Yamaha HS5 monitors: Yamaha’s best known monitors are the NS10’s which were seen in many recording studios starting in the 1980’s moving forward. Music sounded terrible on them, but if you were able to get your mixes to sound good on them, they usually sounded pretty good on other sources. As they discontinued them many years ago, Yamaha came out with the HS50M’s which I reviewed in the older SOS Review forum that was lost in space. With competition out there, Yamaha decided to make some improvements to the HS50M’s with the newer HS5’s that provide a flatter response.
Compared to the HS50M’s, the HS’5s have a larger and improved cabinet which provides a tighter lower end. The tweeter is slighter bigger that Yamaha claims to provide a more accurate high end. In addition they have new transducers to provide accurate signal reproduction, and upgraded amps.
The HS5’s are a 2 way monitor with a 5 inch woofer, which is rear ported with a bi-amplified 45 WLF/25W HF. It has room control, high trim controls and a variable level control on the back. With them being rear ported, it is important to not have them too close to the back wall. They are 6.7” x 11.15 x 8.7” and weight 11.7 pounds. The monitor’s frequency response is 74Hz to 25 kHz, -3d (with 10dB down points at 54Hz and 30 kHz). At only $400 a pair, they are within reach of many. If they are your only monitors, I would recommend getting the matched Yamaha HS8S sub-woofer which helps provide a full range for your mixes.
I set the monitors up on sturdy stands with Auralex mopads to provide isolation between the stands and the monitors. With the monitors only several feet away from the rear wall, I adjusted the room control to -2db to adjust the amount of bass. The high’s sounded best in the flat position in my studio. After spending a couple of hours breaking them in, I found the monitors to provide a good representation of mixes. These monitors have more bass than the NS10’s, and the high end is smoother and easier on your ears. The big reason why people like these monitors as well as the NS10’s is the mid-range information. Both provide excellent detail in this area, though not at the microscopic level of higher end monitors. With that being said, if the mixes sounded good on the HS5’s your mixes were usually sound good on most stereo or IPod systems. I really like these monitors. In my studio, my main monitors are Focal Twins. They have a slightly pushed mids to help hear all the details in this busy area of mixes. However sometimes the vocals, or lead guitar may need a little adjustment when I hear the music back on other systems due to the mid forward design. With having the HS5’s as a second monitor in my studio, it helps obtain that level of vocals or lead guitar just where I want them. If the HS5’s are your only monitors, and you don’t want to pay for the HS8S sub, they have the HS7, and HS8 monitors which provide more low-end. I am quite pleased with the HS5’s and they will be staying in my studio for a long time. In short, they help me obtain a proper mix in a shorter period of time than I did without them. No more going to the car stereo and other sources to make sure the mixes sound right. Now all decisions are made in the studio. :D