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I currently have my monitors sitting on foam but they are not at ear level. I am looking for ways to improve their positioning without spending a fortune on something like an IsoAcoustic stand.

I was wondering if using a computer monitor stand to raise them with the foam on top would work as a cheap solution? Something like this: http://www.amazon.co.uk/Compucessory-34-100mm-Stackable-W307xD337xH100m-CCS25305/dp/B000SHQD3S/ref=sr_1_6?ie=UTF8&qid=1366825301&sr=8-6&keywords=computer+monitor+stand

I am quite tight on space as i have my setup in a bedroom. Unfortunately, I cant use floor based stands and my monitors are also quite close to the wall behind them (10-15cm). Is the distance from the wall a larger problem?

What are the biggest concerns to worry about with placing my studio monitors and what kinds of cheap tricks can I use to get the best quality sound?

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Out of all the rules on monitor placement, is there any that are more important than others? Cause seeing as the stands are quite expensive i am also considering getting a proper studio desk instead which will obviously raise the monitors and i understand this is probably one of the more important placement rules. –  Olly Apr 24 '13 at 18:29
The way your question was phrased was more like a shopping question. I have attempted to edit your question to focus more on what appeared to be your concern about how to best place your monitors without having to spend a lot. –  AJ Henderson Apr 24 '13 at 18:39
I would shy away from plastic stands. You want a speaker stand to be as rigid as humanly possible. I'd use a couple bricks before a plastic stand. (I can't tell for sure of course, but the picture of that riser didn't fill me with confidence :) –  JoshP Apr 24 '13 at 21:00
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2 Answers

I'm more of a live audio guy than recording and tend to use in-ears for my monitoring, but my understanding of the idea behind isolation pads is to absorb the vibration of the speaker and/or the surface and prevent it from impacting the sound produced by the driver. Something like a computer monitor stand is going to be more worried about providing a hard, rigid surface which isn't going to have any dampening effect and may in fact cause less dampening.

As long as you have a good foam though, I'd think it should provide decent dampening. Personally, I wouldn't be too worried about the distance from the wall since you are in a bedroom to begin with. You're going to get reverberations off other things in the room if you don't have a room dedicated for the studio, so I don't think the reverberation off the wall is going to be huge. I've worked in actual studios where the monitors weren't much more than a foot from the wall. Again though, keep in mind I'm not a studio engineer, so this is somewhat theoretical guess work on my part.

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I would consider the most important "rule" of monitor placement to be the geometry. That is...

  • You should have an equilateral triangle made up of the two monitors and the listening position.
  • You should consider the tweeters to be the points from which you measure, as the higher frequencies are the most directional.

As an example, for my home theater, I have my Left and Rights sitting on floor stands that are a height, such that the tweeters are at ear level while I'm sitting on the couch.

At my computer (mixing) desk, the constraints of my desk (the height of the table) are such that I needed to lay the monitors sideways. When this is the case, it is better to have the tweeters on the outside, as you will get a wider stereo field.

Again, you want to do your best to keep the listening position at one of the points of the equilateral triangle.

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