Any of you who remember the ubiquitous Yamaha NS10 passive studio monitor may on first glance be tempted to think the HS7 is a slightly modified version of the same but, apart from the obvious nod to the past in terms of cosmetics, this is a different beast entirely!
There is a lot of competition in the mid price active monitor market so Yamaha’s HS range need to doing something very right in order to stand out from the pack and in the HS7 I think they have pretty much succeeded.
There are three models in the range. The HS5, HS7 and HS8 plus the optional HS8s sub, although if your working in a small studio the sub is really not a necessity and would in fact probably hinder rather than help when trying to get your mix right. In any case the HS7 has more than enough low end for most situations covering as it does 43Hz to 30kHz.
Despite it’s name it actually does not have a 7 inch driver. It’s 6.5 inches but of course HS6.5 would not exactly have rolled off the tongue so “7” seems more fitting in this context. The tweeter is a 1” dome.
The HS7 cabinet is made from rigid MDF and the corners are jointed. It weighs 8.2kg and is reassuringly solid and gives the impression of something built to last. There is a black plastic foil covering which offsets the white cone of the driver nicely (HS range is also available in all white). All in all they are well made and very sharp looking.
Total power is 95W which is split 60W for the LF driver and 35W for the tweeter. Cross over point is at 2kHz.
The HS7 is rear ported so shouldn’t be set too near a wall as obscuring the ports will obviously muddy the base response. There are controls on the rear for room control and high trim which to some extent can offset the effects of placement and room response. The room control has settings for -2dB or -4dB below 500Hz and the high trim switch can adjust the high frequency response between 0dB, -2dB and +2dB.
There is a rear mounted volume control and connections for balanced XLR or balanced/unbalanced quarter inch jack.
As for performance I found the HS7’s to be well balanced. The stereo imaging was pretty much spot on and the frequency response is good enough for them to work fine without the addition of the HS8 sub.
Only slight niggle was in the mid range where they seemed to be lacking somewhat, as though they had run out of steam but not so much as to detract from the overall sound too much. Also given these are relatively low priced monitors they performed amazingly well.
All in all I would say the HS range is as far from the NS10 as you could get. The only things they have in common is both share the same aesthetics and both are made by Yamaha.
In the HS7 Yamaha has made a pretty impressive mid priced powered monitor. Of course there are many competitors in or around the same price but I think I can safely conclude that should you end up with a pair of these monitors you most assuredly will not be disappointed.
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