Yamaha HS8S (subwoofer question)

  • I have an unpowered toaster going through a pair of Yamaha HS8 studio monitors. I'm thinking of adding the Yamaha HS8S (subwoofer) for kicks and giggles. I'm just looking to add some beefiness and fun to my sound when jamming...not concerned about mixing, recording, or anything like that. Does anyone have any experience with the subwoofer? Is it worth the $450 price tag when combined with a pair of Yamaha HS8 studio monitors?

  • Yamaha HS8S Features:

    • 8" bass-reflex powered subwoofer delivers low frequencies down to 22Hz
    • 22Hz - 150Hz frequency response

    Yamaha HS8 Active Studio Monitor Features:

    • High-performance drivers and mounting system
    • 8" cone woofer, 1" dome tweeter
    • Impressive 38Hz to 30kHz frequency response

    The sub would fill in from 22Hz to 37Hz, where the HS8's don't reproduce that low of a signal.

    A friend that plays Bass, has the HS8's and the HS8S sub. If you play bass or like low kick drums, you'd appreciate the sub. For just guitar and drum tracks, HS8's are plenty, depending on your room.

    Kemper Powerhead w/remote & Kabinet
    Focusrite 18i8 (2nd Gen) - Windows 10 - Ableton Live - Yamaha HS-8's - DT770 80 ohms

  • Yes, I had one. It is quite tricky to set up the cutoff frequency and the levels. Depending on the room it can false you in the low end. I don't think you need it just for the guitars.

    It can be fun rattling cutlery in the far kitchen, but the HS8 has way enough low end.

    Of course if you use an 8 string guitar with F# tuning you may need it. But in that case it's easier to switch to bass :)

  • I'm thinking of adding the Yamaha HS8S (subwoofer) for kicks and giggles

    I guess it will do the trick for "kicks and giggles" but I would be VERY careful to use it for mixing or to judge other mixes. Subwoofers are tricky beasts, especially the ones that are "bass reflex only" designs. You won't get the low end transients right, as opposed to e.g. a Neumann KH 805. Obviously the Neumann is a different league, pricewise and regarding weight and size. But the difference in sound reproduction is HUGE.

    So, just for the fun of a bit more low end rumble, the Yamaha will do ... but don't expect any good transients or definition in the low end. :)

    Hope this helps


  • I guess it will do the trick for "kicks and giggles" but I would be VERY careful to use it for mixing or to judge other mixes. Subwoofers are tricky beasts, especially the ones that are "bass reflex only" designs. You won't get the low end transients right, as opposed to e.g. a Neumann KH 805. Obviously the Neumann is a different league, pricewise and regarding weight and size. But the difference in sound reproduction is HUGE.

    So, just for the fun of a bit more low end rumble, the Yamaha will do ... but don't expect any good transients or definition in the low end. :)

    Hope this helps


    I'm now kinda interested in getting a sub purely for mixing as I really want to figure out how to nail that bass end but my monitors are small (Focal CMS50's) and seem to have a hard time at the bottom end and controlling bass and kick sounds. From the "Elephant in the room" SOS article they made it seem like first sub, then more treatment to solve low end definition.

    The question is - Is the Yamaha really that much worse at this task than expensive subs like the Nuemann, or even Focal's own sub? From everything I've heard the Yamaha punches above its weight and is meant to be very precise sounding even though it's a reflex/port design. Surely the transients are defined by the mid frequency content which is supplied by the main monitors?

    Those other subs are over 3x the price of the Yammy. So it's quite a big investment to make.

  • Hi Per, I'll try to explain with your situation in mind.

    1. Your Focals are pretty small (5" woofers) which limits the physical capability of "moving air" in the low end. An 8" speaker can change this significantly. But continue reading. :)

    2. If you try to squeeze "enough" low end out of the small 5" woofers (e.g. by pushing a low shelf EQ), the woofer will become pretty "busy" with the added low end and the projection of the mids starts to suffer. That's where #3 comes into play.

    3. With small speakers, a subwoofer can significantly reduce the low end load on the 5" woofer and improves the mids quite a bit. Can be very audible (especially in the mid frequency transients). Since kickdrum and bass typically live in the center of the stereo image, one subwoofer usually is enough .... but ....

    4. The sound generated by the subwoofer should be "in phase" with the main speakers. With a direct projecting subwoofer this is much easier to achieve. The reflex designs always introduce some pretty "undefined" delays. You want to have a subwoofer that sounds like BOOM ... not wWOOOOOMMM.

    5. Subwoofers with pure reflex designs tend to add a considerable and unwanted "wind noise" to the sound. The higher the SPL, the higher the wind noise effect. If you look at the Pro Audio category on the Focal website, you'll not see these pure reflex designs. ;)

    6. The bigger your main speakers (woofers), the less you'll generally need subwoofers. With bigger monitors, you'll likely do perfectly fine with 2-way designs in a small home studio. In a slightly bigger studio (control room) where you typically push the speakers a bit harder, it's worth considering 3-way speakers to seperate lows and mids.

    7. If you're into mixing, then "phase" is an important topic. The stereo image gets much more "transparent" and defined, the more your tweeters and mids are exactly in phase. This is the reason why e.g. the german company KS digital makes studio monitors that blow Neumanns or Genelecs totally away. KS digital has really perfected their coax designs that eliminate the slight phase issues. If you happen to listen to them (C120, C88 or even C8) once in your life, you'll not forget that experience. :)

    Hope this helps a bit



  • Thanks, that's some good information. I guess I'm trying to justify that added cost of something like the 750 or Sub6. It sounds like a good portion of that may even be down to how effectively I'm even able to set things up in my space.

  • Per I have both , HS7 and HS80 ( older model) and while the HS80 has some great bass and don't need a sub, the HS7 have sufficient basses for mixing purposes.

    I'm often surprised how my basses & mixes sound on hifi or car systems.

    7 or 8 " speakers and bass reflex give me enough bass without the need for a sub. Lots of listeners don't have subs , and most of them use earplugs on streaming platforms, so a sub if far from being mandatory to me, at my amateur level.

    5 " speakers, yes I understand bass are tricky to mix.

    I'd prefer to invest the money is bass traps and basic room treatment.

  • Yeah, room treatment is on the radar but it actually doesn’t sound too bad right now. Basically the sound is uncanny between nice cans and sitting there, just the difference in the cans own frequency response and the speaker rather than the rooms frequency response.

    I’m looking to just get more definition and clarity in the bass to help make good mix and eq decisions, not more volume. I think my small monitors are just struggling and the bass ends up being a smeared mess right now.

    What I’ve noticed is that once it’s in there not just the bass but everything sort of flattens and becomes harder to separate, it’s like it compresses all the other frequencies, or the sum total output of the speakers taking away all headroom. It sounds good on a single instrument but with more it becomes quite hard to mix. I’m hoping that a sub might help solve that problem so then I can hear exactly what I’m carving away when I’m trying to retrieve headroom and space in the mix.

  • IDK, Brother Per... :/

    If you're carving away bass guitar for headroom and clarity of the mix, surely you're gonna ditch most of what lies below 50Hz? IOW, I don't see a need for a sub in this case.

    As for the smeared-mess thing, I take it you've tried a swept boost through the bass-guitar frequencies to help you home in on the mud component? You'd think that reducing the culprit's presence here, along with high-passing the channel to leave room for the kick, would buy you some headroom, increase clarity in the mix and make mixing a whole-lot easier generally.

    It's best to take a conservative approach to frequencies below 45 or 50Hz IMHO. That way there'll be no nasty surprises for those listening via subs and you'll preserve headroom at the same time. Low-frequency content will otherwise chew it up like there's no tomorrow.

  • Gosh 50hz is way lower than what I'm removing. I won't hear a difference till it's at least 100hz hi-pass and even then it's incredibly subtle.

    It's not really a case of carving space down there, but simply hard removal of all low frequencies throughout the whole track until things sound less mushy/compressed and I can get some separation. I'd like to be able to tell exactly what it is I'm removing without depending just on a visual guide.

    I've tried using can's (DT770's) but they provide much too much bass which creates the opposite problem, where I'm creating very treble/brittle sounding mixes and eliminating too much of the bass to compensate.

  • I think the thing is, I don't like working blind (or deaf in this case). I'm messing around trying to adjust things that I can't actually hear. If they were audible or at least presented as noticeably different frequencies rather than just general bass mush/subharmonics then I imagine it would become much easier to carve accurately and find the bad frequencies.

    (the eq trick only results in peak emphasis on these small speakers at below 200hz, i.e. fwoom sounds that increase in volume as the peaks align but not with much clarity in pitch, so it's not like I can be surgical)

  • Ok, finally decided to upgrade and in the end I went for the HS8S. Why not the Neuman? The profound realization that I'm not a professional, I don't have golden ears, I'm not sure I'd be able to hear a transient at those low frequencies anyway without the cue from the mids, for mixing I only need to be able to hear the frequencies.

    To report - I'm very happy with this purchase so far. It may be a ported sub but more than sufficient for me to much more accurately hear what's going on down at the bottom end, or rather it allows me to hear anything at all going on down there as opposed to hearing nothing before. And no adverse reactions with my room!

    A predictable downside is I can actually hear the flub and crap down there in many of my mixes up till now, though I wasn't expecting to hear quite a few profiles also suffer from far too much bass flub which wasn't audible before. I'll have to reevaluate or at least adjust some profiles I use going forwards.

    I'm fortunate enough to have an Apollo interface with the "Alt" button on it for other monitors so I'm able to bypass the sub entirely (thanks to some Y cables) and compare side by side. This means I don't have to mix with the sub on but can quickly switch over when I want to do any EQ work. The downside is that because the same energy is sent to all speakers and they are all powered the SPL goes up with the sub vs without it as you'd expect the same as adding one powered speaker to an array (even if it is filtered to just the sub frequencies it's still adding some volume) and as far as I can tell there's no way to adjust the levels per monitor output on the UAD control panel to compensate for this which means as I switch I have to make a tiny adjustment to the overall output level in order for the levels to accurately match, a minor nuisance to an otherwise very convenient setup and probably not such an issue when I'm not doing A/B comparisons between sub on/off.

    Regardless of this a positive unexpected side effect is the stereo image is much improved with the sub engaged. The detail throughout the frequency range seems better too. I know you mentioned that the mids might improve lightbox , and I expected this to be extremely minor and it is, but in conjunction with everything else it makes for a less than subtle difference even though the sub is carefully level matched. In fact at first I thought it might be having a bad crossover and causing mid scoop but a quick test with the REQ tool showed that the response was actually more even and less hyped than before across the range. Doing A/B it honesty sounds like all the bass energy was being pushed into some kind of inverted foldback in the mids, bass sound that were monotone and presented only in low mids now have audible separate notes and obvious harmonic frequencies. It's a revelation wherever those sounds appear.

    I'm looking forward to having time to record again, but meanwhile as I work can enjoy listening to music and dissecting other peoples mixes which already seems a much easier task than before.

  • Actually on second thought and paying attention to the sound, the slight gain introduced by the sub may be to do with what I assume is an active circuit for hi-passing the sound going to the main speakers. Maybe it's adding a tiny bit of gain there as even with the sub all the way down switching back and forth the speakers gain is noticeable.

  • Hi Per, glad you're happy so far. :)

    I know the HS8S doesn't have a "remote switch" option to enable/disable bass management. And you described your setup as using Y cables and the ALT monitor option of your interface. Does this mean that you're not using a HiPass for your Focals? You just add the subwoofer to the game?

    Have you even tried to use the bass management (crossover) of the HS8S before you went for the Y-cable route?



  • They're hi-passed when the signal goes to the woofer. The Y is at the Focal's end. So it goes Monitor1 Out->Sub->Focal's and then Monitor2 Out->Focal's with the vocals having the Y at their input. The Alt switch on the Apollo allows me to just toggle between the two monitor outputs. This effectively defeats the woofer and its bass management, or gives me the woofer complete with the hi passed signal to the Focal's. So ideal settings for both.

  • I love the H8S with two H8’s for the Kemper for home use. Because the two HS8 are on the windowsill the bass reflex on the back won’t work (well)

    So i use the foam inserters to avoid output there and let the hs8s take over.

    started with HS8, which had no bass due to wondow situation, swapped to HS7 with H8S and then compared again with H8 which sounded best

    its quite tricky to setup. never 100% satisfied, but I try to forget. foam in or out, cutoffs , volumes.

    maybe need to buy volume frequency mic/kitt to measure

    as someone said not tight made profiles can sound bad with a sub. i play mostly tonejunkie and Britt, they all work well

    i also tried the popular headrush frfr108 in stereo

    but that bass is more artificial forced, boomy. not natural at all to my ears. Do like the easier setup

    Now ordered the kemper cab (have powerhead) to play around. but will miss the stereo setup i guess. lets try!