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Monitors at ear level? Studio Monitors
Old 19th August 2007
Lives for gear

Monitors at ear level?

I see people with pics of their monitors and they look like they are way up high, facing straight forward, and directly on the desk, or with a mixng board or keyboard on the level right below them,

basically I see monitors being used in seemingly the worst way, which places doubt into my mind as to whether its really that important to place the monitors corectly?

is proper monitor placement actually important? how does it help? and wouldnt having anything inbetween you and the monitors (aka, desk) be a bad thing and cause comb filtering (whatever that is)?

maybe we should all mount our screens to the wall, burn our desks and just have the keyboard and mouse on our laps... wouldnt that be better?

how do the pros deal with their monitoring setups when they've got that big ol' board in front of them, dont they have to then deal with comb filtering too?
Old 19th August 2007
Lives for gear
A27Hull's Avatar

Its important if you want a balanced soundstage between a stereo pair.

I just spent a day tweaking my new JBLs (aligning them on a parallel plane) so that the center image was the truest. It took three different speaker luggin movements, three RMC calibrations, and three tape distance measurements to finally come up with a piece-o-mind setup.

Sometimes the practical wins over the technical though. When your putting up three sets of monitors over a large console, its hard to aim them all at a single sweet spot yet have all the "proper" ratios balanced.

Perhaps the best bet with multiple speaker systems is to set them up with different sweet spots, that the engineer knows by heart.

Further, some engineers may not be uncomfortable with having the monitors setup strangely.

I've always read the proper specs to be:

-equal distance from speaker to speaker and speaker to listener

-form a 60 degree equilateral triangle,

-toe the monitors inwards so that the speaker faces the listeners head (observing the 60 degree relationship

-making sure the ears are on the trajectory as the tweeters.

The place I'm assisting at now doesn't have their speakers arranged this way. The NS-10s are real close to together, (2-3 feet), yet the console is about (4-5 foot) deep, with the listening chair (6-7) feet back from the NS-10 horizontal plane. Their JBLs are on the outside of these, with in my estimation, producing a sweet spot above and behind the listening chair. I have to sit on my knees to get that 'ear to tweeter' alignment.

All in all, the boss doesn't seem to care, and I don't want to call him out on it. He does good work, so perhaps the "proper" technique doesn't hold water for everyone.

Old 19th August 2007
Lives for gear

ok, I will align my speakers per your instructions, but what about objects like desks under the speakers? how bad is this comb filtering thing and what can be done to fix it? lay some foam on the desk?
Old 21st August 2007
Lives for gear

would you say its more important to have the speakers aligned properly, or to have them free of obstruction, because currently I am in a situation where I can't really have both...

I have a shallow desk from target and my keyboard is on it, so the speakers would have to be on stands, off to the side, and it might be hard to get the proper angles. but I could get them off the stands on put it on the desk, removing my keyboard, but then they'd be on the desk itself and I've heard that comb filtering is a problem, so which of the aspects is most important??
Old 21st August 2007
Gear Nut
acousticmaniac's Avatar

If you really only have those two options it may have to be the lesser of the two evils. Placing your monitors directly onto your desk may pose more of a problem, especially with imaging and HF reflections, I couldn't say for sure without hearing it of course.

Is your desk against a wall? If so, do you have the space to pull in back a few feet and place your monitors on stands behind it, keeping them at a suitable height, allowing you to bring them closer together and maintain the equilateral triangle?

Old 21st August 2007
Lives for gear

it May be a possibility but I dont think so... I am living in someone elses house so I dont have much liberty as far as moving their furniture around to suit me. ha
Old 21st August 2007
Gear Addict
macrae11's Avatar

Definately get them up off the desks. If you don't have quite the perfect angles it is usually livable. Having speakers directly on the desk though will usually cause serious comb filtering, and your angles probably still won't be perfect. I was waiting for some new speaker stands to be delivered for a couple of weeks, and had to put one pair of monitors on the desk. They were basically useless until the new stands arrived.
Old 21st August 2007
Lives for gear

doesnt the desk still cause problems with them on stands? the desk is still infront of the speakers right?
Old 19th September 2011
Lives for gear
hereticskeptic's Avatar
Originally Posted by hduncan View Post
doesnt the desk still cause problems with them on stands? the desk is still infront of the speakers right?
Old thread, but an excellent question here, and I have yet to see it answered (still searching through threads like crazy).

I'm likely confused, but it seems to me that having monitors on a meter bridge (for example), would leave less of the desk exposed for the sound to hit, than if the monitors were on stands behind the desk. Can someone explain why monitors placed on recoil stabilizers, placed on the meter bridge, would be worst than on stands behind the desk?

Old 19th September 2011
Gear Guru

Originally Posted by hereticskeptic View Post
Can someone explain why monitors placed on recoil stabilizers, placed on the meter bridge, would be worst than on stands behind the desk?
Decoupling is only part of the story. On the bridge, more sound will bounce off the surface of the desk and combine with the direct sound.

behind the desk, a little less will reflect off the faders into your ears. It will be from farther away, and at a shallower angle, weaker, thus reducing comb filtering

here's a graph from Genelec
the black is the speakers with no console at all
the green is vertical on stands behind the console
the red is horizontal on the meter bridge
Old 19th September 2011
I' am not a pro but I think that monitor’s placement is very important. I have mines placed about 2 feet away from the wall, 4 feet apart, my ears are 4 feet away from the tweeters and the LCD screen is lined up with the monitors, nothing really between my ears and the monitors. So far I' am getting great results.

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