I purchased a pair of Yamaha HS50M monitor speakers after becoming tired of trying my mixes on various HiFi systems, car stereos etc, and not being sure which one was most accurate.
Producing music in a small room is always challenging, and if I had more space, I’d have probably gone for the larger HS80M monitors. But these do the job nicely.
The first thing that you notice is just how small they are — they are about 6.5″ wide, 10.5″ high and 8″ deep.
From the top, the rear panel has:
- An input level control
- A choice of two connectors for balanced audio input: a 0.25″ TRS jack, and a 3-pin XLR. (You can only use one or the other.)
- Switches to trim the frequency response to suit room acoustics / taste. (I left them at 0dB.)
- Power switch
- Mains input
The built-in amplifier is rated at 70 W, and the claimed frequency response is 55 Hz — 20 kHz, although that’s a bit misleading, as it’s to -10 dB, rather than the more common -3 dB! Still, it’s good to know that they’re capable of generating some sound at the low end.
They arrived before I got the Mackie Big Knob, which I’d ordered the the same time, but I was keen to try them. So I hooked up a personal CD player and played Inside My Love by Minnie Riperton. I was astonished by the clarity.
As expected, there’s not a huge amount of bass, but it sounds tight and well-controlled. They should certainly help you hear details that you might otherwise miss.
Although I generally work at low-medium levels most of the time, they are plenty loud enough for a small room.
I got some foam stands to raise them up a little, and isolate them from my table. I’d initially planned to put them on a shelf, but the table proved to be the better position in the end.
As with anything new, you’ll need to spend time listening to reference tracks which you know really well, to get used to how things should sound. Having some high-end headphones and something with more bass for A/B checks is also useful.
The instruction booklet is a delight. It’s very practical and down-to-earth, with just the right amount of detail.
Some remarks made me smile, such as ‘Admittedly the obstacles to perfect speaker positioning in the small studio are formidable’.
I’ve found the Yamaha HS50M speakers to be a useful tool when making music on a fairly low budget, and I don’t regret buying them.
The model reviewed (and the larger version) are no longer available from Amazon, so these links point to their successors.
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