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Yamaha HS8 review

Yamaha really doesn’t need much of an introduction. They’ve been around for years and have built their reputation from the success of their infamous NS-10 – the most trusted and reliably horrible-sounding monitors possibly ever made.

It’s with the advent of the NS-10 that Yamaha has built its legacy of making pretty crappy-sounding speakers that are remarkably consistent. That being said, you should have some ideas of what to expect from the HS8. It’s not great, but it’s possibly good enough.

About the author

I’m a producer and audio engineer with a decade’s worth of experience with a wide range of gear and recording techniques. I’ve worked with a huge variety of monitoring systems, including Genelec, Neumann, Adam Audio, and Yamaha, among others.

Yamaha HS8 studio monitors review
Image: Higher Hz

Final verdict on the Yamaha HS8 4.0

The HS8 studio monitors may be the best option that Yamaha has to offer out of their HS line, but they’re not perfect. Overhyped highs and scooped mids leave them with a smiley face response more suitable for secondary reference monitors.

What I like

  • Good sound quality.
  • Great for mixing.
  • Killer aesthetics.

What I don’t like

  • Not recommended for primary reference monitors.
Buy Yamaha HS8 at: SweetwaterAmazon

Power and frequency response 4.0

The frequency response of the Yamaha HS8 spans from 38 Hz to 30 kHz. In theory, this is a wide enough range for any producer trying to get a full image out of their mixes, even with the absence of a subwoofer. However, I found the sound to be a bit overhyped in the high end, and scooped in the lower mids.

Music sounds very clean coming out of these monitors, but it may be too clean for some. I wouldn’t necessarily trust these as primary monitors, but if you’re looking for “in-reality” check-ins, they may prove useful. More akin to car stereo systems, or a mid-range home stereo. If having that is appealing to you, go ahead and give these a try.

They get fairly loud as well, driven by 120 watts of amplification. I was happy to hear no hiss or distortion coming out of these, but it might be worth buying from a local seller just in case you have the option to exchange if you find that to be an issue. Overall, these aren’t the perfect monitor speakers, but they will suffice for the most part.

I/O and controls 4.0

On the rear panel, you’ll find the balanced XLR and TRS inputs to feed audio through, as well as room correction and HF Trim switches and a gain knob. The gain knob allows you to set from -10 db, +4 db, or to effectively mute your monitors.

Yamaha HS8 inputs, outputs, and controls
Image: Higher Hz

The room control switch (0, -2 dB, -4 dB) and the HF trim switch (+2 dB, 0, -2 dB) are accompanied by two graphs to help visualize what each button is doing. Not the most necessary addition, but I found it to be a nice touch.

Build quality 4.0

These things are pretty hefty, and I wouldn’t recommend them to be part of your mobile setup. They have the simple look that we’ve come to love and expect from Yamaha speakers throughout the years, and they’ll look great in any studio. Thanks to the room control switches, their size shouldn’t be a big issue either.

Compared to other studio monitors

The Yamaha HS8 is a great option for anyone looking for a good pair of studio monitors under $1000 for mixing purposes. But before biting the bullet and buying the HS8, here are some alternatives to consider.

Yamaha HS8 vs HS8I

HS8I is identical to HS8, with the only difference being a mounting bracket. Not really worth the added expense to me, but if you think it’s worth it, I’m not going to judge.

Yamaha HS8 vs JBL 308P Mk2

JBL has several better options in this price range, one of which being the 308P. These monitors are far more neutral in their response than the Yamahas, and win my recommendation.

Read the full JBL 308P Mk2 review

Yamaha HS8 vs Kali Audio LP-8 V2

Again, I have to give Kali the upper hand here over the HS8. While the HS8 are perfectly fine monitors, there are far better options on the market in its price range. The LP-8 V2 are fuller and flatter in their response, making them a perfect choice as a primary reference monitor.

Read the full Kali Audio LP-8 V2 review

Yamaha HS8 vs Adam Audio T8V

The Adam T8V monitors sound a lot fuller to my ears, and are a bit more affordable than the HS8. I’d personally reach for these first.

Yamaha HS8 vs Focal Alpha 80 Evo

The Focal Alpha 80 Evo are roughly priced around $1000 for a pair. If you have the extra cash, I’d probably go for the Alpha 80 Evo, but you can’t really go wrong.

Who are the Yamaha HS8 studio monitors best suited for?

The Yamaha HS8 monitors are fine for anyone looking for a reliable and consistent monitor for their secondary reference monitoring needs. They are not ideal as primary reference monitors, and there are definitely better options available in the market for a similar price range.

Buy Yamaha HS8 at: SweetwaterAmazon