What We Like
- Great response across the range.
- Effective acoustic controls.
- Lots of volume power.
- Extremely attractive design.
What We Don’t Like
- Poor performance at the very bottom of the frequency range.
Yamaha is known for dropping in and disrupting markets with affordable, great performing products. Yamaha HS5 did that in the world of affordable monitor speakers. These are easily the best monitors under $200 you can find at the moment.
Design, no matter how trivial it is in a set of $200 monitors, is essentially what initially drew attention to Yamaha HS5. These come in black and white, giving them an edge over the immediate competition. Function over form is definitely the rule of the game, but a lot of people took note of aesthetic versatility these monitors offered. In terms of cab design, Yamaha took a minimalist path. They reduced all of the unnecessary curves to a minimum, eventually producing a rather boxy speaker.
By doing so, they have created a speaker that is cheap to manufacture while still looking pretty classy no matter where you put it. MDF they have used for this build is solid, while the entire speaker is put together quite well. Yamaha sized these to be just right. On top of that, their net weight is extremely low making them pretty versatile all around. Just in the design department, Yamaha pretty much scored the golden middle.
Yamaha HS5 is a near field active monitor setup that comes with a single 5″ driver and a single 1″ tweeter on top. Output power is rated at 70 Watts and is pushed out of a bi-amped configuration. In other words, each transducer has its own amplifier. This type of design eliminates any conflict between transducers as you sweep through the frequency range. Once you take a look at the back plate, you will find a whole range of goodies.
The first thing we see is the Level control, which is pretty self-explanatory. Underneath it, there’s your input cluster. Yamaha has given us a TRS input but also an XLR one. That choice of I/O is a not that common in this price range. Moving on, we see room control settings, which you can use to adjust the speakers to your space. Overall, this Yamaha comes with all the right features and none of the ineffective ones.
The main thing Yamaha HS5 offers is the performance. For what is essentially still a small speaker, this thing packs a mean punch. The response you get in trebles and mids is just impressive. Moving down the frequency range leads to a meaty bass profile that isn’t too aggressive, but rather transparent. However, this is where HS5 hits the limitations of a 5″ driver.
Yamaha states that the lowest frequency you can reach is 54Hz. That turned out to be wishful thinking on their part. In reality, HS5 will get you as low as 70Hz, after which point the performance deteriorates at a fast pace. That, however, doesn’t really matter that much. Why? Because the response up until that point is near stellar considering the price of this monitor. Trebles are vibrant, nonaggressive and well balanced. The same goes for mids. There is just hardly anything definitively wrong with HS5 aside from that trouble in the deep end.
Many audiophiles and producers were taken back by HS5 and for a good reason. These speakers are definitely the ultimate choice for budget users. Even though you can only get one for less than $200, it is well worth the investment.