- 9/15/19. Article cleanup.
- 1/26/21. Article/link cleanup.
1,779-word post, approx. 4-5 min. read
Here’s a chart of my 3 recommendations based on the article. I didn’t include the HS80M as I believe the HS8 is a better monitor. The other 2 options were included as fantastic alternatives depending on room size. More on that in a bit!
Hi friend and Welcome!
The Yamaha HS80M vs. HS8 is a very interesting comparison! Before we get into why, grab a snack, sit back and relax because..
You’ve come to the right place!!
What I will bring you in this review
Normally for my comparisons, I review both pieces separately and then compare and contrast at the end. For this article since the monitors are pretty similar, I will outline the HS80M’s and then compare them to the HS8’s.
- Who these monitors benefit?
- What you will need?
- Thoughts from Stu’s notepad
- Similarities & Differences
- Sound Test Video
- Final Word
Now without further ado, let’s get rolling!!
- Size: 8″ cone woofer and 1″ dome high-frequency unit
- Amp Type: Active
- Crossover Channel Qty: 2-way
- Nominal Output Power: 120 Watt
- Frequency Response: 42Hz – 20kHz
- Nominal Impedance: 10 Ohm
- Crossover Frequency: 2000Hz
- Output Features: Bass Reflex
- Magnetic Shield: Yes
- Connectivity Technology: Wired
- Controls: Mid EQ, Low Cut, Room Control, High Trim response control switches
The Yamaha HS80M is the real deal. “The truth,” as some called it in my research. They get stellar reviews everywhere you look, and it’s because of their overall flat frequency response and brutal honesty. This is a true reference monitor and a very revealing one at that. You will be humbled by the truth. It could literally point out a blemish on your face from 5 miles away. Just kidding, but you get the idea. 😛
Rest assured, your mixes will be under a microscope listening to these babies. They are extremely unforgiving but at the same time an absolute joy to listen to. If your mix sounds good on the HS80M’s, it will sound good on anything.
I also read people impressed by their longevity factor, with a few owning these for up to 5-7 years. They also will rekindle your desire to listen to old records, which should be a requirement for any true reference monitor in my opinion.
- Flat, with excellent clarity and detail.
- Great definition in the stereo image. It shows the importance of panning and width. You will discover phasing and mixing issues in old tracks.
- Very smooth, UN-exaggerated bass response.
- Unforgiving, accurate, and true. They will point out the shortcomings of your mix.
- Recordings come out as they were meant to be heard. Be aware of your sound source.
- Longevity/Durability. Will hold up for a long time in your studio.
- Effortlessly capable of high SPL (Sound Pressure Level). Feel free to really pump these up, lol. Blast ’em! What is SPL?
- Dynamics are tight and natural, making it easy to catch out of place transients.
- May change your perspective on music if it’s your first monitor.
- I read about an exaggerated mid-bass, which in certain rooms may be a bit overpowering.
- Low treble slightly exaggerated.
- Bass may not extend far enough and rolls off at around 40Hz.
- Tweeter issues for a couple of reviewers. Possible defect after 1 year of use. Isolated incidents.
- The only outputs it has are XLR and 1/4″ balanced or unbalanced. Find out about your cable differences in this TRS vs. TS article!
Who these monitors benefit?
After reading all the amazon reviews, I have heard them endorsed the following:
- General Listening. A lot of people mentioned that they use them as a sound system!
- Video Games
- Heavy Metal
Not as good for:
What you will need?
An audio interface is highly recommended with these. It will give you a good, clean digital to analog conversion, and will power the monitors with relative ease. Check out some of these helpful links on sound!
- Your audio interface
- Bit depth vs. sample rate (how your computer processes sound).
- Focusrite Scarlett 2i2 Review!
I do own the 2i2 and love it, but it may not be your best bet. It just depends on your needs. I use it to power my monitors and microphone. If that’s all you need, then it’s an amazing option. There are other interfaces that have midi capability out there like the Steinberg UR22 which I also recommend. It’s very similar to the 2i2, but it’s built-in preamps are said to be stronger/better. Preamp vs. Interface.
You could also opt to go for a mixer if you’re a more hands-on type of person. The Yamaha MG06X would be a nice and simple option here.
Thoughts from Stu’s notepad
- I have read that these are very enjoyable with all forms of music overall, regardless of the omission of Jazz, Classical, and Acoustic.
- One reviewer said he wouldn’t rely on them for more “serious” mixing applications.
- Makes a great everyday listening speaker. This was very much harped on in quite a number of reviews.
- The bass is present but maybe underwhelming for some, depending on your needs. You may need a sub (HS10W) for some of the more bass-heavy stuff. If you’re after a true and accurate low end, then there’s really no need for one.
- You may also need some basic Acoustic sound treatment. Studio foam panels on the walls and bass traps in the corners of your room will do the trick! One person said the sound tends to get a bit hollow, but when you’re referencing with headphones it ends up being too loud for the mix. I’ve had this happen to me actually because I didn’t invest in the foam panels that I just talked about. Don’t be like me! 🙂 Check out these.
- If you’re serious about accurate tracking, the fact that the bass isn’t too over the top is actually a blessing, and one reviewer pointed out that the mid-range and highs more than makeup for it.
- One reviewer called the monitors “life-changing.”
- The figure of 90% was used a few times, which I thought was interesting. One said that they aren’t quite brutal enough to be your only mixing speaker, but they will get you 90% there.
- The symmetry of your room and the placement of your speakers is important. They are pretty much near-fields, which means you want them near you. “Check out the big brain on Brad!!”
- Anywho, it’s also important that you place them such that the tweeters are at about ear level, and each of them is forming an equilateral triangle with your dome piece. This will give you the most accurate representation of the mix, or whatever it is you happen to be jamming out to!
- The bass is very revealing, and the amount will actually depend on how you mix. They will pump up the bass if you mix it louder, but they won’t exaggerate a song that’s already been recorded.
- Called the Truth, these will save you a lot of time mixing (mentioned earlier).
- If you’re mixing a track, you generally want to be at somewhat of a low level. Check out Establishing Project Studio Reference Monitoring Levels if you really want to get down to the nitty-gritty.
The fact of the matter is that all stuff about these that could be construed as negative is really just nitpicking. As one Amazon reviewer pointed out, the crazy amount of 5-star reviews don’t lie. Monitors are also kind of tricky to review as well. They are more subjective than other equipment due to the quality of sound varying, what you’re using to power them, etc. etc. Reputation plays a big role in the decision-making process. One thing is for certain, these are brutally honest and revealing. No doubt about it.
Similarities & Differences
- The level control, the input connectors (XLR and TRS), the bass port, and the radiator are the same.
- The durability of both is phenomenal.
- The reproduction of instruments is both excellent.
- The sound settings on the HS8 now include only room control (0db, -2db and -4db) and high trim (+2db, 0db, -2db). The rest (mid eq and low cut) are gone. So you’ll need additional equipment or software if you want to deeply personalize the sound according to your room acoustics.
- The weight of each is a bit different. 24.86 lbs. (HS80M) vs. 22.5 lbs. (HS8)
- The differences in sound are barely noticeable according to a Reddit/Gearslutz.com reviewer. He says the HS8’s have a rounder, warmer, and more calibrated bass and the highs aren’t as “spicy.” The mid-range is basically the same.
- Frequency response improved. The HS80M’s is 42Hz – 20kHz, while the HS8’s is 38Hz – 30kHz.
- Slight cosmetic differences.
- Treble? To my ears, the HS8’s treble is brighter overall than the 80M’s. You be the judge!
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If you have a larger sized room and plan on using some bass traps and acoustic panels, I would give the HS8 a go. They are a tad better than the 80M.
If you have a medium-sized room, go with the HS7. You will still likely need some Acoustic Sound Treatment, but they have 6.5″ woofers and are a bit better for mixing and reference. In fact, I think the HS7 is the perfect middle ground and represents a truly fantastic solution for the majority of people that want to take their mixing to the next level.
If both are out of your price range, I also recommend the JBL LSR 305’s, as I sit here and admire them on my desk. 🙂 As a true entry-level with 5″ woofers but extremely powerful sound, these babies are absolutely phenomenal, and all the hype you may or may not have read about is real. They aren’t overrated at all. They just happen to be in a lot of people’s price range, including mine back when I bought them in 2014. The same characteristics apply – Reference sound with a lot of impact!
Well, that’s about it for today my friend! I hope you’ve come away with some newfound knowledge on the Yamaha HS80M vs. HS8.
Questions? Comments? Requests? Did I miss the mark on something? Please let me know down below or Contact me!!
Which of these monitors are you more likely to purchase? I would love to hear from you…
All the best and God bless,