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No matter whether you are a professional recording engineer, or merely an amateur home studio user. Eventually, you will need a set of quality studio monitors for professional and precise sound/music monitoring results.
Recording engineers at professional recording studios have to have precise speakers which don’t hype or overly-colorize the sound. Sound accuracy is paramount, and it must mimicking the sound details just like the actual environments without altering its frequency details.
Unlike the consumer speakers that made for a pleasant listening experience with the overly boosted and altered sound frequencies and colors. However, the studio monitors constructed and are designed to be used for precise listening.
The Yamaha monitors have been famous for its reasonable price and its professional industry-standard quality. In fact, you can spot that most of the popular recording studios across the music industry are using the Yahama’s studio monitors. And the legacy NS10M had once become the most sought-after industry-standard studio monitor since it was launched.
Types of Yamaha Studio Monitors
There are three categories of Yamaha monitor that you can find on the market currently; The HS-series, the MSP3 and the MSP STUDIO series. The powered HS-series cater to the home studio market, MSP3 is for the personal applications in a smaller studio, whereas MSP-series is made for the professional studio.
And the models have been named base on the size of the woofer. As in the HS-series, the woofer size of HS5 model is 5”; 6.5” for the HS7 and 8” for the HS8 model. In the MSP-series, the MSP3 has the 4” woofer speaker; MSP5 with a 5” speaker and the MSP7 model uses the 6.5” speaker.
Buyer’s Guide: How To Choose The Best One
Deciding Criteria 1: Small Studio Room; Small, and Personal Mixing Projects
If you plan to use the Yahama monitor speakers for your casual/personal mixing projects in the small studio room with limited space, then the MSP3 and HS5 are enough to reproduce the clean and precise sounding environment. The MSP3 and HS5 are the space-saving studio monitors that you can easily place on the corners of your small studio desktop or even just right beside your computer/laptop.
Deciding Criteria 2: Small Studio Room, Professional Mixing purposes
For professional mixing in the small room, I personally think that the MSP3 and HS5 will still fit this application. And are capable of providing reasonable good enough sounding quality for your monitoring and mixing projects. However, I would recommend that you can add a subwoofer to your small studio room set up for better results. Alternatively, you can get an HS7 for a better sounding experience.
Deciding Criteria 3: Mid-size Room, Personal Mixing Projects/Purposes
The MSP5 Studio and HS5 are more suitable for the mid-sized room. And if you plan to use the studio monitors for general mixing purposes, then the MSP5 Studio and HS5 are the two models you should go for. They are even capable of producing quite a professional mixing environment in the well-treated room.
Deciding Criteria 4: Mid-size Room, Professional Mixing Projects/Purposes
MSP5 Studio, HS5, and HS7 are more suitable for these criteria. However, I prefer the HS7 over the HS5 for its clarity, great depth of soundings and excellent stereo positioning for the mid-size studio room. It can produce a well-balanced frequency response with a flatter and accurate sound. You can use the HS7 if the budget is one of your concerns. However, you can go for the higher-end MSP Studio if you got a big budget for a high-end studio monitor speaker.
Deciding Criteria 5: Mid or Large-size & Professional Studio Room, Professional Mixing Projects/Purposes
The HS7, MSP7 Studio, and HS8 will be more suitable for this environment and purposes. If you are using the HS7 for this kind of spacious recording room, I think that you will need an additional subwoofer to enhance its low range bass.
However, I would prefer the HS8 over the HS7 for a more in-depth bass response and a very clear mid-range. And the HS8 can be considered as a very affordable high-end professional studio monitor for this kind of mid-large recording room. You can either consider upgrading to the higher-end MSP7 Studio monitor if it’s within your budget.
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A) MSP Series
1) MSP3 Studio Monitor
The MSP3 is very compact and small enough to place at the corner of the desktop without sacrifice its audio quality and features. It is more suitable for the smaller studio or even for the home-studio personal uses.
It is a 2-way powered monitor speaker system that utilizes a built-in 20-watt amplifier on each speaker to power up the 2.2cm tweeter and a 4″ cone.
For the audio connectivity, it does come with the balanced XLR input; an unbalance RCS jack input and a balanced phone jack input. The MSP3 also features the high/low tone control or the Line (RCA jack input) and the Line 2 (phone/XLR input). Afterall, MSP3 can be considered as a good reference monitor that capable of reproducing the neutral and quality reference sound. In my opinion, the MSP3 is more suitable to be used in the small studio for applications such as post-production setup, musical monitoring for electronic instruments and surround reproduction.
B) MSP STUDIO Series
Unlike the MSP3 which is made for personal and general applications. The MSP STUDIO Series studio monitors are catered to the professional users who have advanced studio setups to complement with this speaker.
1) MSP5 STUDIO Professional Studio Monitor
The MSP5 STUDIO is a 2-way bi-amplified bassreflex system that features a 5″ cone woofer which is driven by a 40-watt amplifier and a 1″ dome tweeter powered by a 27-watt amplifier.
It is very suitable for the smaller studio that desires a professional studio-grade monitoring environment. Being measured at the dimension of 179mm x 279mm x 208mm. The MSP5 STUDIO has become one of the popular professional studio monitors for those small studio and DAW-based productions.
2) MSP7 STUDIO Professional Studio Monitor
The MSP7 Studio is the most powerful studio monitor in the Yahama’s Studio-series. It utilizes the 6.5″ polypropylene cone woofer which is driven by a dedicated 80W amplifier. And its 1″ titanium dome tweeter is driven by a dedicated 50W amplifier as well. Just like the MSP5, the MSP7 is a near-field monitor that is powered by a 2-way bi-amplified bass-reflex system.
The MSP7 is more suitable for those professional / bigger studios who want to produce the industry-grade audio monitoring results. Some users were even claimed that the MSP7 is potentially better than the legacy NS10.
C) HS Series
HS Series was launched as a replacement for the Yahama’s flagship NS10 near-field studio monitors. Unlike other Yamaha speakers that are only available in black color, the HS-Series are available in both black and white. The price range of the HS-series is more affordable as compared to the MSP Studio series. Furthermore, It is capable of reproducing a right balance of frequencies (just like the NS10M), but with a bit more bass. And it does feature a switchable EQ adjustment control function.
Yamaha recently has added the HS-I series to the HS-Series family with a mounting feature. The features and specifications of HS and the HS-I are identical except the monitors of HS-I are all with the additional mounting points and screws for installation.
The launch of the HS-I version had made the HS-series of Yamaha monitor speakers become top-rated speakers for commercial markets such as restaurants, showrooms, public areas and studios where mounted monitors are needed. The body of all HS-series speakers is made from the medium-density fiberboard (MDF), and they use the 3-way mitered-joint technique in locking the corners of the speaker to minimize its resonance within the cabinet.
1) HS5 & HS5I POWERED STUDIO MONITOR
HS5 & HS5I are 2-way bass-reflex bu-amplified nearfield monitors. It uses 5″ cone woofer driven by 45-watts LF amplifier and a 1″ dome tweeter which is driven by a 25 HF amplifier.
With the dimension of 6.7″ (W) x 11.25″ (H) x 8.75″ (D) and only weighing at 11.7 pounds, It’s the one you should choose if you plan to use it on a smaller studio. And you can even go for the HS5I if you need any additional mounting feature.
For the audio source inputs, it does feature the XLR and TRS jack inputs for balanced/unbalanced signals.
It also does comes with some useful features like the “Room Control” and High Trim” features which will optimize its sound quality while using it in the small room. For instance, When the function of “Room Control filter” is activated, it is capable of reproducing 2 or 4dB of low-shelving cut below 500Hz. Thus, it is very helpful to minimize the low-frequency muddy response if the monitor is positioned near to a wall. However, some studio engineers suggested that it’s better to have at least 3-5 feet of distance from the nearest wall for the flattest response, although its filters are activated.
To sum up, the HS5 can be considered as the best and affordable studio monitor you can ever find in this price range.
2) HS7 & HS7I POWERED STUDIO MONITOR
Just like the HS5, it is also a 2-way bass-reflex bi-amplified near-field monitor. The HS7 is more powerful than the HS5 with bigger woofer and stronger amplifiers. The HS7 uses a 6.5″ cone woofer which powered by a 60W LF amplifier and a 1″ dome tweeter which is driven by a 35W HF amplifier. And with 43Hz – 30kHz frequency response.
It also features the “Room Control and High Trim response control functions. And it also does comes with the XLR and TRS phone jack inputs.
You probably no need to equip your setup with an additional subwoofer if you are using the HS7 monitors. The rear-ported bass hole is good enough to reproduce accurate and clearer bass in the small and mid-size rooms.
To sum up, the HS7 speaker monitor is very suitable for the DJ, producer and professional music studio with the mid-sized room.
3) HS8 & HS8I POWERED STUDIO MONITOR
With all the standard features similar to the HS5 and HS7 monitors. But, the Yamaha HS8 is by far the most powerful studio monitor model in the Yamaha’s HS-Series. The Yamaha HS8 uses an 8″ cone woofer driven by a 75W amplifier and a 1″ dome tweeter which is driven by a 45W amplifier. And it can produce the output power of 120W in total. The frequency response is between 46 Hz – 24kHz.
The overall flatter responses and sound imaging of the HS8 are quite impressive and very detailed in all aspects. You can notice any imperfection of your mixing very easily.
The only downside of the HS8 is that it’s just like the other HS-Series speakers, you will need to place the monitor a few feet from the walls to avoid some unnecessary low-frequency distortion.
After all, the HS8 is a very powerful studio monitor for the professional and larger studios. And you can have a professional mixing environment merely by using the HS8 monitor without employs any dedicated subwoofer in your setup.
After reviewing all the Yamaha’s monitor speakers, I would sincerely conclude that the purpose, application and studio size are the three most crucial factors you should consider when buying a most suitable monitor.