While in general powered monitors tend to be thought of as having their primary place in a music/mixing studio; over the last few years powered speakers have been becoming ever more popular as a choice for people looking for high quality self contained audio solutions. Going with powered speakers generally means a step up in performance from other entry level passive speakers (or at least are marketed as such), with the added bonus of eliminating the need for external amps. To varying results, AudioEngine, KRK and JBL have been the recent go to choices for powered speakers, but Yamaha has had a line of powered monitors that have flown under the radar for some time.
The boring specs: As the name suggest, the HS8 sports an 8 inch mid-range and 1 inch dome tweeter behind a metal wire grill. There are no other grills, so for those of you with aesthetic concerns, or little hands, be ready for pair of giant snow white mid-range drivers in your line of sight. With the glowing logo on the front may cause varying levels of annoyance in a darkened room. The HS8 is bi-amped with 75W going to the mid-range and 45W to the tweeter for a total of 120W of power, plenty to get loud for any reasonably sized room. A not too uncommon complaint with powered speakers is that sometimes their may be hiss associated with them, but I experienced none unless their was no source signal and the volume knobs on the rear turned all the way up. The HS8 comes with XLR and 1/4” TRS inputs that give you a few easy connection options. One thing to be aware of is that there is no stand-by mode, only on/off switches on the back panel.
Because they are monitor speakers, they are intended to play pretty flat and return what the artist intended. They do a great job of it as the measurements show. While I've grown to much prefer generally flat playing speakers, some who like speakers with particular voicing characteristics may find them to be dry. To me, things just sound right.
Yamaha HS8 vs ELAC B6. Overall these speakers are pretty similar in many respects. Not just in size and construction, but also in performance. The HS8's are significantly pricier and powered, but they also get the nod in performance; largely due to a properly leveled tweeter and a less bloat in the bass.