Yamaha MSP-7 review

These wonderfully built and finished Yamahas are enjoyable enough, but their near total lack of rhythm will hinder most Tested at £800.00

What Hi-Fi? Verdict

The MSP7s are brilliantly enjoyable right until the moment you realise they have no grasp of rhythm


  • +

    Feel not so much built as smelted

  • +

    tremendously detailed, revealing sound


  • -

    Latent treble troubles

  • -

    ham-fisted tempo management

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All Yamaha equipment tends to be reassuringly solid, so when the MSP7s were hoisted from their box, it came as no surprise to find them built and finished as well as, if not better than many of the pricier examples of this ilk around.

Bespoke heat-sinks, for instance, are not the active-speaker norm.

Specification is equally purposeful. Each speaker incorporates an 80 Watt power amplifier to drive its 165mm woofer and a 50W amp to take care of the 25mm titanium dome tweeter, while a balanced XLR input is positioned at the rear of the (synthetic) cabinet.

We're a long way from attempting to tart up the sound of your iPod here – these are as serious as the price suggests. It's here we stop suggesting you consider speaker stands and begin to demand them.

A veritable Curate's Egg in performance
The Yamahas are a combination of ‘hugely accomplished' and ‘surprisingly inept'.

The solidity and security of the soundstage, for example, is superb: Charlotte Gainsbourg's Dandelion sounds spacious in the extreme.

Each strand of the mix is simple to identify and follow, even as the overall sound is gracefully integrated; and this is the case even during the big dynamic shifts the MSP7s enjoy so much.

Low frequencies are straight-edged and responsive, the midrange wide open and revealing, and detail levels sky-high, even at low volumes.

The top of the frequency range can be pushy, though, adding a slightly unforgiving edge to treble sounds, but this is less of a problem than the inability/disinclination to describe a rhythm convincingly.

For all their good work, the MSP7s have the metaphorical two left feet – they won't dance, don't ask them.

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