Here’s a question you will see a lot in forums and groups online. Which are the best studio monitors for my home studio or production setup, Yammies or Rokits?
The reason I think we see this a lot is because both are high quality and reasonably priced studio monitors, and ideal for someone with a small to medium budget who wants to get the best for their money. There are lots of other makes and models of studio monitor, of course, but for the purposes of this article we’ll just focus on these two brands. So, which ones are better? Let’s look at the details and decide…
First Things First
Before we look at comparing these two speaker systems we should first be specific about where they are going to be used and what they will be used for. I’m going to assume that you are producing music in some way, either recording or programming with samples and synths at home, in a bedroom or spare room or even a garage or attic. Following this you are mixing and possible also mastering your work in the same space. We are not talking about kitting out a high-end studio and the space you have could be relatively small and untreated.
If that sounds like you, then the following information should help you make up your mind about which monitors to invest in. We’re going to look at how the Yamaha HS7/HS8 and the KRK Rokit 5/6 compare.
If you just want to jump to the conclusion, click here. But I’d recommend you read the whole article.
Yamaha HS Studio Monitors
The Yamaha HS series monitors are visually similar to the classic Yamaha NS10s but with a build more specific for studio monitoring. They are solid (actually pretty heavy!) and well built with the signature white cones that look nice and professional in a home studio setup.
The smaller Yamaha HS7s have a frequency range of 43Hz to 30kHz and the larger Yamaha HS8s go from 38Hz to 45kHz. Unless you really need to hear sub bass (depending on your genre) this is enough to get good mixes in a small to medium sized room. The HS7s being better suited to smaller rooms where the power of the HS8s would be overkill.
These studio monitors are known for their flat response, meaning that what you hear is a very accurate representation of the source audio, as long as the levels and room acoustics are good. One thing to consider is that the rear bass ports mean you can’t have them too close to any walls, so a very small room may cause problems.
KRK Rokit Studio Monitors
Now let’s look at the KRK Rokits.
If you move in any EDM production related circles at all then these yellow-coned bad boys will be very familiar to you. They can be seen in a few famous producer’s studios on various vids and they’re very popular because of their affordability and good marketing. They also look and sound pretty cool.
But how do they compare to the Yamahas for studio monitoring?
Well, in terms of frequency response, the KRK Rokit RP5s go from 45Hz – 35kHz and the KRK Rokit RP6s have a range of 38Hz – 35kHz. So they have very similar but slightly smaller ranges, missing a bit off the lower end but gaining some high on the smaller model. Human hearing doesn’t generally go above 20kHz but we can ‘sense’ the higher frequencies, however, I think the lower end is going to be more important when mixing or mastering.
The real point of contention with the KRKs is the flatness of frequency response. A lot of people claim that they are ‘coloured’ and that they add something to the bass and mids that mean you are not hearing the most accurate representation of the source. Check out this frequency response graph showing the bump in the bass.
That said, the KRKs are still a popular monitor and are used by professionals so they can’t be terrible. However, for the purposes of accurate studio monitoring, the Yamaha HS series comes out as the better choice.
When someone decides to make the investment and starts to look for proper studio monitors, but they don’t have a huge budget or a massive professionally treated room, these two brands always come to their attention due to price, quality and popularity.
I went through this decision making process myself last year and tried out all monitors in the shop using some of my own reference tracks. The Rokits did sound nicer and definitely bassier, but there was obviously more clarity from the Yamahas.
In the end I went for the Yamaha HS7s. I chose Yamaha over Rokit because of the flat response and the fact that they are a trusted and established brand for audio and I felt far more confident that I would be getting the quality and accuracy I wanted for my home studio. I chose the HS7s over the HS8s because I don’t have a very large room and, at the time, it was completely untreated so I figured the larger monitors would be overkill and probably not worth the extra cost at this stage. However, I will eventually move and have a larger room so I can always trade in the HS7s for HS8s when the time comes.
Ultimately, the Yamahas have the most accurate response and are therefore the best choice out of the two for getting the best out of your mixing and mastering. Rokits aren’t terrible but they are coloured and therefore not the most accurate. However, monitors are only a part of the whole puzzle and you also need to think about their placement and your room layout and acoustic treatment as well as referencing on other systems and using commercial reference tracks.
What Do You Think?
Do you have experience with either or both makes of studio monitor? Which would you recommend and why? Please do post in the comments below what you think so that others can benefit from your knowledge.
Here are some of the most interesting comments I’ve picked out from responses to this article on social media on the first day of posting:
“IT DOESNT MATTER! You can learn how to make music on ANY speaker” – This is half true, though there is definitely value in having accurate monitors for good quality mixing and mastering.
“I have JBL LSR308’s… are mine somehow inferior to these?” – Nope! I’m just focusing on these for this article.
“Overall, you can get a decent mix from either, and even more so better if referenced with other monitors and sources, but you’ll always get better translation with HS5 or any in the series because they aren’t adding any thing false or taking away anything vital.” – Using multiple monitors for referencing is great advice, if you have space and can afford it.
“I see lots of big producers out there using them both, as they say, every monitors has their good and bad sides, combine them can get you more advantages than inconveniences, and then it all depends on your room size, major performance factor.” – Absolutely! Room treatment is also such a huge factor that you shouldn’t really even think about monitors without thinking about treatment too.
“Well-summarized. Rokits are way overhyped and not accurate.” – Thanks!
“That was without doubt the most ill informed and basic speaker comparison I have ever seen” – Oh… I tried to keep it brief and to the point… But all the info should be 100% accurate. If anyone spots any incorrect info in my articles please tell me and I’ll be sure to make corrections.
I’ve been slightly overwhelmed by the response to this article! I shared in a few production groups on Facebook and my notifications have been going crazy ever since. It seems this is a subject a lot of people have strong feelings about studio monitors, as well they should. 🙂
I’d like to address a few questions and comments about the article and it’s content that have come up:
- It doesn’t matter which monitors you use. Train your ears on what you have. – Whilst this is true to a certain degree, more accurate studio monitors will help make better mixing decisions and also allow you to correctly hear problems in the audio that could be buried or accentuated by coloured speakers.
- There are other (better) monitors – Of course… These aren’t the only studio monitors in the world and not necessarily the best. I am focusing on them in this article because they are models of a similar quality in a similar price range that get asked about a lot. If you can suggest other monitors in the same range with the same kind of specs then please do mention them in the comments below. I’ll be looking to write many more of these gear articles in the future.
- There’s not enough technical detail here – I tried to make this an easy to read summary of the subject, rather than a dry spec comparison. As a few people are asking for more detail, I’ll be putting together a spec comparison table on a separate page. If you don’t want to miss that, like the DIY Music FB page to keep up to date with new posts.
- It doesn’t matter which monitors you use if you’re making s**t music – Well that is mostly subjective but decent, accurate monitors will help you improve your mixing and mastering.
- KRK make better monitors than Rokits – True, and the VXT range from KRK are definitely more suitable for studio monitoring. But they are more expensive and as a result do not get compared to the Yamaha HS series so much, and are therefore not included in this comparison.
If you have any other thoughts on this please do comment below.
Thanks for reading!