Yamaha HS8 Review

hs8yamaha1_2

Function:  Studio Monitors
Price:  $349.99 (Each)
What’s NewWhen talking about Yamaha studio monitors, the classic NS10M is probably the first thing that comes to conversation.  Since the late 70s, the NS10M has been the workhorse of countless studios and producers because of its pronounced midrange and for being brutally revealing.  The HS8 is the latest studio monitor from Yamaha, and in the tradition of its forefather, offers outstanding sound quality for an extremely accurate mix: a worthy successor of the NS10M for today’s world.
 
Features:  The HS8 is a two-way, bass-reflex, nearfield monitor featuring an 8” woofer and 1” dome tweeter.  Controls include one XLR and one TRS input jack, level control, a high trim switch, and a room control switch that cuts frequencies under 500Hz by 2 or 4 dB when engaged.  With a frequency response of 38Hz to 30kHz, the HS8 provides an extremely wide range of audio. 
 
Sound:  Set up in my small (but well treated) 11×10 room, the HS8s sounded great.  The frequency response was flat and balanced, (even flatter than the older HS80M in my opinion) and stereo imaging was amazing!  The highs were smooth and clear and the lows powerful and present.  Onto the midrange: the mids of the HS8 make them some of the most revealing speakers I’ve ever heard.  Not hyped or accentuated, the midrange reminded me instantly of the classic NS10M sound, laying the vocal bare and letting you hear the true nature of your mix.  I’ve always struggled with ear fatigue using NS-10Ms all day, and the more balanced HS8s helps my ears tremendously.  I found the low end to be tight and present and more than enough for most genres, although if you mix dance or hip-hop, you may want to look at the HS8S subwoofer, made to work perfectly with the HS8 line. 
 
Bottom Line: If you’re looking for monitors that will provide the truest, most accurate mix to help your mixes translate on any system, the HS8 is the perfect speaker for you.  The HS8s offer tremendous quality for the price and sounds great in any environment.  Its balanced sound and even bass distribution makes the HS8 a worthy successor of the NS10M, and in many regards a better speaker to mix music on in today’s world. 
 
Fore more information about the HS8s visit yamaha.com.  

-Andy Toy

PreSonus Eris E8 Review

artworks-000046319418-efq458-crop
Function: Studio Monitors
Price: $249.95 (each)
What’s NewThe Eris E8s are brand new two-way speakers from PreSonus.  Joined by their little brother the E5s, the Eris line is PreSonus’ first foray into the world of studio monitors, with outstanding results. 
 
Features:  The E8s come in a sleek, all black enclosure with a little blue logo that lights up when they power on.  All inputs are in the rear, including XLR, balanced TRS, and unbalanced RCA line ins.  In addition to standard input gain, the E8s have an “Acoustic Tuning” section of low, midrange, and high frequency controls.  The E8s also feature an “Acoustic Space” control that cuts the low frequencies at 800 Hz by 2 or 4 dB, for control over bass buildup when monitors are placed close against a wall.  The frequency response is an incredible 35 Hz – 22kHz, quite impressive for 8-inch woofers and perfect for mixing without a sub.  At 130 watts, the E8s provide plenty of volume for any listening environment.
 
Sound:  The Eris E8s sounded great the minute I plugged them into my Apogee Quartet.  I work in a small, well-treated room and have my desk about two thirds of the way into the room, so I didn’t need to utilize the “Acoustic Space” feature on the E8s.  The switch works quite well though, and can be quite useful in small rooms where space is tight and monitors need to be placed near the wall.  I tend to be a “set flat and forget” type of engineer, so I set all the EQs flat and the gains to unity and fired them up.  Right away I was blown away by the depth and three-dimensional nature of the speakers.  They had great stereo imaging, deep bass, clear highs, and the midrange was not overemphasized at all.  After listening to some of my favorite records I decided to try some tracking.  I was particularly impressed with the high-mids and top end, the E8s offer a lot of detail but don’t hype the high mids at all, so listening and working for long periods don’t fatigue my ears (something that has plagued me for years using NS-10s).  The low end is quite nice on the E8s and provides detail and focus for making bass and kick tight and punchy.  I did a quick mix of a demo I was working on and it translated wonderfully in my car, iPhone, and laptop without any tweaks (to my relief).  Overall the Eris E8s are quite balanced and let me listen for hours without any ear fatigue. 
 
Bottom Line:  This is the best pair of monitors under $500 that we’ve heard.  The fact that my ears didn’t get tired after 8 hours of using the E8s is a huge deal. I engineered a session all day long and never felt uncomfortable in the least.  If you have enough space for 8” woofers, there’s nothing not to like about these monitors.  At just $499 for the pair, they easily outpace other contenders in their price range in sound quality and features, and the added EQs make them a great option in less than ideal listening conditions.
 
For more information about the Eris E8s and other products by PreSonus, visit PreSonus.com.

Yamaha HPH-MT220 Review

Yamaha mt220 Headphones
Yamaha HPH-MT220 Headphone Review
Price: $249.99
Function: Studio headphones
What’s New:  There’s nothing more important than accurate sound in the studio, and the new Yamaha HPH-MT220 headphones deliver exactly that. 
 
Sound:  Right off the bat, the HPH-MT220 just sound phenomenal.  They deliver great clarity throughout the frequency spectrum and don’t sound hyped in the low end at all.  The top end is very clear without being “smoothed” or brittle and I can listen to the phones for hours without getting ear fatigue from boosted high mids.  I loved the sound of the HPH-MT220 right away and they make great reference headphones.  I’d describe them as accurate and faithful, and I wouldn’t hesitate to make tone decisions while monitoring on the HPH-MT220s. 
 
Fit:  What impressed me the most about the HPH-MT220 was how comfortable they are.  The cups are large and spacious and can be inverted to monitor with just one ear if necessary.  I wear glasses most of the time, and small headphones can hurt my head after long periods of time if they’re not shaped right, but the HPH-MT220’s sat great on my head and I barely noticed them after a while.  The outer earpads are made of a synthetic leatherette, while the insides are filled with memory foam cushions to mold to your ears for comfort. 
 
Bottom Line:  I’ve owned a lot of headphones over the years, and you’ll be hard pressed to find a better-fitting pair of headphones on the market today.  Combined with crystal clear sound quality and a great, simple look, the HPH-MT220’s are definitely a must-have for anyone working extensively on headphones. 
 
Church UseFor monitor engineers, FOH engineers, broadcast and music studios.  

For more information about the HPH-MT220 and other products by Yamaha, visit usa.yamaha.com/products/musical-instruments.