It will be difficult for you to change from here.

What I do is have fun pairing the Yammies with various bookshelves, rather than trying to replace them with anything. To do this I use wonderful old Luxman amps that run 4 speakers as A+B.

In the tatami room I have them paired with B&W805s. This combination is great. The 805s absolutely pale in comparison to the Yammies, but their high-end tweeters are sweet and somehow they synergize when all 4 speakers are on.

In the other room I currently have Quad 12L's, which are warm speakers and not very neutral, but somehow make nice contrast with the Yammies on a lot of music. I find this combination a little lacking, and still seek a better match. Today I'll compare them to some Sonus Faber Concerto Homes, but I feel those are too far from the clear Yammy sound I like. Perhaps the best bookshelf match for me would be Adam A7s.

But I ramble....

It seems that there were some variations on the stands that came with the NS-1000Ms originally. Over time, I've seen on the web: a metal height-adjustable one, a wooden design that apparently amplifies the base by its shape and recently, I came across (and acquired) a square-tubed metal framed set. (They came with a pair of NS-1000Ms that I bought, that need some work - some refininishing, a new woofer & terminals).

As for the square-tubed metal stands, they are not angled at all, though you can achieve different heights depending on how you orient them. They also have 2 little plastic plugs that block 2 small holes. Does anyone know if these holes were meant to be used to fill the speaker stands with sand? Or, are the stands meant to be hollow?

I'm really enjoying this thread!