Source Distribution's Genelec expert Steve Fisher has had over 10 years of experience in helping customers get the most out of their loudspeakers - so here are Steve's top 10 tips to get you started. To view and download a handy PDF guide to many of these topics, please click here.
1. Try and position your speakers in the centre of whichever wall they are placed against. This means that the sound will be reflected equally from the left and right walls of your room, which will help achieve better stereo imaging.
2. The speakers should be positioned at 2 points of an equidistant triangle, with the mix position being the third corner of the triangle. This places each speaker at an angle of 30° from the centre, which is generally accepted as the correct width for stereo listening. See diagram below.
3. Make sure that you angle both speakers towards your listening position.
4. Avoid placing your speakers between 1m and 2.2m from the wall that they are positioned against. This will reduce low frequency notches and will help to keep the frequency response as flat as possible. See diagram below.
5. When placing your speakers against a wall, the use of a speaker's rear-panel room response controls will help counteract the lift in LF response that the wall causes. All Genelec monitors feature these room response controls as standard. As a rule of thumb, when positioned against a wall you would apply -2dB of 'bass tilt' for a damped room, and -4dB for a live one.
6. Raise the speakers up in height to reduce reflections from desks or other objects between the speaker and the listening position. At its worse this can lead to an effect called comb filtering (which sounds a bit like phasing), but even when mild can create problems with localising parts of your mix. See diagram below.
7. Genelec 6000/8000 series speakers feature an adjustable rubber base called an 'Isopod'. This helps prevents transmission of vibrations from the speaker to the surface underneath, which reduces colouration of the sound. Genelec users should adjust the Isopod to aim the 'acoustic axis' of the speaker towards the listener's ear height. The acoustic axis is the point where the best response from the speaker is achieved, and on 2-way speakers is just below the top of the bass driver. For a PDF guide to the position of the acoustic axis on all Genelec monitors please click here.
8. Place your recording equipment as symmetrically as possible within the room for the best overall balance. See diagram below.
9. If you have a limited budget for room treatment (such as acoustic tiles or panels), prioritise the walls nearest to you as they will cause the strongest reflections. Sound travels and reflects in the same way as light, so to find the correct position for treatment on a side wall, sit at your normal mix position and get a friend to move a mirror along the wall. When you can see your loudspeaker in the mirror, the position of the mirror indicates the position on the wall at which you should apply your acoustic treatment.
10. When choosing an active monitor, try and purchase a model where the number of internal amplifiers matches the number of drivers within the monitor. You will then own a monitor where the amplifiers and drivers are individually matched to eachother, producing more accurate and efficient performance. For instance, a 'bi-amped 2-way monitor' means that the monitor has two individual amplifiers powering two individual drivers (these would normally be the LF driver or 'woofer' and the HF driver or 'tweeter').