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Speaker/Listening Position in This Odd-Shaped Room?

Hi all,

Just wanted to post a measurement diagram of my room and see if anyone can help me with where I should place my monitors and desk for best listening position? I know a fair bit about room acoustics and have a well treated room at home, but while I'm at college my room is shaped like this, somewhat oddly. If it helps, my ceiling is just under 8 feet. Also, the desk as pictured is to-scale.

I am currently using Yamaha HS5's but may very well switch soon to Focal CMS65's or CMS50's with sub (good or bad idea / which of these two?)

So, what would be the best mixing position here?

Thanks,
-Josh

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Profile picture for user DonnyThompson

DonnyThompson Tue, 01/16/2018 - 16:39

Hi Josh.. hmm...that's a different shaped room than most we see...I'm not saying it's bad, though. I really don't know...
Have you done an acoustic measurement of your room?
If so, what does the graph or waterfall plot display show?
Is there any treatment currently in place ( bass traps, panels, clouds, diffusers)?
Maybe I missed it on your drawing...what is the height of your room?
It would help to have that info... ;)
-d.

Profile picture for user JoshHPMusic

JoshHPMusic Tue, 01/16/2018 - 17:11

DonnyThompson, post: 455098, member: 46114 wrote: Hi Josh.. hmm...that's a different shaped room than most we see...I'm not saying it's bad, though. I really don't know...
Have you done an acoustic measurement of your room?
If so, what does the graph or waterfall plot display show?
Is there any treatment currently in place ( bass traps, panels, clouds, diffusers)?
Maybe I missed it on your drawing...what is the height of your room?
It would help to have that info... ;)
-d.

I had mentioned in the original post, the ceiling is just shy of 8 feet.

I currently only have one 24" x 48" 2-inch thick rigid fiberglass board panel from my studio at home, plus a big bed that offers some baffling/absorption. I'm only in this room for about another 4 months, and likely don't really plan on treating it more, unless that would really be worth it.

Basically I wanted to see if I could get more of a theoretical opinion on the best spot for a pair of near fields in this room. Any position is up for grabs. Also, would CMS50's w/ a switchable sub be better in this room than CMS65's?

Profile picture for user Kurt Foster

Kurt Foster Tue, 01/16/2018 - 17:27

looks to me like you've already picked the best placement for the desk. i would assume the monitors will be on a bridge on the desk.

the way you have it pictured, places you in the middle of the room and avoids firing the monitors into compression. i think it's the best you can do given the way the room is shaped.

i wouldn't try to put a lot of low end in the room though. it's just too small. check out quarter wave lengths for a low B note on a five string bass to confirm this for your self. for accurate low end below 80hZ., you need at least 14 feet in the smallest dimension (usually the height of the ceilings). the lack of any bass trapping and your unwillingness to add them only exacerbates the problem.

Profile picture for user JoshHPMusic

JoshHPMusic Tue, 01/16/2018 - 18:33

Kurt Foster, post: 455101, member: 7836 wrote: looks to me like you've already picked the best placement for the desk. i would assume the monitors will be on a bridge on the desk.

the way you have it pictured, places you in the middle of the room and avoids firing the monitors into compression. i think it's the best you can do given the way the room is shaped.

i wouldn't try to put a lot of low end in the room though. it's just too small. check out quarter wave lengths for a low B note on a five string bass to confirm this for your self. for accurate low end below 80hZ., you need at least 14 feet in the smallest dimension (usually the height of the ceilings). the lack of any bass trapping and your unwillingness to add them only exacerbates the problem.

Lol, I actually didn't intentionally place the desk anywhere in that picture- just dropped it in there for reference!

Can you recommend a specific placement though? e.g. How many inches from the front wall, facing which direction, centered?

And it sounds like maybe the CMS50's could be a slightly better option here as they may have less low end problems when sub is not in use?

Profile picture for user Kurt Foster

Kurt Foster Tue, 01/16/2018 - 21:04

a lot depends on how the measurements for the Focals were done. how far are they down for the frequencies quoted? 12dB? 6dB? 3dB?

i would guess either set would be fine. 55 Hz vs. 45 Hz. an extra 10 cycles won't be a deal breaker. you don't need a sub in that room is all i was saying. besides that you say yourself you're only there for another 4 months.

Profile picture for user JoshHPMusic

JoshHPMusic Tue, 01/16/2018 - 21:19

Kurt Foster, post: 455107, member: 7836 wrote: a lot depends on how the measurements for the Focals were done. how far are they down for the frequencies quoted? 12dB? 6dB? 3dB?

i would guess either set would be fine. 55 Hz vs. 45 Hz. an extra 10 cycles won't be a deal breaker. you don't need a sub in that room is all i was saying. besides that you say yourself you're only there for another 4 months.

Yes, I believe those low end specs are at -3db.

Still, can anyone recommend a specific place to put my desk in this room?

Thanks

pcrecord Wed, 01/17/2018 - 11:14

I'll give it a go, even if I'm no expert.
Looking at the picture I would place the desk in front and in the center of the 11.3' wall. The distance depends on how the monitors disperse sound regarding to wall proximity.
Choosing the 11.3' wall puts you between 2 parallele walls that are at equal distance but not equal lenght. So it would be very important to put absorbtion on that small 4.3' wall and back to the 7' wall so the sound don't reflect to your back with different time.
Of course the best thing is to build yourself some bass traps to match the one you already have. A rug in the middle of the bigger part of the room would also help.

The 7' wall could have been a good place to put the desk too.. but it seems to thight for my taste. You could place an electronic drum there instead...

So that's my idea, I'm ready to be corrected. As I said, no expert here...

Profile picture for user Kurt Foster

Kurt Foster Wed, 01/17/2018 - 12:13

ok i'll correct you ....:LOL: if he sets it up that way he's firing the monitors into compression. monitors should be firing into the direction of the room that is getting bigger, not smaller.

the way it is pictured is perfect. in the middle of the area that is 11'3" X 9'3". if i had that room long term i would wall off the back part or at least hang some heavy drapes with fluffy pink stuff behind them across the entire 11'3" behind the monitors. free standing office partitions would help as an alternative.

pcrecord Wed, 01/17/2018 - 12:47

Kurt Foster, post: 455122, member: 7836 wrote: k i'll correct you ....:LOL: if he sets it up that way he's firing the monitors into compression. monitors should be firing into the direction of the room that is getting bigger, not smaller.

Ah that's a good point.. !! Thanks Kurt ! ;)

Profile picture for user DonnyThompson

DonnyThompson Wed, 01/17/2018 - 13:02

Centering won't solve problem frequencies, but at least it gives you the advantage of having the frequencies that are bouncing around the room hitting your ears at roughly the same time. I think your best bet is where you just happened to place it in your diagram. Take your measurements and find equal distances from all boundaries to your listening position. It may not be perfect, and there may be other issues in the room that would require actual treatment methods, but it's better than jamming yourself up against a wall. Centering also provides better placement for your monitors and gets them away from walls, too.
You may want to consider hanging a cloud directly above your mixing position. These are very light and can be used in whatever other spaces you end up moving to in the future. Not expensive, not heavy and not hard to install...but it could make a noticeable difference for mixing, especially since your ceiling height is under 10 feet.
FWIW

Profile picture for user JoshHPMusic

JoshHPMusic Wed, 01/17/2018 - 13:40

Ok- so would being in the middle of the room like that be better facing the f***ed up section or the flat 11' wall? Or could I face the longest wall from about 2 feet away?

Basically,
1. If I face the longest wall, I'll have side reflections from about 6' to either side from the speakers, but with about 2.5 feet in front of me and about 8.5 feet behind me.
2. If I face the f***ed up section, then I've got side reflections 3.5' on either side of the speakers, with about 10 feet right side 3 feet left side in front of me, and 6.5 feet behind me.
3. If I face the 11' wall, then that's side reflections again about 3.5' on either side of the speakers, and with 3 feet in front of me, 13 feet behind on the left, 6 on the right.

I guess it kinda comes down to whether I should be prioritizing side-reflection mitigation vs. front reflections vs. back reflections. Also, I can understand not being right up against a wall, but I don't really want to be smack dab in the middle of the room like that because it screws up my room layout. Plus I will soon have CMS 50's or 65's which are front-ported. Mind you, there's a full size bed in here that I will either place along the 9' wall, or near the 7' far wall.

Profile picture for user Kurt Foster

Kurt Foster Wed, 01/17/2018 - 13:49

i get impatient with this kind of thing. you asked a question, got an answer and now you don't like the answer. there's no reason to make a 5 page thread out of this. the room is unsuitable in the first place. there's only one possible "best" way to set the room up and you don't want to do it. there really isn't a good answer to the problem you pose.

putting it anywhere else is just going to make more problems / issues. to boot you don't want to use any treatments. so just set up your bed room how you want and then stuff your audio gear wherever you can get it to fit. then you can come back and make a post on why your recordings don't sound right.

Profile picture for user DonnyThompson

DonnyThompson Thu, 01/18/2018 - 03:20

JoshHPMusic, post: 455128, member: 46107 wrote: Kurt, please go away. Your answers have been unhelpful from the start. Right, like I'm gonna get rid of half of my room with a divider.
.

You haven't exactly been giving off a whole lotta warmth yourself, Josh. ;)
You can get mad at the way Kurt explained things...but his point about placement is correct. You may not want to be in the center of the room, but you asked what would sound best, and that's the best answer. You didn't start your post with, "please tell me where I can put my mixing position - just not in the center because it will screw up the flow of the room"...
You asked what the best listening position would be, and three of us told you, based on our many years of experience, both individually and collectively, where we thought your best placement was.
You're only going to be able to do so much here, because of the shape, size and height of your room, Josh.
Yours is not an deal situation by any means. You are taking a bedroom and attempting to turn it into a mixing space, and home rooms are notorious for acoustic issues - because they're not built for pro audio use. Its not like we're just making this stuff up, man. You asked a question, we gave you the best answers we could... If you don't like the answers, that's not our fault.
On another note...have you thought about placing your gear against a wall so that the room is completely open - but using a pair of very good pro-grade headphones to mix while you are in this temporary location? It's rare that I suggest headphone mixing to anyone, but there are times where mixing with monitors will present problems... If you do decide to try headphone mixing, do your research and find a pair that are pro grade. I'm not referring to typical $100 models...
Anyway, it looks like this thread has gotten played out. We've told you what we feel to be best. Ultimately, it's up to you to decide what to do. ;)
-donny

pcrecord Thu, 01/18/2018 - 04:53

JoshHPMusic, post: 455128, member: 46107 wrote: Kurt, please go away. Your answers have been unhelpful from the start. Right, like I'm gonna get rid of half of my room with a divider.

Now here's a fancy diagram: Which option is the absolute best? I need to know.

I know we are talking about home studio level here. But for us old timmers, aiming downward is not an option. There is a trend of cheap everything going on and most of us don't want to be part of it. I want the best sound quality and the ideal environement to monitor it.
There isn't any pro studio designer who will go and say '' Well let's make a L shape room it will sound better'' No it ain't happening.. ;)
So to me the absolute best would be finding another room !! ;)

So back to your question. Since there isn't any ideal positionning and you're not to buy a new building for your home studio. I would consider the option 5 putting your desk in front of the 7' wall. That way the reflections will come equal from each sides. I'd consider putting gobos behind you or at least some absorbtion to the rear wall to avoid bouncing sound in the bigger part of the room.

In the end, with a bit of motivation, you could setup in a different spot once a week and see how your mixes are been affected. Choose by ear instead of guessing.. no ?

Profile picture for user DonnyThompson

DonnyThompson Thu, 01/18/2018 - 06:37

pcrecord, post: 455145, member: 46460 wrote: I know we are talking about home studio level here. But for us old timmers, aiming downward is not an option. There is a trend of cheap everything going on and most of us don't want to be part of it. I want the best sound quality and the ideal environement to monitor it.
There isn't any pro studio designer who will go and say '' Well let's make a L shape room it will sound better'' No it ain't happening.. ;)
So to me the absolute best would be finding another room !! ;)

Amen.
Novices often have expectations that aren't realistic. There seems to be a constant grain of "that'll do", or a mistaken hierarchy of importance. There are things that are important, that do matter, but that so often get overlooked by those who are new to the craft...
It's almost a certain mindset that constitutes an attitude of "________ can't matter all that much.."
Your recording/mixing chain will only ever be the quality level of the weakest link.
Whether it's a cheap mic, cheap pre, cheap conversion, or yes, even the room you are working in, it all matters, and it all adds up eventually.
The OP needs to do what he thinks is best for his situation.
He's already shown disdain for a few good ideas, like setting up dividers or free standing treatment, so at this point I don't think he wants the help that he has asked for, and which has been replied to professionally and intelligently.
I wish him luck. :)

Profile picture for user JoshHPMusic

JoshHPMusic Thu, 01/18/2018 - 09:44

DonnyThompson, post: 455140, member: 46114 wrote: You haven't exactly been giving off a whole lotta warmth yourself, Josh. ;)
You can get mad at the way Kurt explained things...but his point about placement is correct. You may not want to be in the center of the room, but you asked what would sound best, and that's the best answer. You didn't start your post with, "please tell me where I can put my mixing position - just not in the center because it will screw up the flow of the room"...
You asked what the best listening position would be, and three of us told you, based on our many years of experience, both individually and collectively, where we thought your best placement was.
You're only going to be able to do so much here, because of the shape, size and height of your room, Josh.
Yours is not an deal situation by any means. You are taking a bedroom and attempting to turn it into a mixing space, and home rooms are notorious for acoustic issues - because they're not built for pro audio use. Its not like we're just making this stuff up, man. You asked a question, we gave you the best answers we could... If you don't like the answers, that's not our fault.
On another note...have you thought about placing your gear against a wall so that the room is completely open - but using a pair of very good pro-grade headphones to mix while you are in this temporary location? It's rare that I suggest headphone mixing to anyone, but there are times where mixing with monitors will present problems... If you do decide to try headphone mixing, do your research and find a pair that are pro grade. I'm not referring to typical $100 models...
Anyway, it looks like this thread has gotten played out. We've told you what we feel to be best. Ultimately, it's up to you to decide what to do. ;)
-donny

First of all, I should have you know that forum drama is my favorite type of drama.

Secondly, he came along, and basically gave me no information by telling me to place in the randomly selected, non-centered position that was shown in the original diagram. I then asked for more information as to why, exactly how far from which walls would benefit me most, and got a non-reply that did not even attempt to answer any of that information. And then instead of just leaving when he had nothing more to contribute, he comes back and gets all grumpy like a forum grinch.

Anyway, I already stated that I will only be in this room for 4 months. Additionally, I will likely not be doing a ton of mixing during this 4 month period anyway. Perhaps my question would have been worded better, "where should I place my monitors for the fewest problems in this room?", which then would have required you to think critically about whether short side reflections, corner bass trapping, front or rear reflections, or uneven stereo reflections would be most detrimental to my mix and listening abilities. That would have been a helpful answer.

To your point about professionalism and intelligence, I do not think simply quoting one's previous two-line response quite suffices when offered a follow-up question.

pcrecord, post: 455145, member: 46460 wrote: I know we are talking about home studio level here. But for us old timmers, aiming downward is not an option. There is a trend of cheap everything going on and most of us don't want to be part of it. I want the best sound quality and the ideal environement to monitor it.
There isn't any pro studio designer who will go and say '' Well let's make a L shape room it will sound better'' No it ain't happening.. ;)
So to me the absolute best would be finding another room !! ;)

So back to your question. Since there isn't any ideal positionning and you're not to buy a new building for your home studio. I would consider the option 5 putting your desk in front of the 7' wall. That way the reflections will come equal from each sides. I'd consider putting gobos behind you or at least some absorbtion to the rear wall to avoid bouncing sound in the bigger part of the room.

In the end, with a bit of motivation, you could setup in a different spot once a week and see how your mixes are been affected. Choose by ear instead of guessing.. no ?

I know there's plenty of gear out there that is quite sub-par, mostly things in the sub-$300 range, but ff you haven't noticed, the trend of things getting cheaper has mostly been a very very good thing for us home studio owners. It is possible to get a good interface, good set of mics, and everything else you need to record for less than $1000, TOTAL. Remember when many of these things costed more than that ALONE? As it turns out, with just a small amount of craftsmanship, it is becoming even easier to produce QUALITY audio gear for a very low price, due to modern production techniques and supply & demand. Heck, even Behringer and Line 6 are making good products now!

Just cuz it ain't analog or $$$ doesn't mean it's no good. It really makes you look like a guy past his time trying to justify his gear.

In the end, I know this room isn't ideal. No duh. And I will use Room EQ Wizard to test a couple listening positions. All I'm asking is some advice on how to make the best of what I got here. And to get some real information.

Profile picture for user Kurt Foster

Kurt Foster Thu, 01/18/2018 - 10:03

JoshHPMusic, post: 455153, member: 46107 wrote: First of all, I should have you know that forum drama is my favorite type of drama.

it's pretty obvious to me that what you want Josh, is attention (drama), not information. you said your self you are only in that space temporarily and you aren't willing to do treatments. yet you seem to expect us (who by the way are here to help on our own time and not compensated in any way other than the satisfaction of trying to pass on a lifetime of experiences ...) to spend the next 4 months that you are there in a thread where you reject advice given and then insult people who try to help you.

the reason i placed the desk where i did is it is the furthest from any walls and it is the most symmetrical placement possible in a less than ideal situation. if you are not willing to do as advised then just put it where it fits, perhaps somewhere where it won't be in direct sunlight.

@audiokid
please lock this puppy up. better yet, delete it. jeeze what a little jerk.

x