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Yamaha HPH-MT5 review

In this article, I’ll be reviewing the Yamaha HPH-MT5 closed-back studio monitor headphones. Only costing $100, these might be a worthy contender for those of you looking for a budget-friendly set of headphones. Let’s see if they’re worth the expense.

About the author

I’m a producer, audio engineer, and songwriter with a decade’s worth of experience with a wide range of gear and recording techniques. I have worked with and tested a huge variety of headphones, including Shure, Sennheiser, AKG, Beyerdynamic, Sony, and Yamaha, among others.

Yamaha HPH-MT5 review
Image: Yamaha

Final verdict on the Yamaha HPH-MT5 3.8

While the HPH-MT5 headphones have a decent low end response and a generally neutral frequency response, these wouldn’t be my first choice for critical listening. However, considering their price point, they might make a good fit for engineers looking for a cheap pair of studio headphones.

What I like

  • Fairly neutral sound signature.
  • Lightweight.
  • Affordable.

What I don’t like

  • Thin midrange.
  • Muddy bass.
Buy Yamaha HPH-MT5 at: SweetwaterAmazon

Power and frequency response 3.7

The HPH-MT5 headphones have a frequency response of 20 Hz – 20 kHz, which is roughly standard for their budget-friendly price. The sound signature is roughly neutral, showcasing a deep low end, rather forward midrange, and a rather smooth high end. They have an impedance of 51 ohms, so driving them is not a problem.

The bass has a good deal of “thump” to it, although the transients of the kick drum are not as clear as one would hope. This becomes more of an issue especially in songs with a higher BPM, where the low end becomes more obviously muddy.

Likewise, fast moving basslines become slightly blurred. So, if you’re a fan of players such as Thundercat or Jaco Pastorius, be warned that these headphones might not serve much justice to their playing.

The midrange has somewhat of a W-shaped response. In that the lower mids and upper mids are scooped, whereas the pure mids (around 1 kHz) are pushed forward. This can help vocals stand out, but the recessed lower mids leave vocals and guitars feeling cold and thin.

This can be fixed with EQ, but the effects may have an inverse effect of making the headphones sound more artificial. Luckily, your ears will get used to the sound with extended listening.

Lastly, the high end is unnoteworthy. There’s a gradual roll-off at around 12 kHz, so the top end isn’t super present, but it’s still there. Overall, their response is good enough for most cases.

Build quality 3.5

The headphones are made almost entirely out of plastic, which is not unusual for headphones this price. They’re lightweight, and practically unnoticeable when wearing for longer-running sessions.

The headband, while not made out of real leather, is rather soft and comfortable. Overall, these aren’t the highest-grade studio headphones available but there’s not much to critique.

Comfortability 3.6

While the Yamahas are extremely lightweight, and have a rather comfortable headband – the earcups are painstakingly shallow. The pads are also a bit suffocating, so your ears will heat up after extended use.

If you can find replacement pads, most of the issues here should be accounted for. However, the shallowness of the ear cups is quite disappointing.

Stability 3.0

These certainly weren’t designed for sport, so I can’t recommend jogging or working out with these on. However, they’re perfectly stable for studio work and shouldn’t cause any issues. The audio cable is also detachable and will pull out if it gets snagged on any gear.

Noise cancellation and isolation 3.5

The noise cancellation here isn’t all that noteworthy. Sure some of the high-end chatter will be tuned out, but if you’re wearing these on your commute don’t expect to be free of the low end rumble of passing cars and trains.

Accessories 3.8

The Yamaha HPH-MT5 comes with an audio cable, an 1/8 to 1/4-inch adapter, and a flimsy carrying pouch. The pouch doesn’t do all that much for protection, and is probably better fit for carrying miscellaneous audio cables.

Compared to other studio headphones

While, the HPH-MT5 headphones are some of the best you can buy on a budget, here are a few alternative options to consider in comparison to these Yamaha cans.

Yamaha HPH-MT5 vs Audio-Technica ATH-M40x

The ATH-M40x headphones have a slightly wider frequency response, but this comes at a price. They have an exaggerated low end and are much harsher in the treble range while the Yamahas are more accurate across the board.

Read the full Audio-Technica ATH-M40x review

Yamaha HPH-MT5 vs Sony MDR-7506

The MDR-7506 headphones are better in my opinion, seeing that they have a much flatter frequency response. Although, the Yamahas aren’t far behind.

Read the full Sony MDR-7506 review

Yamaha HPH-MT5 vs Shure SRH440

While the Shures have a lot to offer, I think the Yamahas are the more balanced choice overall. While the SRH440 have an extremely accurate midrange, the bass and high end leave a lot to be desired.

Read the full Shure SRH440 review

Who are the Yamaha HPH-MT5 headphones best suited for?

The HPH-MT5 headphones are best suited for beginner audio engineers who are looking for a fairly accurate pair of reference headphones under $100. While they may hold their own in casual listening environments, I can’t say they’re the best option.

Buy Yamaha HPH-MT5 at: SweetwaterAmazon