For most people setting up their studio, small or medium-sized monitors are more than enough. But if you do have a much larger studio space you’ll need to look at larger studio monitors. These larger monitors will help fill your room with sound. Plus they often don’t need a dedicated subwoofer. In this review, I’ll cover the 8-inch studio monitor option from Yamaha.
Yamaha has been in the audio game for a long time. The Yamaha HS 8 studio monitors offer to be the replacement for the much loved NS10 studio monitors. With an 8-inch woofer, it’s designed for larger studios and for people that have a need for deeper and punchier bass. Does it live up to Yamaha’s previous studio monitor offerings? Let’s check out some of the pros and cons.
Now let’s look into the finer points of what the Yamaha HS8 offers.
Sound quality is amazing on the HS8, especially when compared to the smaller HS5 model. The difference in the low-end is like night and day. The low-end has a meaty and satisfying thump that handles bass well. You can comfortably run these without a subwoofer. If you like bass-heavy music these will satisfy you.
But it’s not all about the low end. The mids and highs are also great. Mids are warm with plenty of depth. The highs are crisp and clean.
Balance across the frequencies is also solid with a nice flat response. For those mixing and mastering their own music, you’ll be able to hear where your mix needs work.
There is no denying that Yamaha knows what they are doing. There are speakers out there that cost 2 or even 3 times the price of these and still don’t offer the same level of clarity and precision.
Yamaha knows how to build quality speakers. These speakers as solid as they come. The body is made from a dense MDF board. Not only does this makes the speakers rugged and durable it also adds resonance reduction.
The textured finish helps prevent unsightly fingerprint marks.
Yamaha has also taken on board the skills they have in piano design and migrated that to the Yamaha HS8. It comes with a three-way mitered joint for extra resonance reduction. The end result is a solid speaker that actively helps improve the sound.
Before getting into the sound specs it is worth noting that these are big speakers. You’ll need to factor that in. The last thing you want is for the speakers to arrive and realize you don’t have a good amount of room for them.
They are also pretty heavy. If you do plan on having these sit on a shelf (especially floating shelves) make sure to check the weight limits suggested for that shelf.
The Yamaha HS8 studio monitors are big and heavy but offer great sound.
Sound-wise the 8-inch cone woofer is coupled with a 1-inch dome tweeter. The Yamaha HS8 studio monitor offers a 38Hz – 30kHz frequency response from their newly developed transducers. This means you’ll get a nice smooth response across all frequencies.
What I like about the HS8 is the use of a bi-amp design. With a dedicated amp for both woofer and tweeter. Normally this type of feature is reserved for more expensive speakers. It’s also the reason why the Yamaha HS 8 manages to put out such a smooth flat sound.
The Yamaha HS8 offers a great selection of tuning options to get the most out of your speaker. Finding the right spot to place your speakers can be a challenge. Having options to then adjust the output directly on the speaker makes this easier.
Room Control is a great way to balance output for smaller spaces.
Room Control and High Trim allow you to adjust both the low and high frequencies to get the best possible balance from the speakers. This becomes especially helpful if you need to place the speakers against a wall. Altering the Room Control can prevent unwanted build-up in the low end.
A simple and understated design is the cornerstone of the HS 8. Nothing overly flashy here. While the white woofer cone does stand out the rest of the box is a plain matte black design. Personally, I like the look of these. They strike the balance between looking professional without looking boring.
The Yamaha HS8 is available in black and white versions to suit your studio space.
If you do want a bit more wow factor there is the option to get them in white. Depending on your studio space they may suit better than the all-black version. Either way, it’s good that there is some choice available.
There is also the added option of buying Yamaha HS8 monitors that are ready for mounting. Dedicated mounting points and screws make it easy to mount these on the wall or ceiling. If you want to keep your workspace clean it’s worth looking into this option.
The Yamaha HS8 is a large studio monitor. For smaller spaces, it can be a bit overbearing.
The Yamaha HS8 is rather deep. You’ll need a large workspace for it.
The Yamaha HS series also comes in install versions if you prefer to mount the speakers. A good choice if you have space and want to free up your work surface.
Two connection options are available. Both a TRS and XLR. This allows for both balanced and unbalanced signals to be connected to the speakers. Once again having the option is important. As your studio grows it’s good to know you’ll be able to connect your devices accordingly.
Having at least two choices makes connecting the speakers to a range of devices easier.
Keep in mind these are 8-inch studio monitors which can get very expensive. Considering the quality materials used and the excellent sound quality these do offer good value for money. If you are on a smaller budget there are other options available. But, dollar for dollar it’s hard to fault these.
What Others Have To Say
It’s hard to fault the HS8 and it seems other people agree. From the casual listener to the more seasoned professional all seem to be impressed.
All About That Bass
One of the appealing aspects of a larger studio monitor is the increased bass output. Small and even medium studio monitors tend to be a bit light on bass. These smaller monitors often need a subwoofer to help balance out all frequency levels.
When you buy a larger studio monitor they generally have a much better spread across the frequency ranges. The bass on these tends to be deeper and punchier thanks to the larger cone size. If you love bass you’ll appreciate the output larger monitors provide.
If you like loud music you’ll be better off getting larger studio monitors.
That larger cone size does mean that you need to have enough room for them. If your studio space is small a pair of massive 8-inch monitors will be difficult to place. In that case, stick to smaller monitors and add a subwoofer.
Larger studio monitors are usually quite sturdy. They also output a lot more volume. This increase in output can result in your speaker vibrating. This not only hurts sound quality but can lead to damaging your speakers over time. Plus there is the added risk they can fall off your shelf or desk. The added vibrations can also impact other gear like your computer hard drive.
There are a couple of solutions to this problem. The first option is to invest in some speaker isolation pads. These foam pads will keep your speaker in place. They will also cushion vibrations and will result in better sound quality. They are relatively inexpensive so it’s worth investing in them when buying your studio monitors.
The other option is to have a dedicated speaker stand or mount. Be sure to buy stands or mounts that are designed for speakers. This does give you more flexibility in placement as well. You can adjust the stands to make sure the speakers sit at head height which is the ideal listening position. It can also free up room in your workspace. Either of these options is a great accessory to add to your studio setup.
The studio monitor market is packed with options. Here are a few alternatives to the HS8 monitors. You can also check out our guide to the best studio monitors for DJs where we cover them in more detail.
Mackie CR3-X Review
If you have a small studio space the Mackie CR3-X is a reasonable alternative. These very affordable studio monitors are a good entry point if budget is an issue. But, don’t expect the same level of quality as the Yamaha options.
- A compact and affordable option for beginners.
- Attractive design with added front headphone and AUX inputs.
- Small woofer results in disappointing bass output.
Read our full Mackie CR3-X review for more detailed information.
KRK Rokit 5 G4 Review
If you like the sound of sticking to a trusted brand the KRK Rokit 5 G4 is another great choice. While it is a smaller monitor is still packs a powerful punch.
- Innovative tuning options for maximizing sound quality.
- Excellent build-quality including a Kevlar woofer and tweeter.
- Not the flattest response.
Read our full KRK Rokit 5 G4 review for more detailed information.
KRK Rokit 5 G4
Yamaha HS5 Review
The price point for the HS8 may be a little high for some people’s budgets. If that is the case you can always drop down to the 5-inch model. Still great sound but less oomph in the low end.
- Clear flat sound making it excellent for producing.
- Same excellent build-quality as the HS8.
- Bass is on the weaker side as expected from a flat monitor.
Read our full Yamaha HS5 review for more detailed information.
Should You Buy?
This comes down to the size of your studio and your needs. For smaller studios the Yamaha HS8 speakers are overkill. These speakers are big. Finding a comfortable spot for them may be difficult. But, the Yamaha HS8 is a great option for those with a larger studio space. It’s also ideal for lovers of bass.
Yamaha once again shows why it has a reputation as one of the leaders in the studio monitor space. If you have the room for them I have no hesitation recommending them as a quality pair of large studio monitors.