An affordable, 5″ active studio monitor with a big smooth sound
Review by David Blascoe
Yorkville Sound is a Canadian company that has been making loudspeakers and professional audio equipment for both the studio and stage since 1963—they know a thing or two about speaker design and performance. The latest member of the Yorkville YSM Studio Monitor Series is the affordable YSM5-2 powered studio monitor.
YSM5-2 is an active 2-way design that features a 5″ fiber reinforced composite cone woofer and a 1” neodymium dome tweeter with a black-silk diaphragm, which the company calls Neo Soft dome Ferro Fluid. They have a frequency range of 50 Hz to 22 kHz with a crossover frequency of 2.1 kHz and put out a total of 50W of Class D power with a 105dB Max SPL level.
The cabinet measures 9.5″ x 7.5″ x 11.5″ made of MDF (Medium Density Fiberboard). Yorkville designed the edges of the molded waveguide to perfectly couple the tweeter with the woofer, minimizing sonic anomalies and phasing issues normally associated with close proximity between the two drivers.
A single blue LED indicates whether the speakers are switched on or off. The straightforward rear panel offers an on and off switch, balanced XLR and 1/4” TRS inputs and an unbalanced RCA input.
Then there’s a volume knob as well as switches for the integrated DSP, which allow you to adjust a pair of high and low-shelf filters +/- 2dB.
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The first thing I noticed when taking these speakers out of the box is that at 11 lbs each, they were lighter than I was anticipating. The speakers are finished in a black textured vinyl finish, and the front baffle and waveguide design look quite handsome. The appearance of the YSM5-2 is very minimal, sleek and stealthy—I personally love how they look.
Yorkville also included four adhesive foam feet to place on the bottom of the speakers for isolation and protection.
How Do They Sound?
Once I got them set up and plugged in, I let them burn in for most of the day before sitting down and giving them a proper listen. The first thing I noticed was the low-end. I had to double-check that my subwoofer was indeed turned off. These things have a massive low-end for a 5″ speaker—seriously! My previous 5″ monitors didn’t have nearly as much low-end presence as YSM5-2. It’s not a hyped or unnatural sounding low end either, just similar to what you might expect in an 8″ monitor. Plus the onboard DSP lets you boost or cut the low-end further to fit your space and placement.
The high-end was also much smoother than I was anticipating for a studio monitor in this price range, and in my semi-treated space leaned a tad dark. I found the high-shelving option handy to open up the sound.
I have a few songs that are my go-tos for reviewing monitors, specifically for their detail and low-end presence. The Billie Eilish song “bury a friend” has enormous low-end and sub frequencies and the YSM5-2 represented both beautifully with a full and deep bass response that never got woofy. David Bowie’s “Slip Away” has a very crisp high end to the drums, cymbals and Bowie’s voice. I was able to increase the volume much higher than I would normally when listening. The smooth high-end kept everything natural and detailed without ever getting harsh. I did find the mid-range tonality perhaps a tiny bit scooped to my ears but still pleasing.
While working on some Ableton projects, everything was as described above, with the YSM5-2 keeping up with everything I was throwing at this speaker. My mixes translated well to other playback environments with few surprises.
Priced at just $179 each, the Yorkville Sound YSM5-2 studio monitors are an extremely competitive option in terms of price-to-performance ratio. If you’re looking for small 5″ monitors for your studio, I recommend checking these out. I think Yorkville has knocked it out of the park!
David Blascoe is a Nashville-based session drummer and engineer. He records and tours with a roster of artists, including his personal project, Black Fuse. @blackfusemusic @davidblascoe
Price: $179 (each)
More from: yorkville.com