Headphone Review: The Yamaha HPH-MT7w Studio Monitor

Yamaha brings a high-quality monitoring headphone to market for the pro or prosumer producer
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David Ireland
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Yamaha brings a high-quality monitoring headphone to market for the pro or prosumer producer
yamaha studio monitor

The new HPH-MT7w (the w just indicates that it's white) is the latest offering from Yamaha in the pro audio category. We've been seeing a lot of new monitoring headphones this year that are coming in at really reasonable price points and great neutral sound profiles, like the Pioneer HRM-7 or the TMA-2 or AKG K553.

The cool thing about the Yamaha HPH-MT7's is that while it's an incredibly accurate studio monitor, it's also beefy enough to work for DJs or Artists doing live shows on their DAW or analog set-up. I'm a big fan of using these types of headphones for both casual listening and for actually doing DJ mixes and working in Ableton Live. 

At their core, the HPH-MT7's are designed for DAWs and mixing down your tracks before you send them out to get mastered. The price point that Yamaha has brought these in at make them perfect for the prosumer or younger producer that might only have a home studio.

These headphones are what you would expect; they are flat and give you an accurate reproduction of what your music sounds like from the source. While I don't love not having actual speakers to monitor from you could, in theory, use these without an external speaker set up. If you are a producer that is doing a lot of work on the road and external monitors aren't an option, or if you have a home studio that just needs to be quiet, these are perfect. 

yamaha studio monitor

The over-ear design creates solid isolation, so you don't have to turn them up that loud unless you are in an extremely loud environment (like a club). While the do get loud, I found the optimal monitoring volume to be right in the middle. The lower volume will give you the best sound and let you hear the details very clearly and create less fatigue so you can work longer. Loud is not better unless you are DJing and even then you should try to mix in the headphones and not rely on the monitor the entire time. 

The design is what you would expect; nice closed back cushy leatherette earcups, lightweight, a comfortably padded headband and long cable. If you can't get this right, you shouldn't make headphones, and Yamaha dials it all in correctly. There is enough space for your ears to breathe a bit and I never really felt like I was overheating which sometimes happens with bigger studio style headphones. The fit while comfortable is also quite snug, and that helps if you are moving around a lot in the studio. 

I tested the cans with my usual regimen of genres, and they performed very well with everything I threw at them. Even with complicated and screechy sounds like some elaborate Rock numbers they held up quite well.  

While these headphones do deliver a punchy bass frequency and could be used for DJing, I probably wouldn't go there with them even though you could if you really had too.  

Summary

If you are are just getting into production and don't have a huge budget for monitors or can't use external speakers, the HPH-MT7's are an excellent buy. They are incredibly detailed, comfortable and can be used to monitor your DJ set if you get in a pinch. MSRP was originally $299, but you can find them just about anywhere now for about $170.

Specs:

• 40 mm custom drivers with CCAW voice coils deliver a broad frequency range and accurate response

• Closed-back, circumaural design for excellent isolation

• Smooth synthetic leather and large low-resistance cushions ensure stress-free wearability and high levels of isolation

• Three-dimensional arm pivot construction and adjustable slider length alleviate fatigue when working for extended periods

• Moveable earcups allow single-ear monitoring

• Thick ABS housing and rigid die-cast aluminum support-arms for use in the toughest working environments

• Straight 3 m cable suitable for use in a wide variety of applications *6.3 mm diameter standard stereo plug adaptor included

• Convenient carrying bag included