New Music Gear Monday: Avantone Pro CLA-10 Nearfield Monitor

Avantone Pro CLA-10 on Bobby Owsinski's Production BlogFor about 20 years the Yamaha NS-10 was the standard monitor found in almost any studio. An untold number of hits were recorded on the speakers during that time, so it came as a major shock when Yamaha discontinued the model in 2001 as the wood pulp used in making the drivers became more difficult to source. 17 years later you’ll still find NS-10s in many studios, and some mixers still swear by them. One of those mixers is Grammy winner Chris Lord Alge, who’s continued to use the speakers to mix hits for the Zac Brown Band, Linkin Park, Tim McGraw & Faith Hill, My Chemical Romance and a host of others. Now he’s teamed up with Avantone Pro to release an identical version of the esteemed NS-10 called the CLA-10.

Avantone Pro has actually been making driver replacements for the NS-10 for some time, so it was a natural stretch to attempt to reproduce the original monitor in total. Specs are one thing though, so CLA was enlisted to provide the final ears to get this model as close as possible to the original.

According to the company, the Avantone Pro CLA10 is physically and sonically identical to the original, as its components were reverse-engineered from the original speaker for an exact match throughout the frequency range. As a result, its tweeter dome uses the same phenolic resin doping and its woofer uses custom-tooled mechanical parts and even the cone material from the original vendor to match the original’s performance curve.

Since the midrange response is what gives the original NS-10 its mojo, the crossover network for the CLA-10 uses the same value capacitors, and the inductors match the original in DC resistance, winding dimensions, and value as well. The CLA-10 cabinet is made from MDF with a real wood veneer too, with the exception of an upgraded rear terminal plate with a better grade of connector.

If you’ve been looking around to buy either a vintage set of NS-10s or a replacement, you know how expensive they can be on the used market. Another problem buying used is that you can never tell what you’re getting, which is why a new set is preferable, and at $699 for a pair for Avantone Pro CLA-10s you’re way ahead of the game. Remember that they’re passive, and the sound really does depend a great deal on the amp that’s powering them, so do you research to make sure you can get the proper amp to drive them first.

You can find out more about the CLA-10s here, or in the video below.


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