Buying an excellent set of speakers is a critical step in setting up your studio. But your efforts go in vain if the sound they produce is not optimised. The placement of your studio monitors has a huge impact on the overall sound quality they produce. For many, this stage of building out a studio is often not given the attention it deserves. This is generally because of a lack of understanding. Well, we have created 5 basic rules to help guide you through this process.
1. Harmony & Symmetry Are Synonyms
Symmetry not only makes your system look good but also accentuates the sound output. If you can, it is advised to set up your studio in a symmetrical room.
Do not confine your active speaker monitor to a smaller region in the room (like a study desk). Doing this will add up to the monitor placement you’re going to do.
Follow this rule of symmetry while setting your monitor with respect to the speakers. In other words, position your monitor speaker with your left and right speakers in the shape of an equilateral triangle. Of course this is dependent on the room you are working with. If this is to possible, try to get it as close as possible.
2. Reflection & Radiation
After positioning your monitor symmetrically, check the presence of any hard surfaces that reflect the sound. Bad reflection ruins the actual output by delaying or superpositioning the sound signal. The same can happen in case of vocal mics as well.
Covering the floor with rugs and filling the room with soft furniture will absorb the sound rather than reflect it…You can also add absorption to such surfaces (and diffusion to the walls, if needed).
Radiation space is another aspect to be considered. Surfaces at a proper distance limit the radiation thereby increasing the sound level.
This is why it is ideal to place your monitor and speakers at an equilateral distance from the walls.
3. Positioning At A Distance From The Walls
The distance between walls and the monitor varies with each wall. It depends on the position of the monitor from a wall. The wall rear to the monitor should be able to absorb the sound.
Remember that reflection from the rear wall is more pressurising than the reflection from walls on the other sides.
The monitor doesn’t have to be obscure from the walls. Calculative reflection is, in fact, helpful for sound production. If your space is limited, place your monitor within a meter from the wall.
This is much better when accompanied by subwoofers close to the walls to balance at low frequencies. The rear wall should be closer to the monitor than the side walls.
For example, if the distance between the side-walls and the monitor is 4 meters on each side, it is better to place the monitor at 3 meters from the rear wall.
4. How To Set The Height
The monitor comes with padding underneath that places it at a height abovethe desk. However, there are other factors which decide what height you should place your monitor.
Do not place your monitor at exactly half the room’s height. Either above or below that point works fine. Placing at the exact half point will promote sound distortion. The same applies to the horizontal position of the monitor.
Your monitor should be at ear-level facing you straight. If the monitor is lower than that, give it additional padding or use a tall desk.
5. The Monitor’s Position From You
The monitor should face you straight and the main speakers should be in an angled position. As discussed earlier, the height of the monitor has to match your ear-level.
If not, it should be at least slightly below your eye-level. When your monitor is at eye-level, the ear-level is set too and there is no overlap of horizontal and vertical sound dispersion. To set the monitor at a proper height, you can use a stand.
Follow these rules and get the best out of your speaker system to make your mixing more productive.