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How do the Yamaha HPH-MT8 Studio Monitor Headphones stack up against their lower-priced MT5 lineup mates?
Last month we reviewed out the $99 HPH-MT5 headphones from Yamaha, and at that price point, were pretty impressed with the level of quality to be had. For under a hundred bucks, studio-quality monitoring headphones are now in reach of even the cheapest home studio setup.
For the last few weeks, we’ve also been testing out the MT5’s big brother, the Yamaha HPH–MT8 studio headphones. At $199, it’s still a fairly affordable studio option that users who want a bump up in quality but who don’t want to dish out a grand for a pair of cans, can easily swallow. Directly comparing the two, there are a striking number of similarities. The accessory packs are nearly identical. The design aesthetics are clearly similar. So where do the two part?
For starters, there’s an inherent richness and fullness that, while not lacking on the MT5’s, is much more readily apparent in the 8’s. Full-bodied bass comes through during listening (our test cuts are usually Eric B. & Rakim tracks that even the most badass stylus has difficulty tracking) and even more so during recording. We mixed with each pair of headphones on a variety of material, including deep bass and rhythm tracks using the MONTAGE6 synthesizer Yamaha was also kind enough to loan us. Again, the MT5’s were no slouch, but the 8’s definitely outperformed them.
Did they outperform them by $100? Well, that’s debatable. To be honest, if you could only afford the 5’s, you’d be much better off than a lot of home studio users even 5-10 years ago. They’re just that good. Maybe Yamaha made them a little too good…But the 8’s are clearly awesome, there’s no denying that. The 45mm driver is larger than the 40mm version on the 5’s, which certainly accounts for some of the added fidelity. Frequency response on the 8’s is 15Hz-28kHz, which is insanely impressive, even if the average human ear can’t resolve all that information. Comfort level is about the same, which means it comes down to specs and what you want to spend, at the end of the day.
Here’s our advice: if you can only afford a hundred bucks for studio headphones, the MT5’s are a killer bargain. If you’ve got the extra cash, and you want to invest in a pair of studio cans that offers more accuracy and better frequency response, you owe it to yourself to spend the extra few bucks on the 8’s. Either choice is a good one, trust us.
The Yamaha HPH-MT8 headphones offer outstanding sound quality, great isolation, and are incredibly comfortable.