Placing the speaker against a wall will increase the bass response of the speaker, which could have you thinking that your mix is bass heavy when it is not.
Studio monitor placement can have a greater impact on your sound in your home recording studio environment, more so than even the monitors themselves.
The result of a poorly placed monitor can prevent you from creating a well balance mix. So it is important to place them properly for the monitors to perform at its best.
To allow you to get your head around your home studio monitor placement, I will get into a bit of mathematical stuff such as symmetrical positioning, height level, the distances between the speakers and the room boundaries. But do not be scared because I will make it as basic as possible.
Where in the room to place your monitor? First let us look at room dimensions.
The home environment was not design for recording studio purpose, so you want to place the monitor at a spot where you can get the most out of the room. We call this the “sweet spot” or the optimal listening point.
To find your optimal listening point, consider this ideal example. Say your room is rectangular in shape. Place your chair so that you are facing one of the shorter walls and at centre point between the two longer walls so that the distances are the same on your left and right.
You don’t want to position right up against the wall in front of you. Ideally you should be about 38% away from the wall you are facing. The rare wall should be 62% away from the back of your head. The reason behind this is that if the sound reflecting off the wall has a longer distance to travel, it will not interfere with the direct sound emitting from your speakers
Ok, so this is a very optimistic example and it is unlikely that your room is this shape. But I wanted you to get a rough idea of where in the room you should set up shop. If your room is not this shape, just try creating some space between the wall that you face and the wall on your left and right is the same distant.
Mounting your studio monitor
When mounting the speakers, place them about 3 to 4 feet apart and in a position so that they are at the same distant from the sweet spot. To do this, place the monitors so that it creates an equilateral triangle at a 60-degree angle, as shown in the image below.
So for instance, if your monitors are 4 feet apart, they should also be 4 feet from your optimal listening point. One way to check if the angle is right, sit into your chair and look at the monitors, if you can only see the front and not the sides, you have gotten the angle right.
The height at which the monitors stand is also important. Ideally you want the tweeters to point directly at your ears when you are sitting in your sweet spot. This is because high frequency sounds are more directional. But most importantly, make sure that the tweeter height does not sit at the vertical centre point of the room. For example if you have a 2m high ceiling, you do not want your tweeter at exactly 1m high. If this is the same height as your ears when sitting in you optimal listening position, it is better to have the tweeter slightly off axis with your ears, than to have it in the exact vertical centre of your room.
Note: At all cost, avoid placing the monitors in the corners.
As I mentioned earlier, try and avoid placing the speakers right up against the wall. Placing the speaker against a wall will increase the bass response of the speaker, which could have you thinking that your mix is bass heavy when it is not.
Ideally, the distance of the monitors from the wall in front of you should not be a multiple of the distance from your monitors to the sidewalls. For example, if the distant from the monitors to the sidewalls is 2metres, you don’t want to place your monitors 0.5metres, 1.5metres and so on, from the front wall. This will reduce room mode built-up.
I know I’ve used ideal examples to explain your home studio monitor placement and it might be that your studio is in your bedroom. But hopefully this explanation gave you some tips to setup your speakers
Featured image by: Ian Pye