What's new

Nearfield monitors and room size

coppi

New Member
I know this is has been probably already discussed many times here, but i am setting up my first proper home studio and need some advice. The room is somewhat small, about 4m wide * 3.5m deep, with ceiling height decreasing as it is in the attic (under the roof) with an average of about 2 meters. According to what i am reading, the cones should be small otherwise i will have problems with basses, and the actual monitor brand / model should go with my personal preference within my budget. I have found a model i like, but the manufacturer is marketing a 5" and a 6" model, with similar prices. of course i cannot take them both in my room for trying them out, so based on your experience: should i go for the 5" or the 6" model? Will the 5" be sufficient to hear the bass range decently? Will the 6" make my room rumble with excessive basses?
 

storyteller

Senior Member
I’m not sure of your budget, but make sure to treat your room regardless of what you pick. DIY is cheapest. But the room treatment packages offered by Sweetwater (while pricey compared to DIY) look fantastic and perform really well. This will make any monitor you have sound better. This is probably the most overlooked step in the process of trying to have descent sound in a home studio.

Next, I’d almost always recommend a 6” speaker over a 5” speaker... but there are some exceptions.

Determine how close your speakers will be to a wall to see if you can have a rear-ported monitor.

You won’t get the bass, but Auratone 5c (Not Avantone. Make sure you are finding Auratone) are in studios across the world and will get your mix 80% there. You will still need full range monitors of some sort as well, but the Auratones are a grest starting point for mixing for sure.

The only way you will hear bass accurately down to the lowest registers with a 5” or 6” is with a sub... and that is probably too much for your room. You might want to consider something with more range (like HS8s on the low budget end) or get a nice set of headphones (like hd650s or dt880s) to work with the bass. That’s just the reality of mixing.

If you need to hear those low frequencies in monitors and your room is not great, be prepared to treat it with absorption panels.
 

Tim_Wells

Tim Wells
If you're in a smaller room, I think it makes sense to have smaller monitors. Unless you're making bass heavy music like EDM, a high quality 5" speaker should be adequate to create and mix on. At least, most of the time. Many producers focus on the mid-range during the majority of the mix process. But as storyteller said, you probably also need a way to fine tune the bass.

The main problem with a small room is standing bass waves. There's a lot of info on-line about this. Ethan Winer gives a nice primer on it. Standing bass waves can be address with bass traps.
 

wst3

Lunatic - it's really that simple
Moderator
First of all you should absolutely be able to audition both monitors in your space. If the dealer you are working with can't do that then find another dealer. Any reputable dealer should allow for auditions.

Second, there is a lot more to a loudspeaker's performance than just the driver size, or even driver construction. It's not a bad starting point, but it isn't the entire story. So the only way you can really judge is by listening.

Sometimes a smaller loudspeaker will be a better choice for a smaller room - also a good starting point.

And do consider the comments on room treatment. I am a little concerned that you have space for the necessary trapping, but you should still give it a try.
 

Instrugramm

All of the samples? Yes please!
I have a fairly small space and 5" are plenty, just add a sub with some decent DSP once you get around treating your Room.
 
Last edited:

Nick Batzdorf

Moderator
Moderator
Primacoustic seem to have some reasonably priced solutions https://www.primacoustic.com/london-room-kits/
As I post all the time, the way to approach room acoustics (when you're not designing a new building from the ground up) is to treat the problems! There are lots of good products, and you can also make them, but it's very easy to screw up an okay room with random "acoustic treatment" that you put up without a goal in mind.

***

Speaker size vs. room size: that only goes so far. Yes, huge studio mains are going to overpower a tiny room, but, say, 8" monitors aren't likely to.
 

pondinthestream

Active Member
How does room treatment like say bass traps not address a problem. I have no idea what problems you are talking about that get dealt with but without any sort of treatment. Positioning equipment, listening position etc are all dealt with by people like Primacoustic in their install guidelines. Other then than all of that what are you proposing for the OP ?
 

Nick Batzdorf

Moderator
Moderator
How does room treatment like say bass traps not address a problem. I have no idea what problems you are talking about that get dealt with but without any sort of treatment. Positioning equipment, listening position etc are all dealt with by people like Primacoustic in their install guidelines. Other then than all of that what are you proposing for the OP ?

Bass traps are good if you have too much bass. Absorption is if the reverb time in your room is too long, and - as I also post all the time - in my opinion it belongs behind the speakers rather than on the sides.

Absorption/trapping can screw up the frequency response of your room just as easily as it can solve those problems, so you want to use it properly.

Yes, you'll probably want some bass trapping in a small room. Probably. What I disagree with is the conventional advice around here that everyone should just go out and buy room treatment - typically in response to questions about speakers - with little reference to the room itself!

There are lots of opinions about acoustics, and they're not all arbitrary. This is mine!
 

jcrosby

Senior Member
I know this is has been probably already discussed many times here, but i am setting up my first proper home studio and need some advice. The room is somewhat small, about 4m wide * 3.5m deep, with ceiling height decreasing as it is in the attic (under the roof) with an average of about 2 meters. According to what i am reading, the cones should be small otherwise i will have problems with basses, and the actual monitor brand / model should go with my personal preference within my budget. I have found a model i like, but the manufacturer is marketing a 5" and a 6" model, with similar prices. of course i cannot take them both in my room for trying them out, so based on your experience: should i go for the 5" or the 6" model? Will the 5" be sufficient to hear the bass range decently? Will the 6" make my room rumble with excessive basses?
One thing I'd suggest strongly (based on having a room with a similar-ish ceiling situation.. Orient the room so the you're facing the low side of the ceiling, and the ceiling gets higher behind your head... If you set it up the other way your creating an almost compression-like effect where low will gather behind you.... (<misnomer of course as low end doesn't gather, think you get the point though...) Basically you'd be creating a giant hotspot behind you... And considering your speakers face the rear wall it becomes a direct reflection point...

And with your ceiling I'd think of treating your front and rear walls first, and heaviest... The knee shape creates a less predictable series of modes, and the short side creates a really intense standing wave because the ceiling and floor are much closer together, not to mention all of those corners meet there as well...

Another well priced and great company is GIK... And GIK has both US and EU branches... If you pick one of the models with a range limiter these are really effective... They have a sheet of hardboard in front of a traditional absorber adding about an ocatve of bass management compared to traps without the membrane... And the hard surface means your room won't be left sounding like the life was sucked out of it... (Quite the opposite actually...) I have these flanking my speakers and they made a pretty substantial difference to my previous absorbers I replaced them with. They created the impression that speakers 'knocked' a lot harder, and actually improved the image a fair bit as well...

 
Last edited:

cmillar

Active Member
Also....consider getting 'Sonarworks 4' room treatment mic/software for 'tuning' your room.

It's never failed me, and I've never had a complaint or heard anything wrong with my mixes having heard them over various playback sound systems.

Not all of us can afford to do 'million dollar makeovers' for studios, so 'Sonarworks 4' is invaluable.

As a bonus, it'll help cure your headphone mix sound to give you a rough idea of what your actually mixing. You can even do a decent final mix using headphones if you're absolutely stuck for time or whatever.

But, I've moved locations a few times since I've been using Sonarworks and it's never failed.

Do you best room treatment though as you can within budget!
 

Noeticus

Motion Picture Producer
I know this is has been probably already discussed many times here, but i am setting up my first proper home studio and need some advice. The room is somewhat small, about 4m wide * 3.5m deep, with ceiling height decreasing as it is in the attic (under the roof) with an average of about 2 meters. According to what i am reading, the cones should be small otherwise i will have problems with basses, and the actual monitor brand / model should go with my personal preference within my budget. I have found a model i like, but the manufacturer is marketing a 5" and a 6" model, with similar prices. of course i cannot take them both in my room for trying them out, so based on your experience: should i go for the 5" or the 6" model? Will the 5" be sufficient to hear the bass range decently? Will the 6" make my room rumble with excessive basses?
Unless you are ALSO using a subwoofer, then no you will not have strong or "excessive bass".

Here is a great resource for room acoustics etc...


and...

 

Nick Batzdorf

Moderator
Moderator
Unless you are ALSO using a subwoofer, then no you will not have strong or "excessive bass".

Here is a great resource for room acoustics etc...


and...

That's a very good video (he says after watching the first seven minutes).

I do have some... not really arguments, but comments.

He says that 5" woofers will go down to 50Hz. Well, that also depends on the design of the enclosure, for example NS10s are notorious for not reproducing vocal pops and piano hammer thuds at 55Hz (which is why you sometimes saw engineers touching to cones to feel for them). A woofer itself may respond that low, but the response is likely to be way down in the real world.

As to overpowering the room with large speakers, he's absolutely right technically (and I'm wrong and won't use that terminology anymore). Still, there's a lot more to the total picture than the size of the speakers, and I'm not sure if he's implying that the larger the speaker, the less distortion as the music gets louder... but in any case it's not quite like that.

One thing about larger enclosures vs. the small-box powered models we all use closer up is that there's less acoustic compression. At least that's my theory about why most if not all of the small monitors sound somewhat constricted, like their boxes are small - although some more than others.

The others include my Blue Sky System One set-up (two 6.5" sats + 12" sub), which I really like. It does reproduce all the freqs, but in some ways my UREI 809As - warts and all - sound more natural... again, my theory is because of their larger enclosures. I bought them years ago after hearing Mike Greene's UREI 813s, which would be absurd in my small room - because they're huge.

I won't use the word "overpower," but in according to Google they'd überwältigen it if I were in Germany.

Finally, I also believe there's more to positioning speakers than where the room modes are. As I've posted before, just like paintings tell you how far they want to be viewed from, speakers... you get the analogy.
 
Last edited:

Nick Batzdorf

Moderator
Moderator
Also, "go as big as you can" isn't the way I personally would choose speakers. For me it's "get the ones that sound the best, assuming you can afford them."

There are a few other things I'd rate "it depends," but suffice it to say there's a whole lot more going on than the size of the drivers.
 

davidson

Senior Member
Unless you are ALSO using a subwoofer, then no you will not have strong or "excessive bass".

Here is a great resource for room acoustics etc...


and...

I've had all manner of home studio room shapes and sizes over the years and I've never had a single problem with standing waves or reflections. I've been lucky I guess. Anyway, I just moved into a new place after christmas and this room looked perfect to me - rectangular, pretty deep, clean lines. It is by far the worst room I've ever had. The bass build up at 50-70hz is unbelievable. Like it shakes the rest of the house at low volume levels. Disgusting.

It's going to cost me a fortune to source the treatment needed to cure the issues, and it'll look an absolute state due to how deep my traps will have to be. I'm only using little dynaudio BM5A's too, no sub, and I'm not pushing any crazy bass. The slightest signal in that range causes the room to start humming and vibrating like we're in the apocalypse.

My point is, it's the room and not the gear that causes issues.
 

BassClef

Senior Member
I really enjoyed that video and have often thought the same about small monitors. Nearly any decent monitor today will produce enough low frequencies to be troublesome in an untreated room, so learn to deal with those issues or just use headphones!
 

Nick Batzdorf

Moderator
Moderator
My point is, it's the room and not the gear that causes issues.
It can be either, actually! There have been speakers that sound muddy no matter where you put them, not that I would ever name names.

But if you have mudrange build-up in your room, most likely something like ASC Tube Traps (the ones that are speaker stands, not the quick soundfield ones) would help. You can improvise or make something like that pretty easily.
 

wst3

Lunatic - it's really that simple
Moderator
Listen to Nick - he is providing some outstanding information, likely born from experience, that is ignored at your own risk.

I happen to really like Primacoustics, and once upon a time Auralex employed an absolutely brilliant acoustician who was also a musician. I still would not purchase a preconfigured solution for any room unless it happened to be the room for which the solution was developed.

Every room is different - even two rooms with identical dimensions can differ depending on construction.

Every loudspeaker is different, and the type and size of the drivers, the design and size of the cabinet, and the electronics (for active designs) all play a part in the monitoring equation.

And (this is important) every pair of ears, and the brain they are connected to is different.

Don't accept advice from a vendor that wants to sell you stuff as gospel. Don't take advice from folks on the internet as gospel unless you know their history. There is at least one acoustic guru on line that used to publish one of the most inaccurate explanations about room modes, and people believed it. (I have not been back to his site in a long time now, so maybe he has taken that down?)

If you really want to treat your room, regardless of the size or geometry, then do your homework. There are primary sources on the net - Jeff Cooper, Michael Rettinger, Dave Moulton, F. Alton Everest, and especially Philip Newell, read what they say, and don't be terribly discouraged if there are conflicts - there is more than one way to treat a room.

Now the really good news - if you saw the control rooms at places like Motown or Sigma Sound, and many others for that matter, you'd cringe, and yet great recordings were made in these rooms.

While room treatment, and even monitor selection and placement, can make life easier, you can work with what you have and make improvements as your ears develop.

I hope I don't sound like I am saying "get off my lawn" but it does pain me to see folks wander down paths that (a) may not help much, and (b) cost them money that could be better invested in better tools, or next months rent.
 
Top Bottom