3 Mistakes When Setting Up Studio Monitors
Mistake 1: Unbalancing through asymmetry
Symmetry is key in getting a clear and balanced sound for your mixing process. Sit your mixing station smack bang in the centre between the left and right walls and if your room is long, at around a third from the front of the room to allow for ample dispersion.
Set up your studio monitor speakers in front of you, both an equal distance from the walls. The general rule is to keep the speakers and yourself placed in an equidistant triangle – that is, the same distance between the speakers as they are to you. When angling your speakers, aim for a focal point that will meet about 45cm behind your head for an encompassing field of sound. Speakers should ideally be set at around the same level as your ears, and kept vertical or horizontal depending on how they are designed to be used rather than on their side.
Mistake 2: Clinging to the walls or corners
It can be tempting to place your studio reference monitors in the corners or against the wall, because the build-up of sound waves boosts bass response and gives the perception of more ‘powerful’ sound. However, this will also imbalance the low-end EQ that you’re trying to get an accurate picture of. Instead, keep speakers away from walls and in that equidistant pattern.
Pay attention to any listed placement options and recommendations provided with your particular set of studio monitors – they’re there to help you get the best out of their design. While you will want the natural reflections of a room, take care to remove any reflective surfaces from speaker and ear level, and adjust any angles that might cause unwanted reflection of sound waves.
Mistake 3: Boosting your bass or treble
A studio set up is not about getting ‘good’ sound – it’s about getting flat and neutral sound that reflects exactly the nature of what you’re mixing. Don’t be tempted to boost your bass or treble for a more exciting response, because you’ll need all the detail you can get across low, mid and high frequencies.
In terms of levels, the industry standard is to mix at around 83–85 dBspl so you can make sense of both low-end and high-end frequencies. This may seem too loud for some ears over longer sessions, so adjust slightly according to your hearing. Once you have found your ideal listening level, don’t be afraid to mark this on your controls so you can easily readjust when required.
For the best range of studio monitors in Australia, get in touch with your closest specialist offering Pro Audio brands.