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Yamaha HS5 Review (Best 5″ Monitor, Or Overhyped?)
There's a lot to like about the Yamaha HS5. This is a small but powerful studio monitor that gives you a clear and accurate sound. Because it's only a 5-inch monitor it does not handle subs well, but for most uses the HS5 is the right speaker for the job.
Yamaha has a long history of producing industry-standard reference monitors since the 1970s, and with the HS series, they have been focused on making monitors that provide the purest and the most direct sound possible.
The HS5 is the smallest of the series, with a 5’’ cone woofer and 1’’ dome tweeter.
The iconic white-coned woofer on black makes this speaker an instant classic, and you might have seen this design used by many legendary studios and producers.
But all these specs aside, what do these monitors actually sound like and how do they perform on a day-to-day basis?
Well I’m already familiar with the sound of the HS5 as I’ve had a pair in my studio for a while. For this review I took the time to try it out in various other contexts as well. So, let’s take a deep dive into the Yamaha HS5, starting with its look and feel.
It’s ready to be used right out of the box, and the weight is surprisingly light. Measuring 6.7’’ x 11.25’’ x 8.75’’ and coming in at only 11.7 pounds, the Yamaha HS5 is compact enough to fit any sized room from huge studio control rooms to tiny home studio spaces.
The HS5 is available in two designs – black and white, and all-white. It’s a simple but luxurious design that you won’t get sick of looking at day after day.
Another great design aspect that I liked is the option to include installation models.
Yamaha really put a lot of thought into the ergonomics of the working space, and the installation models give you plenty of options for things like wall mounting, which can improve the audio quality while dramatically tidying up your studio space.
The main feature of the Yamaha HS5 is the 5-inch Woofer with the 1-inch bi-amplified tweeter. These are active monitors meaning they have built-in power.
The bi-amplified speaker delivers a more consistent optimum performance and flat clear sound. Bi-amplified means that both the 5-inch Woofer and the 1-inch tweeter have their own amp, which is designed for a clearer sound.
Additionally, another impressive feature of this pair of affordable monitors is the extra-large magnets with the HS5 advanced magnetic circuit design.
As for inputs, HS5 offers a balanced XLR input and a balanced TRS input.
It doesn’t come with RCA connections, which is what many casual DJs and music fans use to connect their devices for playback. If this is a dealbreaker for you, simply get a cable that connects RCA to XLR or TRS.
But keep in mind, the Yamaha HS5 is specifically designed for producers and audio engineers, so it won’t be a good choice for DJs anyway.
Additionally, the Yamaha HS5 does not include XLR cables, but this is hardly a feature we expect from any music gear.
The Yamaha HS5 speakers are made to be at least 5 feet away from walls for the best sound, though not all users will have that option, and dimensions for each space will vary.
The tuning section features Room Control and High Trim switches which adjust the high and low end to suit your environment.
The Yamaha HS5 has a frequency range of 54Hz – 30kHz, which covers both high and low end quite well. However, if you work a lot with bass instruments, having an additional subwoofer for more low-end is a good idea.
Overall, there are a lot of impressive features considering the affordable price. Now let’s get into the most important aspect – the actual sound of these studio monitors.
Sound Quality (9/10)
What Does The Yamaha HS5 Sound Like?
If I had to describe the overall frequency response in a nutshell, the Yamaha HS5 has very clear mids and highs. Clarity is the word that pops into my mind here.
This is obviously the important part of any active studio monitor like the Yamaha HS5, as we are all looking for the best active monitor speakers that are specifically designed for producers and sound engineers.
A lot of times, we get lured into the idea that something sounds better because it is louder, particularly if the bass is boosted. But a good pair of monitor speakers need to have a unwavering flat response that will give you the most unbiased sound possible.
But the truth is, the Yamaha HS5 does not perform very well below 60 Hz, so don’t expect these monitors to give you a clear picture of this range.
If you work with a lot of bass, getting a dedicated subwoofer or an excellent pair of mixing headphones will definitely provide you with all the low-end clarity you need.
What About Noise?
And as we mentioned before, the new Yamaha HS5 has very little hum or noise. Thanks to the tech employed by Yamaha, noise is reduced by up to 6 dB, which is a big difference at the end of the day.
This is another aspect I was initially surprised with, and I’m sure we can all agree that not having to hear a constant hum or noise makes the music-making process so much more pleasurable.
Of course if you are experiencing excessive hum and noise with studio monitors, it’s more likely an electrical issue with your studio that can be solved with something like a Furman P-1800 power conditioner.
Value For Money (9.5/10)
Like many Yamaha products, you really get a lot of value for your money.
The HS5 studio monitor has that typical understated Yamaha quality at typical Yamaha prices – ie entirely reasonable.
Yamaha HS5: Who Is It For?
The Yamaha HS5 is not designed for casual music listeners nor for watching movies or videos. Instead, this is an active studio monitor designed by the Yamaha speaker engineering team to serve composers, producers, and audio engineers.