How to position nearfield monitors correctly in a project studio

Put yourself and your speakers in the right place.
Put yourself and your speakers in the right place.

Being able to properly hear the sounds you're making in your music studio is obviously of paramount importance if you want your mixes to be 'work'. As well as ensuring that the acoustic properties of the room itself are up to scratch, this means making sure your monitors are positioned relative to your head in the way the manufacturers intended them to be.

With this quick walkthrough, we'll take you step by step through the process of getting your speakers set up for optimum results and monitoring accuracy. For more on monitor placement and calibration, pick up the November edition of Future Music (FM311).

Step 1: When setting up nearfield monitoring, it always pays to spend some time making sure that your speakers are positioned correctly. In this project studio, the monitors are sat on the desk either side of the computer - hardly ideal.

Step 2: In their current position, the monitors are too close together - this will give issues with stereo width when mixing, as the sound will naturally be too narrow, as well as there being lots of unwanted reflections and vibrations from the table top. Let's move them onto some speaker stands.

Step 3: First, we'll use our speaker stands to isolate the speakers from the desk. We've got our stands we filled with sand and placed on some concrete slabs (get them in any garden centre) - this is to set the tweeters at head height, which is important for accurate monitoring.

Step 4: The principle of nearfield monitoring is that the speakers should be positioned to form a perfect triangle between them and the listening position - as you can see in our diagram.

Step 5: Now we can put the speakers on the stands and start positioning them. We use a measuring tape to help with positioning - the idea is to achieve an equal distance between the left and right speakers, and the listening position.

Step 6: Once we've got the speakers in a symmetrical position, we'll enjoy improved stereo imaging and a more revealing sound. We'll also get less issues with unwanted vibrations and reflections thanks to moving them off the desk.

Future Music

Future Music is the number one magazine for today's producers. Packed with technique and technology we'll help you make great new music. All-access artist interviews, in-depth gear reviews, essential production tutorials and much more. Every marvellous monthly edition features reliable reviews of the latest and greatest hardware and software technology and techniques, unparalleled advice, in-depth interviews, sensational free samples and so much more to improve the experience and outcome of your music-making.