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Yamaha HS5 Powered Monitor Review

amirm

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#1
This is a review and detailed measurements of the Yamaha HS5 Powered Monitor (speaker). I purchased it this afternoon for US $200 which is the price that it goes for everywhere. This is for a single unit by the way.

The industrial design of the HS5 is fantastic:

Yamaha HS5 Studio Monitor Powered Speaker Review.jpg
Get the larger ones and I am sure you can charge another $10/hour for your mix. :)

Fit and finish seems nice with a solid single enclosure encompassing the baffle (front and surround).

Here is a shot of the back:
Yamaha HS5 Studio Monitor Powered Speaker Back Panel Connectors Review.jpg

I have not read the manual but while I was setting it up, turned itself off, ruining my first measurement. :( Don't know why there is no auto-on-off switch anymore on monitors.

Note that there is no RCA jack. For my listening tests I just used a TRS to RCA and it worked fine. The acoustic measurements were made by driving the XLR connection from the Klippel KA3 analyzer balanced output.

Temperature during the test was a "balmy" 57 degrees F. Testing is 10 foot above sea level. :)

As noted, the unit is brand new. I thought of breaking it first but figure it would then not make any sound so decided against it.

Speaker Acoustic Measurements
Measurements were performed using Klippel Near-field Scanner which eliminates the effects of reflections and noise in my measurement room. So the results are comparable to "anachoic chamber."

As usual, we start with our CEA/CTA-2034 spinorama graph:

Yamaha HS5 Studio Monitor Powered Speaker CEA 2034 Spinorama Audio Measurements.png


The Klippen NFS nicely gets rid of room modes and gives us ruler flat bass response all the way to nearly 400 Hz. But there is some unfortunate peaking that lasts quite a while until 2 kHz or so. There is some unevenness above that as well.

Fortunately our early window directivity (dashed blue) shows a rather smooth curve so some amount of EQ may be effective in killing some of that peaking.

Taking into account reflections in a "typical room" we get a predicted in-room response of:

Yamaha HS5 Studio Monitor Powered Speaker CEA 2034 Spinorama Predicted In-room Response Audio ...png


We yet again see the excess energy in mid-frequencies. But also a graph that averages to a straight line. Ideally we see one that is sloping down. Otherwise the speaker is going to sound "bright."

Story is told then. On-axis is not flat as it should be. And we have too much high frequency energy. If you are doing your mix using this with no EQ, you will be creating a dull mix with mid-range sucked out.

For advanced readers, we have more measurements.

Advanced Speaker Measurements
A member post this little graph saying Harman has measured this speaker and showed this for its spinorama:
Yamaha HS5 Studio Monitor Powered Speaker CEA 2034 Spinorama vs Anechoic Measurement Audio Mea...png


We have excellent agreement until we get to > 10 kHz. It is possible our microphones differ a bit in that region or the speaker samples are different. The important aspects are identical though from flat bass to peak around 1 kHz.

Horizontal reflections are not that bad:

Yamaha HS5 Studio Monitor Powered Speaker CEA 2034 Spinorama Horizontal Reflections Audio Meas...png


Vertical though as is often the case is much rougher;
Yamaha HS5 Studio Monitor Powered Speaker CEA 2034 Spinorama Vertical Reflections Audio Measur...png


If you need more absorption in your room floor and ceiling would make good candidates as noted.

Yamaha HS5 Studio Monitor Powered Speaker CEA 2034 Spinorama Full Horizontal Reflections Audio...png


Yamaha HS5 Studio Monitor Powered Speaker CEA 2034 Spinorama Full Vertical Reflections Audio M...png


If you are a fan of the step function that stereophile published, today is your happy day:

Yamaha HS5 Studio Monitor Powered Speaker Step Response Audio Measurements.png


Finally the pretty contour shots:
Yamaha HS5 Studio Monitor Powered Speaker Horizontal Contour.png


Yamaha HS5 Studio Monitor Powered Speaker Vertical Contour.png



Distortion Measurements
Got tired of you all asking for this so here is the first draft:

Yamaha HS5 Studio Monitor Powered Speaker Distortion Noise and SPL Audio Measurements.png


The top-graph shows the in-room (in-lab) measurement including reflections. We see that the peaking mid-range is still there.

My measurement mic does not have much travel so I have standardized on 1/3 meter distance from tweeter. To compute 90 dB at 2 meter SPL, I shoot for 106 dB given the shorter distance.

We see that the distortion products are all from the woofer. Shown as a percentage we see this more clearly:

Yamaha HS5 Studio Monitor Powered Speaker Distortion Noise Percentage Measurements.png


Thankfully the distortion is low where our hearing is astonishingly more sensitive (2 to 5 kHz).

During the sweeps, the port, pardon my language, farted like nobody's business. It didn't seem like port noise but some kind of nasty high rate brrrrrrrrrrr noise. :) Stuffed some cotton in the port but then I could hear it from the front. This at the start of the sweep which makes me think is responsible for those large peaks below 100 Hz. It would have been worse if the port had been in the front. You sure as heck don't want to experience that "fart" facing you....

I was going to post the CSD waterfall but I cannot make any sense out of it so I am not.

Informal Listening Test
Told my wife to turn off the TV sound so I could get ready to listen to the speakers, not realizing it was in the middle of something she was doing. She shut down the TV but I sensed this was not the time to ask her to participate in another listening test. :) So this is me alone, sighted and all. If you don't like it, skip to conclusions.

I level matched the JBL LSR 305P Mark II against the Yamaha HS5 although it didn't seem to be necessary. The Yamaha HS5 came closest to give the JBL a competition from the few I have tested. It had a clean and rather flat sound. Alas, it has no bass or low end. The JBL sounded like it had a little subwoofer in it by comparison. In that regard, it may be considered a bit "boomy" but I am saying that with the slightest hint of being so relative to Yamaha. If I were to give the JBL a score of 8, then Yamaha would get 5 or 6.

Conclusions
It is a relief to not find the Yamaha HS5 a piece of garbage. Could not imagine 2000 people who bought it on Amazon descending on me to complain. :) It is a "good" speaker. Just not ideal or excellent as it should be. The excess mid-range and lack of any oomph in 200 to 400 Hz makes it very bass shy sounding.

Yamaha nails the looks though for such a budget product. Overall, the HS5 powered monitor is "fine."

P.S. Text files are enclosed for some of the measurements.

------------
As always, questions, comments, recommendations, etc. are welcome.

Probably spent near $1,000 buying speakers to test and so I am deeply "broke." Don't even know what I am going to have for lunch tomorrow. Don't let me stay in this funk and donate what you can using: https://www.audiosciencereview.com/forum/index.php?threads/how-to-support-audio-science-review.8150/
 

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maxxevv

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#2
Interesting. I thought I was imagining things when I had a brief audition of it a year or so ago, thought it somewhat sounded "bright" though most of the online chatter suggests that its an excellent set of speakers.

Great to see that I was picking out the correct listening impression of them.
 

Sancus

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#3
Thanks for continuing to post the contour plots, and for all the data files. It's very much appreciated.

Although I think you are being a bit more gentle with this review(and the panther), because as far as I can tell this speaker still compares pretty poorly with the JBL 305p?

That 6db peak at 1khz seems pretty bad, especially the way it affects the dispersion which looks very uneven around that frequency.
 

pierre

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#4
This one is measured at 100dB (others at 85dB spl). Is that on purpose? That is a serious output by the way.
as always, great work, this speaker reviews are the best threads on ASR so for for me.
 
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#6
Listened to that one not that long ago, also confirms my impression that some frequency were too forward in the mid range and bass thin, i didn't like it at all in the low end. But i think it's not that bad to work with a monitor like that, just not a good choice to listen to actual music with it. Still better than a NS10, it would be interesting to test one, as so many records have been mixed with this speaker, and still to this day, plenty still check their mixes on a NS10.
 

Putter

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#7
It strikes me as a 'mixers' monitor like the (in)famous Yamaha NS10 where if you could get your mix to sound good on those, they would sound good on anything.

Attached is a frequency response from a Sound on Sound article. Note the similarities, an elevated midrange and depressed bass.
 

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gvl

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#8
Funny but I was reading about Yamaha NS-10 monitors on wikipedia today: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Yamaha_NS-10 . Seems this is their signature sound that makes them valuable for studios.

In simplistic terms, the NS-10 possesses sonic characteristics that allow record producers to assume that if a recording sounds good on these monitors, then it should sound good on most playback systems.
 

daverosenthal

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#9
So, we've been working on listener preference metrics in another thread. Below is an analysis that uses the predicted-in-room frequency data posted above to show the HS5 response corrected for the Harmon target, which is a 9dB downward trend from 20hz to 20kHz. So, in this graph, an ideal speaker would show a flat response.

HS5.png


Some commentary: This clearly shows how the bass below ~600hz is really shelved down. The 5.4dB of "cool tilt" is even more than the NHT M-00 (4.1 db "too cold") while the Revel C52 was near perfect (just 0.6 dB "too cold"). The narrow band deviation (NBD) is a key addition here. NBD is a highly predictive factor in listener preference discovered by Sean Olive's research at Harmon. (It measures how much variation there is in local 1/2 octave bands.) Here the HS5 scores 0.40 (lower is better). That compares to the NHT at 0.41 and the Revel at 0.32. A -6db point at 64hz is pretty good, but it's getting hard to judge as the overall bass is shelved down so far relative to the average RMS energy produced. (The -3db point is octaves higher!)
 
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napilopez

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#10
Thanks Amir! this seems to be very much in line with Yamaha's typical sound. My guess is they're trying to keep that NS10 heritage.

The good news: The DI curve is very smooth around that 1K peak. EQ that sucker out, and tilt the response down a few dB (or listen well off axis) and you should be good to go :).
 

Wombat

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#11
It strikes me as a 'mixers' monitor like the (in)famous Yamaha NS10 where if you could get your mix to sound good on those, they would sound good on anything.

Attached is a frequency response from a Sound on Sound article. Note the similarities, an elevated midrange and depressed bass.
You beat me to it. :)

SOS article

A closer look and Curves Comparison response curves the NS 10 and for another 35 monitors included - FR, waterfalls and impulse

Inverted F-M curve? https://tektondesign.wordpress.com/...atest-loudspeaker-in-history-the-yamaha-ns10/

I can remember a DIY crossover mod on the WWW but have not been able to find it again.

This monitor was designed by the revered Akira Nakamura to his objectives. It was not a lesser designers mistake. It was intended for domestic use initially and the the M was added for marketing to studios in which it was meant to be used horizontally.

Those who don't understand how it is meant to be used have unfairly maligned it for years. I still have my NS10Ms(purchased new around 35 years ago).
 
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rajapruk

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#12
The elevated midrange is done deliberately, I think. As a compensation for the ”one toothed comb” (see Toole’s book, chapter named like that) fault in stereophonic sound reproduction.

A lot of speaker designers does not agree that this Harman-influenced test suite you are doing is the ultimate test result goal to acheive.
For example, it does not take the floor in to considerarion for floor-placed speakers. Or the wall behind wall-mounted speakers.

Can the Klippel NFS emulate close intended boundaries? That would be nice.
 
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Mnyb

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#13
But would not a purpose built skewed control room acoustic ( including speakers ) just add more to the circle of confusion ?
Sound good everywhere can not be a goal ? Why not make it simply sound good when mixing then we who cares could enjoy and the wast majority who don’t care would not know the difference :)
 

maxxevv

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The elevated midrange is done deliberately, I think. As a compensation for the ”one toothed comb” (see Toole’s book, chapter named like that) fault in stereophonic sound reproduction.

A lot of speaker designers does not agree that this Harman-influenced test suite you are doing is the ultimate test result goal to acheive.
For example, it does not take the floor in to considerarion for floor-placed speakers. Or the wall behind wall-mounted speakers.

Can the Klippel NFS emulate close intended boundaries? That would be nice.
As Mnyb has rightly pointed out below, how do you model that floor or back wall into measurements ? Different materials, distances, room size effects all come into play if you want to consider back walls and floor reflections though. Some people use carpet, some have drywalls, some have brick walls, some have insulated drywalls, some have wood over cement, some have wood over beam floors. All will affect how sound propagates in a room too. So where to draw a line on the sand for all these variables ?

Manufacturers and consumers would be better off if the designers give specific instructions on their design goals and usage parameters for best optimisation instead for such cases. Such as the NS10 mentioned here.

But would not a purpose built skewed control room acoustic ( including speakers ) just add more to the circle of confusion ?
Sound good everywhere can not be a goal ? Why not make it simply sound good when mixing then we who cares could enjoy and the wast majority who don’t care would not know the difference :)
 
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#15
I once read someone hypothesising that the NS10 was favoured for monitoring because of its fast response - something to do with the woofer construction being a straight cone with a seam rather than a curved funnel shape, and that this only worked because it was sealed. Don't recall the specifics, and can't remember where I read/heard it, so maybe it's BS. Interesting though.
 

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I once read someone hypothesising that the NS10 was favoured for monitoring because of its fast response - something to do with the woofer construction being a straight cone with a seam rather than a curved funnel shape, and that this only worked because it was sealed. Don't recall the specifics, and can't remember where I read/heard it, so maybe it's BS. Interesting though.
Seems to align with Yamaha's description of the woofer/speaker. https://mpe.berklee.edu/documents/studio/manuals/monitors/Yamaha NS-10m/Yamaha NS10m.pdf

And section 6, Summary. here.

I agree with the summary with my experience of my NS 10Ms.
 

napilopez

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#18
The elevated midrange is done deliberately, I think. As a compensation for the ”one toothed comb” (see Toole’s book, chapter named like that) fault in stereophonic sound reproduction.

A lot of speaker designers does not agree that this Harman-influenced test suite you are doing is the ultimate test result goal to acheive.
For example, it does not take the floor in to considerarion for floor-placed speakers. Or the wall behind wall-mounted speakers.

Can the Klippel NFS emulate close intended boundaries? That would be nice.
No, that happens higher. In a perfect equilateral triangle setup, the dip happens at 1.8Khz. it increases with frequency the narrower the triangle gets. 900Hz is too low.

Certainly there are designs that merit special consideration. I think it's fair to say that a bit of different priorities can be given to studio monitors, as the harman curve prioritizes living room setups. But the basic principles are still the same. Flattish on axis and smooth directivity.

Of course, there are some more niche setups that might require something different. Here's how one particular revel ceiling speaker that's measures (it tries to sound like front speakers from overhead):
1579426745812.png
 

maty

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#19
...I can remember a DIY crossover mod on the WWW but have not been able to find it again.

A lot of pictures and graphs!

Upgrading some Yamaha studio monitors, by Danny Richie
https://www.audiocircle.com/index.php?topic=144300.0
I designed an upgrade for the Yamaha Studio NS-10M several years ago and just haven't had time to post anything on them.

CSD original






With Danny Richie crossover






https://www.audiocircle.com/index.php?topic=144300.msg1542374#msg1542374
...I have sold four or five of these upgrades just from word of mouth and feedback from studio to studio as they contacted one another. I love getting those calls after the upgrades are installed. The difference on these speakers is substantial and most of the guys that are used to listening to these speakers are freaked out by how much better they sound.

Every studio out there using these old speakers needs this upgrade. So you guys feel free to share this with your studio friends.

Related with CSD and their importance:

[Video] Speaker measurements by Danny Richie
https://www.audiosciencereview.com/...eo-speaker-measurements-by-danny-richie.8840/
 
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Hayabusa

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#20
No, I just didn't take the time to adjust the volume. :) It was well below max SPL.
Having some kind of standard level has preference, so 2.83volt input level, or if its an active speaker level it to 85db or so..

How long do you have this speaker?
If you can have it for a longer time you could do repeated measurements to see if the break-in effect can be seen...
 

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