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Putting console/speakers in center of room vs against a wall
Old 28th January 2019
  #1
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noah330's Avatar
Putting console/speakers in center of room vs against a wall

I am in the process of setting up my new space. It is 15' wide by 25' long and the ceiling is 12' high. The floor is concrete that I have just leveled out (one big job!) and the ceiling is R-30 between the joists covered with fire ******ant fabric. The side (25') walls are going to be reclaimed paneling from 1930 (one was dated when I took it out) that I have planed and finished with polycrilic to encapsulate the (certainly) lead paint. The space is underground and I can play my drums and 100 watt Soldano down there without any complaints, but usually I mix and track at fairly low volumes.

At first, I was going to put my console, which is about 8' long, against one of the 15' long walls. I have begun to use some cardboard boxes to get a better feel for the actual layout in the room.

In my ideal layout, the back of the console will be at about the 12.5' mark, with my small (Neumann KH-120s) being about there as well. The idea being that I don't want to have to move this very heavy console anytime I want to change something and it would also allow me to remain in eye contact with the people I'm working with (usually one or two people at a time. I would like to keep the 25x15 room vs two smaller rooms. I figure I will put a desk on the side (25' wall side) to the console with my ProTools monitor on it and have my outboard gear in some 20 space racks behind me (close to the back wall).

Anyway, Does anyone see any issue with this? It seems like it would be good and my mix position would be equidistant from how I spread the monitors. I'm thinking some diffusion on the back wall, which would be about 8-8.5 feet behind me.

Thanks for any insight.
Old 15th April 2019
  #2
Gear Maniac
Against the wall

You need to choose your listening and speaker position based on measurements not by guessing. I predict that speakers in the middle will be far from optimal.

pro designs usually soffit mount speakers, measurements and treatment design compromises usually mean your speakers end up being as close to the wall as possible. That is if the aim is to get a translatable response.
Old 15th April 2019
  #3
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Quote:
Anyway, Does anyone see any issue with this? It seems like it would be good and my mix position would be equidistant from how I spread the monitors. I'm thinking some diffusion on the back wall, which would be about 8-8.5 feet behind me.
As Carl said, there are very good reasons why studios are pretty much never set up the way you plan to do it. If you look around the internet at photos of pro-studios all around the world, I very much doubt that you'd find many designed that way!

As he also mentioned, speakers need to be located as close as possible to the front wall, in small rooms. That's what you will see in the vast majority of high-end studios: the speakers are either flush mounted IN the front wall (in "soffits" that are angled across the front of the room), or they are very close to the front wall.

Your room is fairly large, which is good, and with 25' of length to play with, it is theoretically possible to place your speakers far away from the front wall (the wall you are facing while mixing). You could, in theory, set up your speakers 10 feet away from that front wall, which is the minimum distance that makes sense from the point of view of SBIR... but then your head would be close to the middle of the room, roughly, which is the worst possible place.

But there's a bigger issue here, that you probably haven't seen yet: you want to use it as a live room, and also as a mixing room. That's sort of like saying you want to use your refrigerator as an oven as well... The two concepts are not compatible. The acoustic response that a live room needs is the exact opposite of what a control room needs. A control room must have totally neutral, flat, clean response, with no early reflections at all, a low-level diffuse field, and a short and constant decay time across the entire spectrum, around 200 ms. Because that's the environment that your ears and brain need in order to mix well. But a drum kit needs very long decay times that are uneven across the spectrum (three or four times longer, at least!), with truck loads of early and late reflections, non-flat response, a high level non-diffuse field, and even some specular reflections. Playing drums in a control-room acoustic would sound awful. Trying to mix in a live room acoustic would be even more awful.

It is possible to deal with that to a certain extent by designing variable-acoustic devices for the walls and ceiling, with sections that can be opened, closed, flipped, rotated, slid, etc. to expose different treatment types to the room, thus changing the response. But doing that isn't easy, and you would still need to lay out the room primarily as one or the other: either primary mix, or primarily live. Trying to do "something in between" means that you get a room that is lousy for both, and good for neither.

I would suggest that you should "zone" the room, in the sense that you have the front end set up perfectly for mixing, always, then have the rear end for your drums, with the variable acoustic panels mostly at that end. So the front would look like a normal, typical control room, with fixed soffit-mounted speakers, and your console in fixed position, while the rear would need to be designed specifically to be "adjustable", such that one configuration of the movable panels makes it suitable for being the rear end of a control room, while another configuration of panels makes it better for drums and other instruments.

That would be my suggestion.

- Stuart -
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