Yamaha HS5 Review – Is the Yamaha HS5 a Good Studio Monitor?

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Finding a great studio speaker is vital when it comes to mixing your own music and enjoying production quality sound. All mid-level and high-end speakers are not created equal and small differences can mean a lot, especially for a professional or a music enthusiast. The Yamaha HS5 is designed with purity in mind, and intends to deliver crisp sounds of vibration, beats, every strum and vocal.

Yamaha HS5 Overview

The HS5 adheres to the Yamaha HS product line design philosophy and delivers excellent performance for a small sized studio speaker.

This monitor tends to be the “jack of all trades” in the HS line boasting good performance in most areas, while offering amazing output far beyond most of its competitors. The clarity and sound quality is definitely in the upper tier of speakers comparable in size, use and cost.

Turning up the volume with this quality studio monitor will bring a new experience and deliver tones and melodies at a level you just will not duplicate with most other speakers in its class.

The HS5 will not only display your master mixing work in its best light, it will enhance and improve it giving your style another notch or two in professionalism. Yamaha has been setting the standard in excellent sound quality and studio monitors for many years and the HS5 is no exception.

The $149 (check this listing for the latest live prices) I spent here for it, was well worth it in the end. See below for my full assessment.

Yamaha HS5 Key Features

The HS5 measures 6.7 inches in width, 11.25 inches in height and 8.75 inches deep, with a weight of under twelve pounds. This makes it ideal in almost any production environment, allowing versatility and mobility even in small spaces, while still offering powerful and crisp sound.

  • Area Control Filters-2dB/4dB low shelving under 500Hz
  • The Yamaha triple mitered joint helps to eliminate resonance more effectively than other speakers
  • High Trim Filtering-compensates for room dynamics
  • Lightweight
  • Small and Versatile
  • 5 inch Woofer w/ 1 inch bi amplified tweeter
  • Forty-five watt amplifier for the woofer/twenty-five watts power the tweeter
  • Level Control-Continuous and variable

The subwoofer and tweeter are bi amplified, providing powerful sound and enough volume to keep up with even larger speakers. Continuous variable level control comes as a standard feature along with XLR and TRS connectors, which provide options for various inputs.

The only downside is the XLR connector is not latched like some other monitors that are in a much higher price range. However, given the affordable price of the HS5, this is an acceptable fault.

The HS5 Freq. response rate is set at 74Hz – 24Hz with -3dB and has down points of 10dB, 54Hz-30Hz. An additional subwoofer will be needed if this will be your only monitor you are using, particularly for a quality of bass instruments. The HS5’s response begins to noticeably cut out once it reaches approximately 200Hz, with a brief recovery at 80Hz, then it starts to fade once again.

There is sometimes a slight reduction at 7kHz-10kHz that seems to make vocals a little less obvious and a fairly relevant peak at 650-1300. The peak has a tendency to draw vocals to the forefront of the mix, but the less pronounced peak at 10Hz-16Hz tends to highlight more detailed aspects of the mix.

Built to Deliver

  • Improved range of frequency lends itself to providing increased resolution sound
  • The XLR & TRS connections add versatility and convenience for additional hardware and working with various signal ranges.
  • Improved technology for reducing noise
  • New design layout
  • Separate woofer and tweeter amplifiers offers efficiency and clarity
  • The speaker does not display common issues found with many port designs

This new Yamaha model has an improved range of frequency, which significantly helps by providing increased resolution sound. Smaller models in the older Yamaha line seemed to struggle in this aspect and the improvements found in the HS5 are a welcome change.

The speaker also offers nice convenience for working with microphones, additional hardware and mixers with the provided ports for XLR/TRS. Obviously, this provides assistance when trying to handle signal balances of varying levels.

The technological improvements to the new HS5 design is truly impressive, even nicer Yamaha did not push the model into a completely new price category. This makes the speaker still obtainable to almost anyone wanting to get serious about great music production and mixing.

The design includes independent amplifiers for the woofer as well as the tweeter, which provides additional frequency and isolated improved performance of each. Additionally, they are not underpowered and have enough spark to do the job nicely, without having to fight for power of a shared source.

Many port design speakers are well known for having issues in coming through without a noticeable level of noise. The HS5 does not share this characteristic as the Yamaha engineers have figured out a way to use the port design and still eliminate the common noise issues.

In fact, the offered noise reduction with the HS5 actually reaches up to 6dB, a fairly impressive feat and excellent benefit for professional level music production.

Does Size & Design Matter?

When it comes to professional quality sound production, there can be a tendency to pay too much attention to the size and design of the monitor. Some are attracted to speakers larger in size or speakers that have a very modern, perhaps even futuristic look.

The Yamaha HS5 does not tip the scales in the either category, but significantly out performs in providing quality, clear sounding beats. For a medium sized speaker in this price category, the HS5 checks many of the necessary boxes of advantages.

Placement for Responsiveness

It is recommended you set the monitor five feet or more from walls or large obstructions in order to obtain the flattest responsiveness. There can be some variation depending on how your studio is set up and the dynamics that are more or less present in the production environment. A little trial and error placement might be needed to get the right setting.

Proper placement and utilizing the Room Controls can take the sound from excellent to amazing, very easily. It also helps provide the right balance across the range of sound that needs to stand out and provide background tones.

This monitor really stands out from the field for its upper bass as well as its low to mid-range production. Many monitors have a tendency to be muddy when placed up on workstations, while this Yamaha model gives crisp and detailed sound.

Yamaha’s reputation for excellent quality continues to set the standard in the market in this category and price range, with the HS5 as an example of top-notch value and quality.

Delivering the Music

The most important aspect of a monitor is obviously delivering pure music. The HS5 does an outstanding job at delivering real and flat music that comes across with natural sounding mid tones. The output is powerful, clear and adheres to the true intention of the mix. The HS5 outperforms compared to other monitors in its class and even some monitors that are above its price range.

Some of the most impressive examples of the HS5’s performance come when playing music that is heavily based on instrumentals, such as classical tunes or orchestra music. The crisp sounds and tones come through clear and pure, unrestricted by other background tones.

Even though the monitor has controls for room filtering and high trim responsiveness, they are often not needed depending on how you have the speakers positioned in your production environment.

Downsides (Cons) of the HS5

The HS5 is an excellent monitor and nice value, although there are some downsides. Some of the frequencies with deeper characteristics do not come through at optimum levels. Typically you will need a monitor that has a little more of a wide range to display those properly. This Yamaha model is at its best for a range of fifty-four Hz to thirty kHz, as it almost completely non-performs at 50 to 60 Hz.

However, some excellent quality headphones can remedy this issue to a certain degree, but it is good to keep your expectations at a minimum for the HS5 for proper production in this range. The HS5 is just not the right choice if you will consistently need great results in this area; the driver is just not large enough to deliver.

The Bottom Line – Would I Purchase Again?

The HS5 is an excellent value and provides professional results at an amateur price range. For a monitor in the $100-$300 price range (check this listing for the latest live prices), you will be hard pressed to find another that reproduces the same type of performance, clarity quality. Yamaha did a nice job adding features to this monitor and improving on some of the features they are known for with minimal downside.

The HS5 is a good fit for amateurs and professionals alike. As long as you can pay attention to the placement and your needs are within the intended range of the HS5 design you will not be disappointed. If you are interested in pricing, I’ve found the best price at this listing online.

Yamaha HS5

8.3

Design

8.5/10

Sound Quality

9.0/10

Durability

8.0/10

Frequency Range

7.5/10

Price

8.5/10

Pros

  • XLR & TRS Capability
  • Good Noise Reduction
  • Separate Woofer and Tweeter
  • Compensates for Room Dynamics
  • Relatively Affordable in Class

Cons

  • Not Ideal for 50 -60 Hz Frequencies

Juan Alexander

Juan is a self-professed sound-nerd and the webmaster / lead author & tester for AllSoundLab. You might literally walk into him on the street because he's tuned out to the world and tuned into his beats...

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