The HS8S is part of Yamaha’s iconic and modernized HS Series, where the emphasis is on flatness and accuracy in sound for studio professionals and critical listeners. While HS8 monitors deliver plenty of low-end already, the HS8S promises frequencies of as low as 22Hz, making this studio subwoofer a serious consideration for those who need more low-end focus. Let’s take a closer look…
When it comes to the design of the HS8S, there is not much to get excited about in terms of aesthetics – which can actually be said for 99% of subwoofers! However, this simple matte-black cube is not offensive in its look and would slip nicely into any studio setup (especially if Yamaha studio monitors already make up the rest of your arrangement). It’s built very well, as you’d expect from a mid-range Yamaha subwoofer, and is relatively compact – standing at 13.8” tall and 11.8” wide, with a hefty weight of 27.6lbs.
While the speaker port may not look like much, Yamaha’s technicians have been busy ensuring it has been designed and built to reduce the vortex that can generate excess vibrations and unwanted noise, ensuring there is less distortion and more clarity in this sub’s performance. Combined with the fact that the cab is made from a dense and resilient MDF, the HS8S proves a sturdy subwoofer with a very low resonance.
So, what does the HS8S offer in terms of features? First up there is an 8” bass-reflex powered down-firing driver with a strong 150-watt amplifier. Not the biggest cone, but this translates to a frequency response of 150Hz down to an earth-shaking 22Hz.
As for I/O, these are located around the back and comprise both XLR and TRS inputs, as well as XLR L and R outputs. Also on the back are the controls. This is a pretty standard setup for this price range – you find both high-cut (80 to 120Hz) and low-cut (80 to120Hz) controls for adjusting the crossover frequencies, as well as a low-cut switch. Sadly, there is no bypass footswitch, but the back panel does include a phase switch, which is a good addition.
If you are trying to make the low frequencies of you mix sound great, you need to be able to hear them first! The HS8S really does allow you to do this with ease, delivering a clean and detailed low-end with a great punch, and the all-round uncolored response that studio engineers will be looking for.
It’s not the loudest subwoofer on our list, but you won’t have to turn it up all the way before the neighbors start complaining. Even if you do crank it up, distortion isn’t something to worry about thanks to the low-resonance enclosure and vortex-reducing reflex port design. In tests, despite the promise of 22Hz, it seems that the low-end drops off around 28 to 29Hz. Still, not much to complain about here!
Overall, the HS8S really impresses in its functionality and performance, and proves a very solid choice for serious hobbyists, audiophiles and professionals who need more low-end focus in the studio or any critical listening environment.