Upgrade from Yamaha HS7 around $1000 --> ideas?

I’ve been using HS7s for a while and I must say I’m really happy about them, it’s impressive how good they are for the price. I have an opportunity to upgrade (budget around $1000 for a pair) so I’m looking for ideas and advice.

My main use is mixing, occasionally mastering. I have a small room, but properly treated. Although I have a subwoofer, I don’t like using it and I only use it for cross referencing and double checking so I’d like to get monitors that have a deep low-end (not loud, just deep in the very low range). Anything that doesn’t reach below 40 Hz wouldn’t be ok, although this figure is to be nuanced according to the actual frequency response curve on a graph.

I am also considering keeping my HS7 and gathering more money for a better upgrade if that would allow me to get something closer to what I’d like. The idea is to keep these monitors for as long as possible. Unfortunately where I live there is limited choice in stores and testing is not a convenient option so I’d rather look at the big names rather than exotic brands.

Any ideas for me?

Neumann KH120A perhaps or Adam A5x

Mike Senior positively gushed over a 2.1 combo of the Neumann KH80 + KH750 in his special patrons podcast unvarnished review
I don’t know how their price relates to your budget, though. I’m still rockin the HS50s with HS10 sub (+ Sonarworks now), but his review was so effusive, even I may consider a change!

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Funny how you’re upgrading from HS7 while I’m considering upgrading to HS 7’s from my old Samson Rubicon 5a’s :upside_down_face: Or maybe one of the Kali 6 inch or 8 inch monitors. They’re getting a lot of good reviews.
I also use a (Krk) sub woofer which works fine for me. What is it about the sub woofer that you don’t like? Too indirect maybe? I get that feeling sometimes.
In your case I would suspect that a budget of 1000 $ for a pair isn’t going to make that much of a difference. You’re still more or less in the same price range as Yamaha (only then the HS8’s) and Yamaha being one of the favorites there’s not that much choice. I’m sure a pair of the (less expensive) Adams or Neumans will sound different. But are they a whole class better? I don’t know.
Whatever you choose I’m interested in hearing about the difference between larger monitors and smaller with a subwoofer.

Back when I lived in Malaysia, my school bought a pair of HS8’s. They were luscious. I loved every second sitting in front of them and listening back to whatever was playing. When I moved back to Holland, all I wanted was a pair of HS8’s for my then very new and underrated room. In the end I ended up with a pair off JBL 405’s (which I adore). Can I ask why you want to upgrade?

Special podcast, meaning I can’t access it, right?I’ve been eyeing at the KH120A for a long time, bit it’s a little over my budget for now. Besides, they’re not particularly good in the low end and as I mentioned previously I’d rather not pair my monitors with a sub.

@Aef You’re right, after a little research I came to the same conclusion that $1000 won’t make a significant difference. I’ve decided to save and get something better. I’m particularly interested in the HEDD Type 7. But in the meantime I might switch for Fluid Audio FX80s that are almost the same price as my HS7 but with a much better low end. That is if I can put my hands on them, which is a real challenge where I live.

@madpsychot I just have an opportunity to get $1000 of gear because that’s a deal I made with a web site I wrote for. My first idea was to upgrade my monitors but as I said above I’ve changed my mind since. I’m happy with my HS7, but now that I have a room that’s properly treated I’d like to start working more in mastering and not being able to hear the low end is a major issue. I do have another system with a sub, but I don’t like the whole concept of using a sub, with the phase issues it implies and it’s a hassle to properly position in the room.

I hadn’t heard of them before. Interesting… I wonder if the coaxial speakers really make a difference.

Normally that would be the case. But it just so happens on this particular occasion, you are in luck. Mike has decided to make this specific podcast available to the public in general:


Great, I’m listening right now (for anyone interested it starts at 40:00).

Indeed he’s pretty thrilled about that system. That’s good to know, however it doesn’t change my position about subs. Unless I specialize later in EDM or reggae or whatever genre that relies on very low frequencies, I will always favor a simple stereo system. While it is true that subwoofers alone can let you hear those very low frequencies, the fact that my room isn’t large and that even though I’ve done an acoustic study and spent a fair amount of time and money on acoustic treatment it still isn’t perfectly flat, makes it reason enough for me to stick to a stereo system. Besides, a lot of monitors can reproduce up to around 35 Hz, albeit faintly (a frequency range that says 42-30000 Hz doesn’t mean that there isn’t anything at 35 Hz, it is usually a steep roll off. And frankly in the genres I am working on or listening, there really isn’t much going on between 20 and 35 Hz so I don’t feel I’m missing much.

I suspect that the majority of people using subwoofers are actually making matters worse by introducing even more imbalance in their low end, without even realising it because getting more low end and lower frequencies easily tricks you into thinking that you have improved your ability to mix and master songs that will translate well when you really haven’t. And in the end that’s all that really matters to me.

Just out of curiosity (question for everyone): do you know a lot of professional studios or engineers that you respect for their talent and experience who use subwoofers?

edit: I just read a very interesting article on subwoofers, for anyone who’s interested in a more in-depth approach on the topic: https://www.soundonsound.com/sound-advice/all-you-wanted-know-about-subwoofers

Nope. I feel subwoofers mostly are used on music I have no interest in. I have very high end hifi speakers (stereo) at home that cover the lows quite nicely, I’ve always felt subs smear things out unpleasantly.

How about these? Unik08’s have been on my short list.

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Well I’ve given in… I went ahead and ordered the HEDD Type 7. But yes these ESI would seem to meet my needs, except they are unknown to me and I would need to hear them first, but they are not distributed where I live.

I’m a bit suspicious about the range though. It could mean anything and everything… You really need to look at the frequency response chart when you’re interested in the low end of the range (the high end being always almost sufficient anyway). Yamaha’s marketing guys have gotten very good at fooling people into thinking that the HS series has a better range than competitors. For instance when you look at reviews and most online shops, or even the official website, they mention a 43Hz - 30kHz range for the HS7. But when you dig deeper you find out that this is actually at -10 dB tolerance… and the values at -3 dB (industry standard) are 55Hz - 24kHz. That’s suddenly a lot less attractive. Still these are excellent monitors for the price, but it’s annoying that getting accurate information is so hard.

I haven’t been able to find a chart for the ESIs and all the sites mention 37Hz - 25kHz without any tolerance specs so for all I know this could be entirely misleading, in the same way HS8s are usually specced as 38Hz - 30kHz when they’re actually delivering 47Hz - 24kHz @ -3 dB.