SOUND 101: “Studio Monitors” = Proper monitor set-up is key to mixdowns (midrange-highs)
WHICH STUDIO HAS THE CORRECT SET-UP FOR MIX-DOWNS?
These are all proper studio set-ups if you were wondering, and many of you have these set-ups and wonder why you still don’t have the proper mix-downs? It is all in the smallest of details, just like a proper mix-down. The most smallest changes, a little reverb, a little eq, proper high pass and/or low pass filters, etc…. can make all the difference in the world. Same goes to studio set-ups, and that is the key to equalizing the midrange and high frequency range correctly because it is all in handling of the reflections in your room and making sure you are hearing the direct sound coming straight from the monitor. I cannot stress how important this is because those reflections is what kills everyone’s mix. I know it killed mine!
From my own experience, I can tell you that I thought my mix-down was so good that I played them at my next gig, on the big speakers. My track sounded good, but there was something missing, too much bass, not enough bass, midrange was too much, not enough, too much treble, etc….. Sounds familiar? Let us break down how each studio above can make their proper set up to the best set-up possible.
Studio A: I would replace the studio monitor stands, which are magazines I believe, with some studio foam, or some sort of fabric, like a towel, old sheets, etc… This will help keep the vibrations from transfering to the desk. One of the cardinal sins of project studios is that their monitors are directly on the desk which the midrange reflects off the desk so that what you hear is the direct wave and the reflecting wave. That minimal reflection is what causes some of your midrange issues. In my opinion, I would raise the monitors higher, put something soft under them, move the monitors to the edge of the desk, and move the keyboard and mixer.
Studio B: This set-up is pretty close, but there are a few things I would do to improve it. First of all, I would move the desk a little bit further from the wall. Studio monitors should be between 8 – 12 inches off the wall; well that is what I have researched.
Studio C: This looks like a really good set-up for mix-downs. I cannot see the side walls, rear walls, or corners of the room but out of the three studios this has the best set-up, so let us break it down then.
How do you control reflections?
1. Make sure monitors are 8 – 12 inches away from back wall and side wall.
2. Elevate your monitors to ear level, your ear level, where the tweeter points straight to your ear.
3. Make sure there are no equipment, like a mixing board, keyboard, desk, etc… that is directly under the monitors because that can cause reflections.
4. And the final thing that you need to do is make sure your monitors are exactly the same distance they are apart from your ear, like an equilateral triangle. If you don’t know what that is, her is an example. In my studio, my monitors are 5 feet apart, so I actually measured the distance from my ear to my tweeters to make sure they are 5 feet as well. This will ensure you are hearing everything at the optimal position.
Next month, I will be covering proper room dimensions, do you know what the golden ration is? Here is a hint, the GREEKS developed this so that they can build huge amphitheaters.