YAMAHA HS10W POWERED SUBWOOFER STUDIO MONITOR

Aug 19, 2010 (Updated Aug 19, 2010)
Review by  
Rated a Very Helpful Review

Pros:This is a very good sounding subwoofer.

Cons:None.

The Bottom Line: This is a good sounding subwoofer that sells for a very reasonable price.


YAMAHA  HS10W  POWERED  SUBWOOFER  STUDIO  MONITOR

            If you have a small home studio, and are into making home studio recordings you might want to consider adding a subwoofer to your monitor mixing system.  There are even occasions where semi-professional or even professional league recording engineers rely on a subwoofer for reviewing or referencing certain aspects of mix.  Read on and see if your specific recording or mixing needs would benefit from incorporating the use of a subwoofer into your monitoring system at mix down time.  The subwoofer that I would choose for my studio needs would be the Yamaha HS10W Powered Subwoofer Studio Monitor.  Read on and see if you feel a subwoofer such as the Yamaha HS10W Powered Subwoofer Studio Monitor might be something that you might want to audition the next time you are visiting the section devoted to recording and studio monitors at your local musical instrument store or better electronics retailer. 

            Some of you might be wondering what in the world would you need to have a subwoofer for if you already have a good set of studio monitors.  Well there are a number of reasons. For one, in many cases a lot of home recording enthusiasts do not have studio monitors that have a frequency range that goes down to the low end frequencies that better home stereo speaker systems do.  Many of the low to mid priced category of studio monitor speakers do not go below 70 Hz. to 80 Hz., and that could spell potential problems.  The human ear can hear frequencies as low as 20 Hz.  Thus if you have a set of studio monitors that only goes as low as 80 Hz., there might be a lot of low end sounds that are going on in your mix, which you may print to a CD and not even know that they are there.  Have you ever made a mix on your home recording system that sounded very good on your studio monitors or speakers, burned it to a CD, and then took this CD to listen to in your car or on your home stereo and discovered that there was a lot of low end rumbling, microphone ‘plosives, and an overall low end sound that was muddy and making aspects of the recording indistinct?  The reason may have been that there were a lot things that were going on below 80 Hz. in your recording, and your studio monitors did not make this information available to you.  What is going on above might sound great, but it is what lies beneath that could be problematic when your mix is played on a different set of speakers.  It is sort of like peering into murky waters, and not knowing what dangers might be lurking a couple of feet below the surface.

            As I am sure you know, the trend over the recent years is to make speakers smaller.  Compact speakers just can not deliver all of the sonic information that is going on in the lower frequency range.  The simple solution would be to simply make your studio monitor speakers much bigger, as well as asking the rest of the world to agree with you and choose big speakers.  Well if you were to choose to go that route, you must remember that bigger studio monitors capable of delivering a really accurate and sonically complete and balanced low end sound are going to cost you a bundle as well as being quite big in size.

            Another point to consider is that many people now have converted their music listening space into a home theater system and/or stereo system that employs small compact speakers to handle the high end, and a subwoofer to handle the thundering low end.  And it doesn't stop there, as I am sure just about everyone who is reading this can recall being stopped at a traffic light and listening to the low end roar coming from the car next to you that has a stereo system that is equipped with a massive subwoofer.  Thus, it would appear that more and more of the potential listening audience you may be making your recordings for is going to be listening to music through a speaker system that has a subwoofer.

            As I am sure that many of you who are reading this review already know, in a recording studio at mix down time, it is quite common to mix the tracks through a large set of studio monitors, and then to listen to what might be the final mix through a set of smaller speakers, as might be found in a car, as many listeners are first introduced to a song by hearing it while driving in their car.  If the mix does not sound good over the small speakers, the song is apt to be remixed again so that it does sound good over a small set of speakers as well.  The same thing is now happening, to a lesser extent, with regard to how a song might sound when played through a subwoofer, as more and more listeners are switching to a stereo system that has a small set of speakers with a subwoofer.

            O.K., I guess it is pretty clear that if your audience is going to be listening to your studio mixes through a stereo system that employs a subwoofer, then you might want to consider adding a subwoofer to your studio mixing set up for the very reasons that I outlined above.  The subwoofer that I would prefer to use as a check on my mixes is the Yamaha HS10W Powered Subwoofer Studio Monitor.

            The Yamaha HS10W Powered Subwoofer Studio Monitor has a list price of $599.00, but it can be readily found selling at a discounted price of $349.99.  That is quite a modest price for what the Yamaha HS10W Powered Subwoofer Studio Monitor can deliver.  However, also keep in mind that the Yamaha HS10W Powered Subwoofer Studio Monitor is a speaker that is classified as being an "active" or "powered" speaker.  That means you do not have to go crazy trying to find the perfect power amp and preamp that is going to match the ultra flat response and not add false and misleading coloration to the sound.  There is already a 150 Watt internal built in power amp that drives the Yamaha HS10W.  This internal amplifier system drives an 8 inch 150 Watt woofer in a bass reflex design.  This helps to make the Yamaha HS10 Powered Subwoofer Studio Monitor not only efficient, but it also helps to cut down on the likelihood of distortion, which is definitely not something that is acceptable in a studio monitor. 
          
            There are several options open to you for connecting the Yamaha HS10W to your monitoring system.  One can use balanced connectors such as microphone cables, which is probably the best way to go.  If however you prefer, you may also use balanced TRS quarter inch connectors, and that will work every bit as well.  There is a Right and Left set of Inputs.  Two different signals can be input to these connectors.  When the two signals are input simultaneously, they are mixed or blended together before being sent to the subwoofer, and thus the sound is even and blended from both input sources, specifically the Left and Right.    

            Adjacent to the Inputs on the back of the Yamaha HS10W is an External Sub Out Connector.  This connector is an XLR type, and the signal from this connector can be used to add an additional subwoofer to the system.  In my view this would certainly be overkill in most situations, but I am sure there are some situations where such an option might be desirable.  Next in line on the back panel of the Yamaha HS10W are two XLR Outputs, one labeled Right and one labeled Left, and these connectors can be used to output the mixed signal that was originally received by the Inputs mentioned earlier.  Next we come to a Low Cut Switch.  When this switch is in the On position the low frequencies of the signal from the Output Connector are cut.  There is also a Low Cut Control that can be used to set the cutoff frequency from 80 Hz. to 120 Hz. when the Low Cut Switch is engaged.  Next we come to a High Cut Control, which can be used to set the cutoff frequency of the signal output from 80 Hz. to 120 Hz.  Next we come to the Level Control, which controls the overall volume level of the HS10W Powered Subwoofer.  Next in line we come to a Phase Switch.  Usually this switch will be kept in the "Normal" position.  However, you might want to flip it to the Reverse position and compare which setting sounds best for your specific listening situation.

            The overall frequency response of the Yamaha HS10W is 30 Hz. to 180 Hz.  Would I have preferred these speakers to have a frequency response of 15 Hz. on the low end?  Well of course I would, but one must make some compromises in life unless they have bottomless pockets.  The dimensions of the Yamaha HS10W Powered Subwoofer are 11.81 inches in width, 13.75 inches in height, and a depth of 15.19 inches, and the weight is 27.5 pounds.
           
            Some of you who are reading this might assume that in order to have a balanced sound from left to right, it would be essential to have a subwoofer below each of the other monitoring speakers, so as to achieve a balanced sound while performing a mix.  Fortunately, this is not the case, as the human ear is not very sensitive to the directionality of very low frequencies, such as those that are below 200 Hz., and as such, centering the subwoofer between both speakers at mix down time is absolutely fine.  A good spot would be to place the Yamaha HS10W Powered Subwoofer on the floor approximately in between the position or location of the main monitoring speakers, at the same distance that you will be positioned from the main speakers.  Exactly centering the subwoofer equally distant from each of the main monitor speakers is not really all that important, and certainly no where near as critical as proper positioning of the main speakers in relation to where you will be seated at mix down time.  As a matter of fact, I am sure you all know of cases where a person setting up their home theatre system has placed their subwoofer behind their T.V. set or in some other out of the way place, and yet the sound appears to be emanating from the small surround sound speakers, or stereo speakers that are placed in strategic locations. A person who is setting up their home stereo system is way more apt to spend a lot of time positioning their small speakers or tweeters in just the right place for listening, while they give very little attention to the placement of their subwoofer.  

           However for studio mixing purposes, there are two very important things that the home stereo enthusiast does not have to be concerned about, but which are of vital importance in a studio mixing situation.  One of these important things to be aware of is that the output of the subwoofer is matched to the main monitor speakers so that the transition of sound to the subwoofer is smooth and evenly accomplished.  The second vitally important thing to be aware of is that the overall frequency response of the whole studio monitoring system is flat, and unsweetened.  If one is not careful in achieving this proper balance of frequencies, then the mix is going to contain either too much or too little bass, and either could be disastrous for your mix.

           If you are interested in a pair of monitor speakers that are very compatible with the Yamaha HS10W Powered Subwoofer, you might want to consider either the Yamaha  HS50M Powered Studio Monitors or perhaps the Yamaha HS80M Powered Studio Monitors.

           If you would like to read my review of the Yamaha HS50M Powered Studio Monitors, please click on the link below:


YAMAHA HS50M POWERED STUDIO MONITORS


           If you would like to read my review of the Yamaha HS80M Powered Studio Monitors, please click on the link below:


YAMAHA HS80M POWERED STUDIO MONITORS


            Is the addition of a subwoofer like the Yamaha HS10W Powered Subwoofer Studio Monitor essential to making good mixes?  Of course not.  However if the speakers that you are currently using for monitoring purposes do not accurately represent the low end, then your mixes are going to be off balance, and the addition of the Yamaha HS10W Powered Subwoofer Studio Monitor might be a solution to your problems.  It is also a good choice to consider adding to your current studio monitoring set up.  The reason I am suggesting this is that more and more people seem to be converting their home stereo set up to one that has a subwoofer and smaller satellite speakers.  Thus the addition of the Yamaha HS10W Powered Subwoofer Studio Monitor to your current studio monitor speakers might be of great assistance to you if you would like to have an idea of how a mix of your recordings is apt to sound over a sound system that employs a subwoofer.


Well I would like to thank you for taking the time to read my review, but now if you will excuse me I must get back to my practicing.


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