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Is equilateral triangle monitor positioning sacrosanct?
Old 26th December 2016
  #1
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Is equilateral triangle monitor positioning sacrosanct?

I've been playing around with speakers, now that I have a few more to play with, and I've noticed something. To my ears, the perfect equilateral triangle doesn't really give me that magic "I'm there" sonic image. I'm finding myself leaning forward a little to encounter what I perceive as the sweet spot; the tape measure says about a 4:3 ratio (speakers 4' apart, my head 3' from each) is what I hear as an ideal spread.

Now, obviously there are multiple explanations. I've been listening to music primarily in headphones for years now, so that extremely wide, isolated soundfield is normal to me. I also haven't spent a whole lot of time fine-tuning speaker position, angle and volume, so it's possible that what I think is a perfect equilateral is in fact not (but if so, I'm way off). So, I'm not exactly shouting to the hills that we've been doing it all wrong.

I did want to pose the question to more experienced critical listeners, though; do any of you have a listening setup that isn't a perfect equilateral between your head and the stereo boxes, for reasons other than practical limitations? That is, you have the ability to set up your monitors and head in a perfect equilateral, but you subjectively prefer something else. If so, what, and why?
Old 26th December 2016
  #2
Registered User
Yep - find the sweet spot by moving your speakers around until you hit it. Too wide is very common, and leads to a hole-in-the middle effect. As much as possible you want your centre panned dry stuff to be solid.

The idea isn't to find something flattering - it's to find the hard reality of your mix. But at the end of the day, ALL monitoring systems are compromised, no matter how good they are. So rather than seeking impossible perfection, get used to what you have and how known-good commercial mixes translate. Then don't try to make your mixes 'better' or 'worse' ... if you think you are making your mix far wider, louder, deeper, brighter than a known good mix, you should know you are actually compensating for a bad monitoring situation and going in the wrong direction.
Old 26th December 2016
  #3
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Something I've learned over time ...

The equilateral triangle positioning is a reference point ... however, after several discussions with respective Studio/Control Room Designers,
and implementation in our Mastering room ...

The 'focus' point of the monitors should NOT be aimed at the triangle point [usually at ear distance] ... but rather 12 to 14 inches behind the head.
Basically toe'ing out the monitors to focus behind your head.

We used a Laser pointer to a mic stand at ~14 inches to assist.
Old 26th December 2016
  #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RJHollins View Post
Something I've learned over time ...

The equilateral triangle positioning is a reference point ... however, after several discussions with respective Studio/Control Room Designers,
and implementation in our Mastering room ...

The 'focus' point of the monitors should NOT be aimed at the triangle point [usually at ear distance] ... but rather 12 to 14 inches behind the head.
Basically toe'ing out the monitors to focus behind your head.

We used a Laser pointer to a mic stand at ~14 inches to assist.
Intriguing. So, say if I position my head at around the equilateral point, then turn the speakers a little further out than right at my ears, I would get something similar to what I hear leaning further into a 60 degree arrangement, without the diffuse center. I'll play with this more in the morning, along with putting together a set of PVC stands.
Old 26th December 2016
  #5
Gear Addict
Your room is no doubt playing a role in your listening experience, especially at higher levels. Lower levels will give you a better sense of your speakers' direct sound.
Old 26th December 2016
  #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Liko View Post
Intriguing. So, say if I position my head at around the equilateral point, then turn the speakers a little further out than right at my ears, I would get something similar to what I hear leaning further into a 60 degree arrangement, without the diffuse center. I'll play with this more in the morning, along with putting together a set of PVC stands.
yes.
Old 26th December 2016
  #7
With all this talk of equilateral triangles, I do not see anyone addressing where the speakers focus are pointing.

Surely speakers pointing in front of you, behind you, right at you, are all possible with any triangle and believe me, the difference is tremendous. (getting my T Rump on)
Old 26th December 2016
  #8
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As we were just saying ... pointing the 'focus' some 12-14 inches [or more] is what several 'designers' have recommended.
Old 26th December 2016
  #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RJHollins View Post
As we were just saying ... pointing the 'focus' some 12-14 inches [or more] is what several 'designers' have recommended.
Old 26th December 2016
  #10
Quote:
Originally Posted by Liko View Post

I did want to pose the question to more experienced critical listeners, though; do any of you have a listening setup that isn't a perfect equilateral between your head and the stereo boxes, for reasons other than practical limitations? That is, you have the ability to set up your monitors and head in a perfect equilateral, but you subjectively prefer something else. If so, what, and why?
It's a game of inches where you should use any so called rules as just a starting point and then fine tune from there. Toeing in or out, narrow vs. wide field, tilt up or down, distance from walls or however you get to the position you trust is personal to your situation/speakers/room as there's many contributing factors to maximizing the placement. gl
Old 26th December 2016
  #11
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edva's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by RJHollins View Post
Something I've learned over time ...

The equilateral triangle positioning is a reference point ... however, after several discussions with respective Studio/Control Room Designers,
and implementation in our Mastering room ...

The 'focus' point of the monitors should NOT be aimed at the triangle point [usually at ear distance] ... but rather 12 to 14 inches behind the head.
Basically toe'ing out the monitors to focus behind your head.

We used a Laser pointer to a mic stand at ~14 inches to assist.
pretty much this although distance from the wall behind the speakers makes a big difference too, along with other boundary-type factors in your space. Good luck.
Old 27th December 2016
  #12
Quote:
Originally Posted by Liko View Post
Intriguing. So, say if I position my head at around the equilateral point, then turn the speakers a little further out than right at my ears, I would get something similar to what I hear leaning further into a 60 degree arrangement, without the diffuse center. I'll play with this more in the morning, along with putting together a set of PVC stands.
Exactly. The "correct" way to setup and position speakers is, as stated earlier, to have the focal point of the speakers be 12" to 14" BEHIND the listening position. This makes for a wider sweet spot.

For bigger control rooms where the speakers are spread very far apart, sometimes that focal point can be more than 14" depending on the dispersion of your tweeters. The farther you put the focal point behind the listening position the wider the "Sweet spot" at the listening position is, until you get out of the directionality of the tweeters. Some tweeters are extremely directional (like 20º) others have wider dispersion (maybe up to 60º). So a setup that works for one person in one room is not going to work perfectly for you unless you have the EXACT same speakers and room dimensions/acoustic treatments/etc...

The reason you want to do an equilateral triangle is to keep the center from going away. If you spread your speakers out farther than an equilateral triangle, the center will start to get quieter. The more spread out the speakers are, the more of a hole you will have in the center (when things are panned to the center).

If you have your speakers closer than an equilateral triangle, then the center gets louder the closer the speakers are.

This can play havoc on your mixing abilities... because you can only ever mix what you hear. If you have an artificially quiet center spot... everything you pan to the center will feel quiet and so you will naturally turn those channels UP (like kick, snare, vocals, Bass guitar, etc). Your mixes start to feel very mono and the stuff in the center starts to feel very loud.

Conversely if you have your speakers too close together your center is artificially loud... and so things you pan into the center position you will naturally turn down because they will sound too loud to you as you are mixing. It will be hard to hear vocals, kick/snare, bass, etc on other stereo systems.

People tend to forget that summing doesn't just happen electronically inside a piece of gear or inside a daw... it also happens acoustically. The exact same sound played played simultaneously from two speakers right next to each other (called "correlated" sound) will have almost a 6dB bump in volume because of the summing that happens acoustically in the air as sound travels out from the speakers to your ears. Sounds that are not exactly the same (called "uncorrelated sound") will have a 3dB bump in level in the same situation...

This is also why mixing consoles and daws have a thing called "Pan Law" and it controls how much attenuation is added to things that are panned in the center. In Pro tools now, for example, you have pan laws of -2.5dB, -3dB, -4.5dB and -6dB. This means that the summing mixer is reducing the level by the above mentioned amount when something is panned into the center. As your speakers get closer together, you select a pan law with a greater amount of reduction... as your speakers get wider you select less reduction. If your speakers are setup as an equilateral triangle with the faces aimed 12" behind the listening position, the -3dB pan law should work perfectly.

For anyone interested in more info about acoustic summing and summing in general... here's great website...

Adding acoustic levels summing sound levels 10 combining addition summation sum decibel levels or SPL of up to ten incoherent sound sources audio logarithmic decibel scale identical summing 1/3 octave spl full octave sum sound pressure level noise so
Old 27th December 2016
  #13
I have the small Focal CMS40's (fed via KRK Ergo) in a '4:3 position' (4ft between monitors; 3ft from speaker to ear). The speakers are facing the outside of my ears; the converging line is 6" - 1ft behind my head.
The advantages are that I can pan to the sides and the sound sits naturally in position, if I apply a widening effect it goes further. The centre has focus and depth but is not dominant; there is a good balance between centre and sides. On AKG K702 headphones the listening experience is identical...when focussed on a mix I'm unaware if I have headphones on or not.

On the monitors, if I move back from the 4:3 triangle, the centre image becomes more cohesive with less separation; moving into the triangle has a similar effect but the centre image moves forward in the soundstage and is less '3D.' Outside the triangle the centre is unnaturally dominant.
Old 27th December 2016
  #14
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a slow PAN of a MONO signal from Left to Right can help identify the 'Spread of Monitor' performance.
Old 27th December 2016
  #15
Quote:
Originally Posted by RJHollins View Post
a slow PAN of a MONO signal from Left to Right can help identify the 'Spread of Monitor' performance.
exactly... if you automate a pan across, the volume shouldn't dip or jump up as it gets closer to the center. It should be even all the way across.
Old 2nd January 2017
  #16
Quote:
Originally Posted by Etch-A-Sketch View Post
Exactly. The "correct" way to setup and position speakers is, as stated earlier, to have the focal point of the speakers be 12" to 14" BEHIND the listening position. This makes for a wider sweet spot.

For bigger control rooms where the speakers are spread very far apart, sometimes that focal point can be more than 14" depending on the dispersion of your tweeters. The farther you put the focal point behind the listening position the wider the "Sweet spot" at the listening position is, until you get out of the directionality of the tweeters. Some tweeters are extremely directional (like 20º) others have wider dispersion (maybe up to 60º). So a setup that works for one person in one room is not going to work perfectly for you unless you have the EXACT same speakers and room dimensions/acoustic treatments/etc...

The reason you want to do an equilateral triangle is to keep the center from going away. If you spread your speakers out farther than an equilateral triangle, the center will start to get quieter. The more spread out the speakers are, the more of a hole you will have in the center (when things are panned to the center).

If you have your speakers closer than an equilateral triangle, then the center gets louder the closer the speakers are.

This can play havoc on your mixing abilities... because you can only ever mix what you hear. If you have an artificially quiet center spot... everything you pan to the center will feel quiet and so you will naturally turn those channels UP (like kick, snare, vocals, Bass guitar, etc). Your mixes start to feel very mono and the stuff in the center starts to feel very loud.

Conversely if you have your speakers too close together your center is artificially loud... and so things you pan into the center position you will naturally turn down because they will sound too loud to you as you are mixing. It will be hard to hear vocals, kick/snare, bass, etc on other stereo systems.

People tend to forget that summing doesn't just happen electronically inside a piece of gear or inside a daw... it also happens acoustically. The exact same sound played played simultaneously from two speakers right next to each other (called "correlated" sound) will have almost a 6dB bump in volume because of the summing that happens acoustically in the air as sound travels out from the speakers to your ears. Sounds that are not exactly the same (called "uncorrelated sound") will have a 3dB bump in level in the same situation...

This is also why mixing consoles and daws have a thing called "Pan Law" and it controls how much attenuation is added to things that are panned in the center. In Pro tools now, for example, you have pan laws of -2.5dB, -3dB, -4.5dB and -6dB. This means that the summing mixer is reducing the level by the above mentioned amount when something is panned into the center. As your speakers get closer together, you select a pan law with a greater amount of reduction... as your speakers get wider you select less reduction. If your speakers are setup as an equilateral triangle with the faces aimed 12" behind the listening position, the -3dB pan law should work perfectly.

For anyone interested in more info about acoustic summing and summing in general... here's great website...

Adding acoustic levels summing sound levels 10 combining addition summation sum decibel levels or SPL of up to ten incoherent sound sources audio logarithmic decibel scale identical summing 1/3 octave spl full octave sum sound pressure level noise so
This is very interesting. I have been aiming these three sets of speakers and trying to figure out where the best place to listen is for each. I have not been able to get one spot where the three smaller ones shine. But after reading what you wrote I will use some broadband and narrow band sweeps and listen for build up in the center. thanksl

Is equilateral triangle monitor positioning sacrosanct?-woodridge-12-28-16-17-.jpg
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Is equilateral triangle monitor positioning sacrosanct?-woodridge-12-28-16-17-.jpg  
Old 2nd January 2017
  #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Liko View Post
I... do any of you have a listening setup that isn't a perfect equilateral between your head and the stereo boxes, for reasons other than practical limitations?
Sort of. In my room, the best stereo image is pretty much an equilateral triangle, but my balances seem to translate better if I sit further back. So I have my DAW control surface on a rolling cart.
Old 3rd January 2017
  #18
Quote:
Originally Posted by philsaudio View Post
This is very interesting. I have been aiming these three sets of speakers and trying to figure out where the best place to listen is for each. I have not been able to get one spot where the three smaller ones shine. But after reading what you wrote I will use some broadband and narrow band sweeps and listen for build up in the center. thanksl

Is equilateral triangle monitor positioning sacrosanct?-woodridge-12-28-16-17-.jpg
You have to realize with multiple speakers you can only ever really have one set in the equilateral triangle position unless you have the speakers behind one another.

Also, your speaker setup is kind of wacky. Not ideal at all. All the speakers should be on the same horizontal plane... at least the tweeters should be.

And you shouldn't be right up against the wall... it looks like there might only be about 6" or so between he wall and your speakers. Is that correct?

To give you an idea of how the triangle should be setup and how it works with multiple speakers I just took a couple pics of my room and the speaker setup...

The chair with the coat on it is where I sit when mixing and is in the "sweet spot".

I'm giving you a couple different perspectives/angles. Also, those big black "squares" in the walls behind the speakers are soffit mounted mains. You'll notice they are pretty much right in line with the ATC speakers just a little higher than the ATCs. The soffit mounted speakers make a triangle at a little over 11 feet... the ATCs make the same triangle at 7 and 1/2 feet. The Dynaudios and NS10s are not in a perfect equilateral triangle to the listening position. But they are just for additional reference and not for the "main" monitoring duties. So it's ok if they aren't in a perfect triangle since I switch to them often to check the tonality, but I'm not making any big panning/stereo imaging decisions on them.

In your room, compared to where your computer monitors are, it looks like the only speakers that might be in the correct position are the small little Auratone looking speakers in the pentagon shaped enclosures.

You should try to pull your listening position a little farther away from the wall, drop your smaller two way speakers down and make sure the tweeters are close to being aligned (right now it looks like you have the inner pair upside down for some reason??). And then push your big 3-way speakers back and get all of them aligned to the same basic distance to your listening position... then go the triangle with the big 3-way monitors, have the other pair of two ways on the inside of the big speakers (similar to what i did with the Dynaudios and NS10s) and the you can have the little Auratone speakers closer to you but following the same lines of the triangle that you are using for the main 3way speakers. So the 3 way might be 6 or 7 feet from you, but then the Auratones could be maybe 2 or 3 ft from you.

After you do that, get an SPL meter, set it to C weighted and slow response. Play pink noise through each speaker one at a time, use a mono channel panned hard to the left to calibrate all the left channel speakers. Then pan it hard right to calibrate all the right channel speakers. Set the pink noise at -18dB Full Scale in your daw (or -20 or -156 or -14 depending on your audio interface).

select your left side main 3way first... turn the speaker volume down and bring it up until the main monitor is reading either 79dB SPL or 85 dB SPL (your choice). Then do the same with all the other speakers, adjusting the trim on each speaker until they are all the exact same volume without having to adjust the monitor volume for any of them.

If you don't have numbers on your monitor volume controller, mark the spot where you have the volume knob on the monitor controller so you know where your reference level gain is. Whenever you start tracking or mixing, set the knob back to this spot and you know you are at either a 79dB SPL or 85 dB SPL calibration.

If you use 85dB SPL you'll have more headroom in your mixes since it will force you to mix quieter inside your daw. If you use 79 dB your mixes will be louder inside the daw and have less headroom/dynamic range. If you are feeling really adventurous you can make marks for both 79 and 85 and depending on what you are recording or mixing you can use either. I usually use 85 for more dynamic material like film scores or trailer music. I use 79 for less dynamic material like rock/pop/EDM/country music.

Anyway, give it a shot. See if you can make it work.
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Old 4th January 2017
  #19
Quote:
Originally Posted by Etch-A-Sketch View Post
You have to realize with multiple speakers you can only ever really have one set in the equilateral triangle position unless you have the speakers behind one another.

Also, your speaker setup is kind of wacky. Not ideal at all. All the speakers should be on the same horizontal plane... at least the tweeters should be.

And you shouldn't be right up against the wall... it looks like there might only be about 6" or so between he wall and your speakers. Is that correct?
Thanks for the detailed response Etch:

Up until a few weeks ago I had been doing all my work on the big three ways ( with sub). Those are set up with the sweet spot in a 7' equilateral triangle. I have had those speakers right there like that, untouched for over 12 years and I have nothing to complain about; totally satisfied. I used the Katz method to calibrate my loudness pot to the "K" system. I always have that Audio Control 3050 on SPL so I KNOW how loud we are all the time. I have two signal paths from my DAW and when I need more gain to listen to the DAW when it is peaking at -18dBFSD I can just switch that in. My converter has three SPDIF ins so when I want to compare to a CD or the internet sound card I flip a switch. The 3 ways are my reference for all audio in my life.

I decided to add the black 6.5" coaxial speakers (built 20 years ago and still ticking) for some additional perspective a few weeks ago. When shopping for another amp so I could justify building the pentagons I scored a Niles autotransformer speaker selector and the upside-down Telefunken 2 ways.

The Niles gave me a way to switch 3 sets of speakers (the 3 way are on their own signal path separate from the 3 little speakers this is shown in the block diagram at the bottom) I put them on that shelf and ordered the drivers for the full range crossoverless single driver pentagons.

The mounting is dictated by convenience. That shelf was there and I know it is not perfect but it is what I got.




Quote:
Originally Posted by Etch-A-Sketch View Post
To give you an idea of how the triangle should be setup and how it works with multiple speakers I just took a couple pics of my room and the speaker setup...

The chair with the coat on it is where I sit when mixing and is in the "sweet spot".

I'm giving you a couple different perspectives/angles. Also, those big black "squares" in the walls behind the speakers are soffit mounted mains. You'll notice they are pretty much right in line with the ATC speakers just a little higher than the ATCs. The soffit mounted speakers make a triangle at a little over 11 feet... the ATCs make the same triangle at 7 and 1/2 feet. The Dynaudios and NS10s are not in a perfect equilateral triangle to the listening position. But they are just for additional reference and not for the "main" monitoring duties. So it's ok if they aren't in a perfect triangle since I switch to them often to check the tonality, but I'm not making any big panning/stereo imaging decisions on them.

In your room, compared to where your computer monitors are, it looks like the only speakers that might be in the correct position are the small little Auratone looking speakers in the pentagon shaped enclosures.
I never intended or though possible for all four sets of speakers to be in an equilateral triangle with a common apex. Like your Dynaudios and NS10' I installed these three smaller sets of speakers for an alternate perspective.

My intention is to move further and further from the video monitor as I switch speakers. The pentagons in the extreme near field very close to the video monitor, the upside down ones a little further back (I put them that way because they sound better to me that way), the black 6.5" coaxial ones further back and the 3 ways all the way back.

In addition to being aimed progressively further back I intend to listen to them a little louder as I move back. The pentagons at <60dBSPL(z) the big 3 ways at 83dB per Katz and the flattest part of the equal loudness contours (AKA Fletcher Munson)

Quote:
Originally Posted by Etch-A-Sketch View Post
You should try to pull your listening position a little farther away from the wall, drop your smaller two way speakers down and make sure the tweeters are close to being aligned (right now it looks like you have the inner pair upside down for some reason??). And then push your big 3-way speakers back and get all of them aligned to the same basic distance to your listening position... then go the triangle with the big 3-way monitors, have the other pair of two ways on the inside of the big speakers (similar to what i did with the Dynaudios and NS10s) and the you can have the little Auratone speakers closer to you but following the same lines of the triangle that you are using for the main 3way speakers. So the 3 way might be 6 or 7 feet from you, but then the Auratones could be maybe 2 or 3 ft from you.
The back side of all the speakers are about 2 feet from the back wall, and the fronts of the 2 ways are over 3' from the back wall. I can move my chair easily to get into the sweet spot for any set of speakers and I can move keyboard mouse and controller to any of those positions. All of the speakers are on the same relative straight line down the middle.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Etch-A-Sketch View Post
After you do that, get an SPL meter, set it to C weighted and slow response. Play pink noise through each speaker one at a time, use a mono channel panned hard to the left to calibrate all the left channel speakers. Then pan it hard right to calibrate all the right channel speakers. Set the pink noise at -18dB Full Scale in your daw (or -20 or -156 or -14 depending on your audio interface).

select your left side main 3way first... turn the speaker volume down and bring it up until the main monitor is reading either 79dB SPL or 85 dB SPL (your choice). Then do the same with all the other speakers, adjusting the trim on each speaker until they are all the exact same volume without having to adjust the monitor volume for any of them.
I am not too worried about the level calibration as I marked everything with the K system nomenclature a decade ago. I do like to listen to each speaker with a narrow band and wideband pink noise pan test signal to be sure the center stays at the same level as the track pans.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Etch-A-Sketch View Post
If you don't have numbers on your monitor volume controller, mark the spot where you have the volume knob on the monitor controller so you know where your reference level gain is. Whenever you start tracking or mixing, set the knob back to this spot and you know you are at either a 79dB SPL or 85 dB SPL calibration.

If you use 85dB SPL you'll have more headroom in your mixes since it will force you to mix quieter inside your daw. If you use 79 dB your mixes will be louder inside the daw and have less headroom/dynamic range. If you are feeling really adventurous you can make marks for both 79 and 85 and depending on what you are recording or mixing you can use either. I usually use 85 for more dynamic material like film scores or trailer music. I use 79 for less dynamic material like rock/pop/EDM/country music.

Anyway, give it a shot. See if you can make it work.

I am not so convinced in the necessity of having all the speakers to play the same loudness all the time. I can see how this may be important when comparing speakers to one another but for mixing not too sure.

When I was wanting to calibrate for this when listening to a vocal track I found it easiest to use a band limited pink noise (200 hz octave) because the extra low end as the speakers got bigger would skew the unweighted 3050 SPLmeter.

Thanks for the advice. Your studio looks much nicer than mine.

FYI this is how it is all hooked up.
Great perspective from these &lt;100$ DIY checkmix speakers.-output-block-diagram-12-16.jpg
Old 4th January 2017
  #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Etch-A-Sketch View Post
Exactly. The "correct" way to setup and position speakers is, as stated earlier, to have the focal point of the speakers be 12" to 14" BEHIND the listening position. This makes for a wider sweet spot.

...

The reason you want to do an equilateral triangle is to keep the center from going away. If you spread your speakers out farther than an equilateral triangle, the center will start to get quieter. The more spread out the speakers are, the more of a hole you will have in the center (when things are panned to the center).

If you have your speakers closer than an equilateral triangle, then the center gets louder the closer the speakers are.

...

This is also why mixing consoles and daws have a thing called "Pan Law" and it controls how much attenuation is added to things that are panned in the center. In Pro tools now, for example, you have pan laws of -2.5dB, -3dB, -4.5dB and -6dB. This means that the summing mixer is reducing the level by the above mentioned amount when something is panned into the center. As your speakers get closer together, you select a pan law with a greater amount of reduction... as your speakers get wider you select less reduction. If your speakers are setup as an equilateral triangle with the faces aimed 12" behind the listening position, the -3dB pan law should work perfectly.
So I set this up the other day, about a 5 foot triangle with the speakers toed out a touch... Wow. I think I just spoiled myself for any other stereo system I have.

Regarding pan laws, am I right in thinking that, because I run my monitor output through a Mackie mixer with a -4dB pan behavior, I should set Reaper's pan law to 0dB to avoid ending up with too much attenuation in center pan? Or is this going to affect my renders/bounces and give me too "centric" a mix on other systems?

Also, is running my monitors through the mixer giving me too much center-pan attenuation on pre-mixed music to begin with? I noticed some songs had a perfect stereo image while others seemed wide, and I don't know what to trust yet.

Edit: Never mind on these two questions. The more I thought about it, the more I realized this isn't one of my 99 problems. The panpots on my Mackie's playback strips stay static 99.9% of the time, so it's effectively just a 4dB level cut. The pan law in Reaper, where I'll be doing any automated dynamic panning, is what's going to matter for maintaining a constant loudness.

Last edited by Liko; 4th January 2017 at 08:38 AM..
Old 4th January 2017
  #21
Quote:
Originally Posted by Liko View Post
So I set this up the other day, about a 5 foot triangle with the speakers toed out a touch... Wow. I think I just spoiled myself for any other stereo system I have.

Regarding pan laws, am I right in thinking that, because I run my monitor output through a Mackie mixer with a -4dB pan behavior, I should set Reaper's pan law to 0dB to avoid ending up with too much attenuation in center pan? Or is this going to affect my renders/bounces and give me too "centric" a mix on other systems?

Also, is running my monitors through the mixer giving me too much center-pan attenuation on pre-mixed music to begin with? I noticed some songs had a perfect stereo image while others seemed wide, and I don't know what to trust yet.

Edit: Never mind on these two questions. The more I thought about it, the more I realized this isn't one of my 99 problems. The panpots on my Mackie's playback strips stay static 99.9% of the time, so it's effectively just a 4dB level cut. The pan law in Reaper, where I'll be doing any automated dynamic panning, is what's going to matter for maintaining a constant loudness.
pan law only takes effect when panning into the middle. Are you doing all your panning on the Mackie? Are you sending every output from Reaper to an individual channel on the mackie and then panning each one differently? Or are you sending a stereo out of Reaper to two channels in the mackie and panning those channels hard left and right?

with pan law... hard left and hard right are 0dB of reduction... and then as you pan towards the center the volume starts to be attenuated. Once you reach the center position the volume is turned down by however much the pan law is.

so sending a stereo out to a mackie and having the mackie channels panned hard left and right means you never actually use the pan law on the mackie. If you use the mackie like a traditional mixing console where ever track in reaper gets a mono output on the mackie and you are using reaper just as a tape machine, and your entire mix is done on the mackie... then you wouldn't need the pan law in reaper. but if you send any stereo outputs to the mackie and leave those outputs at hard left/right on the mackie, then you need the pan law inside reaper.
Old 4th January 2017
  #22
Quote:
Originally Posted by philsaudio View Post
[B][I][U]
The mounting is dictated by convenience. That shelf was there and I know it is not perfect but it is what I got...
Well you can either choose convenience or acoustic fidelity. They very rarely just go hand in hand without a lot of effort and a little bit of force.


Quote:
Originally Posted by philsaudio View Post
[B][I][U]
...My intention is to move further and further from the video monitor as I switch speakers. The pentagons in the extreme near field very close to the video monitor, the upside down ones a little further back (I put them that way because they sound better to me that way), the black 6.5" coaxial ones further back and the 3 ways all the way back.

In addition to being aimed progressively further back I intend to listen to them a little louder as I move back. The pentagons at <60dBSPL(z) the big 3 ways at 83dB per Katz and the flattest part of the equal loudness contours (AKA Fletcher Munson)

I can move my chair easily to get into the sweet spot for any set of speakers and I can move keyboard mouse and controller to any of those positions. All of the speakers are on the same relative straight line down the middle...
If you really want to do all that moving around go right ahead... but that just seems very counter productive and a huge waste of time. Also realize that distance effects perception of loudness because of the sensitivity of our ears.

Not to mention the acoustics change as you move around the room. So while you might be moving out of one speaker sweet spot and into another, you will most likely be moving out of THE ROOM'S SWEETSPOT and into nulls and peaks. There are usually only two real sweet spots in any room, and they are always about 37%~38% away from the front wall and the the rear wall. In most posts I just tell people to try and either sit 1/3rd the distance between your front and rear walls or 2/3rds the distance between the two walls. Because of the way sound reflects around the room, acoustically speaking those are the best spots to sit in because they will naturally have the flattest frequency response. As you move to other positions around the room, the bottom end and early reflections will be all over the place. You are literally going to have to do 4 times the acoustic treatment to get 4 spots in your room to be as flat as possible (one spot for each pair of speakers). And even then it's never going to be perfect.

It is usually best for a mixer to stay in one spot and listen to hundreds of hours of music in that one spot, so that he/she can start to memorize the sound of that spot at the reference level with one or more sets of speakers. As you jump back even by a foot, you could be moving into a bass null at a certain frequency. So then you end up hearing something completely different as you move from one spot to the next.

If you have acoustic problems in the room, over time you start to get used to them, recognize them and automatically compensate for them with your ears. But if you are constantly moving around the room then you are never going to get acclimated to the sound of one spot in your room... so you are always going to be chasing a moving target that you cannot catch mix-wise.

Quote:
Originally Posted by philsaudio View Post
[B][I][U]
...The back side of all the speakers are about 2 feet from the back wall, and the fronts of the 2 ways are over 3' from the back wall...
Oh ok, because of the angle of the picture they look like they are almost right up against the back wall.

Quote:
Originally Posted by philsaudio View Post
[B][I][U]
...I am not so convinced in the necessity of having all the speakers to play the same loudness all the time. I can see how this may be important when comparing speakers to one another but for mixing not too sure.
In my opinion anyway it is of ultimate importance. If the speakers are not playing back at the exact same volume then how do you know what you are hearing. If the speakers are even 1 or 2dB different, then the perceived change in bass/treble are most likely from the volume difference and not the speaker difference.

The reason why we have different speakers is to reference the mix on different types of speakers to see if the mix falls apart when switching to a different type of speaker. There is no way to tell unless you have a reference. That reference is the level. How can you judge if a kick drum or vocal is too loud/soft when switching speakers if one set of speakers are 3 dB quieter than another? You can't!

So for what you are thinking of doing... with the speakers at different levels and then jumping between different mix positions while you mix.... I can tell you are going to be chasing squirrels most of the time. It's going to take you 10 times longer to mix a song to get the same results that you would with a traditional setup like I'm talking about.

But hey, experience is the best teacher! Give it a shot and play with it for a while. See if it works for you.

In my experiences, acoustics trump all else. So getting into the room's sweet spot acoustically is the most important thing. having an exact equilateral triangle for all monitors is not. It gets exponentially more expensive as you start trying to treat more and more of the room acoustically.

Technically speaking in order to get a room where your idea would work acoustically... it's gonna have to look like this...




Old 4th January 2017
  #23
Lives for gear
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Etch-A-Sketch View Post
pan law only takes effect when panning into the middle. Are you doing all your panning on the Mackie? Are you sending every output from Reaper to an individual channel on the mackie and then panning each one differently? Or are you sending a stereo out of Reaper to two channels in the mackie and panning those channels hard left and right?

with pan law... hard left and hard right are 0dB of reduction... and then as you pan towards the center the volume starts to be attenuated. Once you reach the center position the volume is turned down by however much the pan law is.

so sending a stereo out to a mackie and having the mackie channels panned hard left and right means you never actually use the pan law on the mackie. If you use the mackie like a traditional mixing console where ever track in reaper gets a mono output on the mackie and you are using reaper just as a tape machine, and your entire mix is done on the mackie... then you wouldn't need the pan law in reaper. but if you send any stereo outputs to the mackie and leave those outputs at hard left/right on the mackie, then you need the pan law inside reaper.
Yeah, I figured this out thinking about it more. The Mackie's a patching and monitoring tool, not a mixdown tool, and virtually all the panning I do is to send mono input sources hard left or right to put them on the desired input channel. Actually building the stereo image is done ITB in Reaper, then the output channels are run into center-panned stereo strips on the Mackie, which basically amounts to a 4dB attenuation, easily reboosted in half a dozen places along the output signal chain to the headphones or speakers. Reaper's where the pan law would be useful, to minimize rebalancing tracks if I rearrange the stereo image.
Old 4 weeks ago
  #24
Here for the gear
 

Good thread - lots of information.

Here's something that's bending my mind now though: where do you put the computer screen?

I have Event Opals and a 27inch iMac. Actually, I have dual 27 inch screen. In my first set up I've realised that the sweet spot is quite a distance behind where I've been sitting. When I move backwards, the sound improves significantly. But when I tried moving the desk backwards (Opals on stands), the screens get in the way! I realise that pro studios with a second monitor often have it off to the side, presumably for this reason. But now I've taken the second monitor out of the equation, the problem, although improved, remains! However far apart the Opals are from each other, the screen always seems to block the line between them and me.

Given that there's also an optimal distance between user and computer screen - and this distance is quite small (say about arms length) - it seems approaching impossible to set things up right. I realise that the world is full of compromises, but it feels like there is some basic maths that doesn't add up.

Any help would be much appreciated.
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