Hey, this is Jason Moss from BehindTheSpeakers.com, and today I want to talk about how you can get the most out of the studio monitors you currently have.
Before I get into the tips, I want to talk for a second about why this is so important. Every decision that we make in the mixing process is based off of the sound that we hear coming out of the speakers. We’re constantly responding to what we’re hearing and making decisions based on that information. If what we’re hearing isn’t accurate, if it’s colored in some way, if it’s not representative of what’s actually going on in our mixes, we’re going to end up making decisions that will actually lead us in the wrong direction. If you’ve ever experienced the car-check nightmare, where maybe you spend an entire day working on a mix and then you bring it out to your car and it totally falls apart, this is exactly what’s happening. Your monitoring, your speakers, your room, it’s giving you information that’s not representative of what’s actually going on in your mix. You’re being misled and you’re making decisions that aren’t good ones.
So if you can optimize the sound of your speakers and room and studio to give you the most accurate representation of what’s actually going on in your mixes, you’re going to be able to make better mixing decisions. Your mixes are going to end up sounding better not only in your studio, but on other sets of speakers. All of those hours of frustration, a lot of that will be behind you if you get this right.
Now when most people find out they have a problem with their listening environment, the first thing they do is go out and buy a new set of speakers, or they’ll spend a bunch of money on acoustic treatment. That stuff can help, but it’s not always the best place to start. The best place to start is actually with the gear you already have. This is not a cop out—you can actually make a bigger impact just by finding the right spot in your room for your speakers and sweet spot than going out and buying acoustic treatment and new monitors a lot of the time. So this stuff that I’m going to talk about today will actually make a bigger impact a lot of the time and it’s definitely the first place you should start to improve the sound of your studio.
The first tip is called the 38% guideline, and it says that the best spot in most listening environments is going to be 38% out from the front wall. So go ahead and measure the length of your room, multiply that number by 38%, measure that distance out from the front wall, mark a spot on the floor, and put your listening spot there. That should basically be right where your ears are. So this is usually going to be the most balanced spot in the room for your listening position. So you should always experiment, this isn’t a rule, but I find in practice it works. 90% of the time it’s usually the best spot to be.
Tip number two is called the equilateral triangle, and it says that your listening position and your speakers should form a perfectly equilateral triangle. The distance between you and your left speaker and your left speaker and your right speaker and your right speaker and you should all be exactly the same. Now if your speakers aren’t set up like this, you’re going to end up hearing one side of your mix louder than the other. This can make it really difficult to make the correct balance decisions, decisions about the stereo image…it’s just a total mess, so you want to make sure your speakers are set up to make a perfectly equilateral triangle. Just measure out the differences using a tape measure or yardstick or something, just to make sure you have it absolutely perfect.
The third tip is to try different spots for your studio monitors. Don’t just assume that the first place you throw them is going to sound the best. You want to go ahead and test out different positions. So maybe start by putting your speakers two feet out. Bring them another foot out and try that, and bring them out another foot and listen to music in these different spots and try to determine what sounds the most balanced to your ears. You’re going to find that there are significant differences between just moving your speakers a foot out or two feet out. It’s similar to recording, where if you move the microphone just a couple of inches, the sound can change dramatically. So don’t just assume that you have your speakers in the right spot right now. Really take the time to test out different positions and find the perfect spot for your studio monitors in your room.
Now if you’ve found this video helpful, I put together another one with 4 more tips that I didn’t have time to cover here. So this is going to help you get even more out of your current studio monitors. So to download it, click the link in the description below or in the video and you’ll get free instant access.
Check out more mixing tips at BehindTheSpeakers.com. Thanks so much.