How do you place near field monitors? Quickstart Guide


Whenever we buy a speaker, we seldom think about how to place them in our studio space. We never think about how they are going to line up with the room. The only thing we think about is the power of the speaker and how loud the sound can get.

When it comes to near field monitors, You cannot just place the speakers anywhere you want . They are meant to be placed in certain positions to make them more expressive.

The placement of a near field monitor ensures that it is expressing the absolute raw sound from the audio production software. The placement of these monitors makes sure that the sound that a music producer listens to is true to his surroundings.

The way a speaker sounds will differ according to the environment. This is one of the main reasons why the placement of speakers, when it comes to near field monitors are given so much importance.

The reflections from the walls are one of the biggest things to consider in the placement of near field monitors. The reflections from the walls can make or break the quality of the perceived sound for a music producer.

Near-field monitors should be placed in a space based on the distance between the artist and the monitor. Both the monitors should face the artist at an angle of 45 degrees. The placement also depends on the distance between the reflections on the top, sides, and floor of the studio space. The studio space and the materials in it should be taken into account when considering the placement of near field monitors.

Just knowing the factors involved in placing the field monitors will not help in the placement of these speakers. The best way to understand placement of near field monitors is to completely understand the factors of placement in their entirety. In this article I will walk you through everything that is needed to get the placement of your near field monitors, let’s get started.

Position of monitors

The position of a monitor doesn’t matter that much when compared to the distance between the reflective positions in the room. This is one of the reasons why you should choose a near field monitor that is suitable for your room. If the monitor is too big, you will have strong reflections that disturb the sound quality of the listening experience. Let’s look at different reflections that usually occur and how you should consider them for placement of near field monitors.

Reflections from the top 

If you are going to place a near field monitor in a room, always make sure that you have at least 10 feet of distance between the ceiling and the ground. Having enough room for the reflections to bounce back from the top is necessary. Since reflections from the top are not primary reflections, one shouldn’t worry that much about them.

The important thing to note about top reflections is that, if you have too many reflective surfaces on the ceiling it might create unnecessary sound cancelations, which might cause loss of proper sound propagation.

The reflections from the floor and ceiling are secondary reflections, these happen because of sound waves hitting the sidewalls and bouncing up and down the room.

Reflections from the sides 

Reflections are nothing but sound propagating from a speaker and bouncing from the walls or objects. First reflections are also called primary reflections. The first place where the sound hits as soon as it’s propagated from the speaker is called the first reflection. It’s the most important reflection that you have to take into consideration. You have to have at least 4 meters of distance from the first reflection to have optimal sounding audio.

This is one of the reasons why you will find that all music studios have wider first reflections with big sound-absorbing foams fitted on them. This makes the sound more natural and true to its tone when it is being listened through those near field monitors.

Reflections from the floor 

If you have seen music studios, you will know that there will be more than one layer of a rug on the floor. This is because avoiding the reflections from the floor would make the sound only bounce from the primary reflections thus making it more natural. The secondary reflections from the ceiling will be absorbed by the rugs.

Always keep your studio monitors at a minimum height of 1.5 meters from the floor. Other than the sub-woofer, never keep your studio monitors on the ground. If you have a reflective surface on the floor, such as marble, granite then always cover it with rugs so you can have a proper sounding room.

The placement of monitors in a room is more about how the room is treated to handle the reflection rather than where the monitors are placed.

Reflections from the opposite wall 

One of the important but hardest reflections that get rejected when it comes to placing the near field monitors are reflections from the opposite end of the wall. If there is no space in the room for the reflections to truly bounce to the opposite wall, you will end up having sound that is overpowering to your ears. Even a pleasant song will sound irritating id this occurs.

Having at least 6 meters of distance from the opposite wall is needed in order to have enough room for reflections without canceling each other. This is one of the things that people get wrong when placing their monitors. The monitors should be facing the longer end of the room rather than the shorter end of the room.

How far should my monitors be from the wall?

The monitors should be kept at a distance of at least 3 meters when it comes to an 8” monitor. Having this distance will allow your monitors to bounce back the reflections of the wall and give a natural sounding track. The distance from the wall should be at least a meter or two when it comes to a 5” monitor. This distance gives space for audio waves to bounce properly.

How far should you sit from studio monitors?

1.5 meters is the actual distance that should be between the listener and the studio monitors. The placement of these monitors at this distance gives the optimal listening and great sound reproduction. No matter which size a monitor is having a minimum distance of 1.5 meters is necessary for proper sound propagation. This makes the listening experience smoother rather than being a burden on the listener’s ears.

Where should I put speakers for dual monitors?

When you have dual monitors using them at the same time would be a nightmare and in my honest opinion not preferable. This is one of the reasons why they are usually stacked over each other with soundproofing foam spreading them from vibration. They should be at the same distance from the listener to have a perfect A vs B experience.

Can I put my studio monitors sideways?

Yes, you can place your monitors sideways. Placing your monitors in an optimal position is the best way to properly listen to the music that is being played. This is more important than the aesthetics of the room. Many studios use this technique to stack different monitors for music production during monitoring and during mixing.

Can speakers be too big for a room?

Yes, they can be when the sound waves generated from the speaker don’t have enough space to propagate and bounce back from the walls. Each sound wave generated from the speaker should have at least three to four full cycles before being bounced back by a wall to have a proper sounding experience for mixing or mastering.

Conclusion

Near field, monitors have been replacing computer speakers in many homes, as people are getting into different creative works such as music and video production. If buy yourself a near field monitor , don’t worry about its placement too much, instead work on how you have sound tested your room, as that will determine how the audio sounds in your room.

This is one of the things that most people miss when it comes to putting together a pair of near field monitors. They get caught up in the placement, and forget the sound treatment needed to get a true sounding environment.

There are various ways to place your studio monitors, over analyzing everything will not get you anywhere, and has diminishing returns. If you are looking to create a true sounding room, try focusing on the sound treatment first.

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