Yamaha HS5 vs HS8 – Which is Better?

Yamaha’s HS5 and HS8 studio monitors are without a doubt the company’s most popular models.

If you’re a producer looking for studio monitors, or simply just want some nice speakers, this article will prove helpful. 

For an out-of-the-box experience, the HS8 wins easily, but if you are tight on space and want to save some money, the HS5 paired with a subwoofer might be the better option.

You can check the price of both using the tables provided below and throughout the articles. We always look for the best prices for you.

yamaha hs5

Yamaha HS5 

At 5 inches, the HS5’s woofer can reproduce frequencies down to 54Hz which is respectable.

Its compact size makes it ideal for smaller rooms and desktop use, making it a preferable choice over the HS8 for some people.

It provides impressive midrange clarity and imaging, but as the woofer is only 5 inches, the extreme lows lack accuracy and can sound boomy.

This is one of the reasons why the HS5 is a better choice if you have a spare subwoofer lying around, or alternatively, opt for a good compact subwoofer.

What’s in the box? 

  • Yamaha HS5.
  • Power Cable.
  • Documentation.

Sound quality 

The Yamaha HS5s delivers impressive audio given its compact size, mainly thanks to the high-quality components such as its 1″ dome tweeter and 5″ mid-bass woofer.

It can reproduce frequencies down to about 54Hz before it starts tapering off.

Decent low-end for such a small driver, but certainly lacks the bass extension of the larger HS8.

Midrange clarity stood out as the HS5’s main strength with accurate vocals and instruments.

The tweeter amp is able to produce very detailed highs without any annoying harshness.

Overall, the HS5 produces a neutral response which makes any mixing decisions more informed and accurate.

Positioning is important for the soundstage (More on that near the end). But when in the correct position, it’s spacious and a joy to listen to.

The main downfall though as mentioned is the low bass. It sound thinner when we compare it to that of the HS8, especially when it comes to tracks with deep synth tones or kick drums.

This may not be a problem for everyone though.

While not ideal for bass-heavy genres, the HS5’s transparent mids and clean highs perform excellently for mixing and professional use.

Where it gets interesting is when we compare the HS5 with a subwoofer vs the HS8 which we have a section on near the end.

Build quality 

The HS5 has a sturdy, low resonance MDF housing that minimizes any unwanted vibrations that help produce a more clear sound.

The 5″ woofer and 1″ silk-dome tweeter are built using Yamaha’s new transducer designs which are meant to improve the quality.

yamaha hs5 rear panel

Overall, the components feel solidly constructed and nothing feels cheap.

The HS5’s compact footprint along with the room filter allows for flexible positioning.

Not only that but the angled cabinet and included rubber pads allow for either horizontal or diagonal positioning.

We have a guide to the best positioning for the HS5 and HS8 near the end of this article though.

Of course, there are some cons though.

Some users have expressed their disappointment over the matte black finish, saying it is a bit plain-looking compared to competing models, but I personally think it looks great.

If we look at the rear side of it it includes both a 1/4″ and XLR inputs along with the HF/LF trim controls.

On to the front panel, it sports a clean, no-frills aesthetic.

While it may not be as robust as the HS8, the HS5’s sturdy build quality matches its professional pedigree and delivers great performance.

Once broken in, it should provide years of great service.

Key Features 

  • A 2-way bass reflex.
  • Bi-amplified nearfield studio monitor.
  • 5″ cone woofer.
  • 1″ dome tweeter.
  • The frequency response is 54Hz to 30kHz.
  • Room control.
  • High trim response controls.
  • XLR and TRS compatible with balanced and unbalanced signals via phone jack inputs.

Is the Yamaha HS5 Good for Mixing? 

The Yamaha HS5 is an excellent monitor for any intermediate or beginner producer looking to get a solid audio mix. It has a crisp and clear sound thanks to its incredible capabilities. 

However, the low-frequency reproduction leaves a lot to be desired if that’s something important to you.

Pros and Cons 


  • Clear and flat.
  • Elegant and eye-catching design.
  • Excellent construction quality.
  • Perfect for mixing and mastering.
  • Installation version available.


  • Bass is not great.
  • Doesn’t come with audio cables.

Yamaha HS8

As the larger sibling in the HS monitor line, the HS8 includes some of the best bits of the HS5 while building on some of the weaker areas such as bass.

Yamaha hs8

It features the same 1-inch dome tweeter as the HS5, but now we have more power at 120 watts and a dedicated 75 watt amp for the woofer.

The larger cabinet of the HS8 means it is better suited for medium to large size rooms. Something the HS5 isn’t built to do.

It produces extremely accurate audio output for mixing and mastering which is important for a monitor speaker, of course.

What’s in the box?

  • Yamaha HS8.
  • Power Cable.
  • Documentation.

Sound quality 

With its 8-inch woofer, the HS8 improves on the HS5s low-frequency performance and output capacity, while improving on the already great HS5s pristine high-frequency detail.

The larger driver can get down to a solid bass level of 38Hz without sounding boomy.

Most home theater subs reach down to 20-30Hz, but studio subs tend to be a bit more limited at 30-40Hz because accuracy is more important.

The mids and highs benefit from the very responsive 1-inch dome tweeter, made for pitch-perfect clarity.

Once positioned correctly, the imaging is precise.

While the HS8 leans a bit bright on some tracks, the tweeter doesn’t fatigue and delivers great depth and dynamic range.

Build quality 

The build quality is similar to that of the HS5, albeit bigger.

The Yamaha HS8 is housed in a rigid MDF enclosure that instills confidence in its durability.

yamaha hs8 rear panel

It’s built to withstand any unwanted vibrations to keep the audio accurate.

The rear port is gently flared to reduce any turbulence and the bi-amp provides clean headroom

The matte finish is simple, but professional.

While not as tanky looking as the vintage models such as some seen here in the best Yamaha speakers guide, it lives up the their reputation for great build quality.

Key Features 

  • 8” Cone Woofer.
  • 1” Dome Tweeter.
  • Combined 120-Watt Amplification.
  • 38Hz – 30kHz Frequency Range.
  • 2-Way Bass Reflex System.
  • Room Control.
  • High Trim Control.
  • MDF Enclosure.

Is the Yamaha HS8 Good for Mixing?

They sound perfect for mixing.

Audio translates well and eliminates the need for “trial and error” in mixing.

The Yamaha HS8 not only provides a clear picture of what you’re working with during the mixing process, but it also sounds pleasant enough to listen to casually. 

Lastly, if you require a speaker that can produce high-quality bass without the need for an additional sub, this will suit you perfectly.

However, if you want truly accurate lows, a subwoofer will definitely help. This SVS SB-1000 review might be helpful.

Pros and Cons 


  • Excellent clarity.
  • Solid bass output.
  • Well built.
  • Good range of tuning options.
  • Install options available.


  • Not budget-friendly.

Should the Yamaha HS5 and HS8 Be Place Vertically or Horizontally?

Because of the design and how they were engineered, the placement of monitor speakers is very important.

The Yamaha HS5 and HS8 monitors are designed for proper stereo imaging when placed vertically.

Laying them on their side compromises sound quality due to the dispersion patterns working differently than they were designed to do.

For the most optimal and accurate audio quality, it’s best to position the monitors vertically.

It’s even written in the monitor’s documentation:

Should the Yamaha HS5 and HS8 Be Place Vertically or Horizontally?

While you can of course lay them on their side if you’re limited on space or for any other reason, but just expect a degraded and less accurate listening experience.

Comparing The Yamaha HS5 With a Subwoofer vs The HS8?

A common dilemma when deciding between the HS5 and HS8 is whether to just go all out and opt for the HS8, or perhaps buy a HS5 and a sub.

The HS5 topped off with a high-quality subwoofer such as the HS8S can compete with the HS8, with the added bonus of saving desktop space because of the compact size.

As we know, the HS8’s 8-inch woofer handles frequencies down to 38Hz cleanly before worsening, removing the need for an added sub.

However, the HS5 + sub combination offers more flexibility

The subwoofer’s position can be easily adjusted to optimize bass for any room’s acoustics.

You can even place a sub behind a couch.

So which is best?

Well, if you’re tight on space in your workspace, the compactness of the HS5 and a compact sub might be the better choice.

But if you just want an out-of-the-box experience without any tampering, the HS8 is the better choice.

You can check the latest prices here:

How To Setup The Yamaha HS5 and HS8

Things You’ll Need:

  • Yamaha HS5/HS8.
  • Audio interface.
  • Monitor/Speaker stands.
  • Audio cables.
  • Power cable.

1. Get Away From The Walls And Corners

Proper placement is important for getting the best performance from your HS5 and HS8 monitors.

Position them approximately 8-12 inches away from any walls to minimize any acoustic reflections and unwanted bass amplification.

You also want to place them symmetrically so that the distance is the same from the side and rear walls to create an accurate listening environment.

2. Set The Height

Now it’s time to set the best height for your HS5 and HS8 monitors.

Set stands or isolation pads on either side of your workstation pointed towards where you will be working from – IE. Your chair at ear level.

Angling the speakers inward slightly can improve the accuracy which is something important for professionals.

Lastly, you want to elevate them to ear level, either by using a speaker stand, mounting them to a wall, or on a shelving unit with an open back.

Quick tip: Leave some space behind the speakers to allow for adequate airflow and to plug in any cables.

Experiment with proximity, positioning, and controls to find the sweet spot for audio that you are happy with.

Proper placement takes these speakers to another level.

3. Connecting Cables and Setting Up

Now for the final and most exciting step.

Connect the XLR or TRS cables from your interface outputs to the HS5s or HS8s rear panel.

Important: Make sure the left and right channels are matched properly.

For computer use, a USB audio interface with 1/4″ outputs can also connect with a high quality TS cable.

Plug in the power cables to the rear panel and into the closest power outlet.

I recommend using an isolation transformer to prevent any electrical noise from passing into your speakers.

This is crucial if accuracy is important to you.

We highly recommend this isolation transformer, as it has a warranty and surge protection.

Now you should be all set up with your HS5 or HS8 monitors.

What does Room Control do for Yamaha HS5 and Yamaha HS8?

The Room Control switch on the Yamaha HS5 and HS8 monitors allows you to compensate for any intensified bass caused by being in close proximity to a wall.

When placed near a wall or any hard surface, the Yamaha HS5 and HS8 monitors can output boomy, and exaggerated bass due to the audio waves reflecting off the wall.

yamaha hs8 room control switch

The room control switch applies an EQ cut to mitigate any excessive amplification.

It’s a really unique and useful speaker that Yamaha has implemented here as most people will have it near a wall or a hard surface.

So when to use it?

Switch on room control when speakers are closer than around 1-2 feet from a wall. It tightens up the bass for a more accurate response.

Yamaha HS5 vs HS8 – Who Wins?

The Yamaha HS8 is the clear winner here, but it is more expensive.

With more accurate highs and mids vs. the HS5 and a respectable bass reproduction, there’s no denying it here.

With that said, if you are just starting off or have a smaller budget, the HS5 will be more than good enough to get going and you can always upgrade in the future.

The HS5 still produces very accurate highs and mids, but a subwoofer might be required to get better lows.

We hope this helped make your decision easier!

About Shawn Shepherd

Hi, I'm the owner of the Hifi Guide and have been an audio lover enthusiast for over 16 years. I have a Bachelor's degree in Sound Engineering and I work on producing content for the Hifi Guide in my spare time. My love for audio stemmed from my Dad who was an audio technician, and now I share my knowledge here on this website!