Yamaha HS8 Review
When Yamaha launched the HS80M, way back in 2006, everyone from music producers to DJs and even the average audiophile was over the moon.
It was the successor to the reigning king of the studio realm after all, the legendary NS-10M.
And it had taken 5-years at the drawing board for Yamaha to come up with it.
It had to be better.
But the HS80M couldn’t replicate the success of the NS-10M. And Yamaha’s popularity in the studio monitor market was on the wane.
That’s when the HS8 propped them up. It’s been years now. Fancier-looking brands (Adam & Rokit) have captured the imagination of the youth. But the HS8 continues to be the choice for serious professionals.
It is considered to be the true successor to the NS-10M cause it not only borrows the famed white cones, but also reproduces the inimitable, unforgiving sound quality. But with an upgraded bass response.
Detailed Yamaha HS8 Review
The Yamaha HS8 is a nearfield studio monitor that features an 8″ cone woofer and 1″ dome tweeter.
It is a beefier upgrade to all previous studio monitors from the Japanese manufacturer.
And the upgrades are not merely cosmetic.
The HS8 produces a true, flat sound quality that is incomparable.
The mixes translate perfectly into other devices, a quality that is lacking in most sound monitors in this price range.
Built to Perfection
On the design front, Yamaha chooses to keep things simple.
The HS8 looks straight out of an 80’s recording studio with its classic, minimalistic casing.
But there’s a hint of contemporary styling with the rounded edges, the metal-grille protecting the tweeter, the 14-bolts on the front and Yamaha’s logo that glows in white.
It’s built like a rock from dense MDF. You can be rest assured that an accidental bump or two won’t even scratch it.
The three-way mitered joinery adds to the build quality and helps remove undesirable resonance.
The HS8 towers over the nearest competition with a laundry list of features.
Powering the monitor is a 75W-LF plus 45W-HF bi-amp system that delivers amazing power amplification for a medium-sized studio.
On the rear, there are the standard XLR and TRS phone jack inputs and high trim, room control and level control options.
The High Trim control allows you to alter the treble levels to suit your listening preferences. You can set it to +2dB or -2dB. The NS-10M was criticized by a lot of music producers for being treble heavy. Here’s the solution.
Yamaha has ported the active monitors at the back of the HS8 and if you place it too close to the wall (Yamaha recommends a minimum of 5-feet from the closet), then the bass may sound off. You can use the room control settings to offset this at 0, -2dB and -4dB.
Lastly, you have the large volume control knob which you can adjust according to what’s comfortable for you or to match the sensitivity of your audio equipment.
It has a frequency response of 38Hz – 30kHz, as claimed by Yamaha.
Multiple third party sources refute this & claim that this is closer to 46hz to 46Khz in reality. But that’s just a tiny quibble that most people will be happy to overlook.
The biggest difference that the NS8 brings to the table is in the sound quality.
Most studio monitor speakers at this price point, including the NS10 produce what is commonly called ‘colored’ sound.
It’s sound that’s easy to listen to and work with. But it may not necessarily translate into the same quality on smaller devices such as the one in your car or even in a club.
The NS8 on the other hand produces a pure sound.
Clear highs and mids, a dense bass, a flat response that will sound brutal if your mix is bad.
That’s what separates it from the crowd. If you have created a bad mix, there’s no way that you can get away with it while using the HS8.
But if you produce a mix that sounds great on the HS8, chances are that it will sound equally good on other systems. Enough to please both the hardened audiophile and the casual listener.
Who’s the HS8 for?
The HS8 produces a natural sound that is pleasing and well suited for casual listening.
However, it is in the commercial studio environment that it really shines.
Producers, DJs and sound engineers will have a crystal-clear picture of what they are working with and the way their mixes will sound on any other device.
Is it the be-all, end-all of sound monitors? Not by a long shot.
If you have the dough, then there are much better studio monitors that you can buy. But you are looking at paying thousands more to land yourself a decent model.
At this price point, the HS8 offers unbeatable value and sound quality.
Our Verdict: Highly recommended!