Crappy Speakers And Design Thinking

The Great NS10

I have great speakers in my studio: Yamaha NS 10.

Does it help? Depends on what they’re for.  

The NS10 whose sound has been described as “horrible” have become an industry standard.

If they are designed to reveal shortcomings in sound without mercy…. They definitely help.

But the Yamaha NS10 was designed by Akira Nakamura (1978) as a domestic hi-fi speaker, but it was relatively poorly received and quickly faded towards obscurity.

Some say it’s the worst speaker you can find. So do they help?

You tell me…

In my design work, I like to learn from users. Their affective reaction. 

To me the sound of the NS10 evoke irritation. It’s awful and cheap. 

But in my context my negative affective reaction is effective. 

NS10 can be very honest. If something sounds good on these speakers, then it will most likely also sound good on your speakers.

If your experience evokes desired moods, emotions, and attitudes, then your design is effective…

But does it help?

There is no right or wrong. But there is “helpful” and “unhelpful” because of context.


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