When it comes to studio monitors there are a large number of options available. Sifting through the endless options is a daunting task. When I was looking for studio monitors I gravitated to well know brands. There is a certain amount of comfort that comes from buying from an established brand.
In this review, we check out one of the most popular studio monitor options from one of the leading brands in the space.
The Yamaha HS5 is the smallest speaker in the Yamaha HS series. With newly developed transducers Yamaha aims to provide a quality, smaller sized monitor. It’s targeted at both professionals and beginners. Intending to deliver balanced sound at an affordable price, it sets some lofty ambitions. Let’s find out if it delivers.
There is a lot to breakdown when it comes to this studio monitor offering from Yamaha. Let’s dive into the details.
First, let’s cover the most important aspect. These do sound fantastic but they are not perfect.
The mids and highs are crisp and clear and offer a very neutral and flat response. This is ideal for the musician looking to mix and master their creations. Pinpointing faults in your mixes can be difficult if you are working with low-quality studio monitors. These will not let you down.
This flat response is also where some people may feel disappointed. If you’re used to normal Hi-Fi systems you may be confused at the praise for these speakers. Keep in mind studio monitors represent sound in the purest way possible. Unlike Hi-Fi systems, the sound is not colored. In this regard, the HS5 Yamaha has delivered.
Unfortunately, while it shines in the mids and highs it does leave a bit to be desired in the lower end. I would recommend the addition of a dedicated subwoofer to handle the lows. Especially if you work with bass-heavy music or enjoy music with those qualities.
Yamaha has a strong reputation for quality products and these are no different. It’s one of the benefits of purchasing from a brand that has been in the business of making studio monitors for so many years.
They’re constructed from a strong and dense MDF board that’s designed to minimize unwanted resonance. As a result, they feel solid and resilient. While I never recommend you test this I feel these could take a knock or two without any noticeable damage.
Yamaha also has a reputation to maintain as these have been developed as the successor to the popular NS range. This means they have used premium materials and years of experience to offer a studio monitor that can live up to that reputation.
The Yamaha HS5 is a 5-inch woofer studio monitor with a 1-inch tweeter. At 5-inches it’s suitable for a small to medium-sized studio space.
Excellent sound quality and at a good weight for a 5-inch studio monitor.
With a frequency response of 54Hz – 30kHz, both the high and low end is covered well. This is achieved by the newly developed transducers that the Yamaha team has been working on.
Much like its bigger brother the HS8, it offers a bi-amp design. This means that both the woofer and tweeter have a dedicated amp which helps it deliver the flat clear sound that music producers love.
It’s pleasing to see that the Yamaha HS5 offers some good tuning options. These studio monitors are meant to be at least 5 feet away from walls for the best sound response. As you can imagine that isn’t always possible. Every studio is different.
This is where the tuning options come into their own. With the choice of adjusting both the Room Control for the lower end and also a High Trim option for the upper end. Having this choice available allows you to tweak the sound response based on your studio acoustic environment. Keep in mind that even the best speakers will struggle to deliver in a studio space with poor audio treatment.
The bold white woofer cone is a hallmark of the Yamaha range of studio monitors. I’m glad to see the tradition has continued. Available in both black and white these monitors look sleek and refined. They are not over-designed and would look great in any studio.
Elegant and professional. The Yamaha HS5 is a testament to clean design aesthetics.
Don’t get me wrong I’ll take an ugly but great sounding studio monitor over a flashy looking but horrible sounding one. It’s nice that with these you can have both great sound and refined design aesthetics.
Another great design decision was to include installation models as an option. This allows for wall mounting with dedicated mounting points and screws. This can help with keeping your workspace clear and also for correct placement for maximum audio clarity.
The Yamaha HS5 powered studio monitor offers two connections options. A balanced XLR input and a balanced TRS input.
Two balanced connection options are available on the HS5 studio monitors.
Two solid choices though you should be aware that it doesn’t come with any cables included. While the Yamaha HS5 speakers are affordable and offer good value for money I would have been willing to pay a bit more for quality cables to already be included in the box.
Also, it’s worth noting that many entry-level DJ controllers primarily support an RCA connection for speakers. Even the best DJ controller for beginners doesn’t offer an XLR or TRS option for outputting audio.
I’m surprised by how much value you get. You can spend a lot more on a 5-inch studio monitor and both get better and worse performance. To have access to a quality studio monitor from a trusted brand like Yamaha at this price point is great. It allows for even beginner producers to be able to afford a decent pair of monitors for their studios.
What Others Have To Say
The consensus appears to be nothing but people who are satisfied with the HS5. Especially when the price point is factored in. Others also mentioned the lack of included cables as disappointing as mentioned in these Yamaha HS5 reviews.
Types of Connections
Before we get into the review it’s worth covering something which is often overlooked when buying studio monitors. Connectivity is often thrown around as a buzzword in the tech scene but when it comes to studio monitors it’s very important. Knowing in advance what type of options you have available can prevent hassles when your studio monitors arrive. There is nothing worse than having your excitement for your new studio monitors squashed by the need to go hunt down specific cables. Let go over the three most common connection options.
RCA is one of if not the most common connection option that you’ll come across. They are commonly used for home entertainment systems. You’ll likely already have some of these cables on hand. The familiar red and white connections are usually used to plug in the left and right channels. They offer an unbalanced connection so are ideal over shorter distances.
These cables offer a balanced cable option. Good quality speakers will offer XLR as an option but sometimes it’s reserved for the larger and more expensive models.
XLR cables use a three-pin design to deliver the balanced audio signal.
XLR cables also have the added benefit of a clip-based system that can secure your cables. This prevents accidental unplugging.
TRS cables also offer a balanced audio option. They come in a ¼ and ⅛ inch jack format. You’ll likely be familiar with this connection type as well since it’s used heavily for headphone and microphone connections. All of the best DJ headphones connect via TRS. Having TRS available in tandem with RCA gives you both a balanced and unbalanced option for maximum flexibility.
While the Yamaha HS5 monitors are great there are other options available depending on your studio needs. You can also check out our guide to the top studio monitors.
Mackie CR3-X Review
Moving down to a 3-inch studio monitor will result in lower bass output. Having said that the CR3-X is still a solid studio monitor. If you have a smaller studio space or your budget is very limited these are a good option.
- Loud considering the size.
- Comes with RCA cable for an instant connection.
- Build quality is not amazing.
Read our full Mackie CR3-X review for more detailed information.
PreSonus Eris E5 Review
If you’d like to stick to a 5-inch studio monitor the Eris E5 is a good alternative. At a lower price point than Yamaha, it still offers excellent sound quality.
- Excellent build quality featuring a Kevlar woofer.
- Well balanced sound with solid mids and highs.
- Much like the Yamaha, it suffers at the low end.
Read our full PreSonus Eris E5 review for more detailed information.
Presonus Eris E5
KRK Rokit 5 G4 Review
Another strong contender in the 5-inch space is the Rokit 5 G4. With new tuning options, it can make setting up your studio monitors easier. It also offers great sound and vibrant design.
- On-board DSP with LCD screen and extensive tuning options.
- A striking and iconic black and yellow design.
- Not as flat making it not ideal for analytical listening.
Read our full KRK Rokit 5 G4 review for more detailed information.
KRK Rokit 5 G4
Should You Buy?
There is no denying the high quality that Yamaha has delivered in its range of HS studio monitors. The Yamaha HS5 is a perfect example of an affordable studio monitor that gives exceptional value. The only drawback is the lack of bass. If the bass is important to you they are still a good choice but you’ll need to add a subwoofer at some stage. If you’re focused on music production and want clear and flat sound they are a stand out choice. Even as an all-rounder I have no hesitation in recommending the Yamaha HS5 studio monitor.