The JBL LSR305 vs. Yamaha HS5 is a great comparison and both monitors are very similar. Before we get into the specifics of each, grab a snack, sit back and relax because..
You’ve come to the right place!!
What I will bring you in this review
of each monitor
Who these monitors benefit?
What you will need?
Thoughts from Stu’s notepad
Similarities & Differences
Now without further ado, let’s get rolling!
It took me a long time to bite the bullet and buy a pair of studio monitors. What are studio monitors?I can tell you this right now: If you’re on the fence about it, you may as well just go ahead and take the plunge. Having a pair is truly priceless, and something that can only be felt and realized when you have them sitting in your studio.
Back when I decided to start my research, I was aware of the KRK line, but eventually found out that they are more hype than substance. The sound is decent, but overall they don’t provide you with an honest frequency response, and if you’re looking for studio monitors, that’s what you want.
It doesn’t make sense to buy a pair of speakers that’s going to hype the low end, while rendering everything else muddy. For that reason alone I won’t even recommend any KRK monitors today. Towards the end of this article you will be able to hear a comparison of the JBLs, the Yamahas, and the KRKs. You will see exactly why they pale in comparison to the other two.
Backtracking, when I was looking for the best entry level option, I came across the JBL LSR 305. It just kept popping up in my searches, so I read as many reviews as I could about them. Nearly every one I read was stellar, so I had to bite the bullet and get them. One of the main reasons it took me so long to buy a pair was fear actually. That sounds crazy doesn’t it? I was so overwhelmed with all of the connections, cables, terms, and what have you, that I shied away from it for a long time. Check out this page on Cables & Wiring!
As for the monitors, I don’t regret the purchase at all.
They’re worth every penny and more, and have been going strong in my studio since 2014. With that in mind, let’s dive right into the review!
1) JBL LSR 305
Power Configuration: Bi-amped
LF Driver Size: 5″
HF Driver Size: 1″
HF Driver Type: Soft Dome
LF Driver Power Amp: 41W
HF Driver Power Amp: 41W
Total Power: 82W
Frequency Range: 43Hz-24kHz
Crossover Frequency: 1725Hz
Maximum Peak SPL: 108 dB
Enclosure Type: Ported
Input Types: 1x XLR, 1x 1/4″ TRS
Weight: 10.12 lbs.
The LSR 305’s are by all accounts an entry level studio monitor meant to satisfy the needs of the producer/engineer looking for exceptional, reference level sound quality.
They are active, meaning they don’t need a separate amp to power. They do however need AC (alternating current) power. AC simply means the power frequently reverses direction many times per second. The standard is 60 Hz, with hertz being your typical unit of measure.
Basically just plug these bad boys into the outlet from your JBL’s and shut up. Just kidding 😀 These monitors come with two cables, as each needs it’s own power source. Basically, they are MONO speakers, and need 2 separate cables running from the back into whatever you are using to receive and transmit signal.
Sources to Consider
Some common sources and DAC’s (Digital to Analog interfaces/mixers) that are used with the JBL’s:
An audio interface. I personally have the Scarlett 2i2. It’s a beast of a unit and powers my JBLs magnificently. It uses 2 balanced TRS line output jacks, and goes really well with the combo balanced TRS to XLR cables. You could also go with the Scarlett solo, which has unbalanced RCA outputs rather than balanced TRS.
A headphone amp. Yep, you read that right. A great example of a headphone Amp/DAC that doubles as a power source for your monitors is the Audioengine D1. For your console gaming rig it has Toslink/Optical out, for your monitors it has RCA outs, and for your headphones you hook it up via USB input. Incredible! The Best Headphones for Gaming If I didn’t record vocals with the 2i2, I would probably use the D1 as my full time desktop Amp. It’s one of the most versatile pieces of equipment you can buy.
I will outline some different connections in the “What you will need” section below.
Amazing detail from bass to high end.
Impressively flat and neutral, with just a touch of warmth.
Nice stereo imaging. Positioning these at the right spot makes them almost disappear, if you will.
Bass reaches down to 43Hz.
They breathe life into old songs, allowing you to hear those subtle nuances that were previously absent.
Great at capturing highs; can really be pushed to max volume and remain crystal clear.
Perfect for mixing, but also work well for general listening as all purpose computer speakers.
Image control wave guide technology proves to be really beneficial in producing pristine, crystal clear sound, and a wider stereo image. This same technology was used in JBL’s higher end model monitors (upwards of $20k).
Very accurate. They give stereo sound rather than surround sound. Don’t expect them to be your go to home audio speakers.
Tweeter material seems fragile. I did gently touch my finger on it and can confirm this. Just be extra careful I suppose. I haven’t had an issue with them however.
Some say they are too bulky, and look ugly. While I can see the bulky complaint, they aren’t ugly in my opinion. They are kind of big however, so be aware if you are really strapped for space.
What these monitors are good for
They do really well with pretty much any genre you throw at them. They’re flat, accurate, and honest, but also are a lot of fun to listen to. Bass heads and hip hop artists will appreciate the tight, punchy low end, and crystal clear treble range. Just an all around great studio monitor. Mixing on these babies and you will start to hear stuff that was previously lost with other lesser equipment.
What you will need?
You will need some sort of receiver, interface, or mixer (as mentioned above), acting as a mediator/middle man of sorts, to transmit signal between the computer and the speakers.
Check out this in depth explanation of Bit depth vs. sample rate. It goes into some of the logistics behind digital to analog, explaining specifically why you need an interface to communicate with your computer!
As for cables
You may not necessarily need all of these cables. This is just to kind of get you started and show that there are a lot of ways to connect speakers to an interface or mixer!
2 balanced TRS to XLR cables (the ones I personally use and prefer)
2 balanced TRS to TRS cables
For the Behringer UCA 202
dual 1/4 in. TS to dual RCA
For a typical mixer
XLR female to dual XLR male
For your iPad
3.5 mm TRS to dual XLR
For your home audio receiver
Your receiver basically takes the audio in from your CD player, turntable, etc. and releases it out again, amplifying the sound out of the JBLs. (not unlike the other setups). If you plan to use these in a home theater setup, you will need to check the manual (or the back) of your receiver to see which audio out cable you will need. A common one would be:
dual 1/4 in. TS to dual RCA. The RCA cables would run from your receiver to each of the monitors.
They are near-field monitors, meaning that they sound best when you’re near them! Sounds obvious, but the farther you are away, the less impact the sound has. This is especially true for the higher frequencies that lose a bit of energy at a greater distance. That said, you want them both facing diagonal towards you, creating a 3 point, equilateral triangle. Also of importance, they will sound much better at ear level. This means you should invest in some stands (if space allows), or build 2 simple shelving units on the wall. All of this really depends on your studio space. For me right now, they sit on my desk in a triangle formation and still sound great. I’m currently looking into elevating them though for improved clarity.
Being that the bass is ported on the rear, you may want to consider some room treatment in the form of a couple acoustic foam panels and bass traps for the corners of your room. Acoustic Sound Treatment. It’s impossible to get a perfect sound in a bedroom, but taking this extra step will help the sound coming out of the JBL’s immensely. Having these sitting on your desk with the proper placement will go a long way in improving the overall sound coming out of them.
A great pair of monitors that excel in mixing and reference applications. They can also be used as all purpose computer speakers, and do quite fantastic in this regard. They provide a flat, honest representation of your mix, and are best resting at ear level. The only glaring complaint is that they’re ugly. The rest of the cons that I pointed out are rather nit-picky, but had to be addressed.
2) Yamaha HS5
Power configuration: Bi-amped
LF Driver Size: 5″
LF Driver type: Cone
HF Driver size: 1″
HF Driver type: Dome
LF Driver power amp: 45W
HF Driver power amp: 25W
Total Power: 70W
Frequency Range: 54Hz-30kHz
Crossover frequency: 2kHz
Enclosure type: Ported
Input types: 1x XLR, 1x 1/4″ (TS). TRS vs. TS. Find out about your cables!
Weight: 11.7 lbs.
The Yamaha HS5 is the perfect reference monitor for your small to medium sized room. They do best as as monitors rather than easy listening speakers. The sound is very flat, neutral, and clean. You will be able to tell a bad mix from a good one almost instantaneously. With such a revealing set of monitors, if your mix sounds good on these, it will sound good on anything!
They also have a rock solid build, and will sound bigger than their footprint. A ton of reviewers reported being able to pick out even the smallest of details, which comes in handy when you really need to dissect a mix and find flaws quickly.
Tight, flat, and clean sound. Very neutral.
Clarity and separation of highs, mids, and bass is phenomenal.
Very revealing. If your mix sounds good on these, it will translate extremely well to other sources.
Minimal changes required after initial mix-down. Very accurate and true.
Solid construction/heavy enough.
They may not provide the punch that people are looking for. You may have to upgrade to the HS8’s or add a subwoofer.
Mid-range may become problematic being that it’s a bit too forward at 1k.
What these monitors are good for
Hip hop production. Some were saying that while they are good for hip-hop, don’t buy them solely for this purpose, as the bass may be a bit difficult to mix. There’s simply not much there, and it’s been said that if you can hear the bass on these, you have too much.
Audio/video post production.
Guitar performance (Critical listening).
Good with the Focusrite Scarlett 2i2 and 2i4.
Not as good for
Your home speaker set up. Definitely don’t buy these expecting them to bring the house down. They are reference monitors and won’t do quite well if you need something loud/entertaining.
One reviewer said that the Yamaha HS5’s are better than the LSR 305’s, Adam F5’s, as well as the Adam F7’s. Check out my JBL LSR 305 Review! If what he said is true, you’re in for a world of excitement (and not a world of pain like Smokey from Big Lebowski) if you purchase the HS5’s. I’ve had the LSR 305’s since Dec. of 2014 and they are phenomenal as well.
Make sure to purchase balanced cables to avoid noise/ground floor issues.
There were quite a few people complaining about a lack of low end on the HS5’s. As mentioned above, they do well with hip hop, but if you were going to be mixing only that genre, you might consider the HS8’s or the 305’s. They are better suited for that. You may also purchase a separate sub-woofer if you’re really craving that bass.
The HS5’s are pretty bright overall, and work best in small to medium sized rooms.
After your ears adjust, the HS5’s will really start to sound fantastic.
A modification on these is said to bring out the bass, among other things. Check out this review for specifics!
A great reference monitor with a rock solid build. May not have quite the bass impact that some are looking for. A separate amp, the 305’s, or the upgraded HS8 are viable options here.
Similarities & Differences
They are both entry level options with 5″ drivers.
They both have a pretty flat frequency response.
Both are very revealing.
The HS5’s have 70Watts of power, while the LSR305’s have 82Watts.
The 305’s are overall a bit more powerful, while still being neutral. They have a deeper bass response than the HS5’s. It is said that to get more of a punch, you may have to purchase the HS8’s and bypass the 5’s altogether. You can also pair a sub-woofer with either and get pretty rad impact.
The HS5’s are a bit more suited for mixing in my opinion. The treble is a tad brighter, and you may be able to pick out flaws in a mix better with the HS5’s overall. You can see from the frequency response of each. The 305’s have a 43Hz – 24kHz response, while the HS5’s go from 50hZ – 30kHz. If you listen carefully to the demo below you will hear these subtle differences in each.
Some say the JBL’s are really ugly. It’s a myth, lol. Why? In the stock photo, they are given way too much light. It makes them look really glossy and bright, which they are not. Whoever took that photo decided to make sure that we could see them clearly. Great job! Lol. But no, the 305’s don’t actually look like that in studio.
Sound Test (Ignore the muffled KRK’s).
Tough call. The HS5’s may be better for mixing, but the lack of bass and weird mid-range will become a problem. They get stellar reviews however, and can be paired with an amp or you can upgrade to the HS7 or HS8. They are also $50 more per pair than the 305’s. I would only get the HS5’s if you have a very small room with no treatment.
The 305’s have been sitting in my studio since 2014, and I absolutely love them. They really knock my socks off, especially when they are pushed to the max. I have yet to put the dial on 10, and they really hit hard in my bedroom paired with the Scarlett 2i2. The bass on them goes deeper than the HS5, so if you’re strapped for cash, need more bass, but can’t splurge on the HS 7’s or HS8’s, I would definitely go with the 305’s. They are also remarkable for mixing. As you can see, it’s a close race but I do think the 305’s edge out the HS5’s overall.
Stu is determined to provide the truth about all things audio, and strives to deliver excellent content to you the reader! In his spare time, he likes to fish, paint, play guitar, attend church, take photos, record videos, graphic design, and more. His attention to detail and perfectionist attitude are what allow him to excel, but it can be both a blessing and a hindrance at times.