Yamaha is a name that needs very little introduction. They have made themselves market leaders in so many areas it is hard to keep track of everything they produce and its quality.
They were established in 1887 as a manufacturer of reeds for organs. From those humble beginnings, they have become one of the biggest companies in the world, especially when it comes to anything that has to do with sound.
Their logo, with its three intertwined tuning forks, has become a symbol of excellence. When they design and manufacture sound equipment, it is usually special and of high quality. So, is the HS8 studio monitor any good and worthy of the Yamaha name?
Let’s find out in my in-depth Yamaha HS8 review.
Yamaha HS8 – Overview
It was the 1970s when we first caught sight of the white woofer on Yamaha monitors, on the legendary Yamaha NS10, to be exact. But that iconic look was just the beginning. In the world of near-field reference monitors, Yamaha has become an industry standard.
Yamaha could have taken the easy way to give you a good sound by adding a few treble and bass frequencies. That might give their monitors a flattering sound, but it isn’t what they wanted to do. And it isn’t what you need.
The HS series was not designed to be like that. They have been designed to give you a precise, honest reference point. Giving you a great sonic platform to build on as you mix.
Every aspect of these monitors has been optimized for peak performance, even down to the way they are built. So, let’s start by considering…
Yamaha is respected for the performance of its monitors, but there isn’t anything wrong with making them look good as well. The HS8 has been given a low-resonance enclosure. That will get rid of any unwanted resonance and improve the accuracy of the sound reproduction.
They are made from resilient and dense MDF fiberboard, which is now the industry standard. Each enclosure measures 13.1 by 9.8 by 15.4 inches and weighs 23.5 pounds. And, of course, they have that iconic white woofer.
Each enclosure houses an 8-inch cone woofer and a one-inch dome tweeter. Perfect for delivering a well-defined lower end with a minimal level of distortion. There is a rear-facing port, but more on that later.
Connectivity and Controls
To allow you to make any corrections to the sound to adapt to the room, there are two response controls. These have detailed settings that make allowances for the size and shape of the room you are working in.
The HS8 has a range of unbalanced and balanced connections. These will let you hook up to keyboards, mixers, and audio interfaces using TRS phone jacks and XLR inputs. In other words, it is one of the most versatile studio monitors you can buy.
There are some new technical design improvements that Yamaha has come up with to ensure the quality of the performance. Each improvement serves to make the Yamaha HS8 one of the most accurate studio monitors on the market. So, let’s have a closer look.
Newly designed transducers offer an improved response over a wide bandwidth. The design utilizes a magnetic field that controls the flow of the magnetic response giving you smooth and natural sonic transitions.
The bi-amp design is matched to the transducers offering a dedicated, separate amp for the tweeter and the woofer. This ensures that both the woofer and tweeter will perform to their maximum ability. Therefore, you get a flat response with high-resolution sound.
Let’s return to the rear-facing port. An efficient design for the speaker port can have a big influence on the overall sound and its clarity. If an inefficient design leaves a vortex at one or both ends of the port, there will be unwanted noise caused by the vibration of air.
Successful efforts have been made in the design of the port on the HS8 to ensure this doesn’t happen. As a result, this advanced and new technology for noise reduction will control and reduce the vortex.
The woofer is driven by a 75-watt amp that has a limiter built-in, and the tweeter has its own 45-watt amp. The crossover is set at 2k, and the frequency response is 38Hz to 30kHz.
That is what these studio monitors are all about. Some manufacturers make their monitors look pretty. However, Yamaha is only interested in performance. And, to be more precise, sound performance.
And that is exactly what you get…
One of the design priorities which I have already mentioned was the need to provide a flat response. As I said earlier, there are no extra treble, and bass frequencies added. What you get, therefore, is a pure, flat sound that is perfect for mixing.
All of the design functions already mentioned contribute, especially the new transducers and the bi-amp arrangement. All told, you are getting one of the best sounding studio monitors for recording and mixing.
Yamaha is not known for including too much in the way of extras with its products. However, with the “new installation” version of the HS8, you get the screws and mounting points for installing on walls or ceilings. That counts as an extra these days.
What Do We Think?
Times have changed over the last decade. There are a new set of demands in the music industry, and that has raised the bar somewhat. So, musicians and songwriters are now doing a lot of recording at home, and the standards they can achieve are rising all the time.
Part of that is the studio monitor. To produce a decent quality mix, you must have the right equipment. And speakers that give you an accurate sound are one of the big issues that must be addressed.
Having mediocre monitors is unacceptable if you are looking to produce a good result. Fortunately, some of the manufacturers recognize that fact and work to give you what you need. Yamaha is one of those manufacturers, and the HS8 is one of their highly-rated products.
Yamaha HS8 Review – Pros and Cons
- Smooth results from improved transducers.
- Dedicated amp for the woofer and tweeter.
- Low-resonance speaker cabinet.
- Built-in noise reduction.
- Rear-facing Port.
- Good connectivity options.
- The only cable included is a power cord; you will need to buy the other connecting cables.
Looking for Awesome Recording and Mixing Gear?
If so, check out our in-depth reviews of the Best Studio Headphones For Home Recording, the Best Audio Mixers, the Best Audio Interface, the Best USB Audio Interfaces, and the Best iPad Audio Interfaces you can buy in 2023.
Also, have a look at our detailed reviews of the Best Portable Audio Recorders, the Best Multitrack Recorder, the Best Studio Monitors Under $500, the Best Budget Studio Monitors Under $200, and the Best Bookshelf Speakers currently on the market.
Yamaha HS8 Review – The Bottom Line
If you go out to buy the best studio monitors that carry all the features you will need, it will not be easy. There are hundreds of options available. If you are out looking for the first time, then you can quite easily get swept away with all the advertising and marketing blurb.
In my view, with equipment like this, be it monitors or anything else sound-wise, Yamaha is always my first port of call. They are a company that produces quality at an affordable price, without it being cheap.
These monitors are not particularly cheap…
And you will see other products at lower prices. But, they are unlikely to carry the kind of excellence found in Yamaha products. That’s because producing quality is what Yamaha does.
The HS8 is undoubtedly one of their best products in this market. And it carries all the features you are likely to need for a great studio monitor. If you can stretch to the price, which, as I say, is not expensive given what you are getting, then you will not be disappointed with the Yamaha HS8.
Until next time, happy listening.