Although the new Yamaha HS5 studio monitors are not the legendary Yamaha NS10s they are definitely a surprisingly good option moving forward. The Yamaha NS10s were the industry standard for many years, but like all good things, they will eventually be replaced by newer technology and design. Although if you asked any mixing engineer today if they would trade a Bryson amped pair of NS10s they would say hell no. But unfortunately Yamaha stopped making the boxes for our beloved speakers and it is inevitable that we would find another set of speakers to fall in love with. So naturally Yamaha is offering us mix engineers a new product to help ease the pain. For starters, the sound of the NS10M and HS50M are definitely different. Mainly in that the NS10M has an bump in mid-range that is almost unpleasant. This allowed the mix engineer to pick out problems areas and tweak a mix that translated to a lot of other speakers. This led to the NS-10M being a highly prized, yet not particularly great sounding, speaker. The HS50M on the other hand, has a much more rounded and pleasant sound.
Top end, Bottom end and Punch
The Yamaha HS5 is a great little monitor, it has a decent flat frequency response and still has a bit of that signature bump in the low mid range. Over all, I really like this monitor because it has made the transition from the NS10s painless experience for me. I own six pair and I love the crisp and very accurate sound they produce. The transient response is great from low to high. Despite that there is a bit of irritating hiss on the tweeters, these monitors still feel very familiar and accurate. Just like its predecessors bass response. It is nice and punchy, considering the woofer is only 5 inches, its has an amazing punch and I beat the hell out them. I combine my pair of Yamaha HS5 with the HS8S subwoofer and dial in just enough low end to give me a great reference for frequencies below 60Hz. Also a feature that attracted me to these speakers is the ability to custom tailor the sound of the speakers to the room. For instance, if the speakers are close to a back wall, the bass will naturally be boosted from the nearby surface. To deal with this, the controls on the back of the speaker allow you to switch to -2dB or -4dB, depending on how much you want to tame the bass. There are also switches for changing the Mid EQ, High Trim.
I love these monitors and recommend them to any mix engineer who needs a go to pair of near fields that feel authentically Yamaha and have that familiar NS10 sound. It’s been a pleasure to mix on these monitors. They reproduce all that ear candy that artist love so much and give you pleasent punchy sound which make them a pleasure to listen back to music with. Unfortunately they will not hesitate to let you know when your mix is heading over a cliff. I highly recommended.