Set up your monitors correctly
You can go out and spend a fortune on all the best sounding gear, but if it’s not set up correctly in a half-decent treated room you may as well just throw the cash on a fire.
The reason is simple – you can effectively only work based on the detail you hear in your listening space. So for example, if you’ve set up your speakers in the corner of the room, all bunched together, then you’ll probably find that the room’s bass response has been exaggerated.
This can lead to all sorts of mix translation problems because you’ve compensated for the “sound” of your room/monitor set up.
Make an equilateral triangle between you and the monitors
Nearfield monitors should be set up so that they form an equilateral triangle, ideally 1 meter apart, and about the same distance to your ears (the diagram on the right shows you how it should look).
Setting your monitors up like this will allow you to make more accurate decisions about panning, overall levels and stereo image.
Other tips on monitor placement
- Keep monitors away from room corners, this will avoid boomy bass issues
- Place each monitor the same distance from the side walls to avoid spoiling your stereo image
- Tweeters should be placed at ear height
- Slightly toe-in your monitors, by turning them so that both tweeters are pointing towards your ears
- Mount monitors on rigid stands to eliminate any wobble or rocking. This will also tighten up the bottom end
- Check your monitors toe-in angle by moving your chair in and out. Too far forward, mono sounds will be hard to pick out, too far back stereo image is reduced. If you find that your optimum chair position is to far back then either move monitors closer together or toe-in more. If your too close, then move them apart.
- Once you’ve got your monitors set up roughly in the right position, listen to loads of well mixed tracks. You can then tweak the toe-in to get a better focus to the sound.