ARE YOUR SPEAKERS IN THE RIGHT PLACE? | How To Setup Multiple Studio Monitors



Here we go again. Another rainy English day. But it seems that from the last couple of videos, you are actually quite keen. You've been adding some comments and asking me questions, which is good. So keep asking the questions in the comments when you see this, because that's what I'm here to do, answer your questions and go in depth on everything that I could possibly tell you about mixing and mastering from my 25 years of experience, it seems you do actually want to hear what I've got to say, which is more than I can say for my wife. Doesn't want to hear anything I've got to say. But today's is from a comment on the last video two back, I think. From Decibel Audioworks and he says, “if you could make a video on monitor placement, especially setting up multiple pairs in one control room. That would be awesome. Big fan of your content. Keep up the great work. Thank you very much Decibel Audioworks for that comment.

So today, as you can see behind me, I have set up a set of flashy NS10s. And I've got my main monitors that I always use. And I'm going to tell you all the little tricks and tips that will help you set up your speakers, set up multiple speakers in your production room mix or mastering room bedroom, mum spare cupboard. So speaker placement in the room. First things first, you want to have ideally a rectangular room. So then this is all ideally as well remember, we'll go on to the ideally. Then you want to be sitting in the room, about a third in. You either go there or you go there basically. But let's just deal with going close. So then you've got your speakers here and a speaker here. And what you want to do is be in the triangle for those speakers. It doesn't get any more basic than that. You need to be in the triangle. Now you can sit a little bit ahead of the triangle once you're in that triangle, but your speakers need to be in triangle.

Now what you want to do is have those speakers pointing inwards towards your ears because otherwise they're going out here. So you want them to be pointing down the line of fire. And a good way to do that is to look at the speaker from your sweet spot, which is this bit here, that's called a sweet spot because that's where you're sitting and it's sweet. And so what you do, you look across at the speaker. If you can see either side of the speaker, then you need to move the speaker, so you can't see either side. That's a really quick way of being able to get into there. So that is the basics of your room setup. Now, if you are in a not ideal, but if you're in a room where you have something in the corner like that, now that's a bit of an issue. So really you want to spend the room round and have that at the back the room.

I see some people with their speakers here, and then they're sitting here. So then the triangle's not working correctly. And I see people sitting, they'll put the speakers here and here and then be sitting over here somewhere. I mean, it's just what you're looking for is symmetry ideally across your speakers in your room. So you need to work that out. So basically what you're trying to do is get yourself in a triangle at some point in the room. So move that triangle around until you haven't got too many reflective surfaces that are sort of ruining the sound. But that's more room set up than speakers setup. But the main thing for speaker set up, because that's what we're dealing with today is the triangle and pointing them in. So when I say triangle, what I'm saying is equilateral triangle. Now you thought you did matter in school and you weren't ever going to need that again, didn't you? But you're wrong.

This is my sweet spot in the room - the chair. This is where my head is going to be. This is where I'm doing my work from. I want that to be the best sounding area in the room. So all the room is designed around that spot, the sweet spot. So my speakers, I measure between one tweeter and the other tweeter. And then I take that and I measure that to where I'm going to be sitting. So basically each one of these measurements to the sweet spot is the same as to there. So that the sweet spot is the sweet spot. It's perfectly in line with those speakers. And as I said, as I'm sitting, looking at those speakers, I don't want to see either side from the sweet spot. Because I would then know to turn that round a little bit and get it in line with my ears. So that I'm part of that triangle. So now you're in the sweet spot. You can see how I'm looking at the speaker. I can't see the left or the right. So that's how you want to be. And then when you pan round, you then see the same thing on the other speaker on the other side.

So we've now done the placement with you sitting in the triangle, the equilateral triangle. And now what we're going to look at is height. You want to have your speakers at the right height. There’re so many people that I see and they have their speakers and they're pointing at their chest. They've got a mixing desk. They've got their little KRKs and they're down here and they're pointing down at their chest. You're not going to be able to hear them. So what you need to do is get yourself a set of sturdy speaker stands. If you've got on your desk, your speakers. Pull the desk forward. Put the speaker stands behind the desk. Get them in the triangle, but make sure you spend some money. Get some really solid stands that have, like weighted or they've got sand in them or something.

But what you've got to do is get them to the height. So when you're in the sweet spot, say I'm sitting in the sweet spot, and this is my height. So I've got my ears here. So measure the height of my ears, to where I'm going to be. Because the whole room is around the sweet spot. So what I want to do is make sure that that tweeter there, especially on these ones, because they're push off that way. If you like these speakers, by the way, they're quite mental. Aren't they? You can see a video that I'll link where I dipped them in stuff. And before any NS10 geeks out there say, “oh, you've got the wrong tweeter in that one and different one in that one”. I know they don't work. They're just totally got nothing in them because we dipped them in a load of stuff and watch the video anyway.

But you want to get these tweeters so they’re level with your ear, so you can hear the tweeter. Otherwise you're not going to hear the tweeter when it's down there, you're not going to get a precise enough sound. So that's exactly what you want to do. If you've got them up this way, if you want to play them that way, then you need to be around here between the mid-range and the tweeter. You need your seat so it's high enough, and your ear is between there. Now, what you also want to do if you are using stands, which I suggest that you do, you need to isolate the stands. And there's a whole video on that, which I'll put in the description and maybe link above. And so watch that video on isolation because that's super important. Because that's how you'll get your speakers sounding much, much better.

So now you want to know about placing multiple speakers within one sweet spot area. So I'm a mastering engineer so I normally just have one set of super high quality speakers. So I get to know these, I trust them. I know exactly how they sound. This up around the sweet spot. All the room is built for these speakers. So that's why I just have one pair. But I have worked before in studios where I've needed another set of reference speakers, because I haven't quite trusted the big ones. So I just wanted to have another reference. And you see this a lot in mixing like massively a mixing they'll have two, three, four, five pairs of speakers just to reference loads of different sounds off. You won't see it as much in mastering. So what I suggest to do is, so keeping in mind, the triangle that we talked about earlier, when you are putting speakers forward. So you've got these speakers. You remember, they're going to get in the way of these big ones.

So really you need to bring them down a little bit lower because you want your main speakers to be your main daddy speakers. Unless you are using your big speakers, just to hear some low end, which a lot of the time is what I used to do. I used to master on some little smaller speakers and then switch to the big ones just for the low end. But in my scenario in here, I love the tops of the main monitors. So these would just be in the way and be annoying. But keep them in the triangle. Maybe get them a little bit lower. So you might have to sort of go down when you want to listen to them. So they might be playing into your chest, but you're using them just as reference.

So you can go in and get in there a bit and it gives you a different sound of the room. And that's really what you're after with extra pairs of monitors. You want a different type of sound to make sure that the mix is translating from speaker to speaker. You might see people with a little Auratone speaker so you can flick it to mono, or they might have little stereo ones just sitting on the desk here. That's fine. But remember, they're still sitting there and there's the triangle. You lean into the triangle and that's where you can really hear them then. Because you're in that speaker again. Or you might even have a pair of these off to the side of the room. But then you can spin round, you're in the triangle again. Just keep thinking about that triangular sound.

And then you'll be in a much better position to be able to hear what the speakers are playing. So in here I possibly wouldn't have these. When I have had speakers like this, if I've had a big desk in front of me, I have to put them in front, which I've hated, which is why my room is super minimal because I don't want anything in the way of the speakers. This desk has got holes all through the sides and at the back. So, it's not bouncing off and affecting the sound of the big speakers. I want the speakers to be just on my ears and that's it. I don't want anything else in the room getting in the way. So for me, if I was to have another set of speakers, I would have them out of the way of the bigger ones, how I had them set up originally. Because the sound coming out of these, I don't want to have anything in the way of that, but these speakers are different anyway. Because I wouldn't have anything next to them because they do a different malarkey. But you can see that on another video that I'll link.

Now that I've bored you with my mastering room and how I would set my room up. Let's look at some real-world examples with a few pictures that I've found online. I'll give you my two pence on how I would have set the speakers up just so you can get an idea of how you can then set them up in your room. So let's start with this one. So a nice studio, but I would say these speakers here, I can't see the distance between this one, but I would probably push those back because if you think where the triangle's going is probably back here somewhere where it is at the moment. So too far forwards, these tweeters are probably too high. I would either put these on their side or I would get some lower monitors, but they have got isolation in between them. So that's a good thing there. But these tweeters are a little bit too high. I can't see if they're angled down, but it looks like you can't really hear what's going on unless you're standing up. And these ones are loud, but you need to be at the back.

Let's move on to another, this one. So there is isolation between these two. It's quite high stall. So I think this could probably work, maybe pull this forward, but it looks like a really tiny room. So probably I would get, definitely get some headphones on the go in here. Looks like I'd probably be quite lively. The sweet spot is about right. And maybe if their head is here, then they're in good place. But I would want him to be double-check on headphones.

This room here, these are positioned nice. Aren't they? And these little PC ones. So that sort of triangles going there, which is cool. These speakers here, I don't know if I'd have them in the corner. You don't know until you hear what the sound is. They need to be positioned back here. So maybe pull the desk forward. Maybe push those in a touch. These might get in the way then. So, maybe have them a bit closer together. So that sort of they're next to each other, but facing so that you can flick between them easy enough. I think that they're probably all right, but maybe pull them in a bit more. Stereo image might be getting a bit crazy.

This one, obviously professionally built room. Looks great. Love it. These are just sort of big rock out speakers that are at the back when they're from soffit mounted, which means they're in the wall and the triangles right for those isn't it for there. And then you can see they've got these set up on what looks like custom built stands, and these are the genelec ones. So they're quite nice. And their head height is about right. Maybe a tad higher, but if they're bending down doing that and they don't want to get in the way of the big ones then probably works pretty well.

These ones here are a bit of a shame about the glass door there. You probably getting a lot of reflections from that. I would have something under these. Otherwise, this shelf is going to be jumping around. But they are bookshelf speakers so does what it says on the tin I think. They're all right. It's at least they're on their side. Their triangle is sort of here. So I think it looks like they're doing production rather than mixing or producing, mixing or mastering. I don't see any problem with those. Maybe I'd get something under them and maybe I'd get something against that window to stop it reflecting because you're going to have a different side to side, but that's a completely different video.

 Another nice studio. Old school looking. Plenty of old analog gear in here. This looks like it's a while ago. They've got the old KLKs. These are excellent by the way. If you get a chance to get any of these, they are a killer speaker. I'd have something under them. Now sometimes NS10s this sounds good. When they've got a desk under them there, because you get bounce off the desk reflections off the desk and they do have a certain sound, which is why NS10s are quite nice. But obviously, these are in the right position so that when you're standing up and mixing and stuff, you're there. And then when you're just putting things together, you're on these ones and then they've got these big old things that I can't really see what they are. They're big rock out speakers as I say. But an old school room, that one.

This one I believe is the Angel studios, if I'm right. This is their little production room. So they've got the barefoot switch on stands are probably on barefoot stands and you can see they're positioned correctly. The NS10s wrangled up, which is nice. So that when you're in here, they're right in your ears. This is obviously nicely set up room. Barefoots are nicely placed, angled in to the sweet spot and everything looks pretty pucker. So that's a good example.

Here we are with a mixed thing again. Three speakers. This is a nice setup I think. Because you're probably going to stand up a lot of time when you're listening to these speakers. You're going to be standing up mixing and maybe when you're sitting down, you've probably pop the NS10s on to just work and get on with stuff and do your fine tuning. There's little Auratone here. I can see for checking out the mono signal. This is a nice room. It looks pretty cool. They're going to get reflections off the desk, but once you're used to that and like I say, sometimes that can be beneficial to certain speakers. You just have to test that it's got isolation under all the speakers. They're all nicely positioned next to each other, turning into the sweet spot, which is around here I'm guessing. So, that was a good example for you.

To another one. So this one here, it's got quite a lot going on. There's a lot of desk and stuff. I like these speakers. They're really cool. They’re focal trios. They sound great. These little neumanns, I think they are. Are at the top, they're angled down as you can see, which is cool. So they're angled down to the sweet spot and obviously these aren't playing at the same time as these. So these are acting as quite a good support for these little ones. But I would say I can see a stand here. So I would say I would have them on a more sturdy stance. These are pretty heavy speakers. I'd have them on a stronger stand with some isolation. I think they'd get a better sound from them. Or maybe pull the desk forward. Get a little bit of space in between. So you can get these a little bit further apart so you can get a little bit more stereo image. Apart from that, it's pretty good. I reckon.

This one. So here we are. So there's a lot of glass going on. There's also a cat in there. So these are angled ones down here and one's up here. So the stereo image is going to be dreadful. They're going to be rattling around on this desk. The desk pulling forward. It needs these put onto some stands and that will make them a million times better. I'd probably try and lose the glass desk because you're going to get a lot of bounce off of that glass desk and it's not going to sound too hot. So I'll be looking at something else there. And they got Subpac which are cool. If you've seen the Subpac, I did a video on a Subpac there. That's really smart just to get a little bit of base in your back. But these need stands. These needs to go behind the desk and this desk needs to go because it's too many reflective surfaces.

And then the final one, this one. So again, similar thing, reflective surfaces underneath, which can work fine. As I said, when it's a mixing desk and stuff, it's not the end of the world. I've worked on stuff. But ideally you don't have that much reflective space in front of you. Again, I'd have these on a stand or I would have them raised up because these tweeters aren't going to the person's ear, that's in this chair. There's a big window here, which is a bit of a shocker. I would have these up on some stands or on some padding or ISO acoustic stands to get them up in the ear and away from the reflective surfaces. So that directly pointed at the ear. And I think that will sound good. But these are pointing at the person's belly at the moment. So there's a few real-world examples for you to see and look at your studio. And maybe hopefully pick a few little ideas out of them.

So in summary, what you've got to do is need to get your speaker placement in the room correctly. Make sure they're set up in the triangle. Use that tape measure to get that triangle so that everything is equal. Each three lines is equal. Make sure you get the height of the speaker correctly. So it's hitting your head, make sure that they're not sitting on a desk vibrating. Watch that other video in the link below. And yes, there is no reason why you can't have a few pairs of speakers in the room. But just keep in mind that there's a triangle effect going on. If you're in the way of the other speakers, make sure they're a bit lower for your second reference. Third reference, put them to the side, maybe get some more tones, put those up front. But make sure that your main speakers that you're working on day in, day out, the ones you get used to, are in the perfect position for your sweet spot and you can hear exactly what's going on. Failing all of that, get yourself a really good set of headphones.


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