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 NS10s – the most trusted and reliably horrible sounding monitors possibly ever made.
It’s with the advent of the NS10s 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.
Our verdict on the Yamaha HS8
The Yamaha HS8s 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.
- Good sound quality.
- Killer aesthetics.
- Not recommended for primary reference monitors.
- Not incredibly affordable.
Power and frequency response
The frequency response of the Yamaha HS8 spans from 38 Hz – 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, we 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. We 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 W of amplification. We were 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, this isn’t the perfect speaker, but it will suffice for the most part.
These things are pretty hefty, and we 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.
I/O and controls
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.
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 we found it to be a nice touch.
Compared to other studio monitors
Before biting the bullet and buying the Yamaha HS8s, here are some alternative options to consider. Also, check our recommendations for the best studio monitors, the best budget studio monitors, and the best studio monitors under $500.
Yamaha HS8 vs. JBL 308P Mk2
JBL has several better options in this price range, one of which being the 308Ps. These monitors are far more neutral in their response than the Yamahas, and win our recommendation.
Yamaha HS8 vs. Kali Audio LP-8
Again, we have to give Kali the upper hand here over the HS8s. While the HS8s are perfectly fine monitors, there are far better options on the market in its price range. The LP8s are fuller, and flatter in their response, making them a perfect choice as a primary reference monitor.