Home studio monitors have become an essential part of music today because they greatly enhance the listening experience. We can even go to the extent of saying that these studio monitors present a true and honest picture of the music that is produced.
They are an integral part of most studios and almost every professional has these active studio monitors to listen to music, mix them and for other music-related work.
Many companies specialize in making these monitors, but Yamaha is one of the handfuls of manufacturers that has made a mark for itself in this niche area of sound systems. Yamaha studio monitors are one of the most popular brands of studio monitors today, and within it the HS series is probably its flagship product. This series comes after its wildly popular NS10 that was discontinued in 2001.
The company cited that it was hard to get the parts for making the woofers located inside the NS10. But in reality, this discontinuation of NS10 has more to do with the fact that Yamaha wanted to experiment with a better series of products that are modelled after the NS10, but at the same time, have attributes that reflect the changes in technology. And this is how you have the HS series.
In this HS series, we have three popular products and they are HS5, HS7 and HS8. A significant difference in these three products is their size and the sound output that results from it. Out of these three, HS7 and HS8 are extremely popular and many users see to them as competitive products too.
Yamaha HS7 and HS8 are similar in many ways, and yet they are different. They are suited for different situations and genres and this is what makes them intense competitors in their own respective areas.
In this article, we will explore these similarities and differences and through it, will help you make the right buying choices.
Yamaha HS7 vs HS8: Pros & Cons and Verdict
Table of Contets
In this article, we will be comparing Yamaha HS7 and HS8 across different parameters, so you’ll know which of the two scores higher in the aspects that matter the most to you.
Both Yamaha HS7 and HS8 have a similar design that seems to have been borrowed from their classic NS10, the sealed box that has somewhat become an icon of a studio monitor today. Of course, there are some differences too when compared to NS10, the most notable of which is the ported design.
NS10 had a closed cabinet design that weakened the bass and made it sound much quieter than it should. To avoid this design flaw, Yamaha made all the active monitors in the HS series ported, so they good bass output as well.
That said, there are a few minor variations between HS7 and HS8 when it comes to design. HS7 has a mesh grille protecting the tweeter, just like NS10. In addition, its ported design is made specifically for studio monitoring. HS8, on the other hand, is bigger and heavier than HS7 and this could be partly attributed to the need for the heavy bass that it outputs.
Otherwise, they are similar when it comes to design. Both the models come with XLR and 1/4 inch TRS balanced jacks for input. An international generic cable is used to power these two monitors and these are controlled by an on/off switch mounted at the back.
The volume control is a big round knob that can be turned clockwise to increase volume and anti-clockwise to reduce. It is even marked with the words MIN at the far end of anti-clockwise direction, +4dB at noon position and -10dB at the far end of clockwise direction.
If you’re wondering what in the world these numbers mean, don’t worry, they correspond to professional and audio equipment level outputs. These numbers are used to match sensitivity to the equipment that is being used. of course, this is just a theoretical approach, as most users tend to set the volume at levels that is most comfortable for them.
Tuning controls are similar in both the models too. You can find three position switches to alter the response based on your room size, and possibly even the location of the speaker and personal preferences. These settings take three values – 0, -2dB and -4dB.
Since HS7 and HS8 are ported at the back, sounds tend to bounce off the walls, especially if you place them close to a wall or at the corners. Essentially, this will reinforce the bass frequencies and can make the bass in particular, sound way off. To avoid this scenario, you need a room control switch as that tends to even out the sound a bit.
HIGH TRIM is another control that can help to balance the sound and to ensure that it matches your taste. As the name suggests, High Trim is used to controlling treble quality. In NS10, a popular model from Yamaha, treble was way too high and some users had to tape the tweeter to make it more pleasing to their ears. To avoid a similar scenario, Yamaha has come up with the option to alter the treble settings to suit your preferences.
In this control, 0 is the middle position and both the ends are +2dB and -2dB respectively. You can choose the one that suits you. Personally, we liked +2dB, as it felt like a toned-down treble of NS10.
One major difference between the two products is the size of their woofer. In HS7, the woofer is 6.5 inch while in HS8, the woofer size is a solid 8 inch. You might think that the difference is not so big enough, but in reality, what HS8 has is almost two-thirds larger in the area. This also explains the larger size of HS8 when compared to HS7.
Besides the size, there is nothing notably different among these two active studio monitor models.
Which of the two is better in terms of design? Actually, there is no difference, except for the larger size of HS8. Besides this, both the products look exactly similar. Both have a simple and aesthetic design that is well-suited for the job.
Though a good number of design features are taken from the NS10 model, there are still some differences that make the HS series superior to the NS10 speakers. This is why, both the products are winners in design, and there is no reason to pick one over another.
2. Setup and Build Quality
Build quality of both these products is solid. The speaker magnets are heavy as well and this ensures that your speakers can last for a really long time. That said, there is one problem though. It is quite easy to induce electromagnetic and radio frequency interference.
This could have an impact if you tend to use your phone a lot while listening to music from these studios. Every time you get a text message, you’ll hear that unmistakable distortion or interference from your speakers.
When it comes to setup, it is easy and straightforward for anyone familiar with active studio monitors.
In build quality and setup too, both the speakers are identical. They are made of a solid design that lasts for a long time and so, both these speakers are winners in this category as well. You can pick either one and expect it to last for a few decades or until you get bored and want to move on!
3. Sound Quality
The sound quality of both the speakers is truly amazing. The clarity, attention to detail and the honest can truly take your listening experience to new heights.
If you like NS10, the grandfather of speakers, you’re sure to love the sound output of the HS series as well. Though you’ll not get the same level of accuracy for NS10, you’ll still get a good accuracy and a decent sound mix.
One note here about the subwoofers. HS8 already has a high volume output, so you don’t really need a subwoofer for HS8 unless you’re going to use it in a really large room.
For small to medium-sized rooms, these speakers are good enough. As for HS7, you need a subwoofer for large rooms. Avoid using a subwoofer for small rooms, regardless of which of the two you use. This is because the low end from both the speakers is great, as they can cover a range of 43Hz to 30Hz.
Now moving on to the sound quality, HS7 has a reasonably good low-frequency response, but it is not exactly what you would call punchy. But then, this level of output is fairly good for most genres as the bass is direct and not punchy.
However if you’re a bass head or someone working with heavy synth bass or for that even matter even dance music, this may not feel enough for you.
HS8, on the other hand, is known for its exceptionally good bass output. This can be attributed to the fact that it has a much larger woofer when compared to HS7, and they tend to push more sound waves towards you, thereby giving that punch to the bass. So, if you’re particular about a bass output without using subwoofers, your search ends with HS8.
One aspect that is worth mentioning here is loudness. If you’re looking for a really loud speaker, then both HS7 and HS8 are not for you. But, on the other hand, if you’re looking for good quality music at reasonably loud levels, then you can pick one of the two, depending on your preference for bass output.
Out of the two, which product is the winner? The winner is HS8, though HS7 is not far behind. One of the areas that HS8 clearly scores over HS7 is the low-end frequency, especially bass. The output in HS8 is superior and the bass comes with a punch that EDM lovers are sure to enjoy. However, the mid-range tones in HS8 are not as great as they should be and this could be because of their focus on low-end frequencies.
In general, while making a choice between these two active studio monitors, take two factors into consideration. First off, consider the size of the room in which you’ll be placing the speakers.
If you plan to keep them in a small room, HS7 is a good choice as they will not bounce sound off the walls. Never buy an HS8 for a small room, as it is sure to distort the sound. It will bounce too much sound which will echo back and all this can spoil the overall listening experience.
On the other hand, if you have a medium to a large-sized room, both HS8 and HS7 are good choices. HS8 will sound well in a big room because of their high sound output. This is sure to give you a pleasant feel to the music that is being played.
You can move an HS7 to a large room as well. However, be prepared to add a subwoofer to the active monitors if you think the sound is not as high as it should be. Thus, the size of the room has a big bearing on the kind of active studio monitors you should choose.
Another aspect while choosing between HS7 and HS8 is the bass output. If you like to listen to genres where the bass is a major aspect, something like EDM, your obvious choice is HS8. But, if you don’t need so much bass and you like to listen to classical, jazz and instrumental, HS7 is a good choice. Not that HS8 is bad for classical and other genres, it is just that you don’t need that level of bass output.
There is a small catch here too. Keep in mind that the bass output of HS8 will not be great in an untreated room. You need to have a room treated and set up for music, something like a professional studio, to make the most of the output that HS8 gives. Otherwise, it will not sound as great as it should.
One minor aspect that you should keep in mind is the mid-range tones. HS7 definitely scores better than HS8 in this regard.
So, as a rule, if you have a small room, your best bet is HS7. If you have a large room and don’t care so much about bass, HS7 is a good choice. Otherwise, go for HS8. In fact, if you like EDM and other bass-heavy genres, HS8 is your choice provided you’re going to set it up in a room designed for good sound.
In terms of cost, HS7 is priced lower than HS8. Is the extra price of HS8 worth it? Absolutely.
If you’re planning to buy HS7, consider spending a little more to buy HS8 as these speakers output honest music with high levels of clarity and detail, not to mention the bass and volume that comes with it.
Again, this doesn’t mean HS7 is bad. On the contrary, HS7 seems to be more popular on the Internet than HS8. But that said, does HS8 justify the price increase? Absolutely yes.
5. Yamaha HS7 vs HS8 – Pros and Cons
Below is a quick glance into the pros and cons of HS7 and HS8 to give you an idea of what to expect from each of these two products.
Yamaha HS7 Pros and Cons
The benefits and disadvantages that come from using HS7 are:
|Works well for rooms of any size||Requires an amp for loud volumes|
|Deep and tight sound output||Not a good choice for bass-heavy genres like EDM|
|Even sounding and balanced across the entire spectrum|
|Good build quality|
|Mid-range is great|
Yamaha HS8 Pros and Cons
The pros and cons of Yamaha HS8 are as follows:
|Neutral sound||Mid-range can get affected because of the heavy emphasis on bass|
|A precise and tight output that makes for a great critical listening job||Ideal only for big rooms, as it can be too much for small rooms|
|Bass response goes all the way up to 38Hz|
|The sound is accurate and honest, so little to no changes are required after the initial mix-down|
|Construction is solid and lasts for a long time|
|Perfect for hip-hop, guitar performance, critical listening, acoustic and keyboards|
|Doesn’t require an amp as the sounds are loud and clear|
Yamaha HS8 vs HS7 – Final Verdict
Now that we have come to the end of this review, which of the two is better overall?
Well, it is really hard to say and the choice totally depends on your expectations and preferences. As far as the design goes, both are more or less the same with very few minor differences that have no impact whatsoever on your final decision. The same can be said about build quality and setup as well.
The two areas that could define your decision are cost and sound output. When it comes to cost, the difference is small but is it worth paying that difference. We think HS8 defines the higher price tag because it’s output is louder and the bass has a good punch.
That said, do you need a louder studio monitor or one that delivers a good bass punch? That is something you need to think about. First off, HS8 will sound distorted when you keep it in a small room.
The loud output will cause the sounds to bounce off from the surrounding walls and this definitely impacts the clarity and detail of the music. So, if you have a small room, HS7 is a good choice.
When it comes to larger rooms, is HS8 better? Yes, it is definitely louder and the bass will really stand out. But then, the room should have been prepared for sound. Otherwise, the impact may not sound so incredible.
Also, if you’re one of those people who are not particular about bass and prefer to listen to other bass neutral genres, HS7 may still be a good choice. Of course, be ready to add a subwoofer to HS7 for some extra sound output, if required.
If you’re a bass head and listen to EDM genre, for the most part, HS8 is the choice. Again, the room has to be big and treated for sound to make the most of what this active studio monitor offers.
Overall, HS8 is slightly better than the HS7 under certain conditions. Of course, it also depends on your listening preferences and the importance you give to bass.