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How Do You Position Studio Monitors? (Explained)

If you’re a music producer, chances are you’ve spent hours upon hours staring at your studio monitors, trying to get that perfect mix. And while you may have dialed in the perfect EQ settings and brought out the best in your vocals, there’s one crucial element that often gets overlooked: the angle of your monitors. Yes, believe it or not, the way you angle those bad boys can make all the difference in your mixes. And as a seasoned pro, let me tell you, it’s not just about making them look good on your desk (although, let’s be real, that’s a bonus).

In this blog post, we will cover how you should set up your studio monitors for maximum mix clarity. So whether you are a beginner or a seasoned expert, this post is for you.

Image of a man with a studio monitor in front of him inside a music studio. Source: do ancan, pexels
Image of a man with a studio monitor in front of him inside a music studio. Source: Do Ancan, Pexels

How to position studio monitors? The ideal listening position has the monitors creating an equilateral triangle with the listener’s head at its apex. This will reduce any potential for distortion caused by the desk or other surfaces getting in the way of the sound as it travels to the listener’s ears.

How does your monitor angle affect mixing?

In a recording studio, the placement of your studio monitors can have a big impact on the accuracy of your listening and mixing. The proper placement is essential for achieving a balanced sound and ensuring that your mixes translate well to other playback systems.

Imagine you’re a music producer working on a new track in your home recording studio. You’ve spent hours carefully crafting your beats, layering your synths, and adding effects to your vocals. You’re finally ready to sit back and listen to your mix, so you fire up your studio monitors and hit play.

But instead of hearing a crisp, clear, and balanced mix, you’re hit with a distorted, muddy mess. The bass is overpowering, the vocals are barely audible, and you can’t make out any of the individual instruments in your mix. What went wrong? The problem could be your studio monitor positioning!

If your monitors aren’t spaced apart and angled correctly, you’ll end up with a distorted and unbalanced mix. In this scenario, your left and right monitors might be too close together, causing the sound from each monitor to overlap and create a muddled mess. Or, your monitors could be angled in the wrong direction, so the sound is hitting your ears at an unnatural angle and causing distortion.

In either case, the result is a mix that sounds terrible and doesn’t accurately represent your hard work. So, it’s important to take the time to position your studio monitors correctly in your home recording studio to ensure you get the best possible sound.

Overall, proper studio monitor placement is essential for achieving a balanced and accurate sound in your recording studio. By angling your monitors correctly and positioning them in the right location, you can improve the clarity and focus of your mixes and ensure that they translate well to other playback systems.

What’s the best way to set up your studio monitors?

Angling your studio monitors can be an important part of achieving a balanced sound in your recording space. In general, the monitors should be angled slightly towards the listener, forming an equilateral triangle with the listener’s head at the top point. This will help ensure that the sound reaches the listener’s ears directly, without any interference from the desk or other surfaces. You should also consider employing the 38% rule when setting up your monitor.

What is the 38% rule?

The 38% rule is a guideline for positioning studio monitors in a stereo setup. It states that the monitors should be placed at an angle of 38% of the room’s width, measured from the center of the listener’s head. This angle is believed to provide the best balance of stereo imaging and soundstage for most listening environments.

To apply the 38% rule, first, measure the width of the room at the point where the listener will be seated. Then, divide that number by 38% to determine the angle at which the monitors should be positioned. For example, if the room is 10 feet wide, the monitors should be positioned at an angle of 10 / 0.38 = 26.3 degrees.

While the 38% rule is a useful guideline, it is not a hard and fast rule. The optimal angle for your studio monitors will depend on the specific dimensions and acoustics of your listening environment. It is important to experiment with different angles and listen to your mixes from different positions in the room to find the configuration that works best for you.

How far apart should your left and right studio monitors be?

As for how far apart your monitors should be, a good starting point is to have them spaced apart at a distance that is equal to the distance between your ears. This will create a “stereo image,” where you can hear the left and right channels of your mix as separate and distinct entities.

But don’t worry if you don’t have a ruler handy to measure the exact distance between your monitors and your ears! Just use your best judgment and adjust the distance and angle of your monitors until you feel like the sound is balanced and you can hear all the elements of your mix clearly.

And remember, the most important thing is that you feel comfortable and relaxed in your home recording studio, so have fun and experiment with different setups until you find the one that works best for you!

Where should you place a subwoofer?

To get the best bass in your home recording studio, the subwoofer should be placed in the front of the room, along the same wall as the front left and right monitors. This will help create a balanced and cohesive soundstage.

Image of men looking on a monitor inside a music studio. Source: brett sayles, pexels
Image of men looking at a monitor inside a music studio. Source: Brett Sayles, Pexels

The subwoofer has to be low to the ground or on a low stand. This will allow the bass frequencies to disperse evenly throughout the room. It is important to experiment with different positions and listen to the sound to determine the configuration that works best for your studio.

If you want even more tips and insights, watch this video called “PROPER Studio Monitor Placement 101 | ADAM Audio” from the ADAM Audio YouTube channel.

A video called “PROPER Studio Monitor Placement 101 | ADAM Audio” from the ADAM Audio YouTube channel.
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Frequently asked questions (FAQ)

Do you still have questions? Below are some of the most commonly asked questions about the positioning of studio monitors.

How far apart should I place my studio monitors?

Each speaker should be placed at the same distance from your head as the space between them (in the listening position). It’s recommended that the listening position be placed exactly four feet from each speaker if the speakers are spaced out a total of eight feet (from the center of the speaker cone).

Should studio monitors be at ear level?

Elevate the audio system to the listening level. Having your ears at the same height as the speakers will provide the most balanced and high-quality sound. This is because the horizontal and vertical dispersion patterns of the emitted sound might change drastically as one moves away from the speaker’s sweet spot.

What is the ideal monitor position?

Change the screen’s height such that the top is at or slightly below eye level. When looking in the center of the screen, tilt your head slightly downward. Try to keep the screen at least 20 inches (51 cm) away from your eyes. This is about the length of your arm. You’ll need additional space between you and the screen if it’s really huge.

Conclusion

So there you have it, folks. The perfect angle for your studio monitors isn’t just about making them look good on your desk (although, let’s be real, that’s a nice bonus). It’s about achieving a maximum mix of clarity and accuracy. Now go forth, my fellow audio enthusiasts, and angle those bad boys to perfection. And remember: when in doubt, measure twice and angle once. Happy mixing!

However, just as you can’t become an expert cyclist by reading a book, you can’t become a great music producer by reading articles alone. It’s time to take action! Go and put what you have learned into practice.

This article covered how your monitor angle affects mixing, the best way to set up your studio monitor, and what the 38% rule is. Here are some key takeaways:

Key takeaways

  • In a recording studio, the placement of your studio monitors can have a big impact on the accuracy of your music listening and mixing.
  • Angling your studio monitors can be an important part of achieving a balanced sound in your recording space.
  • The 38% rule is a guideline for positioning studio monitors in a stereo setup.
  • It’s best to avoid having the monitors facing inward so that the reflected sound from the side walls, ceiling, and floor reaches the listeners.
  • Once you’ve found the optimal listening position, settle down and adjust your head so that your ears are in line with the tweeter’s midpoint.
  • However, the proprietor of a project studio sometimes uses store-bought monitors in an already-existing space and makes do with minimum acoustic treatment.
  • If your monitors are lying on a hard surface, vibrations and sympathetic resonance may be a problem. Isolation cushions, often made of foam or rubber, are an inexpensive solution.
  • If you’re listening to speakers in a room, then the acoustics of the space will affect what you hear. Thus, symmetry is ideal.
  • In a perfect environment, a monitor’s frequency response will be flat from 20 Hz to 20 kHz, which is the audible range of a human ear.
  • You may test whether the mirror will reflect the speaker’s face by placing it on a flat surface like a nearby wall or desktop.
  • These screens are great for small rooms since they can be placed flush against a wall.
  • Pay close attention to frequencies below 300 Hz, while mid and high frequencies are more amenable to acoustic therapy.

So, is your studio monitor positioned correctly? And did I cover everything you wanted to know? Let me know in the comments section below (I read and reply to every comment). If you found this article helpful, share it with a friend, and check out my full blog for more tips and tricks on music production. Thanks for reading, and never stop making music.

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Audio Apartment Author
Written By Andrew Ash
Hey there! My name is Andrew, and I've been making music since I was a kid. I now run this blog all about home studios and music production. If you want to improve your home studio setup, this is the place for you!

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