What We Like
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When it comes to affordable bookshelf speakers, Yamaha really took things to another level with their NS6490. As a matter of fact, these are among the most attractive speakers you can get under $300 at the moment.
The very first thing you will notice is the size of this set. The NS6490 speakers are definitely chunkier than your average speaker in this particular price range. However, one glance under the grille reveals the reason why. All three of them. When these first came out, many saw the similarity they shared with vintage three-way speaker designs.
You have your chunky cabinets made of decent materials, simple design all around and just lots of raw performance. Yamaha even designed a multi-faceted grille that is reminiscent of many older designs. Overall, the speakers are built rock solid and bring an appearance that will fit into just about any interior design out there.
Those looking for a more classic look will absolutely love Yamaha NS6490. The only real thing you need to worry about is finding sufficient space to position them. Especially if you plan on having them on a standard size desktop.
Whenever we talk about three-way speakers, the first thing we have to address is the transducers department. In the case of NS6490, we are looking at a large 8“ woofer cone, a 4“ mid-range driver and a .875“ tweeter. That tweeter might appear to be a bit too small, however, when you have a dedicated mid-range driver, all it needs to do is handle the trebles.
Tweeter and mid-range are ferrofluid cooled designs while the woofer is your average long throw unit. In terms of power handling, Yamaha NS6490 can work with 70 Watts of nominal input power while the maximum is set at 140 Watts. These speakers also come with a simple yet effective built-in crossover, which isn’t all that surprising for a three-way system.
What these specs indicate is that Yamaha has kept things very simple. This was probably done to keep the costs down, which again is only to be expected in this price range.
A mediocre three-way speaker is nothing special. However, a well built and designed one can really change the way you listen to music. Yamaha NS6490 definitely falls into the latter category. The soundstage is just impressive, especially when you consider the price of this set.
That massive long throw woofer does an amazing job at saturating the low end with tangible bass. Moving up the frequencies, we see well-balanced middles which render super clear vocals. Last but not the least, trebles are super bright, which may or may not be attractive to some. When combined, the performance of each transducer forms a beautiful image that is quite rare under $200.
The only real issue with these speakers is their size, power and the lack of acoustic tuning. If you put them in a small room, chances are you might get oversaturated sound. Some careful positioning might solve this issue, but it’s definitely something you should be aware of.
Yamaha NS6490 is one of those gems that offer impressive value for the money. These speakers have it all. No matter if you are after a decent minimalist design or superb performance, Yamaha NS6490 gets the job done.