Whether you are listening to music at home or actively mixing tracks, it’s vitally important to place your monitors so you get the best sound from them.
In this series, we look at how best to position your speakers in your room, how to improve the acoustics of your room, and several common problems faced by musicians working in small rooms and how to remedy them.
In part 1 (click here if you missed PART 1), we looked at getting your speakers set at the right height and angle for optimized listening, however this is only part of what makes a perfect setup. One further important consideration is the distance between the speakers.
Monitor Placement – Distance
On a basic level, the further apart you place your speakers; the wider the stereo image will be. However, if you place them too far apart the stereo image will be too wide and lose cohesion. The easiest way to get the right positioning is to start by thinking of your setup to your head as an equilateral triangle.
Here the distance between your speakers is the same as the distance from them to your head. As most people will be monitoring on nearfield monitors, this distance will usually be around 1m-2m (possibly up to 3m in large control rooms). From this position, you can then make small adjustments if required to find the perfect sweet spot to suit your personal preferences.
One other important factor to consider is the distance of the speakers from the walls in your room.
If you place your speakers to close to the back wall of your room, it will likely cause an unwanted build-up of bass frequencies (especially if you have rear ported speakers). So try to place them at least 20cm (preferably around 1m) from the back wall.
You will also need to make sure that your speakers are not too close to your side walls either as this will cause reflections from the walls to interfere with the clarity of sound. A minimum of 1m from your side walls is a good starting point. Aim to ensure the distance between the speakers is at least equal or greater to the distance from the side walls if possible.
Apart from positioning there are other aspects to consider, such as placing your speakers on stands as opposed to directly on your computer desk. By placing your speakers on decent stands, not only do you get more control over height and angle, but it will help to isolate your speakers from the room.
In doing so your will help the speakers’ cabinet vibrations from going through your desk into the floor and cause the room to sympathetically vibrate and make your bass frequencies should less accurate.
Another option (or additional option) is to use foam isolation pads to help decouple your speakers from the surface they are on. That way you will hear more of the sound from your speakers and less from everything else in the room vibrating along with them.