Greetings mate and Welcome aboard!
Stuart Charles here, HomeStudioBasics.com helping YOU make sound decisions, so…
For many years, I relied on the JBL LSR305 studio monitors as my trusted companions in the world of music production.
These monitors served me well and were my go-to choice for critical listening tasks, thanks to their remarkable performance and affordability.
And while they aren’t entirely neutral, they did work very well all things considered.
However, as my skills and aspirations grew, I found myself yearning for an upgrade, something that could take my monitoring capabilities to the next level.
That’s when I made the leap to the Yamaha HS7 studio monitors after a short time with the Presonus Eris e3.5; another great budget monitor.
Now, the question arises: Is the HS7 truly better for monitoring, or was my loyalty to the LSR305 well-founded?
Let’s explore this crucial question and see how the Yamaha HS7 stacks up against my previous studio monitor choice.
In The Box
Yamaha HS7 Powered Studio Monitor
Limited 1-Year Manufacturer Warranty
- System Type: 2-Way Bi-Amped Powered Studio Monitor
- Frequency Response: 43Hz – 30kHz
- Crossover Frequency: 2kHz
- Transducer: LF: 6.5″ (127mm) Cone, HF: 1″ (25mm) Dome
- Output Power: Total: 95W, LF, 60W, HF: 35W
- Input Sensitivity: -10 dBu / 10kΩ
- Inputs: 1x Balanced XLR3-31 Type, 1x 1/4″ (6.35mm) Balanced TRS
- Controls: Level Control (+4dB/Center Click), EQ: High Trim Switch (+/- 2dB @ HF), Room Control Switch (0,-2,-4dB under 500Hz
- Indicators: 1x Power On White LED
- Power Consumption: 55W
- Enclosure: Type: Bass-Reflex, Material: MDF
- Dimensions (WxHxD): 8.3 x 13.1 x 11.2″ (210 x 332 x 284 mm)
- Weight: 18.1 lb (8.2kg)
The Yamaha HS7 is a remarkable studio monitor that has earned a reputation for its exceptional performance and precision.
Let’s delve into the details and understand why it’s a favorite among audio professionals.
Build and Size
The HS7 is solidly built and exudes durability. It boasts a sleek, minimalist design that fits seamlessly into any studio setup.
With dimensions of 13.1 x 8.3 x 11.2 inches, they ain’t small, and are most certainly substantial enough to provide a full, rich sound.
In addition, they’re very heavy and feel more robust than any monitor I’ve tried to date.
Coming in at a whopping 18.1 lbs. (8.2kg), as soon as you cradle one of these in your arms…
YOU’LL KNOW WHERE YOUR MONEY WENT.
So yeah, if you need to break out of a psychiatric ward, the HS7 is more than up for the task.
In all seriousness, I would absolutely make sure you have enough space for these monsters.
They are much larger than I anticipated and I can’t imagine, given my experience with the HS7, how massive the HS8 is.
Connections and Knobs
Flipping to the back of the HS7 reveals its array of connections and controls.
The real gems, however, are the room control and high-trim switches.
The room control switch on the Yamaha HS7 is an essential tool for tailoring the monitor’s response to your specific room acoustics.
Flat Position (0dB)
Start with the room control switch in the flat or 0dB position.
This setting is appropriate for rooms with good acoustic treatment and minimal issues with low-frequency reflections.
It provides a neutral and uncolored sound.
-2dB or -4dB Position
If you find that your room has excessive bass buildup or low-frequency resonances, try switching to the -2dB or -4dB positions.
These settings reduce the low-frequency response, which can help mitigate issues caused by room acoustics.
Experiment with both positions to see which one offers a more balanced sound.
The high trim control fine-tunes the high-frequency response, offering further customization to cater to your specific mixing environment.
Start with the high trim control in the flat position (0dB). This is the default setting and provides a neutral high-frequency response.
If you find that the high frequencies are too subdued or if your room has overly dampened acoustics, you can try the +2dB position.
This setting will introduce a slight boost to the high frequencies, making the sound more prominent and detailed.
Conversely, if your room has bright acoustics or you prefer a more subdued high-frequency response, you can set the high trim control to -2dB.
This will attenuate the high frequencies slightly for a warmer sound.
The key is to listen carefully to your music and make adjustments based on your room’s acoustics and your personal preferences.
Experiment with the different high-trim settings and choose the one that provides the most accurate and pleasing high-frequency response for your specific setup.
Hooking Them Up
Pretty much all active monitors on the market today come with a balanced XLR and/or TRS input.
“Active” simply means there’s no need for separate amplification. The amp is inside.
All you need is something like an audio interface to connect to your PC/Laptop. This takes care of the digital-to-analog conversion.
You’d simply purchase 2 sets of balanced XLR to TRS cables.
Just match the XLR end with whatever your speaker has (male or female).
Both of the balanced TRS cables go into the back of my Volt 2, while the XLR ends plug into each of the monitors.
Even despite the fact that you have to use balanced cables with the HS7, I tend to prefer them more often than not because they use 2 signal wires plus a ground wire, in effect reversing the polarity and canceling out any noise.
- Related: Balanced vs. Unbalanced Audio Cables
The heart of the Yamaha HS7 lies in its sound.
These monitors are not for the casual listener – unless, of course, you actually prefer listening to your music in its most raw and transparent state.
If that’s the case, then the HS7 is perfect for you as well.
In any event, these are studio monitors, engineered for critical listening tasks such as mixing and mastering.
- Recommended: What are Studio Monitors?
The HS7 delivers a flat, transparent, and mostly uncolored sound, which is precisely what you need when striving for audio perfection.
The 6.5-inch cone woofer and 1-inch dome tweeter provide a balanced and articulate sound that reveals every detail in your audio.
One of the striking differences I noticed when transitioning from the JBL LSR305 to the Yamaha HS7 was in how the HS7 handled bass frequencies.
The Yamaha HS7, being a studio monitor designed for critical listening, doesn’t sugarcoat anything.
It’s transparent and ruthlessly honest about the audio it reproduces.
With the HS7, you can immediately tell if there’s too much bass in a track, a common issue in many commercially produced songs today.
It’s like having a sonic magnifying glass that allows you to scrutinize every detail of the low-end frequencies.
If a track has excessive bass, the HS7 will reveal it.
This can be a bit jarring at first, especially if you’re accustomed to more consumer-oriented speakers that might hype or mask certain frequencies (KRK I’m looking squarely at you).
However, this is, in fact, a good thing. It’s a testament to the HS7’s commitment to accuracy.
These monitors won’t trick your ears by artificially boosting or coloring the sound.
They are designed to reproduce audio as it truly is, which is essential for making informed mixing and mastering decisions.
So if you’re just casually listening to music, I’m not going to say you’ll be disappointed, but you will definitely get a true sense of how your favorite music actually sounds vs. the way that other products attempt to make it sound.
It ensures that what you hear on the HS7 is a faithful representation of the music’s actual character, allowing you to identify any flaws or imbalances that need correction.
If you can get your mix to sound good and proper on these, it will translate extremely well to everything else.
In addition to its revealing bass performance, the Yamaha HS7 also shines when it comes to the mid-range.
One noticeable characteristic in the mid-range response of the HS7 is a subtle rise in the presence regions.
This rise may not seem like a big deal, but it has a profound impact on the clarity of the audio you’re working with – especially in the context of music production where the mid-range is paramount.
The mid-range is where the core elements of a song reside – vocals, guitars, keyboards, and various other instrumental details that define a track’s character.
Getting the mid-range right is often the most critical aspect of music production, and the HS7’s slight emphasis on the presence regions aids in achieving this.
This subtle boost helps to bring out the fine nuances and intricate details, making it easier to distinguish individual elements in a mix and identify problem areas.
So, while the HS7 may not be as forgiving as some consumer-oriented speakers, it’s a priceless asset for those who demand precision and honesty in their monitoring setup.
The treble response of the Yamaha HS7 is remarkably detailed and crisp.
The 1-inch dome tweeter does an excellent job of reproducing high-frequency content with accuracy, ensuring that delicate nuances, such as cymbal crashes and high-pitched vocals, are faithfully represented.
It’s transparent and revealing, making it a valuable tool for critical listening tasks like mixing and mastering.
It doesn’t hype or exaggerate high frequencies but rather provides an uncolored and precise portrayal of the treble range, which is vital for making informed decisions during the production process.
This level of treble clarity on the HS7 is a testament to its suitability for audio professionals and those who demand a meticulous and true-to-source sound representation.
Proper placement of studio monitors is crucial, and the HS7 is no exception.
To get the best out of them, ensure they are positioned at ear level and form an equilateral triangle with your listening position.
Additionally, experiment with the room control and high-trim switches to fine-tune the sound to your specific space.
This meticulous setup is essential for achieving accurate mixes and mastering results.
Will You Need A Subwoofer?
The Yamaha HS7 studio monitors offer a balanced frequency response and a well-defined low end, capable of producing bass frequencies down to around 43 Hz.
Whether you need a subwoofer alongside the HS7 speakers largely depends on your specific preferences and the intended use.
The HS7 monitors can reproduce lower frequencies adequately for many music genres and general listening purposes.
However, if you desire a more pronounced or deeper bass response, especially for genres like EDM or hip-hop where low-end frequencies are prominent, adding a subwoofer could enhance the overall bass experience.
Ultimately, the decision to add a subwoofer to complement the Yamaha HS7 monitors is subjective and depends on your personal taste for bass performance and the specific audio content you plan to listen to or produce.
I personally have not felt the need to add one, but your mileage may vary.
Room treatment plays a pivotal role in optimizing the performance of studio monitors like the Yamaha HS7.
It significantly impacts the accuracy of sound reproduction by minimizing acoustic issues within the listening environment.
Without it, the sound waves from speakers can bounce off surfaces, causing reflections, standing waves, and other acoustic problems.
Room treatment helps in achieving a more balanced and accurate sound.
Absorption panels, bass traps, diffusers, and other acoustic treatments help control reverberation, reduce unwanted reflections, and address frequency imbalances across the listening space.
This, in turn, enhances the accuracy of what you hear from the monitors, allowing for better mixing decisions and a truer representation of the audio content.
My studio space isn’t perfect, but I opted to move out of my bedroom into a more open space and invested in some acoustic panels which has helped tremendously in achieving a more consistent sound output.
While the Yamaha HS7 may not be your go-to choice for casual music enjoyment, it shines brilliantly when it comes to professional studio work.
If you understand that these monitors are tailored for critical listening tasks, their value becomes evident.
They are a cost-effective solution for those who take their music production seriously.
The precision, clarity, and customization options offered by the HS7 are difficult to match in its price range, making it a top contender for mixing and mastering applications.
In the world of studio monitors, the Yamaha HS7 is undoubtedly a heavyweight (no pun intended).
Its build exudes reliability, and the array of connections and control options on the back ensures adaptability to different studio environments.
When it comes to sound, it’s a revelation – clean, accurate, and true to the source.
Just remember, these monitors are not for easy listening; they are your trustworthy allies in the quest for audio perfection.
If you’re serious about mixing and mastering music, the Yamaha HS7 might just be your best companion in the studio, offering an exceptional balance of performance and affordability.
So, are they a sound decision?
Absolutely. Your mixes will thank you later.
For me, it was money well spent and I truly believe they’re worth every penny.
Well, that’s about it for today my friend! I hope you enjoyed this Yamaha HS7 Review and came away with some valuable insight.
Questions? Comments? Requests? Did I miss the mark on something? Please leave a comment below or contact me! I would be happy to help in any way…
Does the HS7 seem like a slam-dunk purchase? I would love to hear from you. Until next time…
All the best and God bless,