Ask every musician and music listener and they’ll agree on one thing: impeccable sound is not simply important for a delightful listening experience; it’s everything. Picking the best studio speakers is essential to helping you achieve this objective; however, it requires more than just knowledge of the most ideal product with features that are tailored to your needs. While it is true that the speaker choices are literally endless and it all starts with making the right selection, the next logical step is just as crucial: placement and positioning.
Here are 8 steps for proper studio orientation, sitting position, and speaker placement that will help you get the best out of your equipment in a typical space that is either square or rectangular and with flat floor and ceiling:
1. Make your speakers face the bigger dimension of your room. The idea is to pull the equipment away from a wall. If yours is a rectangular shaped room, orient the speakers such that they face the longest dimension across the wall. This enables sound to travel the maximum distance before bouncing off the back wall and reflecting back to the seated position. For a square shaped room, you can choose any wall.
2. Position the speakers symmetrically to the front wall as opposed to making it face a corner. You should have a line between your two speakers that is parallel to the front wall.
3. Secure your speakers in a symmetrical position to the side walls. Your two speakers should have the same distance from the walls to their side (the right and the left). This is integral to keeping the stereo image intact.
4. Mark your listening position halfway between the walls to your side. Ultimately, the distance between your head and the right speaker should be the same as that between your head and the left speaker.
5. Be mindful of the 38 percent rule. This theory suggests that by fixing your listening position 38 percent into the length of the entire area from the front or rear side, you get the flattest response frequency for a dual-channel setup. While 38 percent is considered the most ideal location to start measurements, certain factors may come into play and end up compromising the frequency response, such as speaker location and type, wall properties, as well as the room’s furnishings and other conditions. For non-studio setups, for example, this position doesn’t work for home theaters as it gets you too close to the usually massive screen. As an alternative, however, you can sit 38 percent of the room length from the rear wall and enjoy the same benefits.
6. Do not position your ears halfway between the ceiling and the floor. Make a conscious effort to adjust your seating height.
7. Create an equilateral triangle in the middle of your head between the speakers. Each side of the triangle must have the same measurement with your head placed at one corner and each of the speaker is located at their nearest respective corners. Precise measurement is required here.
8. Try various sizes of the equilateral triangle to achieve the best stereo imaging. However, don’t place speakers against the front wall to avoid affecting the bass response.
Positioning your speakers won’t solve every challenge you’ll have with perfecting your sound quality, ensuring accurate levels, and enjoying superb listening experience. There will always be that need for bass traps and acoustic treatment. Proper speaker placement, however, goes a long way in reducing low frequency response issues. Remember that by failing to cover the basics of proper speaker placement in a room, you end up defeating the absolute purpose of buying state-of-the-art studio speakers.