The new Yamaha HPH-MT7 Studio Monitor Headphones are a great choice whether tracking in the studio, live mixing or simply as an audiophile's choice for listening to music at home. Here's the lowdown.
When shopping for a new pair of headphones, many customers face at least three important criteria when choosing which one to buy - price, sound quality and durability. And quite often, some sort of compromise is required: you can choose to buy something cheaper, but will have to sacrifice the audio quality or, instead, you'll spend perhaps more money than you'd have hoped for, in order to get more reliable headphones.
In some cases, opting for a cheap (sub-£100) pair of headphones can be OK: casual users who only listen to songs on Spotify don't need anything too fancy, for instance. Nor do those who just want to record a few home demos. But in most situations, if you want to achieve professional results in the studio or if you want a more satisfying audiophile experience, the best option is to invest a little bit (or a lot!) more on a better pair or headphones.
The good news is that the new Yamaha HPH-MT7 studio headphones (also available in White) are able to offer pro audio quality and comfort for a very good price, sitting at the lower price range for professional headphones, but offering unparalleled features for the price. At just £124 RRP (as of July '16) this is the best value pair of headphones we've seen in a good while.
Build Quality & Design
One of the first things that's apparent when unboxing your new pair of HPH-MT7 headphones, is that Yamaha took great care in making something that's stylish and sturdy. The headphones feature solid ABS housing, die-cast aluminum support-arms, thick 3m cable and very-good quality corrosion-resistant gold-plated stereo jack. It's clear straight away that this bad boy will withstand the rigours of the road or of heavy studio usage.
The earpads are very, very comfortable - perfect for those who plan to spend many hours in the studio. So comfortable, in fact, you might consider wearing them as nice earmuffs come Winter! Seriously now: of course the main point is to provide great sound isolation - and the HPH-MT7 does that really well.
The only slight downside is that while the design is undoubtedly stylish, these headphones are a bit too bulky - no problem for most people wearing it in the studio or listening to music at home, but not exactly a stylish match for the ubiquitous Beats by Dre you see on the streets - but hey, that's why the Yamaha HPH-Pro range exists!
The Audio Quality
This is where the HPH-MT7 shines. As we said before, these headphones are quite affordable, but they actually provide some better specs than the industry-standard DT100s, which means that these new headphones are more than good enough for professional use.
The Wide Frequency Response of 15Hz to 25kHz means that the Yamaha HPH-MT7 provides lower lows and higher, clear highs, allowing you to notice all the subtleties of sound. Thanks to its flat linear response, these headphones are perfect for mixing, helping you to do mixes that'll sound good on different sources such as iPods, car or computer.
Sound Pressure Level of 99dB/mW and Maximum Input Power of 1600mW (at 1kHz) guarantee all the clear audio quality you'll need when monitoring at different volumes.
We tested our pair of HPH-MT7 in different situations and it sounded great every time. Firstly, we tested the simple experience of just listening to songs on Spotify - which was greatly enhanced by these headphones. Spotify's quality is notoriously not so great, but a good pair of headphones does help to bring out more nuances to the sound. We listened to The Rolling Stones' 'Let It Bleed' album and we could notice a much wider soundstage on songs such as 'Gimme Shelter' than with cheaper headphones - that wider frequency response really does make a difference, for instance, when allowing you to notice the reverb's subtle tail-off in certain parts.
All the aspects mentioned before - comfort, sound isolation, frequency response - really came together in a wonderful way when we put our HPH-MT7 to use in the studio, which is, of course, the most important thing to the majority of our customers.
These Yamaha headphones didn't disappoint. We got clear audio and very good isolation when tracking a reasonably loud guitar. The wider frequency response meant it was much easier to get the sound we wanted when monitoring & mixing, with less time EQ-ing.
It really did feel as if these headphones are better than anything similarly priced, or even more expensive: you'll probably have to spend at least an extra £50 if you want to find something better than the Yamaha HPH-MT7 - for their price, they are simply fantastic.
Lack of Bluetooth may put off some audiophile users, but if you're looking for a great new pair of professional-quality headphones to use in the studio or live, you can't go wrong with this new model!
PROS: Great value, industry-standard pro quality.
CONS: A bit too bulky to use out on the street (unless that's the look you want!), no Bluetooth.