How To Set Up Your Home Studio For Top-Tier Sound – BehindTheSpeakers.com


Speakers work like microphones. If you’ve ever done any degree of recording,
you know that if you move the microphone just a couple of inches, it can massively change
the sound. So minor changes in placement can actually
produce massive results. Using this same principle, the best place
to start is by finding the best spot in your room for your speakers and sweet spot. Next I wanna go over some speaker and sweet
spot placement fundamentals. Most rooms are rectangles, right? One side is longer than the other. And you can set up your speakers in a room
like this in one of two ways: They can either be short throw, like the picture on the left,
where the speakers are essentially firing along the short wall. Or long throw, which is the picture on the
right. So the speakers are firing along the longer
side of the room. Most of the time, you’re gonna get better
results by firing your speakers along the long wall. This is for a couple of reasons: Number one,
you’re moving the back wall further back, so the reflections off the back wall become
less of an issue. And the other main reason is that low end
actually takes space to develop, so the low end frequencies are actually very long. If you give the low end more room to develop,
you end up getting a more even low end response. Again, in general, the best placement is gonna
be long throw, where your speakers are firing along the long side of the room. If you’re working in an irregular shaped room,
it’s important to experiment, so try different placement ideas. There aren’t any rules, but in most circumstances
you’re gonna find that there might be one way of orienting the speakers that gives you
a better response. The same actually goes for square shaped rooms,
because even in a square shaped room, the walls themselves can be composed of different
materials or different thicknesses, so sometimes you might find that one way of orienting the
speakers works better than the others. The next placement principle is symmetry. In most rooms, there are many different ways
to set up the speakers. In the left hand box here, you can see the
speakers are set up in a corner, so there isn’t a lot of symmetry in a setup like this. Whereas on the right, the speakers are set
up so that they’re in the center of the short wall. So you can see the distances between the left
speaker and the wall and the right speaker and the wall are equal. In general, you’re gonna wanna take every
opportunity you can to maximize the symmetry in your room. This goes for the speaker placement itself,
but it also goes for anything else you have in your room: couches, things on the walls,
anything that’s in the space itself. If you can maximize the symmetry in your room,
your stereo imaging is gonna improve, because the speakers are gonna react more similarly
to each other, so there’s not gonna be a big difference between the way the left speaker
sounds and the right speaker sounds, and this is gonna improve your stereo imaging, but
also the phantom center of the mix. Anything that’s panned center, specifically
low end instruments, things that are supposed to sit right in the center of your mix, and
this is gonna make it easier to make mixing decisions about those elements. The next thing I wanna talk about is the equilateral
triangle principle. There are many ways you can set up the speakers,
but a good rule thumb is you wanna make the distance between your listening position and
left speaker, the left speaker and the right speaker, and the right speaker and the listening
position, the same. If you were to draw a triangle that connected
these points the distances between those sides would be equal. Now, when you have one speaker closer to you
than the other, your stereo image suffers. What’s ever panned to that speaker becomes
louder. It becomes really difficult to make decisions
about panning, about how loud, how balanced things should be. Make sure that the distance between the two
speakers and your listening position are always equal. Most manufacturers actually set up their speakers
so that they’re supposed to be oriented either horizontally, like the picture on the left,
or vertically, like the picture on the right. Most two-way speakers are designed to be oriented
vertically, but with that being said, not all speakers are supposed to be oriented vertically. So it’s important to look at the manufacturer’s
recommendations, usually they’ll mention this in the manual, and make sure that you have
your speakers oriented the right way. If you have your speakers oriented the wrong
way, there are phase problems that get created as you move your head left to right in the
sweet spot. This makes it much more difficult to mix. Check your manual, check your manufacturer’s
recommendations, and make sure that your speakers are oriented the right way. In general, you want the tweeters, that’s
the smaller speakers, to be at ear-level. High frequencies, which the tweeter’s responsible
for putting out, are super directional. As you move your head several inches to the
left or right, the frequency response that you perceive changes dramatically. So by setting the tweeters up so that they’re
ear-level, you’re gonna get the truest, most accurate representation of what’s actually
going on in the high end of your mixes. So most home studio owners have their speakers
on top of a desk, but the best way to set up your speakers is on stands. If you put your speakers on a desk, the desk
is actually gonna resonate with the speakers. You start to get this interaction between
the speakers and the desk itself. At certain frequencies, the desk is gonna
resonate, that’s gonna cause peaks and valleys in other areas. You can minimize that interaction by getting
the speakers off the desk and putting them on stands. There is gonna be some interaction between
the speakers and the stands, but this is usually pretty minimal compared to what it would sound
like if you actually had them on top of a desk. There’s a pretty good guideline that makes
it easy to figure out where your listening position should be, and it’s called the 38%
guideline. Basically, the best location for the sweet
spot in your room is generally 38% out from the front wall. Let’s say you have an eight by 10 room, you
would take that longer dimension, the 10 foot dimension, you’d multiply that by 38%, and
you get the number three point eight. You’d measure three point eight feet out from
the front wall, and that’s where you would put the listening position. This is a guideline, not a rule, so you should
always experiment. Hopefully at this point, you’ve identified
some things in your room to improve, and if you do this, these changes are gonna make
your listening environment much more accurate. It’s important to note that there’s no such
thing as perfect. You’re never gonna be able to achieve a perfect-sounding
listening environment. It just doesn’t exist. Even the pro studios aren’t completely perfect. Don’t worry about this. There are some tools that will actually help
you. I wanna show you one of them right now…

34 Replies to “How To Set Up Your Home Studio For Top-Tier Sound – BehindTheSpeakers.com”

  1. Low frequencies are longer and need more room to develop, yes that is correct BUT low frequencies are omnidirectional, meaning they radiate into all directions so it doesn't matter if the speaker is placed along the long or the short wall. To be honest I found that placing the speakers firing along the short wall gives better results you just need to avoid sitting along the middle of the room because here the bass energy is the lowest. Also by having the speakers further from the sidewalls, the stereo image is much clearer and seems wider, while beeing more stable.

  2. The only time I have found short throw superior to long throw was in a room where the longest wall was about 3-4 times longer than the shortest wall. With an old mattress I had directly behind me and soft wood walls the first reflections where so far away that with minimal treatment in front and behind me I had a pretty good sound. while this won't work in typically measured rooms, in a really (and I mean REALLY) long rectangle this worked pretty good in a pinch. It also took a huge room and made it possible to work with pretty small monitors (5") and not feel like I was lacking in bass. In my experience though this is still not ideal unless your room could be 15' X 45' so you could bring your monitors off the wall, have room for bass development, and have a decent sized diffuser behind you.

  3. I have my speakers on speaker stands, but the lowest the stands go lines the bass up to my ears with the tweet above my head, obviously not visible, so I have turned my speakers upside down, so the tweeter is ear level and the bass above my head. Question is, is that ok to have the speakers turned upside down?

  4. placement along the short wall vs long wall has both pros and cons… you didn't cover them with enough detail (ie: side wall speaker boundary interference response (SBIR) problems with long throw setups)

  5. Hello, I'm admin of an Ableton Users Group in Vietnam. I found this video very helpful and needed for our members. Could I re-up this with Vietnamese subtitle for our members, please? I'll keep your credit and your link too! Thank you very much <3

  6. Great video,thank you.I'm planing to do an home studio.My room is rectangle and table i can only place in the corner,so the monitors will be in short throw and non symmetrical.Will be this setup too bad?

  7. I use headphones so unfortunately I got no use out of this video. Great video though with a lot of great info for people who do use speakers 👍🏼

  8. You forgot to mention about speakers being back ported or not, if they’re back ported, the back wall can create reflections, so they’ll usually have settings to adjust so that you can account for that.

  9. Speaker stands where one of the best investments I did. The difference in sound when I decoupled my speakers from my desk was astounding! My mouth literally dropped when I did a before and after.

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