Best DAC for Yamaha HS8

The Yamaha HS8 is the largest studio monitor model in the series, it is well regarded by professionals, audiophiles, and even some casual music listeners as one of the best active speakers in this price range. Being the largest model has its own perks such as being able to deliver deep low frequencies and could fill a mid-sized room effortlessly at high volume levels, thanks to its amplifier power of 120 Watts. Even though the Yamaha HS8 is highly capable, you will still need an equally impressive DAC to match.

With a high-quality DAC being thrown into the mix, it would be able to bring out the best in the HS8 studio monitor and enable you to listen to high-res audio files. We will require a further understanding of the Yamaha HS8 sonic prowess as well as your potential DAC requirements so as to find a matching DAC for the job.

Sonic Characteristics of Yamaha HS8 and Potential DAC Requirements

As mentioned earlier, the Yamaha HS8 is a large self-powered studio monitor for nearfield listening. It has a huge 8″ (200mm) cone woofer driver been powered by 75 Watts of amplifier power. Above the 8″ cone will be its 1″ (25mm) dome tweeter and has 45 Watts of power been driven to it. The HS8 has a rear-firing bass port and you might want to be cautious when positioning the studio monitors. If you have no choice but to place the monitors near to walls, you can try using the Room Control and High Trim response controls to fine-tune the sonic characteristics to your preference.

The frequency response of the Yamaha HS8 is really impressive, it is between 38Hz to 30kHz and you probably wouldn’t need the support of a subwoofer unless you really want a more prominent subsonic bass performance. The Yamaha HS8 low-end performance is powerful and solid, it really digs deep into the bass extension and delivers the low frequencies effortlessly. Its bass delivery is tight as well, there is no exaggeration and it is not bloated but placing the studio monitors nearer to walls will easily make the bass more pronounced. This might affect your audio mixing and not to mention, your music listening experience.

More Information at Amazon – YAMAHA HS8 Studio Monitor, Black

When pairing with a DAC, you might want to choose the one which has a more neutral sonic character as it will help provide an accurate sound reproduction. Unless you want more gripe and punch in the bass reproduction, then you should go for a DAC that has these sonic traits. These are potential requirements that you might want to consider or if you have other sound quality preferences, you should list them down now. The overall bass performance of the Yamaha HS8 is well textured, accurate, and clean. The smaller studio monitor models in the series seem to be a bit more nimble though.

The upper registers sound extended and detailed, with an astonishing level of clarity where you can hear plenty of details including the subtle ones. The highs and mids also sound flat, with balanced tonality and timbre. Yamaha HS8 does sound bright though and can cause listeners’ fatigue if paired with too bright sounding D/A converters. Going with DAC which has a more rounded treble might be a good idea and this can be a requirement to consider as it will allow you to work longer hours without feeling fatigued that easily. Your sound quality preferences are part of the requirements and to make things easier, you should jot them down for easier reference.

The DACs’ price points to aim for will largely be depended on your budget and you should work this out. Since the Yamaha HS8 are large active monitors, they will most certainly take up a lot of space on your desktop and if this is an issue, you can always choose to get a compact size DAC. The types of high-res audio files you are playing should be taken into account as well. We suggest taking some time to look through all possible requirements and you should discuss with a friend/colleague to get a 2nd opinion. Once you are confident with what you need, kindly take a look at the list of the best DACs to pair with your Yamaha HS8 active monitors.

Yamaha HS8 Specifications

  • Speaker Type: 2-Way (Rear-ported)
  • Drive Units: 1″ (25mm) Dome Tweeter, 8″ (200mm) Cone Woofer
  • Frequency Range: 38Hz-30kHz (-10dB)
  • Built-in Amplifier Power: 45 Watts HF, 75 Watts LF
  • Dimensions (H x W x D): 390mm x 250mm x 334mm | 15.4″ x 9.8″ x 13.1″
  • Weight: 10.2kg (22.5lbs)

Best DACs to pair with Yamaha HS8

The Topping E30 is an excellent DAC choice to pair with the Yamaha HS8 as firstly it is very modestly priced and secondly it can support up to 32-bit/768kHz sample rates (PCM). The E30 DAC could decode DSD512 high-res audio files as well. Based on these sample rates and decoding capability, it would be enough for most modern-day digital music listeners. Topping E30 has a smooth music delivery which is easy on the ears and this will slightly ease down the brightness of the Yamaha HS8 studio monitors. The overall sonic performance sounds a bit cleaner and all in all is a good match with the HS8 powered monitors.

More Information at Amazon – TOPPING E30 DAC (Black)

Listeners who prefer balanced inputs should check out Schiit Audio Modius, this is a high-performance balanced DAC with a modest price tag. Connecting Yamaha HS8 via balanced connection will give us a cleaner sound quality with less noise thus giving us a better overall sonic performance which will enhance our music listening experience and would be great for work too. The Schiit Audio Modius also provided us with a more impactful bass performance without losing much of its tightness and it is still accurate too. It is a well-organized DAC capable of handling massive amounts of music details and delivering them out without congestions.

More Information at Amazon – Schiit Modius Balanced DAC (Silver)

The iFi Zen DAC V2 is an award-winning D/A converter that will be a worthy match to your Yamaha HS8 studio monitors. It is sanely priced even though it possesses exceptional sonic performance. The iFi Zen DAC V2 has a high level of insights and is capable of digging out loads of music details where the Yamaha HS8 can cleanly deliver. Its bass performance is taut and agile which will suit the Yamaha HS8 monitors nicely. This Zen DAC V2 also helps to provide a clearer picture of the music and will be ideal for professional work but can be too bright sounding for casual music listeners though.

More Details at Amazon – iFi Zen DAC V2 Desktop Digital Analog Converter

Audioengine D1 is a classic DAC and has garnered many praises over the years. It was the go-to D/A converter for active speakers back in the day and will fit nicely with the Yamaha HS8 studio monitors. This is a musically refined DAC and has a smooth-sounding treble. The Audioengine D1 will smoothen and ease the harshness of the treble, allowing us to listen to the Yamaha HS8 active monitors for hours without worrying it might sound overly bright when pushed. This is a DAC with a relaxing music presentation and will be ideal for listeners who just want to enjoy their music calmly.

More Details at Amazon – Audioengine D1 Desktop Digital to Analogue Converter

JDS Labs Atom DAC+ is an entry-level DAC with an affordable price point and is a fine choice for listeners who have a tight budget. It supports up to 32-bit/384kHz PCM and could decode DSD128 high-res audio files which are really incredible for a D/A converter at this price range. Furthermore, the JDS Labs Atom DAC+ has a clean sound quality and you can hardly detect any colorations. This is superb as this allows the Yamaha HS8 studio monitors sonic characteristics to shine through and would be great for professionals who want accuracy and details over musicality.

If you prefer a higher-end DAC model for your Yamaha HS8 studio monitors then the Schiit Audio Bifrost 2 will be an exemplary choice to go for. You should use the XLR balanced connections for better sound quality. Schiit Audio Bifrost 2 is capable of supporting up to 24-Bit/192kHz for all inputs and can deliver very natural-sounding music presentations. There is a sense of realism thanks to the level of insights and transparency which the D/A converter possesses. Allowing us to hear subtle nuances and details with clarity. It will be worth your time to audition the Schiit Audio Bifrost 2 together with your Yamaha HS8 active monitors.

More Details at Amazon – Schiit Bifrost 2 DAC with Unison USB

To Sum It Up

Listeners who have a very tight budget might want to wait it out and save up more so as to get the DAC that you really want. Unless you do not wish to invest too much in a digital-to-analog converter. Even if you are not really concerned about the sonic traits of the DAC, it is still wise to audition them together with your Yamaha HS8 studio monitors. Through the auditioning of the DACs, you will then be able to find the one with the best sound quality when paired with the HS8 monitors.

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