How far should near field monitors be placed away from you ?

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302efi
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2010/04/26 10:09:18 (permalink)

How far should near field monitors be placed away from you ?

I see all these pics of people's home studios and even a couple of semi-pro studios where the monitors are right on the desk or within 1-2 foot away from them. When I try to mix anything with my Event monitors  that close to me, I can't hear the bass response, so the mixes 9 times outta 10 ends up with wayyyy to much bass and the vocals or anything in the 4 to16k range is to low.

Wat I'm saying is they sound good when I'm mixing them, but when when I transfer it to thecar or anything else, the bass response in way to much.

So whats the correct distance is it to have your near fields away from you ?
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    DigiBiu
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    Re:How far should near field monitors be placed away from you ? 2010/04/26 10:34:51 (permalink)
    I dont think it's distance, I think you have some problems with your room that you need to address with treatment of some sort (absorption, dispersion)

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    302efi
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    Re:How far should near field monitors be placed away from you ? 2010/04/26 10:38:08 (permalink)
    Isnt there a required distance for the bass or something ?

    I read a artical a while back and it mentioned something like a 6ft by 6ft by 6ft triangle ?
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    leapinlizard
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    Re:How far should near field monitors be placed away from you ? 2010/04/26 10:54:02 (permalink)
    You may have a number of issues at play here.  First question:  which Event monitors are you using, and what is the woofer size and frequency response?  It is possible that you may need to add a subwoofer to your system to get that added oomph at the bottom of the spectrum.  Secondly, you may be working in an environment that needs room treatment.  I'm no expert in room acoustics, but this seems to be a major cause of out-of-balance mixes.  One way to get a handle on this is to play some reference mixes through your system and listen to the response you are getting - pick some CDs that are similar to the sound you are trying to achieve, and see how they sound through your speakers.  By getting to know your speakers, you can often compensate for deficiencies in the speaker and/or room, but that can only take you so far, and then you need to take more drastic measures.

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    skullsession
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    Re:How far should near field monitors be placed away from you ? 2010/04/26 10:57:29 (permalink)
    302efi


    Isnt there a required distance for the bass or something ?

    I read a artical a while back and it mentioned something like a 6ft by 6ft by 6ft triangle ?

    Ok...so did you try that?  Did it help?
     
    The only "standard" that I'm aware of is that you need to be sure each speaker is equally distant from your head, at ear level, and position yourself directly in between the speakers at the point where they are aimed.  "The sweet spot", we call it.  You'll know you're there when your lead vocal and snare are "dead center".
     
    We all work differently.  Some closer, some further.  Some monitor very quietly...some very loudly.
     
    But the truth really is....if you're room isn't right, you really have no idea what you're hearing...or missing.
     
    To "perceive" a certain level of lower frequencies while mixing, but then finding out that you're WAY OFF on other systems is fairly consistent with a room that's out of whack.
     
     

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    AT
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    Re:How far should near field monitors be placed away from you ? 2010/04/26 11:09:09 (permalink)
    You monitors should form a triangle w/ your head at the point.  6 foot spread between speakers mean your head should be 6 feet away situated midway between them.  Ideally.  If you are too close you end up having a "hole" in the middle that your mind fills in.  Farther away and you get more of the room rather than direct sound (which is the point of near field speakers).

    To truely propagate bass waves you need a big room - take a look at  hammond organ drawbars or a mini-moog which mimics the convention.  32' means a 32 foot pipe producing the sound, ergo a 32 foot room for the wave to fully form.  Again, ideally, and most speakers aren't going to replicate such a low note (or growl).

    Your problem could be room, speakers, experience,- and probably some of all three.  An untreated room will sound unbalanced - a lot of high-frequency bouncing around and bass waves rebounding upon themselves and causes peaks and nulls.  If you've ever moved into a new place  or painted an empty room you can hear the reverb and flutter echos, which mess up your montioring.  You notice it mostly in the highs, but it does the same for bass.  There are plenty of threads about room treatment here and elsewhere.

    Speakers - get to know them and how they sound.  Listen to different styles of music on them.  Studio monitors shouldn't flatter the sound - they should be flat as widely as possible.  At the studio I frequent they use big genlecs.  They are brutal.  Flabby bass will sound flabby, not rounded off and low freq noise will be heard (and felt) instead rolled off.  And highs will shriek and scratch your eardrums.  They used to have yamas but moved to med adams for the near field.  They are smaller in the bottom and the ribbon tweeter flattens the highs.  If a song sounds good on both of them, it will translate well.  at home I use old yamas and have gotten to know them - stuff I do seems to translate well and if something sounds scratchy on the beryllium tweeters it is too much and the 8 inch woofers let me catch most low noise/misshapes.

    Which brings me to experience.  Buy the best speakers you can afford and stick w/ them for a while so you get to know them.  Put some furniture (bed/futon/couch) in the control room to suck up the bass as well as highs if you can't properly treat it.  Book shelves (w/ spaced books, not your wife's nick-nacks) also work well dispersing the sound it doesn't soak up.  Then buy a stack of CDs and burn your mixes.  Test them in the living room w/ bookshelf speakers, headphones and in the car.  Listen carefully to see how the mix performs in different enviorments/systems and use that for feedback.  And roll off the bottom of tracks if you don't have a big system to listen on.  Bottom noise will suck up headroom and you'll never know it using smaller speakers.

    It takes an investment of time to learn your system and, as importantly, train your ears.  But the above steps can speed it all up, esp. if you are young and haven't lost your hearing through age.  Start young, and realize most of the mastering engineers are older and have worse hearing than you, but they know "what" to listen for.


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    Middleman
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    Re:How far should near field monitors be placed away from you ? 2010/04/26 11:18:44 (permalink)
    If you have the ASP8s from Event, minimum 5 feet because the bass won't even form at the listening position in under that distance. In fact 6-8 Feet is better. An 8 inch woofer/tweeter needs distance to form a good image. Now if you are seeing the smaller 6 inch or even less sized woofer/tweeter combos, those are not pushing all that much bass, mainly for midrange and upper end monitoring, those are fine on a desk.

    But, in a small room you will need to bass trap the heck out of your space and put larger speaker monitors as far away as possible. Mine are spread 6 feet back up against the corners which are trapped with 6 inch GIK panels. I still have to push away from the desk about a a foot to get in the sweet spot. This does not preclude me getting up and walking to a back corner to compare my mixes to commercial CDs on the low end. Small rooms are a pain but if that is all you have, you have to learn to work it.

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    302efi
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    Re:How far should near field monitors be placed away from you ? 2010/04/26 11:59:32 (permalink)
    Ok thanks for the replies guys !

    I'm using the TR8's : http://www.zzounds.com/item--EVETR8

    they sound good if I step back across the room, then they all most have to much bass !

    I can really modify the room the room I have my setup in, so I can't treat it or use any bass traps. So what other options does that leave me as far as finding a "sweet spot" to balance our between no bass (2ft from them) and to much bass (across the room...8ft) ?
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    leapinlizard
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    Re:How far should near field monitors be placed away from you ? 2010/04/26 12:45:37 (permalink)
    Well, I can't add a whole lot to what everyone else has already said, but you might try rearranging the room a little, and try sitting in different areas with your speakers placed accordingly to see what works best.  There's not a whole lot you can do at this point except to try some different things and see what works best.  Be sure to move your speakers, too, not just your chair, because you might find a point in the room where they sound better than where you have them now.

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    MemphisJo
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    Re:How far should near field monitors be placed away from you ? 2010/04/30 02:40:47 (permalink)
    The whole point of small near field monitors is that you sit close enough that you don't need a treated room. Amazing how many people don't seem to get that. 
    You Events are not really a true near filed monitor, although they are relatively compact, they are more akin to a 'mid size' studio monitor and as you have already experienced they can belt out some bass which you wont hear up close. They really do need a treated room. It's a shame they are not manufactured any more. I once owned the similar 20/20's at one time and they were awesome speakers. 


    If you really can't treat this room I would recommend that you get a set of 5" something or others (e.g. KRK's) and a sub woofer that you could switch on and off to keep a check on the bass while you are mixing down.
     
        

    post edited by MemphisJo - 2010/04/30 02:46:18

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    Beagle
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    Re:How far should near field monitors be placed away from you ? 2010/04/30 11:16:53 (permalink)
    The whole point of small near field monitors is that you sit close enough that you don't need a treated room. Amazing how many people don't seem to get that. 

    I'm sorry but I disagree completely.  being "small near field monitors" doesn't negate the fact that lower frequencies will still build up in the corners of the room - there's nothing an engineer can do to a monitor to make that not happen. 

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    guitardog247
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    Re:How far should near field monitors be placed away from you ? 2010/04/30 11:19:33 (permalink)
    I thought the post was a joke. They are called "NEAR" field monitors.
    I guess it is a serious dicussion.

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    Beagle
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    Re:How far should near field monitors be placed away from you ? 2010/04/30 11:39:32 (permalink)
    guitardog247


    I thought the post was a joke. They are called "NEAR" field monitors.
    I guess it is a serious dicussion.


    yeah, but they're not called "2 meter monitors" so the OP wants to know the definition of "near"

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    302efi
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    Re:How far should near field monitors be placed away from you ? 2010/04/30 11:47:30 (permalink)
    Beagle


    guitardog247


    I thought the post was a joke. They are called "NEAR" field monitors.
    I guess it is a serious dicussion.


    yeah, but they're not called "2 meter monitors" so the OP wants to know the definition of "near"




    Exactly..What is the definition of near-field when it comes to monitors ?

    Ok so when I bought my Events, the company and the music store I bought them at, said near-field. So in my opinion, "near" means close.

    Where do they say six foot or 2 meter monitors ?

    ...Or is this info that someone should should not ask, caused it assumed EVERYONE should know ?..Or is this another Sonar Forums ****ism, I'm a super producer but still have time to post on here kinda thing ?
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    Beagle
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    Re:How far should near field monitors be placed away from you ? 2010/04/30 12:59:18 (permalink)
    it's not defined anywhere that I'm aware of - but the guys are right above - approximately 6' or 2 meter triangle with your head is where near fields should be placed.

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    guitardog247
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    Re:How far should near field monitors be placed away from you ? 2010/04/30 14:18:35 (permalink)
    Actually it's 3 to 6 ft.

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    leapinlizard
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    Re:How far should near field monitors be placed away from you ? 2010/04/30 14:32:31 (permalink)
    While a 6' triangle is probably ideal, I don't have the space to sit 6' away from my monitors, so I am probably more like 3.5-4' away, and they still sound pretty good.  However, I do have a subwoofer as well, so if you don't have the 6' triangle luxury then a subwoofer might help.

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    dmbaer
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    Re:How far should near field monitors be placed away from you ? 2010/04/30 14:33:14 (permalink)
    This is from Sweetwater tech. advice:
     
    From David Stewart, Sweetwater's Service and Technical Support Manager -
     
    Common question: "How close should I position my "near field" monitors?"
     
    Our general rule of thumb: If they are smaller speakers, put them out about arm's length away from you, with about that same distance between them (about one meter). They should be pointed in towards your head. Envision an equilateral triangle with one of the points being the tip of your nose. The monitors should also point towards the tip of your nose so the on-axis sound kind of crosses right in front of your face. Your results may vary and personal preference should always take precedent over these rules, but this is a good starting point; from here adjust to your taste.
    This method generally works well with small two way (or dual concentric) near fields. If you have larger monitors or three way monitors the space between the drivers on the cabinet may dictate that they be placed a little further away. If you sit too close to monitors with multiple drivers or monitors that have a large distance between woofer and tweeter you will experience phase distortion anomalies.
     

     
     
     
    And this from Musician's Friend:
     
    Near-Field Monitor Placement
     
    Near-field studio monitors are small speakers that minimize the effects of your room on the sound source. Clear, accurate, and balanced monitors will obviously deliver a more precise sound than your old hi-fi speakers, and accuracy makes a huge difference in tweaking your mix.
    The position of the monitors is very important. First, you should be close to the sound: about 2 to 5 feet from the monitors is cool. Mount the monitors at ear level, positioned so that your head points to right between the two. If the monitors are mounted 4 feet apart, you should be 4 feet away from them, so the monitors and your head form a nice imaginary triangle. Angle the monitors so the tweeters are aimed at your ears. This placement should provide more accurate monitoring.
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    dmbaer
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    Re:How far should near field monitors be placed away from you ? 2010/04/30 16:14:25 (permalink)
    Sweetwater also offers this posted "reprint" of a Tannoy near field tutorial that's worth a read:
     
    http://www.sweetwater.com/NearField/
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    bitflipper
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    Re:How far should near field monitors be placed away from you ? 2010/04/30 16:52:43 (permalink)
    There are a number of factors to take into consideration. The two main factors are the physical dimensions of the speakers and the dimensions of the room, with the latter being far more important.

    Conventional wisdom is that small woofers can be closer, but large woofers should be further away, and that's how it's normally done.

    5" and 6" speakers are usually placed about 2.5' to 4' away, 8" speakers between 3' and 6' away, and 10" placed 6' to 8' away. Large, full-range speakers, which typically have 12" or 15" woofers, are usually soffit-mounted 10 to 12 feet away. These examples are based only on what I've seen in studios, and not on any scientific principle that I know of.

    In practice, there is really no problem setting 8" speakers 3' away or 6" speakers 4' away. Arguments about "letting the bass develop" are bogus in the context of a control room. You don't actually want the bass to "develop". That's a concept for PA systems, live sound and churches, not for control room monitoring. The whole idea of nearfields is to try and reduce the interaction between the speakers and the room.

    What you do want is for the outputs of the woofer and tweeter to blend nicely, with minimal phase cancellation. That's an acoustical process, and it does need some air to do it in. But you only need a listening distance that's at least 3 times the distance between the woofer and tweeter. Take a ruler and figure out what that comes to - on my speakers, that's about 18". Double that to 3' as a safe, conservative rule-of-thumb and phase alignment will not be a concern.

    Far more important is where the speakers sit in the room. You want them as far from any walls as you can get them, you want them to be laterally equidistant from the nearest walls, and you want to avoid siting them in the dead center of the room or have your mix chair in the dead center of the room. Getting them out away from the wall behind them is very important, especially if your speakers are rear-ported.

    Ideally, you want the nearest boundary (walls, floor or ceiling) to be at least 3 times further away from the speaker than your ears are. If pulling the speakers closer to your ears is the only way to get them away from the walls, go ahead and do that.

    The OP's problem is that he's not hearing the bass accurately in the studio, and is correct in assuming that speaker placement may help. In the absence of serious acoustical treatments, the best strategy is probably to move the monitors closer (while still keeping them in an equilateral triangle).

    Of course, this won't prevent the room from screwing with the sound. Only heavy bass trapping is going to help with that.

    As for the lightness in the highs, that could be because the room is particularly bright and reflective, or it could mean a speaker adjustment is needed.

    I'd take some measurements first, running white noise through the speakers into an omnidirectional microphone. I'd want to verify that my speakers are reasonably flat above 4KHz. If not, there is probably an adjustment on the speaker to turn the tweeter up.

    But if the problem isn't with the speaker, the room is the likely culprit. Some absorption should clear that up, especially absorbers to the left and right of the speakers, and a ceiling cloud above, midway between speakers and mix position.



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    dmbaer
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    Re:How far should near field monitors be placed away from you ? 2010/04/30 18:56:11 (permalink)
    bitflipper

    But if the problem isn't with the speaker, the room is the likely culprit. Some absorption should clear that up, especially absorbers to the left and right of the speakers, and a ceiling cloud above, midway between speakers and mix position.
     
    Since we're talking cloud absorbers, just what is that?  Is it 2" 703 material, or 4" ... or is it 705?  How close to the ceiling does the cloud panel have to be?  Could there be an 8 inch gap?  In fact, could there be a 1 foot gap, say, between the top of the speaker and the panel and a hefty gap between the cloud and ceiling (as long as the lateral position was in the reflection path)?  In other words, how low can a cloud be placed?  Also, does it need to be rigidly attached to the ceiling or hanging from the corners by rope, for example?
     
    Also, aren't reflections from the desktop potentially more insidious than reflections from the ceiling?
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    guitardog247
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    Re:How far should near field monitors be placed away from you ? 2010/04/30 23:02:11 (permalink)
    Thanks for explaining that Bit. I knew there was ryhme and reason to the 3 to 6 ft spacing. Of couse there are parameters, and you just don't say "6 feet for every setup". 

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    MemphisJo
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    Re:How far should near field monitors be placed away from you ? 2010/05/01 02:07:39 (permalink)
    So... my comment was accurate and spot on.

    Your events are not going to work well in a non treated environment. I once owned similar speakers and learnt the hard way. They are great speakers but not for the faint of heart. 

    Also, re: the Tannoy article, isn't it ironic that 90% of all pro studios have the NS10's mounted horizontally and on the meter bridge! I think the article was a subtle dig by Tannoy (makers of some of the worlds best monitors since the 60's ) at Yamaha (makers of the worlds most popular but possibly worst monitors since the 70's) - most of which you see now are not even connected, they are just ornaments sitting on the desk to look cool.

    When I said you don't need a treated room for 'small' near fields I wasn't suggesting that the room could be just any old crap (e.g a typical bedroom in a modern home). Most modern homes have awful stucco /wood frame/ drywalled squared off rooms that can make even conversation sound awful sometimes. You will need more than minimal correction for those Events that you own. Also, they like to be driven quite hard! They make good tracking monitors for high energy low frequency sources.

    I think the store sold you something not really suitable for your needs.

     

    post edited by MemphisJo - 2010/05/01 02:09:51

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    302efi
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    Re:How far should near field monitors be placed away from you ? 2010/05/01 09:31:07 (permalink)
    I bought them a long while back and I've got a few good mixes from them off the bat, but I noticed in songs that had alot of bass drums or lots of bass lines, remixing was almost certain...A few times..lol

    So what are the "best" near-fields for a untreated room? I'm looking back now and now I think I'm seeing that 8 inch near-fields might not have been a good idea. I think when I got the Events, they ran about $650, given that was a long time ago, but you need a couple thousand dollar room for $650 speakers ?


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    mike_mccue
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    Re:How far should near field monitors be placed away from you ? 2010/05/01 09:45:26 (permalink)
    Some folks might point out that if you are working in a un treated room that you will have an easier time mixing if you learn to work at a lower SPL.

    You still need to learn how to translate what you hear to a good all around mix... but it's easier to do it when you aren't pumping the room full of excess energy.

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    #25
    MemphisJo
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    Re:How far should near field monitors be placed away from you ? 2010/05/01 14:39:50 (permalink)
    That's a good point mike and what I was trying to get at is, in my experience with the Event's, they need to be working at quite high SPL's to sound their best, and then , if the room is not good, it's your neighbors three doors down that is actually hearing your bass!

    I was wondering why the OP can't at least do some basic treatment to his room and if anyone knows how he could do some treatments that could easily be removed if he is, for example, in a rented dwelling.

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    #26
    bitflipper
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    Re:How far should near field monitors be placed away from you ? 2010/05/01 16:31:00 (permalink)
    Since we're talking cloud absorbers, just what is that? Is it 2" 703 material, or 4" ... or is it 705? How close to the ceiling does the cloud panel have to be? Could there be an 8 inch gap? In fact, could there be a 1 foot gap, say, between the top of the speaker and the panel and a hefty gap between the cloud and ceiling (as long as the lateral position was in the reflection path)? In other words, how low can a cloud be placed? Also, does it need to be rigidly attached to the ceiling or hanging from the corners by rope, for example?

    Also, aren't reflections from the desktop potentially more insidious than reflections from the ceiling?


    Clouds should cover the point on the ceiling that is midway between your ears and the speakers. Since they're not bass traps, 2 inches is probably adequate, but 3 inches will extend their range to include more of the midrange. They can hang from the ceiling - mine are on chains - and will in fact be more efficient if the gap behind them is at least equal to the thickness of the absorber. I really don't know any reason why an 8" gap should be a problem, other than maybe hitting your head on it when you stand up.

    It's true that reflections from the desktop are insidious (good choice of adjective), but they are a bit less of a problem than ceiling reflections simply because the reflection points are closer.

    The difference in distance between the reflected and direct paths is what determines the amount of phase shift and how low a frequency they'll cause significant comb filtering at. The lower the frequency, the less likely a given phase shift will cause noticeable comb filtering. The shorter the distance difference, the higher the lowest frequency likely to be adversely affected. Consequently, reflections off the desk or console cause problems at the higher frequencies, while ceiling reflections affect a broad band of frequencies.

    Apologies for that last paragraph, it's not the best explanation I've ever written.


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    #27
    jsrobinson
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    Re:How far should near field monitors be placed away from you ? 2014/03/11 04:04:03 (permalink)
    Sorry to ressurect an old thread but bit's info is some of the most well explained I've found on this subject and I'm in the middle of treating my room. My question is on the distance between speakers vs their distance to the ear. Or, breaking the equallateral triangle.

    Basically my desk is 4' wide, and my Yamaha HS80m's sit on stands, with the cones about 5' apart, and they can't really be moved closer together. The HS80m's also recommend a distance of 5' from the wall, which seems in all practical terms impossible.

    My listening position is more like 3' from the monitors. Even if I were to sit 5' back, I'd be nowhere near my mixing desk.

    Bitflipper you already dispelled a popular myth I was wondering about, regarding letting the bass develop. Thanks a ton. If you or anyone could comment on if sitting 3' from the monitors while the monitors are about 5' from each other, it'd be much appreciated. What issues could that be creating?
    post edited by jsrobinson - 2014/03/11 04:05:58
    #28
    Starise
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    Re:How far should near field monitors be placed away from you ? 2014/03/11 10:44:11 (permalink)
    JS You have a trim control on those monitors , so  you have some control over the bass energy and you can compensate for some of those conditions. If it were me I might simply lower the bass range slightly.
     
    There is a big advantage to buying monitors that are NOT rear ported,especially if you are recording in a smaller space. Both types have bass issues in smaller spaces, but the rear ports especially have problems with it because ....well....theres a big hole in the back of your monitor firing bass into the wall behind. Some monitors  throw the bass out of a port on the front and some self contain it inside the cabinet.
     
    While I have a sub woofer, I seldom use it and choose to get the bass close on my cans. I take the mix into other systems and see how the bass came out. I admit that some of my earlier mixes suffered until I dialed it in closer. My monitors have 8" woofers but I mix at lower levels and I use a correction program to get the best results. I don't mix rap with those thumps that you can feel like mini earth quakes, so I am usually more concerned about mids, lower mids and top end. Yeah...It's a work around but not a painful one.
     
    I agree with Mike- Keep the energy low when mixing. My volume is probably at -6 or -4 db. You can always check the mix for LOUD after you iron out the other stuff.
    post edited by Starise - 2014/03/11 10:55:33

     
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    #29
    Middleman
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    Re:How far should near field monitors be placed away from you ? 2014/03/11 13:24:13 (permalink)
    You can also pull the desk out from the wall about 1-2 feet and either move in the speakers closer or that should put you in the current sweet spot. Most acoustic books recommend your head be about 1/3rd back in the room. This from the wall you are facing.

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    #30
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