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'safe' distance from 6" near field monitor Studio Monitors
Old 29th December 2010
  #1
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weltact's Avatar
 

'safe' distance from 6" near field monitor

i apologize if this is a bit of a silly question but i was reading some threads here about this issue and couldn't find a direct answer to this question:

i have KRK VXT6 monitors (6" woofer), and i'm using them in a fairly small room 11.6' x 10.5' with no acoustical treatment, sitting in the corner of the room

i'm using them with low freq set to quarter space and high freq set to (-1) and i believe i have no noticeable problems with a build up of certain frequencies or similar issues, i think the sound is fine

the concern i have is purely health based: i'm worried that i might be sitting too close to monitors this size and that it might be damaging my ears

i'm sitting in an equilateral triangle 2.7' away from the monitor, and i'm not sure if it's the highs or the lows but i get ear fatigue after only a couple of hours working with them, at a fairly low volume

due to the size of the room i can't really sit any further away and i'm worried that 2.7' might be too close to sit to 6'' near field monitor and that maybe i should get smaller ones like 5''

could someone please tell me if this distance from the monitor is dangerous or not?
Old 29th December 2010
  #2
Lives for gear
 

Volume should be more of a concern than distance, otherwise I'd be more concerned about my headphones

What does the manual suggest?

Quote:
Originally Posted by weltact View Post
...with no acoustical treatment...i believe i have no noticeable problems with a build up of certain frequencies or similar issues, i think the sound is fine ...
FWIW it is normal for it to sound fine to you in this scenario, but that has nothing to do with accuracy or translation of your mixes. Treating your space is very important, as is getting accurate measurements of your mix position. Unless you know what to listen for your ear can't be used to tell you if you have issues, and even then I wouldn't make any decisions without measurements.

How are your mixes translating?
Old 29th December 2010
  #3
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i use a cheap spl meter and mix around 85db
Old 29th December 2010
  #4
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weltact's Avatar
 

Quote:
What does the manual suggest?
the manual doesn't really say anything about the distance
i just remember seeing somewhere people saying something about 6'' monitors and distances of 3' to 6'

Quote:
How are your mixes translating?[
i haven't had them for long so haven't really tested them on many systems


how far do you guys sit from your monitors and what size are they?
Old 29th December 2010
  #5
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Liquid Shadow's Avatar
 

I sit at about a full arm length from my monitors, also 6", Alesis M1Active 620. I can listen to them for an entire day without fatiguing.
Old 29th December 2010
  #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by doulos24 View Post
i use a cheap spl meter and mix around 85db
This is what I do as well. The loudest I get is about 95dB and only to check certain things. My HS80M manual suggests a 60deg spread between the two monitors from the monitoring position. The volumn, speaker location (against walls, corners etc.) and room treatment is more important to your mix than the distance from the monitors. I sit about 3'-2" from my monitors.
Old 29th December 2010
  #7
Gear Maniac
 

KRK's in general are very fatiguing. I have the V8's and in a few hours, my ears feel dead. They are very mid and upper mid forward. If this bothers you, I would suggest getting some ADAM's. I bought the P33a's and I can mix all day with minimal ear fatigue. And you really should get your mix position out of the corner, and also treat your room. Unless you have a magical room that just naturally traps bass, and tames high-end reflection, I would be willing to bet that your mixes sound totally different in a car than they do in your studio
Old 29th December 2010
  #8
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thanks for all your replies, i appreciate it

lets just not get into the good old 'which monitor is better and how to do a better mix' discussion because it's an extremely subjective thing and it tends to go on for pages and pages with no winners

im just asking this from a purely ear health stance, because im trying to figure out if my monitors are fatiguing because i'm sitting too close to them or because thats their nature

because i was contemplating a smaller monitor for my space, like a genelec 8030 which is a 5'' woofer but then someone told me that they found 8020s which are even smaller very fatiguing, so i dont know if it has to with a distance at all

i just wanted to eliminate the possibility that im sitting too close to them

so as far as i can see, you all think that a 2.75' distance from a 6''monitor is fine and it shouldnt be dangerous to one's hearing?
Old 29th December 2010
  #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by weltact View Post
so as far as i can see, you all think that a 2.75' distance from a 6''monitor is fine and it shouldnt be dangerous to one's hearing?
Again, SPL is what will damage your hearing, not proximity.

Also, the size of the woofer is not going to help or hinder anything in this regard. If anything I would say the tweeter is more likely to be the source of ear fatigue than the woofer.
Old 29th December 2010
  #10
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well i dont have an SPL meter right now but i definitely dont mix above 85dB

its interesting this thing you say about tweeter being the more likely cause of ear fatigue than the woofer, that would explain people getting fatigued with small monitors like 8020s

so to fight this ear fatigue issue i shouldnt reallly look into replacing the monitors for smaller ones just because of the size, i should try and find the ones that are not fatiguing, is that right?
Old 29th December 2010
  #11
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Mr. Wilson's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by weltact View Post
well i dont have an SPL meter right now but i definitely dont mix above 85dB

its interesting this thing you say about tweeter being the more likely cause of ear fatigue than the woofer, that would explain people getting fatigued with small monitors like 8020s

so to fight this ear fatigue issue i shouldnt reallly look into replacing the monitors for smaller ones just because of the size, i should try and find the ones that are not fatiguing, is that right?
How can you know that you're at 85 db w/o a sound level meter? Has someone come over to shoot your space? Do yourself a favor get to radio shack and spend $25 on their analog spl meter, you will always use it thruout your audio life.

Ear fatigue IS caused by monitor design esp if they are upper mid pushed. I
use Dynaudio self powered mons and they can be listened all day and night.
The size of the KRK woofer @6" is not the problem, the problem lies in the crossover design, the tweeter and or the amp.
Old 29th December 2010
  #12
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yea ive heard from some other people as well that dynaudios are easier on the ear

its just that the casing is so deep im not sure they would fit on my desk

what about genelec 8030 in terms of ear fatigue factor?
Old 30th December 2010
  #13
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mhs2xs's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by weltact View Post
thanks for all your replies, i appreciate it

lets just not get into the good old 'which monitor is better and how to do a better mix' discussion because it's an extremely subjective thing and it tends to go on for pages and pages with no winners

im just asking this from a purely ear health stance, because im trying to figure out if my monitors are fatiguing because i'm sitting too close to them or because thats their nature

because i was contemplating a smaller monitor for my space, like a genelec 8030 which is a 5'' woofer but then someone told me that they found 8020s which are even smaller very fatiguing, so i dont know if it has to with a distance at all

i just wanted to eliminate the possibility that im sitting too close to them

so as far as i can see, you all think that a 2.75' distance from a 6''monitor is fine and it shouldnt be dangerous to one's hearing?
It could be the freq's or volume that's beating you up. Sounds like you're at a decent distance. I know my Yams have the Room switch (500hz) and a Mid switch (2khz). At times, I need to mess around with one or both of them to feel comfortable, but I try to keep them as flat as possible if I can. I'd try to get a cheap dB meter, or borrow one if you can, just to see where you're at and note the master volume at 85dB. If you still get fatigued at 85-90dB, then play with monitors if you can and dial the offending freq's out. Just be mindful of what you dial out and listen if something's out of whack when you play your mix in your car or on another system. As long as you know what to expect then you should be ok.

The first 'hands on' mixing experience I had with my band in the early 90's, we sounded like Heavy Metal Gods on the Genelec monitors in the studio. I paid $250 for ten CD-R's, and we burned em at DOUBLE SPIN..WOOHOO. Unfortunately, we didn't check the final mix on anything else before we did and, without the $2000 monitors, it was a low end mix from hell where I had to dial the bass out of anything I played it on. If I didn't, the kick drum would woof the speaks terribly. What a bone-headed rookie move that was.
Old 30th December 2010
  #14
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Untreated, sitting on a desk. Sounds more like a frequency issue than distance.

I also have KRKs, they are the RPG2-6s. Usually im about 2-3' from them, sometimes im a lot closer or further away, but I can go all day on them without fatiguing my ears.
Old 30th December 2010
  #15
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mhs2xs's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jerrick View Post
Untreated, sitting on a desk. Sounds more like a frequency issue than distance.
Old 30th December 2010
  #16
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weltact's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jerrick View Post
Untreated, sitting on a desk. Sounds more like a frequency issue than distance.
im open to all possibilities
this may well be the problem (or part of it)
but how can i be sure, if i get a dB meter, would it actually show me that its a frequency issue? (sorry i dont know much about these things)
Old 30th December 2010
  #17
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The spl meter from radioshack will just show you what level you are listening at, which is a great thing to have.

To test the frequencies happening in your room, well there are tons of threads that go over that in more detail than I can offer right now (Rushing out the door), id search for those and ry it out.

I had basically the same setup once, in the corner, monitors on my desk. Sounded great to me, and the 'to me' is the key word. Once I had a mix I liked on the monitors, id take it to the car and then "Where the hell is the bass? That snare is far too loud... " In short: There was no translation from my playback and anyone else's playback, and it sometimes felt like my head was being beaten by the bass frequencies, giving me a headache.

Moved stuff around, some treatment, and now its sounding good. Not perfect, but ive learned my monitors and my room a lot better, and now my mixes translate and I can listen to them for hours, mixing or just casual listening to my favorite cds.

Goodluck, I gotta go brave this snowstorm and get down to band practice.
Old 30th December 2010
  #18
Gear Maniac
 

your monitors being fatiguing doesnt really mean that your monitors are bad. It just means you are using those monitors for too long in one sitting. we use more mid-forward monitors to reference mids. High mids are abrasive. So for the most part, we don't mix solely on say, ns-10's. if you like your KRK's, and they translate well to other systems, I would suggest keeping them, and buying something like dynaudio's or ADAM's as a second option to work with
Old 30th December 2010
  #19
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mhs2xs's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by weltact View Post
im open to all possibilities
this may well be the problem (or part of it)
but how can i be sure, if i get a dB meter, would it actually show me that its a frequency issue? (sorry i dont know much about these things)
As Jerrick said, that meter measures SPL (Sound Pressure Level), what we perceive as loudness/volume of the source. Testing for frequencies in your room would require a reference mic and some analysis software (it may even be in your DAW). It more than likely is the frequencies from what you're describing. But that solution's gonna take more than turning a knob. Most of the frequencies that bother me are in the mids (800hz thru 2khz or so), which I think is what bothers most people. I'd start there and attenuate your mids on your monitors and see how it does for you. It's gonna require some experimentation on your part because everyone is different. I mess with my stuff almost every week and I've had my these HS80M's for 4 months new. So it takes some getting used to them as well.

When Jerrick has a chance, see if he'll let you know exactly what he did to treat his room. That's a big step forward that I myself need to do but I have nowhere to put all the stuff that's in here at the moment.
Old 31st December 2010
  #20
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i think i'll leave attenuating frequencies as a last resort
but i'll definitely get a SPL meter, thanks for the advice

hey jerrick it would be great if you could explain how you solved your problem

cheers
Old 31st December 2010
  #21
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+1 get an spl from radio shack. super cheap. put it where your ears are and measure. most of my listening is under 80bd.

the sound does change as you move away from your monitors. no surprise the sound is more diffuse. take the spl meter and take a listen to 85db at 3 ft and then at 6ft. tell us what you find more comfortable.

everyone's ears are different. some people can take a lot of punishment. some can't. also the spl meter is measuring db on an averaged curve. play a sine wave at 5k at 85db and you will fatigue a lot faster.

blah blah. get that meter. get a reading of like 75bd, then find the distance in the room where your ears like it. i would start at 3/2 room distance form the wall behind the speakers. to close to a wall and you will get a big bass boost. too close to mid room and you will get a big null. neither good. check out the stuff on the realtraps site. there is good stuff up there about optimum listening positions.

you may not think you have issues in your room but you undoubtedly do. is your ceiling about 10" also? basically all small rooms have major issues. don't sweat it and don't let it stop you from making music. just know that's a fact. what you can do is find the best places for your speakers (at least 18" off the wall imo) and the best place for your listening. after that room treatments. but you can make some big improvements by moving things around for now and it's free.

another way to compensate for a bad room is religiously A/B your mix with a reference mix. did i get off topic yet?

obviously if your ears ring or are dull feeling like after a concert you are listening too loud. if you start reading up on what levels pros monitor at it's pretty low for most. for some it's super low.

on the room super cheap treatment side...used mattresses can be had for free. and a bail of r-19 is pretty cheap.
Old 31st December 2010
  #22
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2" Rockboard 60 from ATS. Stacked some of it to make 4" panels and put those in the corner, and then the 2" panels at the first reflection points. And decoupled the monitors, I forget what I used, its this really thin black rubber like sheet, but it works really well and was only about $15. Found the link somewhere on this forum but I cant remember the thread or the site.

The room isnt perfect, but because I only mix in here or just go direct into my interface for scratch tracks, demos and just to jam, the position where im sitting is pretty good. With more measurements and going out and making more panels and other ways to treat a room it could be better, I just need to save up some money for it all.
Old 31st December 2010
  #23
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audioboffin's Avatar
 

Your ears aren't lying. If your hearing is fatigued after a few hours work then that is telling you a couple of things.

1 you have been exposed to too much sound.. address this by reducing the long term average level. SPL falls away with distance so either turn down the monitor level or move back a few inches. Decrease the long term average by regular breaks.

2 either the material you are monitoring or the speakers (or a combination) has excessive amplitude of frequencies that your ears are sensitive to.

Remember your work will improve if you keep fresh. Your eyesight (if you are a DAW user) and your hearing will both suffer if you just plow on relentlessly for hours without breaks. Some time away from the tools will always give you some more perspective as well.
Old 3rd January 2011
  #24
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weltact's Avatar
 

hey guys, many thanks for your comprehensive replies

i think ive got a slightly better idea about these things now


cporro:
ive just ordered that spl meter, so ill try to find an optimum listening level

i understand now what you mean about my room having issues, its quite a likely scenario it seems. the ceiling is a standard 8'. its funny, i was conviced that because these monitors have a bass reflex port in front and you can change the bass response to 'quarter space', i was convinced that that would sort out the bass problems...but it looks like theres a lot more to it
what do you mean about 3/2 off the wall?
i kind of managed to move them about 9'' off the wall, but i dont know if im going to be able to move them any more for now. ill try and look into getting rid of some unneccessary furniture for a better position


jerrick:
thanks for the tip, ill try and find those here in the uk, just dont know how much im going to be able to afford at the mo, never thought i would need that
ill definitely look into decoupling monitors, that should be pretty straightforward, or maybe stands but thats a bit more elaborate

audioboffin:
thanks for the input, i jsut need to figure out what it actually is
im thinking some of it probably comes from bass because im working on dance music, so theres a lot of bass involved, so ill try an address that possibility first

see i was pretty naive to believe that frontal bass rephlex port and 'quarter space' low freq attenuation would solve the problem completely...
Old 3rd January 2011
  #25
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Quote:
Originally Posted by weltact View Post
i was conviced that because these monitors have a bass reflex port in front and you can change the bass response to 'quarter space', i was convinced that that would sort out the base problems...but it looks like theres a lot more to it
what do you mean about 3/2 off the wall?
i kind of managed to move them about 9'' off the wall, but i dont know if im going to be able to move them any more for now. ill try and look into getting rid of some unneccessary furniture for a better position
yeah, my speakers have the same options...1/4 space, 1/2 space. they try and compensate if they are too close to a wall. try this: put the speakers 3" away from the wall. then try them at 24". hear the difference in the base?

i run my speakers in full space mod but they are probably over 24" off the wall and not by corners.

there are programs out there to measure the "flatness" of your room. no room is even close to flat. but you can flatten things out quite a bit with treatments.

there are some that will argue this but imo you can't treat major room issues with eq or "spaces". it kinda works out crazy. you spend $500 on the speaker and 4k on the room treatments if you get the pro stuff. people hate hearing that. but it's true. the speaker and room are a system. not independent. kinda like an acoustic guitar. a string and resonant body system. the strings do the initial vibrating but the body has a major effect on tone too.

as you do more mixing and listening try other positions for your ears and speakers. in time you will find the best places in your room.

it is also possible to learn a bad room and compensate. just listen to references plenty. another strategy would be to listen at low volumes. that makes the room less of an issue.

but don't let any of this stuff stop you from making music. there are always better rooms and better gear. the more you listen the more you'll learn how to max out your situation.

2/3rds off the wall...check out that site: realtraps.com 2/3 the distance of the room length. realtraps has some good basic info on how to max out a room and find the best placement of ear and gear.
Old 5th January 2011
  #26
Gear Head
 
weltact's Avatar
 

hey cporro thanks for all this useful info

ill get on some serious reading about treatments now
now i know why those treatments are so expensive (cos they are crucial)

btw do you know if different speakers that are roughly the same size could have a different interaction with the room, so for example, youve got vxt6 and they dont get on with your room at all, and then you get lets say bm5a and somehow they work really well with the room...do you think thats possible or if the room is screwed than no speakers would actually help it?
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