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How to get the best from studio monitors

Discussion in 'Monitoring / Headphones' started by boydelmundo, Oct 23, 2010.

  1. boydelmundo

    boydelmundo Guest

    Hi there,

    I have recently changed my studio monitors for a new pair by a reasonably budget brand from Germany as my old ones which where great died.

    The sound and detail on the new ones is actually fairly decent but one artifact I notice is the bass signal is not particularly audible when up close and working in a typical nearfield way - certainly much less audible than the mids and highs.

    What I currently do to get an idea of the bass drum and bass guitar for example is step back into the room by about 4 meters and listen from there.

    Apart from the obvious suggestion of change the monitors(money I don't have) what can I do as I don't have a clue what I am mixing too for balancing the bass end. Yes I can switch between headphones and nearfielding to give a reasonable idea but this is not ideal and probably not accurate either.


  2. Thomas W. Bethel

    Thomas W. Bethel Well-Known Member

    Obvious question - how do you have your monitors set up in your room? A small diagram would help clarify.
  3. boydelmundo

    boydelmundo Guest

    Thanks for the response Tom.
    I have a rough diagram of how I am setup right now.
    The work station width is about 1.6 m and the distance to the wall about 0.5 m.
    I am sat roughly a long arms length from each speaker with the bass cone at ear height.
    This is a very rough estimate of the setup.
    Alex. setup.jpg
  4. Thomas W. Bethel

    Thomas W. Bethel Well-Known Member

    Your speakers maybe too close to the back wall. Just for fun move them out about 1 meter from the wall and sit in an equilateral triangle so the speakers are 1.6 meters apart and you are 1.6 meters from them. See how that sounds. If you want to set up your speakers properly use this formula. http://www.cardas.com/content.php?area=insights&content_id=26&pagestring=Room+Setup. Best of Luck!
  5. Big K

    Big K Well-Known Member

    Hello Mundo

    Please, tell us the typ and brand of speakers you purchased. No matter if it is Behringer ( which are manufactured in China ) or others. This will help a lot to find out about your problem. We can then look up the specs in the (online)manual or maybe even talk to the manufacturer about this, if needed.

    I assume, you have checked polarity, already. BTW, you achieve a stronger bass when placing the crates close to the wall and the loudest in corners. If this is suitable for mastering is somewhat irrelevant, since you can't do mastering with budget speakers. What you can do, if you know your acoustic, is finalizing... a CD, for example. The wider appart the speakers are ( if you sit close and almost inbetween), the more likely you could find yourself in place where the bass cancels out.

    But here, you experience a standing wave phenomenon in this room. This is a constant reflexion between walls where frequency valleys and hills meet where you sit and cancel each other out. This is easiest to overcome by changing positions of chair and speakers to a spot where bass sounds "normal" ( there will be areas with a blown-up bass, as well). Another solution is to change the room shape, which takes lots of material and is probably not what you want to to, anyhow. Building in any absorbers would not help much, since they only lower the bass volume and room resonance over a certain frequency range and won't do much good for a standing wave.

    So, do a little more experimenting and tell us..
    The speaker might not be to blamed, after all...


    Such a standing wave has cost me quite a bit of money, once. During a coffee brake in the kitchen, the doors of rec room and control room were left open and the mic was still switched on at high monitoring volume in the control room by accident. After some time we were disturbed by loud and increasing clanking and rattling around the studio, but couldn't hear a thing. Just 3 meters towards the studio rooms from the spot I stood everything was just shaking with enourmes bass feedback. It actually vibrated a portable recorder off the console which the thing did not at all appreciate..
  6. boydelmundo

    boydelmundo Guest

    Many thanks K.

    Yes the monitors are Behringer Truth B2031p and I don't think the lack of bass in my setup is the speakers as they are large ish cabs. it's getting the right balance of percieved "normal bass" that is my goal.

    Since the last comment I have moved my desk away from the wall and put about 1.5 m between me and the speakers - this has helped a little although I feel I am not right yet.

    I am not mastering, only mixing - I will send the mix to a proper mastering engineer - if anybody on here fancies mastering my album then please shout - please note I am a hobbyist though and so not really got much in the way of money.


  7. Michael Fossenkemper

    Michael Fossenkemper Distinguished past mastering moderator Well-Known Member

    How far away are you from the back wall (your back to the wall in back of you)? How far are the monitors from the sidewalls?
  8. boydelmundo

    boydelmundo Guest

    Thanks Michael.
    I was about 2.5 m from back wall but now testing about 1.5m.
    Sidewall to left about 1.5 m and to right about 1.75m.
  9. Thomas W. Bethel

    Thomas W. Bethel Well-Known Member

    It sounds like your whole room maybe too small for proper bass to develop. Can you tell me the dimensions of your room? Thanks!
  10. Big K

    Big K Well-Known Member

    How small would that be? :eek:
    Mouse trap...lol...

    With all due respect, but have you really checked the polarity of all your amp/speaker cabling...? I have discussed your problem with a friend from the Fraunhofer Institute, here in Munich, and we both came to the conclusion that even standing waves can't mess up the bass over the complete low spectrum in the way you described, unless there are some freak coincidences of wall to wall ratios and some other rare factors....
    Can you phase reverse one channel and check again? I admit, I am fishing a bit in murk...
    The B2031 should be the passive speaker version .. What amps do you use...?
  11. Thomas W. Bethel

    Thomas W. Bethel Well-Known Member

    One of my interns has both of his tweeters and midranges blown and asked me why his speakers were not sounding too good. All kinds of things can happen. I too think there is something out phase or the room is so small it is not allowing the bass to properly develop OR the place where the OP is sitting is in a "bass null" spot.
  12. boydelmundo

    boydelmundo Guest

    Thanks all.

    Dimensions roughly 4m by 4m.
    Speakers deffo are in phase.
    My amp is an Alesis RA150.

    This may or may not be related but the right channel does seem to be a touch quieter than the left - it's hard to properly percieve - I wonder if there is a way to measure properly the volume of each speaker - to me if I alter the balance of the daw output so it'sa little over to the right lets say a 1/4 way the sound seems to center but like I say it's hard to percieve the shift.

    Thanks again,

  13. Big K

    Big K Well-Known Member

    Yoh, ..
    get yourself a phonometer from a radio shack with reasonable resolution and accuracy for about 20 bucks...
    Put it on the sweet spot and meassure L/R speaker volume.... Do this for various frequencies and in mono/stereo mode.

    Room is def big enough for any bass to develope, but 4X4 meters is suspiciously quadratic ...lol....
    I wished, I could have a look at your set-up, personally... I hope you / we find out what this is...

    How did you test the polarity? I do not think you are a dork... Not at all!
    But I have just been fooled by myself too often to ignore that could happen to anybody..anytime..
  14. boydelmundo

    boydelmundo Guest

    Thanks K.
    Just to clarify - it's not that theere is no bass it's nore that I'm not sure what the normal bass sweet spot is - the further I sit back in the room the bigger the bass gets - granted it's hardly a massive room so I can't go that far back. Currently the speakers are roughly 1 m from the front wall and I am 1 m from the back wall thus in a 4m space I am about 2 m from the speakers which are themselves about 1.5m apart and for argument sake 1.75 from the side walls. If I play a drum track for example and sit still baass aint bad but if I move my seating back then bass increases and forward bass decreases - it's possible that I find a bass sweet spot as in it's percieved loudest point when I move back an extra .75m as in nearly at my back wall.

    Just tested moving the speakers .5 m back to the front wall and movinh myself back .5m to the back wall and this to me yields what seems like a nice bass sweet spot - however, how do I know if this is an acceptable "normal" bass response.

  15. TrilliumSound

    TrilliumSound Active Member


    In my opinion, looks like you need some bass traps (if you don't have already) and a minimum of acoustic treatment for the room. This needs to be addressed prior to go any further.

  16. TheJackAttack

    TheJackAttack Distinguished Member

    Is it also possible that the new monitors have a tighter bass sound than the old ones? This alone would produce a different subjective impression. Tighter is better in many cases.

    In the horn world I see a lot of folks with a blatty flatulent low register that they think is a loud good sound. It in fact is not. The sound doesn't carry well and flexibility is impeded and generally sounds like a fart in a windstorm rather than blending with other horns or the ensemble.

    I don't know if there is a direct correlation to bass response in speakers but perhaps indirectly there is.
  17. Massive Mastering

    Massive Mastering Well-Known Member

    I'd go as far as to say that you should've had the room reasonably trapped (and "reasonably" in a square-ish room is going to be somewhere in the 12-16 2'x4'x4" trap range) before you even hooked up the speakers. The peaks and nulls in that room are undoubtedly going to be rather dramatic... Put on some bass-heavy music and slowly wander the room...
  18. Michael Fossenkemper

    Michael Fossenkemper Distinguished past mastering moderator Well-Known Member

    John is right, the room you are in is the issue. For 1, it's too small. 2, you have all your props in the worst places. nothing wrong with a small room if treated well. Major issues if it's not. I hate to say it, but you need to spend some $$ and get your room in order if you're going to reliably work in that room.

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