The Yamaha HS5 and HS8 are arguably the two most popular studio monitors in Yamaha's line-up. They're indoor speakers though, so I wouldn't really recommend them for outdoors use (which, in such case, you can check out Klipsch AW-650).
In summary, if you’re looking for a high-quality monitor for casual listening to music and watching movies at home, then the Yamaha HS5 has just the right frequency range and power for a great listening experience. But if you intend to use it in a studio for audio production or build a home theater system, the Yamaha HS8 has better overall acoustics and is the better choice.
In summary, the difference in sound quality between HS5 and HS8 is quite a bit noticeable even to non-professional ears. Additionally, even when looking at it from the price-performance standpoint, the HS8 pays off every extra penny in my opinion.
- The Yamaha HS5 is best for casual listening or beginners in music production, while you can use the Yamaha HS8 in a professional studio for audio production and home theater systems
- The Yamaha HS8 is twice more expensive than the HS5
- The Yamaha HS8 has a better and more professional overall sound quality
- The Yamaha HS8 is the upgraded version of the HS5
- The Yamaha HS8 is a lot heavier at 29.1 lbs than the HS5, which is only 12 lbs
Design and Build
The Yamaha HS5 and HS8 are part of the Yamaha Professional Audio Speakers HS Series, the 2nd generation nearfield reference monitors. All the products in this series come in two classic colors—black and white.
The Yamaha HS5 is a single-unit woofer that’s mountable and has a stereo output. This is the smallest unit in the HS series, the 5-inch speaker, which measures 7x9x12 inches and weighs 12 pounds.
The cone woofer measures 5-inches, and the dome tweeter measures 1-inch. Though the smallest in the series, it creates a very smooth response over different sound frequencies.
The Yamaha HS8 is likewise a single-unit woofer that’s mountable and has a stereo output. It measures 16x14.2x21 inches and weighs a lot heavier than the Yamaha HS5 at 29.1 pounds. It has screws and mounting points to make installation easier. Baton brackets are available but are sold separately.
Check here the manual of Yamaha HS5 and HS8.
The Yamaha HS series has accurate signal reproduction and superior sonic performance. It has highly efficient twitters, powerful woofers, and a low resonance enclosure design.
Both the Yamaha HS5 and the Yamaha HS8 have a 2-way bi-amp design. This means it has a dedicated amp for the woofer and the tweeter, ensuring a high-resolution sound. They have two response controls, the HIGH TRIM and the ROOM CONTROL.
These features will be beneficial to adjust the sound depending on where it is situated or in case the monitor needs to be placed against a wall.
The HS series has newly constructed enclosures using a resilient MDF and damped acoustic response. These monitors have advanced noise reduction technology. This is done through a carefully engineered speaker port that prevents any vortex at the end to trap air, vibrate, and cause noise.
The Yamaha HS8 has an 8-inch subwoofer and a 1-inch tweeter. This is usually powerful enough to for an entire studio, so you don’t need to purchase an additional subwoofer.
To sum it up, the Yamaha HS8 has all the physical features of the Yamaha HS5 but is more upgraded in sound quality.
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:
The Yamaha HS5 produces just the right sounds for listening to music or watching a movie in a small to average-sized room.
It also produces just the right amount of sound for those who want to use it for basic music production. However, for a professional studio, the HS8 is clearly the better choice because it delivers better sound.
The Yamaha HS5 has a 45W low frequency and a 25W high-frequency bi-amp system for high performance. A 70W total amplification is already a very acceptable volume for any home activity.
The Yamaha HS8 has a 75W low frequency and a 45W high-frequency bi-amp system, with a total of 120W amplification. This is already considered a high amplification and will be loud enough to power a big studio room.
If you intend to use the speaker mostly for music listening in a small room, the Yamaha HS8 amplification might be too much. Its features will be best utilized if it is used in audio production.
Another thing is their difference in frequency response, which is what makes the speakers flexible in producing a wide range of sounds. The Yamaha HS5 has a frequency response of 54 Hz-30 kHz, while the Yamaha HS8 has a frequency level of 38 Hz-30 kHz range.
Technically, the lower the frequency, the better it is with low-end sounds, and this is what’s missing in the sound quality of the Yamaha HS5. However, this feature is a matter of preference and would probably only be significant for studio producers.
Yamaha has several dealers worldwide for their products, which means the prices can differ with every retailer. As of writing, here is the information we have gathered on their current prices:
The price difference between the two products is more than $100 on average, so it is crucial to research first to make a knowledgeable and sound purchasing decision.
It is challenging to choose a clear winner because each has independent usage. But when it comes to flexibility, sound quality, and overall performance, the Yamaha HS8 is the clear winner. It is more flexible and can be used both as a home speaker or a professional studio monitor.
Here’s a rundown of our winner by comparison:
- Design and build - Tie
- Sound quality - Yamaha HS8
- Price - Yamaha HS8 (value for money)