Yamaha HS80M by jpanderson80
The Yamaha HS80M monitors throw a nod to the classic NS-10 monitors. The white cones, black enclosures and honest referencing are the features that will immediately remind you of the classics. But the HS80M is a newer version - featuring new updates...
The monitors are powered, with 120 watts of bi-amped power for the 8 inch woofer (75w) and 1 inch tweeter (45w). The monitors accept input from both balanced and unbalanced XLR and TRS signals. Also found on the rear of each monitor is a flexible EQ section. This includes four parts: Mid EQ, Room Control, High Trim and Low Cut. Boosts and cuts can be made here to help fine tune your listening environment. Or one can choose to leave the settings in the "flat" position, to neutralize the monitors from influencing a tuned room.
Overall, in my experience these monitors are simple, and provide easy listening. Clarity has not been a problem. For around $350 each (retail) they represent the leader in my mind for value and performance in the "Under $1,000/pair" category. Compared to other monitors in this category in a head to head listening situation, I noticed that the HS80M's were not as beautiful in the high mids. They were not harsh, by any means, but not as enjoyably pristine. In mixes, I've found no problems with this range of frequencies. Ear fatigue has not been an issue, even after extended sessions.
Low end: The 8 inch woofer certainly helps the user find those low end frequencies easier, with the HS80M capable of reproducing tones from 42Hz to 20kHz. After studying some reference tracks and listening to the low end on these monitors, I was able to reproduce a nice bass and kick sounds without much guessing-burning CD-running to the car-etc... It is nice to be able to trust your monitors and ears in this regard.
CONCLUSION: While the Yamaha HS80M are not the most fantastic sounding monitors available in their price range, they are tremendous for performing their specific duty: producing a listening experience that allows the engineer to produce a mix that will translate well to other systems/environments. They truly follow in the footsteps of the NS-10, by the old mantra: "If it sounds good on the HS80M's then it will sound good anywhere." And being able to trust a mix, it is a benefit that an engineer cannot overlook.