Greetings mate and Welcome aboard. Stuart Charles here, HomeStudioBasics.com helping YOU make sound decisions leading to a beautiful audio experience that will make you fall in love with music (NOT gear) all over again, so…
Before we get into the Yamaha HS8 vs. HS7 Comparison, grab a snack, sit back, and relax because…
You’ve come to the right place!!
What I will bring you in this review
Now without further ado, let’s get rolling!
Back when I was first starting my home studio, I didn’t even know what studio monitors were.
Once I found out, it seemed like a daunting task to even figure out how to hook them up.
- Related: What are studio monitors?
In reality, it’s a fairly simple process. 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.
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.
I always recommend using balanced cables 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
Design & Features
The design of the HS8 and HS7, and HS5 are roughly the same, though the HS8s are a bit heavier at 22.5 lbs. and are large and in charge like the Nutty Professor.
- Recommended: Yamaha HS7 Review: Unveiling Studio Precision
The HS5s by contrast are rather tiny and only a tad bigger than my Presonus Eris e3.5s.
All are Black and White, and all are Active monitors as we discussed before.
Both the HS8 and HS7 have a High Trim EQ Switch and a Room control switch.
The HS8 has more total power at 120W, while the HS7 comes in at 95. The HS5 is the lowest at 70W.
All have balanced XLR and TRS inputs. The main difference is the bass.
The HS8’s bass definitely digs deeper, so if you’re in a smaller room it’s going to be overkill, especially with no room treatment.
I would say if you have a large room, the HS8 is ideal as long as you plan on using some bass traps and acoustic panels.
You could get away with using the HS7 without treatment, but it’s not really recommended.
If you don’t use some panels, the sound (and especially the bass) will bounce around and contribute to an inconsistent and shoddy final mix down.
The HS5 can be used in small to medium-sized rooms without much treatment, but it’s still recommended.
Overall, the HS7s will work best in medium-sized rooms, the HS5 in small rooms, and the HS8 in large rooms.
- The HS8 has an 8″ woofer
- The HS7 has a 6.5″ woofer
- The HS5 has a 5″ woofer
All are rear-ported, so placement is critical. We’ll get into that in a bit!
Build & Size
The Yamaha HS8 studio monitor is a pretty beefy son of a gun, to put it mildly.
The 8 is simply a bass-heavier monitor, that also happens to be a lot bigger and heavier (physically) overall.
All of these monitors have a rock-solid build though.
The thing to keep in mind is your studio space.
If you have a smaller space to work with, the HS7 or HS5 is probably your best bet.
- The HS8 is a huge monitor, sitting 15.4″ tall and 9.8″ wide.
- The HS7 is a bit shorter at 13.1″ and 8.3″ wide.
- The HS5 is only around 8.7″ high and 6.7″ wide.
Take a quick measurement of your space and see which will fit better!
The last thing you’d want to do is buy the HS8 and find out there’s no room for it.
The sound of all is very accurate and flat overall.
All 3 have roughly the same frequency response, but the HS8’s bass response digs around 5Hz deeper; 38Hz vs. 43 for the HS7.
The HS8 is still fantastic, but you’ll need to be more careful with its bass response when mixing down a track.
This is because more bass generally = harder to control in less-than-ideal room situations with no treatment.
The HS5 is also great but suffers from a lack of low-end.
I’ve been making beats off and on since 2007.
If I had to choose a monitor for mixing between these 3, I would definitely go with the HS7.
It sits in a nice middle ground between both the HS8 and HS5.
Even with that said, if you’re in a very small room, I wouldn’t opt for the HS7 as it will sound a bit too “big” for the room.
If you’re in a tiny to smaller-sized space, I previously owned the LSR 305 and really enjoyed it.
After upgrading to a true monitor in the HS7, I’d probably recommend that to you now and bypass the 305.
The 305 can work for mixing but it’s actually not entirely neutral and actually works better for general listening.
General Room Sizes
I get asked this question quite a bit so I’ll go ahead and outline it here for you.
- Small Room – 10×10 or smaller
- Medium-Sized Room – 12×12
- Large-Sized Room – 14×14, 14×16 or larger
For reference, my room is probably considered medium-large at around 12×14, but I’ve since moved into a better space within my apartment.
If you can find an area that’s more open, and shaped slightly irregular, it can be ideal to mitigate resonance and the like.
Adding panels to the walls also helps quite a bit.
No space is perfect, and certainly mine isn’t, but it works better for me than my bedroom.
The space I’m in now is actually my dining area that I wasn’t using all that much, so I converted it into the studio (image above).
In any event, the HS7 works really well in my current space, and would probably do okay in my bedroom given it’s medium large.
That said, I definitely recommend treatment in bedrooms that have close-ish parallel walls.
Anyway, the differences between these 3 really come down to the bass response as well as the overall weight and footprint in your studio space.
I would say all excel with the following:
- Hip-Hop production.
- Audio/Video post-production.
- Guitar performance (Critical listening).
- Acoustic/Chamber music.
Honestly, you’re going to enjoy them with most genres. I wouldn’t stress over this part.
Again, the HS5, while excellent for mixing, does lack some low end so definitely keep that in mind before purchasing.
Set Up & Placement
As alluded to in the open, hooking these up shouldn’t be complicated.
Let’s go over what you’ll need first:
- A PC/Laptop.
- 2 studio monitors of your choice.
- An audio interface. This is the middle man between the sound you hear and the monitors. It effectively takes care of the digital-to-analog conversion. So basically, something like the Focusrite Scarlett 2i2/Volt 2 is what we would call an interface with built-in preamps and a clean A/D conversion. You could also opt for a standalone preamp, but it’s not necessary. Related: Preamp vs. Interface I would just go with an interface to start!
- Balanced XLR to TRS cables. We discussed earlier why balanced cables are preferred. We want to cancel out any noise and using balanced cables effectively does that by using reverse polarity to achieve the desired effect.
- Plug the TRS ends into the back of your Interface, while also plugging the XLR ends into the backs of both of your monitors. Everything should be off at this point.
- Plug your Interface into your PC via USB. The device should be recognized. If it’s not, don’t panic! Just go to the company’s website and find the appropriate driver. 99% of the time that will fix the issue.
- After it’s recognized, go into your Sound panel and set the device as default. This will ensure that the sound comes from out of the monitors and not something else that you have (i.e. a separate headphone amp or something).
- Play some music!
As far as how the monitors should be placed? Check out my Proper Home Studio Monitor Placement And Positioning Setup Guide for an in-depth discussion on that!
Thoughts from Stu’s notepad
Room Size Consideration
A big decision on which monitor to buy depends largely on your studio space.
Do you have a small room or a large room? If you have a small room, you may consider the HS5.
A medium-sized room? The HS7 will fare very well.
If you have a larger room, the HS8s may be for you.
Make sure to purchase balanced cables to avoid noise/ground floor issues.
Both can be used with the HS8S subwoofer, but as mentioned below in the video, it’s probably going to be overkill and unnecessary in a mixing environment.
In super large rooms?
Yeah, it will sound much better so keep that in mind as well.
Shout out to Pad Bangers for the awesome vid. Subscribe to his channel!
Note: He said 85W for the total power of the HS7. It is 95W. Also, they are 6.5″ woofers and not 6″.
All of these monitors have tremendous sound quality, a great build, and enough features to keep you happy.
All are great reference monitors, but I’d venture to say the HS7 is the most accurate of the 3.
The HS8 is also great, but because of its raw power, should only be purchased for large rooms employed with Acoustic Sound Treatment.
If you try and push a speaker that can pump out loud volumes in a small space, issues will most certainly arise.
This is why we harped so much on the importance of room size earlier.
The HS5 is also great, but you may be overcompensating for the bass as it only reaches down to around 54Hz.
In my experience, this is less than ideal.
The HS8 and HS7 are very similar monitors with almost identical frequency responses.
The difference, again, is 5Hz in the bass, some slight emphasis around 60-70Hz on the HS8, and somewhat of a smaller boost in the lower mid-range around 600-700Hz.
So it’s pretty close.
I will say it’s a bit easier to mix on an HS8 when you consider that it doesn’t roll off as hard, but most people don’t have the right room acoustics for the HS8.
What do I recommend?
I think if you’re in a small to medium-sized room without treatment, get an HS7.
If you’re in a larger room and plan to really hone in on treatment, HS8.
My overall recommendation today is most certainly the HS7.
It’s the perfect marriage of both HS5 and HS8 and will likely perform best in terms of mixing duties.
It also happens to be incredibly well-rated on Amazon and has over 1,800 reviews with an almost perfect star rating.
In addition to that, I own a pair and absolutely love them.
But be advised, these are NOT going to make your music (or any music for that matter) sound good. THey are incredibly raw and honest.
While I do listen to Spotify/YouTube, etc. with them, how they sound entirely depends on the engineer.
In other words, bad mix down generally equals poor quality. But this is why I love them. They’re revealing and honest.
With that, are you ready to level up your production game?
Well, that’s about it for today my friend! I hope I’ve shed some light on the Yamaha HS5 vs. HS7 vs. HS8.
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…
Which of these are you more likely to go with? Let me know as well!!
All the best and God bless,