Yamaha HS5 vs HS8 is the upgrade worth it?

Yamaha HS5 vs HS8 is the upgrade worth it?

I am a massive fan of Yamaha and today I am putting together this Yamaha HS5 and HS8 article to see just how much of an upgrade the Yamaha HS8 speakers are over the Yamaha HS5 speakers. These are two of the most popular desktop style speakers on the market and I have had a great time putting these through their paces. These are perfect if you want a set of more compact speakers, but also want speakers that are of a more premium kind of quality in regards to how they are built and how they sound. These are two very popular speakers from Yamaha and it is easy to see why.


The Price:

We need to start by looking at the price. I think price is an interesting category in our Yamaha HS5 and HS8 contents we have going on today as the HS8s are basically the new and improved version of what the HS5s were offering and it is really up to you if they are worth the extra money this “upgrade” is.


Yamaha HS5:


Yamaha HS5 Powered Studio Monitor

I have not actually seen the Yamaha HS5 in stock on Amazon for a while now. However, you can head to somewhere like Walmart as they are still in stock there are you are looking at around 400 bucks for a pair (they are sold as single units on Walmart for $199,99.). I have done a bit of looking around on eBay and found that there are many sets of these speakers on there for around 400 bucks, but there are also some great deals for these on there where you can save as much as 100 bucks! If you are willing to go the pre-owned route, you can perhaps save even more money.


Yamaha HS8:


YAMAHA HS8 Studio Monitor, Black, 8 Inch

Look, stop what you are doing and go to Amazon right now and buy these Yamaha HS8 speakers! As I write this, Amazon has a fantastic deal for these where instead of being $499,99 they are priced at $374,99! That price for a set of speakers of this quality is a freaking steal! This puts them lower than the RRP of the HS5! It is a massive saving and it is a no-brainer if you have been on the fence in regards to these speakers.


The Verdict:

I have to give the win to the Yamaha HS8. They are currently cheaper than the older HS5s. Now, this deal may not be around by the time you are reading this. However, even at the extra 100 bucks, I think that the HS8 are a better deal overall.


The Design:

We come to a category that is a real favorite of mine as I have been putting this Yamaha HS5 and HS8 speakers’ article together and that is where we take a look at the design of these speakers. These are available in both black and white, but it is the black versions for both speakers that I am talking about today.


Yamaha HS5:

I love the overall design of the Yamaha HS5 speakers. I was actually impressed with the build quality of these when I took them out of the box. These come in at 7 x 9 x 12 inches so you could have these on your desk or even on the wall if you prefer. If you check out this Yamaha HS5 Studio Monitors [Unboxing and Tutorial Video] you can get a better idea of how these will look in your home. The MDF they have used is a very high quality, but at just 12 pounds these feel nice and light too. I really like the black finish that these have, it has a kind of middle ground between gloss and matte as the finish and it is something that I think looks very cool.

On the front, the black is complemented by a nice and large silver transducer which really does pop. The black they use on the front is actually a bit of a different shade and it is a very cool effect and something that I think gives the speakers a whole lot of personality. Around the back of the speaker, you have your level dial, two input ports one being a mic style jack and the other your typical speaker 3.5mm style port. You also have a switch for room control and one for high/trim as well. In all, these are very well designed and something I would be more than happy to have in my own home.


Yamaha HS8:

Next up we move on to the larger, Yamaha HS8 speakers. Coming in at 13.1 x 9.8 x 15.4 inches these are a fair bit taller than the Yamaha HS5 speakers. While the height was something I expected, it was the weight that took me by surprise with these. I noticed a pretty large difference in regards to weight as these come in at 23.5 pounds which is considerably more. The thing is, these are made in the same kind of style as the HS5 so there is really not a ton more that I can say in regards to the design. I think that Yamaha nailed it with the smaller version and they just brought that same design here, but in a bigger scale.

You have the same black MDF (you can also go for this in white if you like) and it has that same silver and different style of black on the front to give the speakers more personality to them. From a photo, I would actually wager that most people would not be able to tell the difference between these unless they were right next to each other and you could clearly see that one is larger than the other. Around the back, we have the exact same dials, ports, and switches, the only real difference is that you have those fins on the back along with it saying HS8 under the Yamaha logo.


The Verdict:

How can you pick a winner when they both look so similar? For me, I am picking the Yamaha HS8 as the winner here. Yes, it is the same design, but for my personal taste, I prefer how it is larger. However, I could totally see why someone else may prefer the smaller size of the Yamaha HS5 instead, especially if they are a little shorter in space.


The Sound:

The most important aspect of a set of speakers is how they sound. That is why the sound is the main event of our Yamaha HS5 and HS8 showdown that we have going on here today. These are designed I feel with people who have home music studios in mind which is certainly not me, but I did give these a good test to see how they sounded with movies and music.


Yamaha HS5:

When it comes to sound the Yamaha HS5 has more power and kick than I thought they would. These are actually the smallest “professional” style speakers that Yamaha offer and I think that they are pretty damn awesome. These with them being small would be great for sitting on your desktop. I have read that many people see these as a great set of entry level speakers for people who are into music production. I tested them with my computer to watch movies and listen to music and that is what I am basing my opinions on here today. To start with, music was great when played with these, I listened to The Best Of Santana from start to end with these while I was pottering around in the office rearranging my Star Wars figures and I was very impressed with how clear and balanced the overall sound provided by these speakers was.

I do have the Netflix and Disney Plus apps on my laptop so I did check out a few movies as well. I ended up watching the first Avengers movie as it feels like it has been forever since I saw it. I think that it handled it pretty well. If you were watching a movie on your computer or in a small room, these would be great. However, I do feel that they might not have the power to fully fill a larger room. Also, when it comes to blockbuster movies like The Avengers, while the sound it provides was well balanced and clear, it did lack that wow factor and real power I want when I am watching a movie like that.


Yamaha HS8:

Before I give you my own thoughts and experience with the Yamaha HS8, I suggest you check out this Upgrading My Home Studio Set-Up | Yamaha HS8 Unboxing video. Here you can see why this gentleman decided to upgrade his home studio setup with the HS8. These are larger and slightly better than what the Yamaha HS5 offers, actually slightly better is not actually true, these clearly have more power, better pass, and a better overall sound. Their larger size is what is probably responsible for this, but there is no way a person could not notice a difference.

One of my favorite greatest hits style albums is the mid 90s, Cross Road by Bon Jovi. Yes, they have had other compilations since this, but this to me captures 80s and early 90s Bon Jovi perfectly. I loved how balanced this album sounded and even when it was cranked up loud, it never let me down! I think for music, not just listening, but making your own music as well. The Yamaha HS8 speakers are a substantial upgrade over what the HS5 is offering you.

In terms of movies, I decided to fire up Netflix and I ended up watching Spider-Man 2 which is a damn classic superhero movie that still holds up very well today. What I think was neat about this movie is that there are plenty of dialogue heavy scenes, but due to the extra power that these provide (120w over the 70w the HS5 provides) you get a more cinema style sound out of these. The scene where Dock Ock smashes into the café when MJ and Peter are talking really did showcase just how good these speakers are. I am not sure you would have them in your home theatre, to be honest with you. However, if you were taking a break in your home office or home music studio, you are going to be very happy with the way these let you experience movies and TV shows.


The Verdict:

There is a clear upgrade when you go from the Yamaha HS5 to the Yamaha HS8 when it comes to sound. While the power and bass is the obvious thing to mention here, that is not all. The HS8 has a better overall balanced sound and I think that for those of you that are serious about making your own music, this extra power and clarity will be something that you are very happy about. Do not get me wrong, the Yamaha HS5 speakers are great, but when placed next to the HS8, they certainly come in second place.


Which Is The Better Speaker?

I have to say that this Yamaha HS5 and Yamaha HS8 contest has been one of the most one sided battles I have ever been a part of. I feel like some of you may get the impression that I do not like the Yamaha HS5 speakers, but that is not the case at all. I think they are a great set of compact sized speakers and I can easily see why they have been as popular as they are. Yet, there is no way in hell I could say that I liked them better than the Yamaha HS8 speakers. The Yamaha HS8 speakers are the clear winners here today as they offer you that overall better sound, not just in power, but the way they balance the sound as well. Plus, the real cherry on top of the cake here is that as of me writing this, they are cheaper as well! Even when they are not on offer, I think that the HS8 is the better purchase for you.

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