Both Yamaha and KRK offer excellent yet affordable home studio monitors for general listening and music production.
The KRK Rokit 5 series is the go-to choice of renowned and aspiring DJs for hip-hop and EDM dance parties. Meanwhile, the Yamaha HS5 is the perfect option for music engineers who need to mix and master music in small- to medium-sized rooms.
In summary, the KRK Rokit 5 is a superior home studio monitor for entertainment and general listening. However, if you're looking to produce more high-end music for films and the like, then the Yamaha HS5 is your top choice.
Now, let's look at the defining features for both home studio monitors and see which one is the best.
Let me tell you something right off the bat.
The sound quality performance you'll end up getting from a speaker will always depend on your room acoustics - particularly room dimensions and speaker positions.
The impact of the combination of these two is actually so strong that in most cases, it doesn't even make sense to utter a single word on sound quality without speaking of them.
This is also why it's not unusual to see completely different reviews of the same speaker.
In one case the speaker might be placed in a sweet spot inside the room and hence the user might be satisfied. In other cases the same speaker might be ill placed and hence user might even have returned it.
The point most people miss here is that it mostly isn't even about the engineering behind the speaker itself. It's about where you place the speaker inside which room.
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So, in order to solve this problem, I've partnered with an Acoustics and Audio Engineering PhD and created Soundton - a simple, 2D, browser accessible online speaker placement calculator.
With Soundton, now there's a way to figure the sound quality of most speakers before you buy them.
Read more about its working principles at soundton.com.
The end colormap provides you the locations with the best (green) and worst (red) acoustics.
ASAP Science also made a video on the loudest and quietest rooms in the world. A mind blowing example of the importance of acoustics (play time adjusted video below).
Other parameters such as the age/materials of the building, the furniture & carpets in place, etc can and will, of course, have an effect on room acoustics, too. But it's much less compared to other parameters mentioned above.
Also, while you're at it, blast my Hidden Electronic Gems list to test the speakers:
Although both home studio monitors are excellent options for music production, I noticed the KRK Rokit 5's preference is for mid and upper-bass only. Because of that, you can't expect accurate sound representation with this choice. Its mid-bass also produces weird peaks that cause repressed and muddy sounds when mixing.
My experience with the Yamaha HS5, on the other hand, was a different story. This home studio monitor produced more neutral and well-defined sounds because of its phenomenal sound representation. It also has excellent mids and highs with just the right amount of lows so you can create buzz-free mixes.
In terms of loudness, I found the KRK Rokit 5 superior to the Yamaha HS5. I was curious how this home studio monitor excelled since both brands consist of a tweeter and woofer for high-frequency and low-frequency sounds. However, a quick read on their manual revealed that the KRK Rokit 5's woofer comes from glass-aramid while the HS5 woofer's material is a paper cone.
This aramid material is a better woofer material for delivering louder sounds. It relies on fewer vibrations, so it doesn't produce distortions at higher volumes. On the other hand, the Yamaha HS5 paper cone woofer is less effective in transferring sounds, so increasing its loudness can result in more annoying sound distortions.
The KRK Rokit 5 and Yamaha HS5 both have medium-density fiberboard enclosures. That's why I consider them a tie for their durability. However, the Yamaga HS5's enclosure design reduces undesirable resonance and sonic coloration for better and more accurate mixes. Unfortunately, the KRK Rokit 5 doesn't stand a chance.
Additionally, the woofer and tweeter of the Yamaha HS5 home studio monitor have rubber and metal surroundings. Meanwhile, the KRK Rokit 5's components only rely on foam. So if you're considering a more long-lasting woofer and tweeter, then the Yamaha HS5 is a more practical choice.
The next feature of the KRK Rokit 5 and Yamaha HS5 worth comparing is their portability. I noticed the Yamaha HS5 is more compact and lighter than the KRK Rokit 5. However, I observed one unique feature of the KRK model; it has a frontal speaker, allowing me to place it in almost any area in my music room.
Here is the User Manual of Yamaha’s HS Series.
As of writing, the KRK Rokit 5 costs $162.99, while the Yamaha HS5 is priced at $199.99. If you're looking for a cheaper home studio monitor, I highly recommend getting the KRK Rokit 5. However, its price isn't much of a big difference from the Yamaha HS5.
After a quick comparison of both popular models, the Yamaha HS5 makes a far better home studio monitor for high-resolution mixing and music production. Meanwhile, the KRK Rokit 5 is an excellent option for general listening in hip-hop and EDM parties because of its adjustable frequency and loudness.