Join Bobby Owsinski for an in-depth discussion in this video Determining the listening position, part of Audio Mixing Bootcamp.
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Finding the correct position in the room for your monitors is just as important to the sound as the monitor speakers themselves. In this video, I am going to explain how to find the ideal place in a room to set up your monitor system. The place that provides the best acoustic performance will almost always come from setting up lengthwise in the room. That's because it's easier to avoid some of the problem room reflections that can interfere with the room's frequency response; in other words, the speakers should be firing the long way down the room. The frequency response of the room is the way it response at the high, mid, and low frequencies.
Ideally, you want an even balance of all these frequencies, with none of them accentuated or attenuated. Without getting into too many technicalities, every room suffers from reflections that reinforce at the 50% point of the room, and then diminish at to 25% and 75% points. That means if your listening position is exactly halfway in the room, one frequency will be extremely loud, but it might be nonexistent at the 25% and 75% points in the room. For example, in a typical room with a 12-foot length, the standing wave will be 47 Hz, which is determined by the formula of 1130 feet per second, which is the speed of sound, divided by the 12-foot length of the room, times 2.
That means 47 Hz will evenly bounce back and forth in the room. If you place either your speakers or listening position midway in the room at the 50% point, 47 Hz will reinforce, and it will sound extremely loud. If you place the speakers or listening position at either a quarter of the way in the room, at the 25% point, or a quarter of the way from the rear wall, at the 75% point, 47 Hz will cancel out. As a result, you want to place both the speakers and listening positions somewhere in between 25%, 50%, and 75% of the room and a point that's an odd, non-divisible number, like 27, 38, or 45%.
Many acoustic designers feel that the 38% point is the ideal listening place in the room. The 38% point in the room may or may not be the best place for your speakers in your particular room, which is why you must be prepared to experiment with placement of few inches backwards or forwards. There are so many variables involved with just about any room that even the best designers with the best equipment can't precisely predict the correct placement. As a result, many spend an entire week just tweaking the speaker and listening placement. Don't be surprised if it takes some time and experimentation to get it right.
- Optimizing your listening environment
- Setting up sessions, subgroups, and effects
- Understanding which mixing elements to avoid
- Understanding the principles of building a mix
- Panning instruments
- Setting up the compressor
- Using noise gates and de-essers
- Understanding the concept of frequency juggling
- Using the magic high-pass filter
- Timing reverb and delay to a track
- Using reverb to layer the mix
- Understanding the Haas effect
- Modulating guitars, keyboards, and vocals
- Mixing with subgroups
- Tweaking the final mix