Today, we’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.
Our verdict on the Yamaha HPH-MT5
While the HPH-MT5s have a decent low end response and a generally neutral frequency response, these wouldn’t be our first choice for critical listening.
However, considering their price point, they might make a good fit for engineers looking for a cheap pair of durable headphones.Check availability and current price: SweetwaterAmazon
Power and frequency response
The Yamaha HPH-MT5s 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 bass lines 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 mid range has somewhat of a W-shaped response. In that the lower mids and upper mids are scooped, whereas the pure mids (around 1K) 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.
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 headphones available but there’s not much to critique.
While the Yamahas are extremely lightweight, and have a rather comfortable headband – the ear cups 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.
These certainly weren’t designed for sport, so we 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
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.
The HPH-MT5s come with an audio cable, a 1/4″-1/8″ 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 headphones
Here are a few alternative options to consider in comparison to the Yamaha HPH-MT5.
Yamaha HPH-MT5 vs. Audio-Technica ATH-M40x
While the ATH-M40xs are exceedingly more popular, we would probably recommend the Yamahas. The M40xs have a slightly wider frequency response, but this comes at a price.
The M40x has an exaggerated low end and are much harsher in the treble range while the Yamahas are more accurate across the board.
Yamaha HPH-MT5 vs. Sony MDR-7506
The Sonys are better in our opinion, seeing that they have a much flatter frequency response. Although, the Yamahas aren’t far behind.
Yamaha HPH-MT5 vs. Shure SRH440
While the Shures have a lot to offer, we think the Yamahas are the more balanced choice overall.
While the SRH440s have an extremely accurate midrange, the bass and high end leave a lot to be desired.
Who are the HPH-MT5s best suited for?
These headphones are best suited for professional engineers who are looking for a fairly accurate pair of reference headphones.
While they may hold their own in casual listening environments, we can’t say they’re the best option.
- Fairly neutral sound signature.
- Muddy bass
- Thin midrange.