So how do you set up your studio monitors? And how can you get the best sound possible?
These are the most common questions for first-time home studio users, and often it can seem quite tricky. We are here to show you how simple the set-up process can be.
If you have just purchased a new set of studio monitors but are unsure of how to set them up, in this article we will give you tips and suggestions on how to set up studio monitors the right way, to help you get the best audio experience possible.
Tips for Setting up Studio Monitors
Once you have chosen monitors which are the right fit for your needs and your room, and you have unpacked them, and they’re ready to go, where exactly do you begin? It’s worth saying that the various tips we have included below work best in an empty room. However, most people might not have the luxury of an empty room to dedicate to their home studio and instead will try to fit it their speakers alongside a desk, a bedroom or any other already-purposed room.
Try your best to apply these tips as each one will allow you to make the most of your monitoring setup. The good thing is, as much as you will rearrange your gear endless times, you will really only have to place your monitors correctly once.
The specifics of the room in which you are going to set up your studio monitors is essential. Is your room empty? Does it feature a square or rectangular shape? If it is rectangular, you will want to set up your speakers in a way that allows you to fire down the length of the room.
It’s always recommended to have the wall behind you as far away as possible, because if you fire across the room, you won’t get the audio experience you’re looking for. The further away the back wall is, the better. This will help minimise the audio bouncing off the back wall back to the mixing position.
The best place to locate yourself is at least 38% of the room length, roughly a third of the way from the back wall. To figure this out, just multiply the overall length of the room by .38, and that will tell you how many feet or meters you have to be from that front wall.
Is the Mix Position Symmetrical?
It is important to notice what is on each side of each speaker. If one side is a wall and the other is open space, the balance of your stereo signal will be off. If there is a window with curtains on one side, you may want to put a little acoustic treatment or even just curtains on the wall directly opposite the window. This may seem silly, however the more symmetry you have in your room, the better decisions you can make about stereo placement.
Position of Tweeters
Experts recommend not to have tweeters centered vertically in the room. An easy way to figure this out is to measure the height of the room, and make sure your tweeters aren’t at the halfway mark. You will want to set your speakers up height-wise so that your tweeters are at ear level. Hopefully, your desk is at a height which allows this, but if not you can use speaker stands behind your counter to get the monitors up to the correct height.
Monitor isolators are a great option if you want to tighten up the bass reproduction imaging of your monitors by decoupling and isolating the speakers from the surface they are standing on. They might help fine-tune the height of your monitors in addition to providing more decoupling and isolation.
The studio monitor should be set up in an equilateral triangle, which is a triangle where all sides are equal in length. The distance between the monitors is the same as the distance from each monitor to you when you are sitting in your mixed position. Simply tow in the speakers by turning them slightly, so they are pointed at you. They will be rightly positioned when you are able look at each speaker, and only see the face of it and not the sides.
Plugging in and Setting up
First things first. It’s a good idea to power off the monitor when connecting or disconnecting cables. If the monitor is balanced, then leave it balanced, and the same goes for unbalanced. When you have your mixer in place, just take the XLR cable out and connect it to the XLR in on the monitor. Repeat the same for the other monitor, and you’re done.
Depending on the mixer type you have, you may have different types of outputs. There may be, for example, a TRS (tip ring sleeve) on the mixer’s end, and an XLR on the monitor input end. It is essential to make sure you have the right cables in order to connect the mixer to the monitor properly.
If you want to connect your monitors to your IPad or laptop or other iOS devices and tablets most of those have a stereo 8-inch output typically used for headphones. These outputs can be connected to the ‘aux-in’ section on your monitor. As the cable can only physically connect into one speaker, you can ‘link’ the other one in by connecting from the ‘monitor link’ of the plugged-in speaker, to the ‘aux-in’ on the other speaker.
Once everything is plugged in, you merely need to flick the speaker position switch to whatever side they are on. So the left speaker will be shifted to the left side and the right to the right side.
So there you have it. We hope this article has given you some advice on how to set up studio monitors so that you can set up more comfortably, and start working sooner.