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Avantone CLA-10

Passive Monitors
Published December 2018
By Phil Ward

Avantone CLA‑10

There’s no shortage of homages to classic microphones and processors, but until now, the monitor market has resisted the notion. Enter Avantone’s take on the iconic Yamaha NS‑10.

I doubt the announcement of a passive nearfield monitor has ever caused quite so much chatter as Avantone’s CLA‑10, a reboot of the Yamaha NS‑10. One well‑known pro audio forum had six pages of posts on the subject within a week of the announcement. If sales correlate with forum posts, Avantone have struck gold.

However, in an industry that includes an entire sector dedicated to copying classic Fender electric guitars and basses, I wonder if Avantone’s copy of Yamaha’s iconic NS‑10 nearfield monitor should really result in much more than the slightest lift of an eyebrow. Maybe the biggest surprise is that, considering the NS‑10’s endlessly enduring appeal, it has taken so long for a mainstream manufacturer to realise that what works for guitars might also work for monitors. Having said that, we have already seen one NS‑10 lookalike (in the UK anyway) in the shape of the Studiospares SN10, and there was the NS‑10‑inspired Acoustic Energy AE22 that I was involved in a decade or so ago (see the ‘Holland, Newell & The AE22’ box).

At first glance, the CLA‑10 and the Yamaha NS‑10M Studio are very similar indeed!At first glance, the CLA‑10 and the Yamaha NS‑10M Studio are very similar indeed!Swiftly moving back on‑piste to the CLA‑10, not only have Avantone borrowed the guitar‑sector idea of recreating a classic, they also clearly appreciate that, as with guitars, a celebrity endorsement can add bit of extra pizzazz. To that end, the ‘CLA’ of the product name refers to recording and mix engineer Chris Lord‑Alge, who has given Avantone’s NS‑10 reboot his blessing. In fact, Lord‑Alge has rather more than simply blessed Avantone’s efforts. He was closely involved in the development of the CLA‑10, and he’s quoted on the product website as follows: “I put my mixing reputation on these great speakers and I am mixing on them as I write this.” That’s quite some endorsement, so let’s hope the CLA‑10 turns out to be not just an NS‑10 lookalike but an NS‑10 soundalike too. Although having said that, the sound of the NS‑10 has perhaps just as many foes as it does friends...

In the box‑out I mentioned earlier, I refer to a Newell and Holland Institute of Acoustics technical paper that, back in 2001, described the analysis of the electro‑acoustic characteristics of the NS‑10 in the context of 35 other...

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Published December 2018