Yamaha HS50M & HS10W
When people jump into recording and producing, the first thing that comes to mind, "I need flat speakers". More often than not, every speaker discussion comes back to how flat the response is compared to said A or B speaker. When I started producing, if you’d like to call it that, I worked on a 2.1 Hi-fi Altec Lansing speaker system I got from a local Fry’s Electronics Store. How I managed to work on projects when I couldn't hear anything above 7 kHz was beside me.
The time came where I needed to upgrade my monitoring chain. I did the same thing as every one of you, spent countless hours looking through Sweetwater, Vintage King, Guitar Center, and every possible thread here on Gearslutz to get an idea of what I wanted, and could afford. The worst part is, after countless hours of never ending circles, we all still looked blankly up at our ceilings unsure what to get.
First Impressions -
When I made the plunge with the Yamaha HS50's, I wasn't sure what to expect. All I really knew was that the HS Series was the updated little brother of the NS10's. Regardless, these were my first studio monitors and I was ecstatic. With my first few critical listening sessions, I was blown away by the sheer detail these monitors exposed.
On the back side of the Yamaha HS50 rest four EQ options. A +/- 2db Hi-Shelf filter at 3 KHz is the first of the four. When set to +2db, they imitate their legendary older brothers, the NS10M's. Accompanying the Hi-Shelf, there is a +/- 2db Bell filter at 2khz, a 80/100hz Hi-Pass filter, and for helping accommodate any bass buildup, there is a -2/-4 dB Low-Shelf filter at 500hz named, “Room Control”.
Dropping a pin on an acapella take is precise and audible. You can even count how many times it bounces off the floor. Okay, maybe I'm exaggerating, but the highs of these are precise and give you the air and clarity you need to let any mix, "breath". If anything regarding the high end of your mix isn’t right, the HS50’s will tell you. From sibilance in a vocal track, the snare in a drum kit, or a cymbal / hi-hat with too much high end, you will hear it, and you will hear it immediately.
I’ve found that upon setting the Hi-Shelf EQ to +2db at 3khz, accompanied with the +2db bell at 2khz, I can go in much deeper into the mix, allowing me to be very precise and surgical with my EQ. As a lot of you know, there’s no better feeling then checking your mixes in headphones and having them sound identical to your monitors.
When it comes down to it, mid-range is the only part of music that everyone single speaker can play back. While some people might have huge subwoofers, others might be listening on something like the 2.1 Altec Lansing setup I was talking about earlier. I consider the mid-range to be 600hz to 3.5khz and these speakers do an excellent job at reproducing that key region.
For those not fortunate enough to pair the HS10W subwoofer with these, you’re missing it. While these monitors are overall amazing, the low end is where these monitors meet their defeat. With their frequency response ending at 40hz, there is a lot left to be wanted. The low end rumble of an electronic kick drum can’t be heard properly. To compensate, many end up turning up their low minds resulting in a muddy mix. You can take that from me, I did it, many times..
If you’re an artist that’s recording yourself singing, some piano, or guitar, the monitors themselves would be great. The high’s and mid-range of these speakers translate very well and you can be rest assured that you’ll be happy with your investment.
After countless hours of fighting with my speakers to give me true bass definition, I opted to get the HS10w. After reading all the reviews about it, I came across one review that said, "I don't know why I didn't get this sooner". That completely sums up how I feel about the Yamaha Subwoofer.
First Impressions -
Upon introducing a subwoofer, everything I listened too sounded muddy and unclear in the low end. The low end was there but it wasn’t defined as I’d hope. That’s when I realized I was having my HS50’s and my HS10W attempting to cover the same low range frequencies.
I found the best sounding crossover point with the HS50 and HS10W to be at 80 Hz. 100 Hz took out a lot of the punch from the kick drum and almost sounded as if someone threw a blanket on the 80-200Hz range.
The HS10W is your missing puzzle piece to your monitoring chain. With the frequencies response of 30Hz-180HZ and an 8” 120watt down-firing subwoofer, worries about your low end will become a thing of the past.
For the HS50’s retailing at $199 each, or $400 a pair, these monitors are a steal for what you get in the terms of quality and true sound. Combined with what could be called a 4 band EQ, these monitors can be adjusted to sound great in any environment or upon taste. The HS10W is the perfect addition to these almost perfect project studio monitors. With that retailing at $399, you can get that much closer to producing something you’ll be proud to stand behind.
A home theater system is one thing; an audiophile’s theater system is another. This will get you to the post house in which they mixed the movie.