Of all the elements that help make up your studio environment, the two most important factors to consider for producing high-quality mixes are your ear and near-filed monitors. To be more specific, the placement of these key components in your studio space will make all the difference in get the accurate mixes that will sound good on a wide range of systems.
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Here, we will be giving you a rundown of considerations and common practices when you are setting up your project for monitor placement and good listening position.
Finding that Sweet Spot
Unless your studio is going to be in a place that is echo free, you will have a specific set of resonant factor frequencies to take into consideration. There are computer programs available that can help assess your room dimensions and point out where the troublesome modes will most likely happen, but for you to just place your monitors on stands and place music through them is quite an easy way to know what exactly you are dealing with.
The first thing you will notice is that the effects of these room modes depends on your listening position and the relative position of the speakers. You do not want to sit in the center of the room, as this is the least desirable choice for a listening position, because the room’s frequency, from that position, will create a “null.”
You can move from the front to the rear walls, just to try things out, but you will want to make sure that you are centered between the side walls so you can get a balanced stereo image. You might also have to consider placing your speakers along one of the widest walls if your room is very narrow, so you can avoid side wall reflections.
Once you know what your ideal listening position is, what you need to determine next is the best place to place your monitors. If you place a loud speaker near a wall or a hard surface, some of the speaker’s low frequency energy will travel backwards from the cabinet, and it will reflect from the wall. Some frequencies usually bounce back in-phase and they produce troughs that cancel frequencies.
When it comes to stereo imaging, the ideal setup for your monitor is for the listening position and monitor placements to create three points of an equilateral triangle, with your monitors turned in, so the sound is aimed toward the ears at approximately 30 degrees to the center line.