#1
A few days ago, I picked up a pair of Yamaha HS8 monitors. I spent a couple of hours in the store putting them side-by-side with some others so will share my thoughts.

The setup I had was a pair of Yorkville YSM1-p (passive) monitors with a 10" Mackie sub. The YSM1's were from about 15 years ago and were consistently highly praised. At that time, I had put them up against the competitive Mackies, Behringers, and a couple of others. They were good enough that it took me 15 years to grow out of them.

I went into the store wanting to like the new Yorkvilles - the bigger YSM8's. Comparing the YSM1's to *any* of the new Yorkvilles was a no-contest. Mine were tight and clean, and the new ones were a little "woofy" on the bottom end - exaggerating the bass such that it smeared into the guitars, etc. I felt the same way - only less so - about the YSM6 monitors, which are more of a modern version of the YSM1. So, I eliminated the Yorkvilles.

I then listened to the Yamahas. I started with the HS7's. They were much more linear, like my old Yorkvilles, but had much better bass extension, despite both having 6.5" drivers. Very clean and clear, and much more in line with what I was looking for.

Then I turned on (by accidentally flipping the wrong switch) a pair of Focals (at $1500 each.... !!!). Clean, clear and linear - as you would hope, but not, IMHO worth the extra $1100 per speaker over the YSM7's. No way.

Going to the HS8's seemed to be exactly what I was looking for. Long and short... I brought them home. :-)

In practice in my own studio, they were exactly what I wanted. They allowed me to get rid of the sub I was using and just use the monitors. There is totally enough bottom end in these for anything critical, I would think. Oh, and my studio is very small. It is about 8' by about 11.5'. I was worried they'd be "too big for the room" but no. I am making some very different mix decisions with these, and my mixes are coming out with a much better bottom end especially, and with much better translation. I am able to make better decisions on effects and EQ in the mids and highs as well. The detail is excellent. I will say for imaging, they are also very good, though the Yorkvilles were every bit as good in the imaging department.

One thing I noticed was a little bit of a hiss coming from the speakers - like the sound of a TV with static on. The hiss only came into play when my interface was on, so it is probably not a Yamaha issue. It was mitigated by turning the level control on the back of the monitor down (I had put it a little more than half way, but turning the level down on each one to a little less than half way took care of 90% of it.). You can still hear them, but only if you're listening for it. Apparently, this is normal for any active monitor.

So, how good are they? They replaced monitors I was otherwise happy with for almost 15 years, and left me thinking, "Geez... Why didn't I do this ages ago?" My mixes are done more quickly and much better now that I have them.

CT
Could I get some more talent in the monitors, please?

I know it sounds crazy, but try to learn to inhale your voice. www.thebelcantotechnique.com

Chris is the king of relating music things to other objects in real life.
#2
I also really like the new Yamaha range of monitors and found that I like them over the ADAMs of double the price.
Strange about the Yorkville monitors though - maybe they just weren't tuned? I remember having similar issues with JBL monitors in the studio and they were just calibrated wrong. I wouldn't put that past the music store employees.
#3
An interesting point about store employees not setting them right. Long and McQuade is owned by Yorkville Sound Company or something like that, Yorkville is like their "house" brand, so if anything, that particular store would push the Yorkvilles.

CT
Could I get some more talent in the monitors, please?

I know it sounds crazy, but try to learn to inhale your voice. www.thebelcantotechnique.com

Chris is the king of relating music things to other objects in real life.