Studio Speaker Placement: How to Position Your Monitors Properly

06 Nov 2019 26:53 27
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Placing your speakers properly is a BIG part of getting the most out of your monitors—and all the other gear in your studio.

Thanks to KRK, Justin Colletti gives you the best practices approved by acousticians and studio designers in how to get optimal low end and frequency response, whatever kind of room you're working in, even if you're in an odd shaped room.

Look for the next two parts to this series, sponsored by KRK, on acoustic treatment and EQ correction, coming your way soon.

Be sure to download the free KRK app to help your speaker setup go more smoothly, no matter what kind of speakers you have to work with:

Key principles from this episode include:

1. Listen and experiment!

2. Strive for symmetry.

3. Fire the "long way" down the room when possible.

4. Avoid danger zones, including 25% speaker placement, 50% listener placement, and corner loading.

5. Start with decent compromise positions, like 20% speaker placement and 35%-40% listener placement. From there, listen and experiment! Remember: This is a *starting* point, not a finishing point. In many smaller rooms, you may find the speakers have to move even closer to the walls for the best set of compromises.

6. Factor the "equilateral triangle rule" into your starting point for speaker placement. Begin by striving to get as close to the same distance between your speakers and your listening position as you can. Remember: Breaking this guideline is OK. Many mixers find they actually prefer to place their speakers a bit closer together, so err on the side of bringing your speakers closer together when breaking this rule.

7. If you have to setup your speakers against the wide wall, firing the "short way" into the room, you may find that your speakers and chair have to get even closer to the walls, and that your listening position may end up relatively close to the speakers. In smaller wide rooms, start with your speakers and chair 20% away from the front and back walls, and experiment from there, moving the speakers and chair closer to their respective walls as needed.

8. For square rooms, try the 5:8 ratio to minimize room modes and nodes and avoid "doubling up" on the intensity of your acoustic issues.

9. For L-shaped rooms, experiment with speaker placement in both the wide angel of the L, and a narrower end of the L. Acoustic treatment may mitigate the high-end and midrange problems associated with placing speakers in the wide part of the L, while allowing you to avoid a speaker placement that is too narrow.

10. See Rule #1! Be sure to listen and experiment! Remember that the 20% position is offered as a starting point for experimentation, not a final position. In many rooms, the speaker setup may benefit from going out closer to the walls.

If your speakers get too close to the walls, you may experience a general boost in low end, and issues in the upper bass, but this may be mitigated with EQ and acoustic treatment, and can be a good compromise. More on this in the next episodes!

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