Setting up Stereo Monitors

speaker monitor

Setting up Stereo Monitor

There are a few basic rules that professional sound engineers adhere to in setting up near-field studio monitor speakers.They are simple rules but all of them must be obeyed if you want the best results. Any one of them should be ignored at your peril.

* Avoid positioning speaker cabinets close to corners. Low frequencies tend to congregate in corners of the room and will reinforce various low frequencies, and smear the sound. This will give you a false impression of the bass and you will end up with bass-light mixes. NB. Sound-waves don’t know the difference between vertical and horizontal. So low frequencies will be affected at the apex where floor joins wall (skirting boards) and where wall joins ceiling (architraves) as if they were vertical CORNERS. That is why people sitting on the couch at the rear of the studio are positioned close to the lower corner; hence they will hear a bass- heavy mix.

* Avoid positioning speaker cabinets close to walls, for the same reason. Not quite as bad as corners, but not good. Should be at least 400mm away. Further if possible.

* Mount monitors on solid floor stands, thus avoiding vibrations and reflection from the desk colouring the sound. If you MUST stand your monitors on the desk, then ensure you use an isolating pad under them.

* Ensure that the tweeters (HF drivers) are at ear level.

* Set up to put the sweet spot at the place you will be sitting when mixing. The sweet spot is where the mixer is equi-distant from left and right monitors; right in the middle. In small home studios it often works to have the mixer’s listening position at the vertex of an equilateral triangle between Left and right speakers, and you. So if the monitors are 1200mm apart, the set spot will be in the centre, at 1200mm from the left and 1200mm from the right.

Tip. If your space is extremely limited, and you have no option but to get close to walls or corners, then you can restrict the damage by using a sub-sat monitoring system. This will mean using smaller mid-high frequency speakers for L/R, in conjunction with a sub-woofer to handle the low end. The Sub can usually be placed under the desk. By doing this you are not producing pesky LF in the vicinity of the corners. It is important to select only professional designed studio systems; domestic and computer style systems will not be anywhere near accurate enough.

Leave a Comment: