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Yamaha HS7 Monitors Fatiguing Ears or is it a bad room? Studio Monitors
Old 10th January 2019
  #1
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Yamaha HS7 Monitors Fatiguing Ears or is it a bad room?

Hi everyone,

I have been searching & reading through similar threads trying to find a solution for an on-going problem of ear fatigue with my current bedroom studio setup, but am still stumped and not sure what to do. I'm an electronic producer / singer / songwriter mostly working on my own daily (about 3-5 hrs ea day, sometimes more).

I have a small - medium sized room (~8' x 12'), my set up consisting of a standing desk with laptop going to an external monitor that sits on a wall mounted shelf. The set up is oriented the short way in the room as there is a rather large window on one end. Audio is being processed by a Scarlet 2i4 interface and then played through a pair of Yamaha HS7 Studio Monitors which sit on their own stands about 6" from the wall and have thin foam pads to sit on for isolation.

Before they were sitting on the wooden shelf w/o isolation, so putting them on stands and farther apart has definitely helped tame things a bit.

My listening position is about 45" from each speaker, and they are about that distance from each other as well.

I have been planning to add some simple acoustic foam treatment to my room, as I'm aware that this will help tame reflections and harshness, but even without treatment, I feel that this set up is causing me abnormal ear fatigue when I monitor at a sometimes very quiet level (45-55 db) turning it up sometimes to hear specific things (roommate who also has HS7s doesn't seem to have the same issue). I even have tried to get in the habit of taking more breaks and walking around, but it doesn't seem to be enough.

So, I guess I'm wondering...is it possible that these speakers are just not the right match for me? I like the clarity they give, but I didn't have this problem until I upgraded to them from cheap M-Audio monitors (I do spend a lot more time working on music now though) and ever since its been giving me ear pain, headaches, etc after as little as an hour or two of use. I do seem to have sensitive ears, but only since using these speakers have I had issues. Of course now that I am regularly fatigued in my ears, other things will sometimes bother me, but it seems clearly tied to the time in the studio.

Will treating my room as best as I can be enough to solve this problem or should I swap them for something that sounds, to me, softer? I will be treating the room soon regardless, but at this point, I'm quite fed up with them and don't want to waste any more time if they are making things worse.

ps. I have seen an ENT about this and I am being treated for allergies, which could possibly have a connection, but hearing is above average, and nothing seems to make the issue go away other than time out of the studio :(
Old 10th January 2019
  #2
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edva's Avatar
Going by what you have posted, I would guess that it does have something to do with your allergies and "sensitive ears", along with spending more time in the studio.
Possibly you have also made yourself somewhat hyper-aware of the issue, making it seem even worse than it actually is.
The H7's however are in fact a tiny bit "ragged" or "edgy" sounding in the upper registers, to me, except of course around 7kHz where they have that very noticeable dip. So it is possible another model would be a better fit for you. Maybe something with a beryllium tweeter, or a folded ribbon style.
And of course stray reflections either off your desk or something else in your space might be contributing to the problem.
Again, only guesses. Hope some of that is helpful. Keep taking breaks, that is good practice regardless. Good luck.
Old 10th January 2019
  #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by edva View Post
Going by what you have posted, I would guess that it does have something to do with your allergies and "sensitive ears", along with spending more time in the studio.
Possibly you have also made yourself somewhat hyper-aware of the issue, making it seem even worse than it actually is.
The H7's however are in fact a tiny bit "ragged" or "edgy" sounding in the upper registers, to me, except of course around 7kHz where they have that very noticeable dip. So it is possible another model would be a better fit for you. Maybe something with a beryllium tweeter, or a folded ribbon style.
And of course stray reflections either off your desk or something else in your space might be contributing to the problem.
Again, only guesses. Hope some of that is helpful. Keep taking breaks, that is good practice regardless. Good luck.
Hey edva,

Thanks for your reply. So you don't think the HS7's + untreated room alone would be enough to cause excess fatigue with average ears? I am working with audio at my setup nearly every day and so, because I'm experience fatigue a lot, I'm probably starting off in the negative, I guess.
Old 10th January 2019
  #4
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edva's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by mgreiner07 View Post
Hey edva,

Thanks for your reply. So you don't think the HS7's + untreated room alone would be enough to cause excess fatigue with average ears? I am working with audio at my setup nearly every day and so, because I'm experience fatigue a lot, I'm probably starting off in the negative, I guess.
You are welcome. That's not exactly what I'm saying. In fact, due to the slightly "rough" texture to the highs on the HS7's (which I bought as a second set in my studio) I could see them causing fatigue, especially in an untreated small space.
They are good speakers for the money, don't get me wrong. But smooth highs are not their strength, IMHO.
And also yes, working every day, with an "apprehension" of fatigue to start with, is probably also a contributing factor.
Old 10th January 2019
  #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by edva View Post
You are welcome. That's not exactly what I'm saying. In fact, due to the slightly "rough" texture to the highs on the HS7's (which I bought as a second set in my studio) I could see them causing fatigue, especially in an untreated small space.
They are good speakers for the money, don't get me wrong. But smooth highs are not their strength, IMHO.
And also yes, working every day, with an "apprehension" of fatigue to start with, is probably also a contributing factor.
OK, well I ordered some very basic foam panels to see if I can't deaden the room a bit, so hopefully that will do a lot of work.
Old 10th January 2019
  #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mgreiner07 View Post
OK, well I ordered some very basic foam panels to see if I can't deaden the room a bit, so hopefully that will do a lot of work.
Please don't.
Old 10th January 2019
  #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JayPee View Post
Please don't.
Aside from them being cheap, care to explain?
Old 10th January 2019
  #8
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Well, I'll tend to disagree that the hs5 and 7's are good speakers, I think they're terrible. Your mid range is gonna translate well but they are extremely fatiguing monitors. I sent my hs5's back as they caused sinus pressure issues thanks to that awful mid range peak. Room treatment isn't going to solve anything, the fatigue is just how the speakers are voiced.

You can get some info into the 5's (pretty much the same thing as the 7's with ever so slightly more energy from the woofer) from sonarworks, they cover the mid range issue.

Yamaha HS5 Studio Monitor Review – Sonarworks

I would highly advise just getting a different pair of monitors. I was never able to overcome the fatigue and my ears never got used to them. I didn't like the low end on my 5's, didn't like the smeared unfocused top end, and the mid range gave me headaches within seconds of using the speaker.

With that said I currently use the hs8's because they don't suffer from any of the issues that the hs5 and 7's do. I find them to be very neutral and love how my mixes translate.
Old 10th January 2019
  #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by FoundationsAudio View Post
Well, I'll tend to disagree that the hs5 and 7's are good speakers, I think they're terrible. Your mid range is gonna translate well but they are extremely fatiguing monitors. I sent my hs5's back as they caused sinus pressure issues thanks to that awful mid range peak. Room treatment isn't going to solve anything, the fatigue is just how the speakers are voiced.

You can get some info into the 5's (pretty much the same thing as the 7's with ever so slightly more energy from the woofer) from sonarworks, they cover the mid range issue.

Yamaha HS5 Studio Monitor Review – Sonarworks

I would highly advise just getting a different pair of monitors. I was never able to overcome the fatigue and my ears never got used to them. I didn't like the low end on my 5's, didn't like the smeared unfocused top end, and the mid range gave me headaches within seconds of using the speaker.

With that said I currently use the hs8's because they don't suffer from any of the issues that the hs5 and 7's do. I find them to be very neutral and love how my mixes translate.
Wow, thanks for this reply. Having a small room, I'm concerned about going to an even larger speaker, but do you know of any monitors in a similar price range that might have a softer roll off? I think I'll keep the treatment regardless as its been on my to-do list for quite awhile, but I'd love to fix the problem at the source.

While, I understand this is subjective, did you notice a significant improvement immediately after switching the monitors?
Old 10th January 2019
  #10
Gear Maniac
 

I've heard several different opinions on big monitors in small rooms and I don't really know whether it's a good or bad idea. I used to have some behringer 2031's that I used in a 12x14' room. I ended up moving to a smaller room and got smaller monitors but not because of the woofer size but the cabinets were just taking up too much space. I've ended up on HS8's in my small room, it's gotta be like 10x12' with a chunk taken out of one end. HS8's work fine in here. Someone else knows more about that than me, I recall an article I was skimming the other day that stated larger coned monitors can be beneficial in small rooms due to increased directivity. No idea if that's actually the case.

There was an immediate improvement because that goddamn mid range peak was gone finally. I think it has to due with the waveguide used on the series, the smaller the waveguide gets the worse the response, at least with hs series. I assume they all use the same tweeter just with different waveguides.
Old 10th January 2019
  #11
get some better treatment for the wall behind the speakers and move them out - I think 6" clearance for speakers of that size is not enough.

how loud is your playback volume typically?
Old 10th January 2019
  #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bonzo4880 View Post
get some better treatment for the wall behind the speakers and move them out - I think 6" clearance for speakers of that size is not enough.

how loud is your playback volume typically?
I agree, but I don't have much space for that. I'll see what I can do. I usually playback quite softly. Maybe 50-60 dB if my phone app is accurate.
Old 10th January 2019
  #13
Quote:
Originally Posted by mgreiner07 View Post
I agree, but I don't have much space for that. I'll see what I can do. I usually playback quite softly. Maybe 50-60 dB if my phone app is accurate.
it's not related to your initial post regarding the fatigue, but I find it hard to believe you are getting accurate reproduction in a room of that size, combined with monitors of that size and no treatment. My monitors used to be that close to the wall - and the difference was night and day when I moved them out closer to 1'.

Those apps aren't perfect but close enough for this purpose. That level is pretty reasonable IMO,
Old 11th January 2019
  #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bonzo4880 View Post
it's not related to your initial post regarding the fatigue, but I find it hard to believe you are getting accurate reproduction in a room of that size, combined with monitors of that size and no treatment. My monitors used to be that close to the wall - and the difference was night and day when I moved them out closer to 1'.

Those apps aren't perfect but close enough for this purpose. That level is pretty reasonable IMO,
Fair enough. I'm not overly concerned with getting a perfect mix, although it is obviously helpful. I generally plan to send my tracks to a mix engineer after I finish with them, but yeah, I agree. I might actually swap these out for a 5 or 6" monitor size.
Old 12th January 2019
  #15
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For anyone who still cares, I went to test out a few different monitors in a similar price range as the HS7 and ended up swapping them for the Adam T5V (had no idea there was an Adam model at this price point). I decided to go down to a 5" monitor to help get them away from the walls and hopefully get a more accurate mix in the small space I'm afforded. At the shop, I immediately noticed when comparing the HS7 and the Adams were much more pleasant and so much less harsh. I'm pretty confident that they will be better for my purposes. In contrast, I also listened the JBL LSR305s and they seemed underwhelming for only being $50 less per monitor.

I'll post another update after I get some hours in on the Adams.

Thanks to everyone who took the time to consider my situation. I appreciate it.
Old 12th January 2019
  #16
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edva's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by FoundationsAudio View Post
Well, I'll tend to disagree that the hs5 and 7's are good speakers, I think they're terrible.

I would highly advise just getting a different pair of monitors.

With that said I currently use the hs8's because they don't suffer from any of the issues that the hs5 and 7's do. I find them to be very neutral and love how my mixes translate.
Well that's interesting, given that the 7's and 8's use the same crossover, and the same tweeter. Go figure......

Agreed, time for new monitors, glad the OP got there
Old 12th January 2019
  #17
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DrAudioBot's Avatar
HS7 are great but the ear fatigue is the reason why I sold them a year ago (and went back to JBL 305).
Old 12th January 2019
  #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mgreiner07 View Post
For anyone who still cares, I went to test out a few different monitors in a similar price range as the HS7 and ended up swapping them for the Adam T5V (had no idea there was an Adam model at this price point). I decided to go down to a 5" monitor to help get them away from the walls and hopefully get a more accurate mix in the small space I'm afforded. At the shop, I immediately noticed when comparing the HS7 and the Adams were much more pleasant and so much less harsh. I'm pretty confident that they will be better for my purposes. In contrast, I also listened the JBL LSR305s and they seemed underwhelming for only being $50 less per monitor.

I'll post another update after I get some hours in on the Adams.

Thanks to everyone who took the time to consider my situation. I appreciate it.
The general consensus around here is that you should keep the speakers up close against the wall however!
Old 12th January 2019
  #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by edva View Post
Well that's interesting, given that the 7's and 8's use the same crossover, and the same tweeter. Go figure......

Agreed, time for new monitors, glad the OP got there
I don't really understand it, but I have the 8's and and used to have the 5's and they are nothing a like. I haven't used the 7's in my room but I have heard them and they had the same mid range issue. The only thing I can think of is that they all have different sized waveguides. If you look at that handy set of measurements yamaha has for the series it's almost as if you can see the top end smooth out as the wave guide size increases.

Quote:
Originally Posted by melopie View Post
The general consensus around here is that you should keep the speakers up close against the wall however!
I've heard that too and with my room I definitely hear an improvement with them closer to the wall than away.
Old 13th January 2019
  #20
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edva's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by melopie View Post
The general consensus around here is that you should keep the speakers up close against the wall however!

There may be a general consensus. Interestingly enough, I had the opposite experience, and found a spot about three feet off the rear wall where the sound seemed to be the best, subjectively, and measured flatter as well.
After experiencing that first hand, I always suggest that it may be beneficial to experiment with placement and location before settling. It made a nice improvement in my case anyway. (With my main speakers, DAS Monitor 8's.) YMMV of course.

Last edited by edva; 16th January 2019 at 04:14 PM.. Reason: -
Old 16th January 2019
  #21
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Quote:
Originally Posted by melopie View Post
The general consensus around here is that you should keep the speakers up close against the wall however!
Is this true? Have I been reading bad advice? It seems many people suggest the opposite.

Update:

The new monitors are certainly less fatiguing and I am very happy I switched over to them. They also seem more accurate mix-wise. I think the spike in the mids-high freq on the HS7 caused my perception of pitch (slight) on some tracks I'm working on to be off, but it could also be because of increased reflections from before i treated the room.

Anyway, I did a session today and I am still getting fatigued sooner than what seems normal (not as bad as before). I'm wondering if it has to do with using too much compression on my channels? I tend to mix as I go, but should I be waiting to apply compression until the very end for my ear sake?

Thoughts?
Old 4 weeks ago
  #22
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Davidestrelinha's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by mgreiner07 View Post
Is this true? Have I been reading bad advice? It seems many people suggest the opposite.

Update:

The new monitors are certainly less fatiguing and I am very happy I switched over to them. They also seem more accurate mix-wise. I think the spike in the mids-high freq on the HS7 caused my perception of pitch (slight) on some tracks I'm working on to be off, but it could also be because of increased reflections from before i treated the room.

Anyway, I did a session today and I am still getting fatigued sooner than what seems normal (not as bad as before). I'm wondering if it has to do with using too much compression on my channels? I tend to mix as I go, but should I be waiting to apply compression until the very end for my ear sake?

Thoughts?
What does the compression have to do with your ears? You just need to work 1hour and stop 15 minutes. Try to produce at lower volumes..
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