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Finding the Control Room Sweet Spot

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Finding the Control Room Sweet Spot

Postby Mattyy » Sat Nov 03, 2012 1:04 am

-Am a novice/aspiring mix engineer - have never worked in a pro studio :-S.
-Have just built/tuned my own small mix studio.
-Just installed bass traps/sound proofing/damping - GREAT improvement.
-using ARC to further tune the room.
-have set up my monitor speakers so that they are about 4 feet apart (center tweeter to tweeter).
-Sitting so that the back of my head and the two tweeters (just below actually) form an equilateral triangle.

QUESTION: At this position, how do I know what is the sweet spot? If I move my head forward, the sound loses focus so I assume that this is not ideal. Sitting straight, I get more mid-range but the bass rolls off a little. If I lean back the bass is more pronounced but still tight. What should I be listening for? I have become so used to poor listening environments that it all sounds good to me but the difference is enough that I am concerned that I may produce bass light or heavy mixes depending on how I lean... LOL!! Thanks for any input here.
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Re: Finding the Control Room Sweet Spot

Postby James Perrett » Sun Nov 04, 2012 9:30 pm

How close is your listening position to the back wall? It sounds like you may be having problems with reflections from the back wall. I've just tried moving my head around while listening to our living room hifi (which has speakers placed similarly to yours) and the sound doesn't change dramatically until I get around 3 feet away from the speakers. The bass gradually decreases towards the middle of the room and then increases again as I get closer to the back wall - which is pretty much what I'd expect in this untreated room.

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Re: Finding the Control Room Sweet Spot

Postby Mattyy » Thu Nov 08, 2012 3:36 am

I'd say that I am about a good meter or so away from the back wall. I have dispersion, bass traps and a home made absorbent pad (rockwool) behind me. Like I said, the sound is quite good in both the sitting straight position and leaning back about a foot. The only difference is the mid to bass relationship. Mostly just wondering what engineers are listening for when they are trying to find the sweet spot. Have used my AKG headphones to compare but am also aware that headphones can be quite bass light so...
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Re: Finding the Control Room Sweet Spot

Postby James Perrett » Thu Nov 08, 2012 10:06 am

In a small space with nearfield monitors I would say that the sweet spot is where the soundstage comes into focus. Listen to something with plenty going on in the middle of the stereo image. Start close to the speakers and move away until the centre sounds are obviously coming from halfway between the speakers. If you close your eyes you should be able to point to each instrument in the mix.

If you feel that the sweet spot is too close to the back wall you could try angling the speakers in a little.

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Re: Finding the Control Room Sweet Spot

Postby narcoman » Thu Nov 08, 2012 10:18 am

Mattyy wrote:-Am a novice/aspiring mix engineer - have never worked in a pro studio :-S.
-Have just built/tuned my own small mix studio.
-Just installed bass traps/sound proofing/damping - GREAT improvement.
-using ARC to further tune the room.
-have set up my monitor speakers so that they are about 4 feet apart (center tweeter to tweeter).
-Sitting so that the back of my head and the two tweeters (just below actually) form an equilateral triangle.

QUESTION: At this position, how do I know what is the sweet spot? If I move my head forward, the sound loses focus so I assume that this is not ideal. Sitting straight, I get more mid-range but the bass rolls off a little. If I lean back the bass is more pronounced but still tight. What should I be listening for? I have become so used to poor listening environments that it all sounds good to me but the difference is enough that I am concerned that I may produce bass light or heavy mixes depending on how I lean... LOL!! Thanks for any input here.
Matty

four feet apart? Bit close together. You'd have to be sat just under three and a half feet away. The speakers need to point behind your head such that you are sat inside the point of an equilateral triangle. Second if the sond is moving around in frequency response that much then it sounds like you have a couple of standing wave sin the low end. Not surprising, but might need to address a bit more bass trapping.

What are the dimensions of the room? Any other construction info might be useful.
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Re: Finding the Control Room Sweet Spot

Postby Red Mastering » Sat Nov 10, 2012 10:44 pm

more bass traps is the answer
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Re: Finding the Control Room Sweet Spot

Postby Martin Walker » Tue Nov 13, 2012 3:15 am

Red Mastering wrote:more bass traps is the answer

Exactly - the more you can fit into your room, the more its acoustic peaks and troughs flatten out and make moving your head around change the sound less.


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Re: Finding the Control Room Sweet Spot

Postby Mattyy » Sat Nov 17, 2012 1:54 am

Thanks EVER so much for the helpful replies guys. The room is a 10'x10' square unfortunately. It is WELL soundproofed with insulation and soundproof plaster board. The roof is pitched and 8' on the sides/over 9' in the middle. I have bass traps is all 8 corners - they are over 6" thick. I have horizontal slat blinds and a large 8'x3' pad against the back wall with mirror points covered w/ acoustic foam on the side walls. I'm pretty sure I have all other bases covered as well. My gear is entry level professional at best but that doesn't concern me at this time. Mostly just interested in getting the room as right as possible.

"...the sweet spot is where the soundstage comes into focus..." THANKS especially for this piece of information as being a new comer, I think that some of these terms that pros take for granted are quite vague and cryptic at times. I tried your trick and I feel like I've found a spot that feels right. There's still issue if I lean back but again - it doesn't sound bad at all - just a bit boomier. I think that my sweet spot is definitely "limited" to say the least but we'll find out just how workable it is as I have semi steady work in the near future.

Any other advice would be more than welcome and thanks again to those who so generously offered up their wisdom here.

Cheers!
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Re: Finding the Control Room Sweet Spot

Postby James Perrett » Mon Nov 19, 2012 10:26 am

Mattyy wrote:There's still issue if I lean back but again - it doesn't sound bad at all - just a bit boomier.

Yes, that's exactly what I'd expect. One indicator of the quality of your room treatment and monitors is whether the stereo image holds up when you move from side to side.

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