Studio pros and at-home artists alike have long turned to Yamaha for many of their recording studio needs. For several decades, Yamaha has cranked out high-quality studio monitors that show up in many professional studio environments.
The company’s latest offering is the HS series, which builds on Yamaha’s long legacy of success. The HS series adds in some fantastic innovations and brings Yamaha’s lineup into the 21st century.
If you’re looking for an excellent upper-entry-level or midrange studio monitor, Yamaha’s HS series is likely already on your list of prospects. And if it isn’t, it should be.
There are three models in the HS series: the HS5, the HS7 and the HS8. Today we’re publishing our Yamaha HS7 review, but you can also check out our reviews of the HS5 and the HS8. Plus, check out our decider article, Which Yamaha Studio Monitor Speakers Are the Right Choice for You?
Now, on to our Yamaha HS7 Review!
Yamaha HS7 Overview
The Yamaha HS7 is an active, bi-amplified two-way monitor. It’s the middle monitor in the HS series lineup in every way: size, price and performance. You can often find a pair of Yamaha HS7 monitors for under $650, putting these studio monitors in a low to midrange price point.
The other speakers in the line have a woofer the same size as their number (a five-inch woofer in the HS5 and an eight-inch woofer n the HS8). The HS7 is the oddball, sporting a 6.5-inch woofer. For whatever reason, this size and naming convention has become pretty common among manufacturers.
With a 6.5-inch woofer and a one-inch tweeter, the HS7 can produce an impressive range of sound at a quite respectable volume, enough to fill most medium-sized rooms with ease.
The HS7 is designed to be set on a stand, shelf or desktop and does not have any mounting points for hanging or wall-mounting. If you need the ability to mount your monitors, you’ll end to look for the higher-priced HS7i. The HS7i variant includes mounting points on four sides.
Who the HS7 Is Most Suited For
As an active, bi-amplified two-way monitor, the Yamaha HS7 is ideal for many modern music production environments. As a larger and more powerful speaker than the HS5, the HS7 will produce a more robust and fuller sound. You’ll especially notice a difference on the low end, with a 6.5-inch woofer in place of a five-inch one.
The Yamaha HS7 is an ideal monitor for those working in a somewhat small to medium-sized room. The rear-vented bass ports need some room to breathe, and the speakers aren’t likely to overwhelm a decently-sized space.
They are, indeed, the middle of the pack. For larger spaces or more strenuous environments, the HS8 is probably the better choice. For much smaller spaces, the HS5 is. But for many average or slightly larger than average home studio spaces (and average commercial studio spaces), the Yamaha HS7 monitors will be the sweet spot you’re looking for.
You might also consider a Yamaha HS7 pair if you fall into one of these scenarios:
- You’ve been disappointed with five-inch monitors
- You’re upgrading from disappointing entry-level monitors
- You want to skip that disappointing level altogether
- The HS7 is the most speaker you can afford in your current budget
Search any audio gear forums and you’re bound to get mixed opinions (about everything, but in this case, we’re talking about the HS series and the HS7 in particular). But one common opinion is that the HS7 is the sweet spot in Yamaha’s range, for at-home artists at least.
Yamaha’s HS7 monitors list at $425 per speaker, or $850 for an HS7 monitor pair. For applications that require mounting points, you’ll need to choose the more expensive HS7i variant, which jumps up to $485 (or $970 for the pair).
If that sounds a little steep for your taste, you’ll be happy to learn that you can usually find both configurations for well below list price. The single HS7 speaker was recently selling for $320 on Amazon, while a Yamaha HS7 pair was going for $640.
The amount you’ll save on a mountable HS7 is similar, with a single speaker selling for around $365 on Amazon. (Note that these discounted prices will vary over time.)
With a larger cone woofer, the Yamaha HS7 can produce a lower frequency response than the HS5, and you can expect better clarity on that low end as well. The HS7 has a frequency response of 43Hz up to 30kHz. For perspective, that’s just below the lowest F on the piano up through well above the upper limit of human hearing.
Most small to medium rooms will receive plenty of bass from a pair of Yamaha HS7 monitors. But if you need more low end than you’re getting, you can always pair a couple of HS7 speakers with Yamaha’s HS series subwoofer (covered later on).
The Yamaha HS7 comes in two color options. There’s the standard black speaker, which is nearly all black, save a few white accents. Then there’s the white alternative, which essentially reverses the color scheme, with just a few black accents.
The black speaker includes a design feature that has long been a hallmark of Yamaha studio monitors: a white interior on the cone woofer. This slight touch adds a ton of character and makes the speaker stand out in your setup.
The HS7 white variant, on the other hand, is starkly — even shockingly — white. The only real black accent is the outer ring of the woofer, which serves to provide a nice point of visual contrast.
Both configurations look good if you’re going for a sleek and modern aesthetic in your studio.
As the midrange speaker in the HS series, the HS7 has predictably midsized dimensions. The HS7 measures 13.1 inches tall by 8.3 inches wide, with 11.2 inches of depth. It’s significantly heavier than the HS5, weighing 18.1 pounds.
If you opt for the mountable version, the dimensions are identical, but the weight is not. The HS7i weighs in at 19.2 pounds, presumably due to the reinforcement necessary to accommodate the stress of being mounted.
All monitors in the Yamaha HS series are two-way, bass-reflex active nearfield studio monitors. Two things set the HS7 apart: the larger 6.5-inch cone woofer and the higher level of power output.
The larger cone woofer is responsible for better quality bass and a fuller low-frequency response. The higher level of power output is, more or less, the reason you can get more volume out of an HS7 than an HS5.
The 6.5-inch woofer is paired with a one-inch tweeter with a 2kHz crossover delineating which frequencies go where. The bi-amplified design outputs a total of 95 watts, with 60 watts devoted to the woofer and its lower frequencies and the other 35 watts powering the tweeter.
Yamaha used a high-quality MDF material to build the cabinets on its HS series. The company boasts that this design and material choice reduces resonance and increases overall audio fidelity. If the goal is to create reference-quality audio that’s not distorted or enhanced in any way, then Yamaha’s decision here makes good sense.
That said, other higher-priced monitors do use more exotic or seemingly more high-quality materials to build their cabinets.
One of the other important specs to consider is the audio controls that the Yamaha HS 7 has. Every room is going to have an acoustic quality to it, and every set of monitors will need to be calibrated to the room in which you’re using them. In a perfect world, your space will be acoustically perfect or close to it. But reality is usually a little different, and that’s why you need the ability to customize your audio output, or tune your monitors.
Admittedly, Yamaha HS7 monitors are limited compared to some of the competition when it comes to these audio adjustments. They have the same controls as the HS5: a high trim switch (+/- 2dB), a room control switch (0/-2/-4 dB below 500Hz), and a +4dB level control.
If your mixing environment requires more bass than the HS7s can produce, you only need to add a subwoofer to your setup. Yamaha makes and sells a subwoofer within the HS series that can quickly and easily connect to a pair of Yamaha HS7 monitors.
The Yamaha HS8S is a $700 subwoofer at list price, but you’ll frequently find it selling for $200 below that price (sometimes even lower).
With 150 watts of output and an eight-inch woofer, the HS8S is beefy. If the HS7 has any shortcomings on the low end (and this is a matter of opinion), an HS8S will more than compensate. And thanks to Yamaha’s phase switch, adding a sub to your HS7 setup is impressively simple.
Hs8s sub: https://www.amazon.com/Yamaha-HS8S-HS8-Studio-Subwoofer/dp/B00DHSK8C2
Pros and Cons
Every monitor has strengths and weaknesses. Here are our top few pros and cons for the HS7.
- Well-rounded monitor pair with even response
- Legendary Yamaha quality
All in all, the Yamaha HS7 is an affordable monitor that’s well-rounded, with an impressively even response. The legendary history and quality Yamaha brings to the table are evident in so many ways.
- Limited audio and EQ controls
- Standard model can’t be mounted
- MDF construction
The limited audio and EQ controls are a big limitation here, and the MDF construction will disappoint some folks. We also can’t help but be annoyed at having to pay extra for mounting points, something most would consider to be a necessary feature.
If you want a midrange monitor sufficient to fill a midsized room, the Yamaha HS7 should be on your list of models to consider. For the price, it’s a solid contender.