Studio monitor placement is crucial to getting your speakers to perform at its best. Correct monitor positioning is one of the main factors for creating an accurate mixing environment.
The placement of your monitors has a greater impact than you think on how accurate it reproduces sound in your studio environment.
Poor positioning will cause dips and peaks in the frequency response of the room, where some frequencies will sound much louder than others even though the levels measured at the monitors may be the same.
This will mislead you into making incorrect mixing decisions, preventing you from crafting a well-balanced mix.
Then you wonder you don’t produce great mixes that translate well in other listening environments and on other devices.
- Choosing The Right Studio Monitor
- The best studio monitors
In this post, we will go over a few common practices, like finding the best listening position, the distance from the wall and the distance between monitors
We’ll also briefly touch on room modes and how to eliminate its effect.
You can use this room setup guide as a compass as you embark on your quest for sonic clarity.
Where should I place my studio monitors?
The home environment wasn’t designed for recording studio purposes, so you want to place the monitor at a spot where you can get the most out of the room.
The room that your studio is in has specific resonant frequencies that can become troublesome depending on where in the room you place the monitor.
Setting the monitors in the corner or exactly in the centre of the room is the least desirable choice.
To find your optimal listening, monitoring and mixing position, let’s consider this ideal example.
Say your room is rectangular, set up your workstation so that you are facing the shorter wall when sitting at your listening position.
It yields better, more accurate results when you are facing the shorter wall vs the long wall.
This is because the reflective sounds take a longer time to bounce back to your ears, and the less intense the sound is, the further it travels.
The ideal listening position or sweet spot should be centre between the shorter to achieve a balanced stereo image.
Left-right symmetry is vital for helping you localise sound sources in the sound stage.
Now that your workstation and listening position is centre between the sidewalls and you are facing the shortest wall place the monitor on either side of the workstation in perfect symmetry.
Our setup in for from complete, now it’s time to fine-tune the placement of our studio monitor.
Studio monitors distance from wall
Placing the monitor against a wall will increase the low-frequency response of the room, which could have you thinking that your mix is bass-heavy when it is not.
This is especially true if the monitor has a rear port as ports are designed to enhance the speaker low-frequency response.
Front bass port monitors such as KRK Rokits G4 are useful for keeping the low-frequrncy away from the back wall.
Twenty-eight to 30cm is adequate to minimise bass sound waves from hitting the wall and reflecting back to you.
It is crucial to have both monitors at the same distance from the wall for better stereo imaging.
Even a 1cm difference can upset the stereo field.
Also, to reduce room mode build-up make sure the distance from the monitor and the back wall isn’t a multiple of the distance from the sidewalls.
How far apart should studio monitors be
For the best stereo imaging, the listening position and monitors should set up in an equilateral triangle.
Which means, the distance between the monitor centre divers should be the same distance from each other as they are from you.
If the distance between both monitors is 2m, then you need to be equally 2m from both left and right monitors.
The height at which the monitors stand is also important.
Make sure that the monitors are facing towards you and tweeters are the same height as your ears.
Because high-frequency sounds are more directional, positioning the tweeter at an equal level with your ears, you can more accurately hear what is happening in the upper-frequency range.
Another crucial thing, the height of the tweeter shouldn’t equal to the room’s vertical centre.
For example, if you have a 2m high ceiling, you do not want your tweeters to set exactly at 1m.
It’s better to have the tweeters slightly off-axis to your ears than to have them setting vertical centre of the room.
Do You need studio monitor stands
If you’re not using monitor stands or an appropriate recording studio desk, it’s unlikely to do what’s outlined above.
Therefore the answer is yes, you may need studio monitor stands.
Placing monitors on stands will greatly improve there performance.
You need monitor stands to isolate the sound from other masses and structures such as floors, workstations and desks.
Vibrations from the cabinets that rumbles into the mass of the desk or floor can skew and colour the sound.
Monitor stands isolate the sound for a more accurate representation.
All room, especially smaller ones, will exhibit modal problem and require some form of acoustic treatment.
In small rooms, room modes are more problematic below 300Hz.
Bass trap can minimise these low-frequency issues and improve the bass response of the room.
Placing bass traps or acoustic panels behind each monitor will absorb the low energy emitting from the back of the speakers before they hit the wall.
Placing absorption materials in the main reflection points of the room will reduce flutter echoes and standing waves that room modes cause.
Once you have completed everything in this guide, test the monitor placement in your studio.
While sitting in your listening position, playback this ascending sine wave low to medium level.
If you hear dips and peaks at any of the frequencies, chances are there’s a problem with your current setup.
However, if the sound consistent, then well done you monitor placement is complete.