Choosing an appropriate set of studio monitors is always a decision of weighing up your needs and wants, many factors come into play – space, budget, features and portability are just a few. Value will be determined by how well the speakers fulfils your needs, not simply by the cost or how many features they have. Genelec provide a lot of information about how best to exploit the performance of your monitor, these guidelines are laid out below.
The following diagrams will look at what influences your room and monitor position will have on your decision. With a bit of tweaking you should achieve the good results. Let’s look at what happens when bass hits a wall.
Place monitors less than 0.6 m from the wall behind it. This ensures that bass output level is not reduced due to comb filtering generated by back wall cancellations
A monitor should be placed at the listener’s ear height or higher, typically ≥1.2 m from the floor. Floor reflection significantly colours sound. Large monitor systems are typically mounted above the listener’s ear height. Avoid having your monitors sitting directly on your desk tilted up. Instead look at getting some desktop speaker stands. Genelec offer some great solutions – CLICK HERE
1.4 m is the average height between sitting and standing positions. Aim to mount your monitors less than 15 degrees above the listening height and never below that height.
Use the room orientation that offers the best left/right symmetry – typically this is facing your monitors outwards from the smaller end of a rectangle. Place the monitors symmetrically in a 60 degree angle. Point them horizontally and vertically towards the listening position. Make sure the distance to both monitors is the same
No Room is ideal and therefore most Studio Monitors use EQ adjustments to counteract adverse frequencies of your room. These can be found on the rear panel of the entire Genelec range.
Aim to keep reflections to a minimum.
Hard surfaces such as glass, concrete, dry wall or MDF reflect sound. Soft materials such as rock/mineral wool, sofas, heavy curtains or thick carpets absorb sound energy. Thick layer of porous materials are needed to absorb lower frequencies.
Irregular surfaces will scatter the incident sound wave – this is good and will help higher frequency dispersion. A combination of diffusive and absorptive surfaces can be very effective in reducing the audibility of reflections. Keep in mind diffusers are not really effective at treating low frequencies.
Your room shape can help eliminate unwanted reflections. Optimal situation is when you hear more direct sound from the monitors than reflected sound at the listening position. Preventing room reflections from reaching the listening area reduces sound colouration and improves imaging
Front wall: Cut the room front corners at 30 degrees using high-mass materials (concrete, bricks, multi layered gypsum board, etc) In case building materials have medium mass, make sure to fill the empty space behind these walls with mineral wool.
Side walls: Use a combination of absorption and diffusion on the side wall surfaces. Note that thin layers of porous absorbers only reduce HF reflections
Rear: If the room is large enough, use diffusive element(s) on the back wall
All rooms will throw up some acoustic problems, however if you follow the suggestions above you will go a long way in reducing some of these issues. As I mentioned earlier though, there are always exceptions to the rules. I have seen and heard massive monitor systems work in a small room – this was more due to Genelecs SAM calibration and treatment. If you are not using SAM equiped speakers I would try to stick to the rules as best you can. Happy monitoring.