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help with speaker distance for mixing

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tim veal
help with speaker distance for mixing
on Mar 30, 2008 at 11:04:09 pm

I have a 14' by 11.5' room that I will be using for video editng and audio mixing. I am deciding where to put the speakers (5.1 setup). I read about keeping all the speakers equal distances apart, but does it matter how far away from your mixing postion to put them? The speakers I have are small M-Audio LX4s with sub. I know everyone will say they aren't good for mixing but they are what I have to work with. I would think with them the closer the better. Can you get them too close to you where you lose your spatial imaging?


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Will Salley
Re: help with speaker distance for mixing
on Mar 31, 2008 at 4:31:03 am

I would guess no less than 3 feet and no more than 5 feet away from the listening position for the FL, center, and FR. I don't think the RL and RR need to necessarily match that distance. It's probably more important to have some wall treatment and/or non-parallel walls to keep the reflections to a minimum.


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tim veal
Re: help with speaker distance for mixing
on Mar 31, 2008 at 3:08:21 pm

Thanks. Closer works better because then I can move my setup closer to one wall instead of being in the middle of the room. I will also be building some absorption panels. I'm researching different materials now.



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Ty Ford
Re: help with speaker distance for mixing
on Mar 31, 2008 at 5:24:31 pm

Hello Tim,

Mixing surround properly is not trivial.

Yes, your proximity to the speakers is important. So are the distances between the monitors.

If the LF, RF monitors are too wide apart, you will under pan. If they are too close together, you will over pan.

Some want the same model speaker and amp power for each of the LF, RF, LR, RR. Others don't care as much about the rears.

I wrote an article about this a number of years back and interviewed a pro who was doing surround mixes. He had his "mixing stage" set up in his living room which, he thought replicated the average home listening environment. That'll probably work, but it may not work if your final product will be going to theaters. (bigger space, further from listeners, etc.)

Short of THX, I don't think there is a real standard; just strong suggestions, and some not so strong.

Regards,

Ty Ford




Want better production audio?: Ty Ford's Audio Bootcamp Field Guide






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tim veal
Re: help with speaker distance for mixing
on Apr 1, 2008 at 12:28:09 am

I've found the same basic diagram for front and rear speaker locations from the mixer at several websites and books that I'll use. It's basically the equalateral triangle with the center in between the front pairs and the rears at a certain angle to the fronts. All speakers are the same distance from the mixer. Since I'm starting with an empty room I wanted to do what I could to make sure the audio setup isn't compromised by the room and video setup. My goal is get as accurate and flat monitoring enviroment as I can with what I got.


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Stuart Allman
Re: help with speaker distance for mixing
on Apr 1, 2008 at 3:52:36 am

Tim,

I was a home theater junkie for years and worked in the industry for a little bit. I thought I would throw in some basics on the recommendations I learned.

1. It's nice to make the front speakers equidistant if you can.
2. The L & R should be about +/-30 degrees from center
3. The LS and RS should be about 110 degrees from center and placed about three feet above your ears on the walls.
4. The LR and RR don't have to be equidistant since they are typically delayed by you or the encoder to enhance the early effect. You may want to add a temporary 15ms delay to the surround channels while mixing. The Dolby encoder should do this for you. Not sure about DTS.
5. Speaker calibration levels DO matter and since you have m-audio speakers, don't trust they will match levels out of the box. L,C,R,LS,RS all match, sub is +10dB from that level.
6. After mixing, encode your work and listen to it again. There will be differences.
7. The room acoustics will make the biggest difference on your ability to hear a good versus bad mix. i.e. put your money here.

I remembered Dolby having a customer education document. They've definitely changed it through the years, but here's the latest incarnations.

http://www.dolby.com/consumer/home_entertainment/roomlayout2.html

http://www.dolby.com/dolbycast/transcripts/home-theater-speaker-placement.h...

Stuart

PS. I'm jealous. Wish I had a surround mixing room. :(



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Stuart Allman
Re: help with speaker distance for mixing
on Apr 1, 2008 at 4:01:25 pm

I think I made one of the points unclear. The LR and RS should be equidistant from the listener, but don't have to be the same distance as the L/R/C speakers are to the listener.



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Ty Ford
Re: help with speaker distance for mixing
on Apr 1, 2008 at 4:09:46 pm

The (LR) Left Rear and (RS) Right Surround?

I'm still confused. Aren't rear speakers always surround?

Regards,

Ty Ford



Want better production audio?: Ty Ford's Audio Bootcamp Field Guide






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Stuart Allman
Re: help with speaker distance for mixing
on Apr 1, 2008 at 4:12:15 pm

Good catch. I actually made things worse with my last post. I meant to write LS and RS. My mis-type.



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Mickey Houlihan
Re: help with speaker distance for mixing
on Apr 2, 2008 at 2:40:57 am

There is a set of guidelines in the producers and engineers wing of the Recording Academy

The link is http://www.grammy.com/Recording_Academy/Producers_And_Engineers/Guidelines/

Mickey Houlihan


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tim veal
Re: help with speaker distance for mixing
on Apr 4, 2008 at 1:29:24 pm

Awesome! Thanks for the detailed info and links. I recieved my audio interface and will start setting up / testing this weekend.



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