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Mixing - 'Straight on' to a room or diagonally across?

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Mixing - 'Straight on' to a room or diagonally across?

Postby Grater » Thu May 17, 2018 10:02 am

After (insert stupidly high number) years, I FINALLY have a reasonably-sized spare room that I can set up for music and mixing :bouncy:

This may sound like a silly question but, assuming I install bass traps, etc, is it better to have the mix position and monitors 'straight on' to a room (i.e. along one wall) or diagonally (i.e. across one corner of the room). The room is square, roughly 4m x 4m.

All advice appreciated, please!
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Re: Mixing - 'Straight on' to a room or diagonally across?

Postby Hugh Robjohns » Thu May 17, 2018 1:24 pm

It's usually best to work straight-on, rather than across a corner, mostly because it's often quite hard to maintain good symmetry that way. But there's no harm in trying a set up across a corner if that helps the room layout... it's only a case of moving some furniture and listening.

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Re: Mixing - 'Straight on' to a room or diagonally across?

Postby Grater » Thu May 17, 2018 2:22 pm

Thank you. It's quite a lively room (tiled floor, etc) and, rather than read through a ton of issues of Mix Rescue, can you recommend a quick reference guide to DIY acoustic treatments, please?

The room will still have to occasionally function as a guest room, so any acoustic treatment can't be permanent.

I'm thinking of rugs on the floor, closing the curtains (there are windows on two walls), hanging what soft, absorbent materials I can on the other two walls and stuffing a duvet in each corner for rudimentary bass traps.

Is there anything else I should be thinking of?

(I'll principally be using Yamaha HS7s for monitoring, by the way, on Iso Acoustics L8R200 desktop stands. As the HS7s are rear ported, I was thinking that having the mix position a metre or so away from the wall is a good idea?)
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Re: Mixing - 'Straight on' to a room or diagonally across?

Postby Hugh Robjohns » Thu May 17, 2018 2:37 pm

You need to be very careful if the speakers are moved away from the wall. Obviously some rear space is necessary for a rear-ported speaker, but low frequencies from the speaker will hit the back wall and bounce back forward where they will interact with the direct sound, only with a pronounced phase-shift due to the extra distance travelled. That results in partial cancellations at a frequency related to the distance between speaker and wall, but is typically in the low-mid range. So some experimentation will be necessary to find the optimum position for your specific room.

The core requirements for general room treatment are to address the mirror points -- the areas where, if there was a mirror placed flat on the wall, you would be able to see a reflection of the monitor speakers from your listening position. You will need to place broadband absorbers at these positions. If the system is square-in in the room, the mirror points are normally on the side walls roughly half-way between the plane of the monitors and the listening position -- and don't forget the ceiling mirror point. If you are working across the room at a diagonal the reflections get more complicated, but the same principle applies.

As for the need for non-fixed and removable acoustic treatment, the Studio SOS series in the magazine -- and the Studio SOS Book -- are crammed full of ideas and techniques to address that.

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https://www.soundonsound.com/shop/books/studio-sos-book

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Re: Mixing - 'Straight on' to a room or diagonally across?

Postby RockvilleAudio » Thu May 17, 2018 2:56 pm

Hi Grater,

I agree with Hugh, the early reflection points and back walls are the trouble spots in every room. I definitely recommend "straight on" and also having your mixing position parallel with the long shape of the room. Meaning if your room is rectangular, have your listening position at 1/3 the length of the room facing the the short end of the room.

If your room is doubling as a guest room, it might be helpful to add a couch at the back wall, or a book shelf for some diffusion (the couch would add more absorption).

Also, something I've done in the past for acoustic treatment is when I had my own absorption panels (they were about 1.5'x2.5' with 3" rockwool and really lightweight 1x4 wood framing), I hung them with command strips. You could either use the picture frame hanging strips that stick sort of like velcro, or run some picture frame wire through the panels and hang them off of command strips.

Hope this helps!
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Re: Mixing - 'Straight on' to a room or diagonally across?

Postby Grater » Thu May 17, 2018 3:12 pm

Thank you both for the extra advice, that's really useful. With the rear ported HS7s and a squarish room I was thinking that absorbent materials on the wall behind the monitors and the opposite wall (behind my head at the mix position) would be necessary.

I get the general physics of audio reflections, how sound bounces around a room and diffusion, so it all makes sense (although ceiling treatment may be tricky).

Considering how different frequencies behave is when it starts to get more muddled in my head!
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Re: Mixing - 'Straight on' to a room or diagonally across?

Postby Forum Admin » Thu May 17, 2018 3:19 pm

There are lots of useful videos about sound on YouTube, but the educational videos on GiK Acoustics' site will help you grasp more of the fundamentals (no pun intended):

http://gikacoustics.co.uk/educational-videos/
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