Canadian-based Yorkville has gained esteem for its line of passive closefield monitors, and with good reason: they provide accurate sound reproduction at a reasonable price. Based on the popular YSM1i, the YSM1p is Yorkville’s first powered monitor. This sophisticated system works quite well, yet is affordable to home studios at $640/pair list, $449 street.
Product PointsApplications: Studio
Key Features: 6.5″ woofer; 1″ silk dome tweeter; onboard amp; tone controls
Price: $640 per pair
Contact: Yorkville Sound Inc. at 716-297-2920, www.yorkville.com.
+ Accurate, neutral tonal balance for the price
+ Useful tone controls and driver protection
+ Outstanding value
– Slight upper-mid emphasis
The Score: Considering the sound quality, these relatively inexpensive mid-sized monitors are an outstanding value.
In business since 1963, Yorkville developed the first portable PA speaker enclosure and the first wedge-style floor monitor. The company offers mixing consoles, PA speakers and studio monitors.
Each YSM1p speaker cabinet is finished in textured charcoal-gray vinyl, and is attractively styled with curved beveled edges. Cabinet walls are made of 3/4-inch MDF board with a 3/4-inch thick MDF baffle covered in PVC. Damping inside the cabinet is said to prevent unwanted bass resonances.
Drivers include a shielded, ported 6.5-inch woofer with a foam surround, and a shielded 1-inch silk dome tweeter that is ferrofluid cooled.
On the front is the woofer port and two LEDs: a gorgeous blue power LED and a red clip LED. Piggybacked on the rear of the cabinet is the power amplifier and crossover. This biamped system provides 85 watts peak to the woofer and 30 watts to the tweeter. The amplifier chassis rings when tapped and might benefit from some anti-vibration coating.
Also on the back are an AC power connector, power switch, input trim knob (-6 dB to +9 dB) and a combi XLR/phone input. The phone jack can take a balanced or unbalanced line-level signal, although it is only labeled “balanced.”
Unusual for this price range is a built-in limiter enabled by an on/off button on the back. This limiting safeguards the tweeter from burnout and an overcurrent limiter protects the woofer from overexcursion. When a signal reaches the limiter threshold, the red clip LED lights on the front baffle. The amplifier also has thermal protection that removes signal from the amp if it overheats, then resets automatically.
Another unexpected feature is a pair of tone controls set by a DIP switch on the rear. These controls compensate for the acoustics of the environment around the speaker. The low-frequency switches, labeled “Low Frequency Efficiency Factor,” adjust the response for speaker placement in full space, half-space or quarter-space. The “High frequency Reflection Optimization” switches compensate for varying amounts of high-frequency absorption in the listening room. I think that this tone control is not only a handy feature, but is essential for accurate reproduction.
In my review sample, the high-frequency DIP switch settings did not match the graphics on the back of the speaker or their description in the manual. A switch setting that should have reduced the highs (according to the label) actually boosted them, and vice versa. Yorkville told me that the labeling is corrected on the production models.
According to the manufacturer, high-frequency power is 20 W continuous at 0.1 percent THD, and low-frequency power is 65 watts continuous. At lower levels, distortion is under 0.05 percent. Frequency response is rated at 40 Hz to 20 kHz +/- 3 dB with a 2.5 kHz crossover frequency. Each unit measures 16.4 x 9.6 x 11.2 inches and weighs 25 pounds.
Before making any measurements, I auditioned the Yorkville YSM1p monitors in a closefield setup. They were about three feet apart and three feet from me, toed in on stands behind my mixing console. In my studio, the speakers sounded best with the low-frequency switches set to half- space and the high-frequency switches set for minimum output.
Here are my impressions of various CDs and my own mixes:
Drums: Clear with good impact.
Cymbals: Very smooth and sweet; the entire frequency range is there. Very well defined. Cymbals become slightly aggressive if the tone switch is set to flat or boost.
Piano: Mostly uncolored but with an occasional “hard” or “forward” quality. Full, clear and detailed.
Bass: Full but not tubby. Uniform loudness of notes. Some doubling is audible at the lowest frequencies.
Acoustic guitar: Very nice! Well defined. Not “tizzy” on the high end.
Vocal: Natural. Smooth-recorded vocals sound smooth; sibilant vocals sound siblilant.
Sax: Mostly natural but slighty hard in the upper mids.
Electric guitar: Not too puffy in the midbass, and good “bite” in the upper mids.
Orchestra: Fairly accurate timbres overall, but not quite as lovely or “liquid” as some other speakers.
My own mixes done on Vergence Pro A20 monitors sound similar on the Yorkvilles. Compared to the A20s, which cost $2,000 a pair, the Yorkvilles have slightly less resolution, a little less deep bass and a bit more upper mids. But the YSM1p’s sound very close to the A20s, which are over three times the price!
Overall, the YSM1p has a wide-range, neutral tonal balance. Imaging and depth are very good, as is the resolution of reverb. The speakers can get extremely loud before clipping occurs. In fact, the limiter kicked in only at unusually high levels, and I never heard it working at normal volume.
Yorkville’s description of the YSM1p matches what I heard and measured: “Crisp, clean, loud, flat and accurate.” It is truly impressive for its price. If my high-end monitor system were to fail, I could substitute the YSM1p and feel right at home.