A common practice when using electronics such as studio monitors is following the recommended guidelines. These electronics, for instance, are mostly designed for use vertically. But why do some people turn their studio monitors sideways?
Some common reasons why people turn their studio monitors are to align the high-frequency drivers with their ears, reduce the degree of bass deflection, and enhance speaker stability. Sometimes, this is to keep your speakers from blocking your view.
This article will outline some of the main reasons why some people elect to use their studio cameras sideways. Additionally, I will discuss some of the cons of this approach and why you will be better served by using your stereo monitors in an upright position. Read on for more.
Table of Contents
- Why People Turn Their Studio Monitors Sideways
- Should You Place Your Studio Monitors Sideways?
Why People Turn Their Studio Monitors Sideways
It is not uncommon for some users to turn their studio monitors sideways. Contrary to popular belief, this has less to do with aesthetics and preference and more to do with using a suboptimal speaker configuration.
To Align High-Frequency Drivers With Engineer’s Ears
One of the main reasons users use their studio monitors sideways is to ensure that the high-frequency drivers are optimally aligned with the listener’s ears. This goes a long way in enhancing your mix output.
Sound on Sound explains your choice of sideways or vertical placement does not hold real benefits other than convenience. This suggests that there is no downside to placing your speakers vertically, sideways, or even upside down.
However, Ledgernote highlights that speaker placement definitely has a massive impact on output, especially if you are using your speakers for monitoring purposes.
Additionally, the article also notes that the misalignment between the tweeter and engineer’s ears is primarily due to several factors such as:
- Chair height
- The height and depth of your desk
- The size of your speaker unit
- Size of your room/recording studio
Keeping the above in mind, ensuring that the tweeter is at ear level is important. It is also essential to ensure that the tweets are aimed toward the engineer’s position.
Since the issue here is about the misalignment between the tweeter and the ears, you can solve this problem by adding speaker stands. This will give your freedom of placement and protect your device against any potential damage from sideways placement.
I would recommend the Hopwell Speaker Stands (available on Amazon.com). These stands feature a sturdy heavy-duty steel construction that will endure the test of time. These stands also have a weight capacity of 60 lbs (27.21 kg), making them ideal for most speakers.
The minimalistic and height-adjustable design also makes the best of your mixing space. Alternatively, you can also try out the Gator Frameworks Studio Monitor Stands (available on Amazon.com). These height-adjustable stands have a wide base for a stable platform and a rubberized surface to cushion your speakers.
To Reduce Degree of Bass Deflection
Your speaker placement can also have an impact on the amount of bass that will be deflected. This also bears relevance because of phase cancellation, as I will discuss later. Accordingly, you may experience some bass attenuation depending on how to place your studio monitors.
Another common reason why some people place the studio monitors sideways is to reduce the amount of base that is deflected back to the mixing console.
Sometimes, sideways placement is largely a matter of preference and stability. It’s simple science, really. By placing the speakers on the side, you have a larger surface area on your platform as compared to vertical placement.
This means that your speakers will remain firmly in place in the event of accidental bumps, which are common in control rooms and mixing environments. Suffice it to say, sometimes, this kind of placement is a factor of practicality.
It is, however, critical to note that this is usually common in secondary listening monitors. The primary monitors typically remain upright.
Monitor size often has to do with stability, but what happens when you have large studio monitors? Is it even possible to go too large? Find out the answer in my guide. Can Studio Monitors Be Too Big?
Enhance Visibility in the Control Room
Going back to the practicality of sideways placement, some people prefer sideways views to enhance visibility in the control room. By having all the speaker units upright, there is a high likelihood that they can block the view.
Keeping the above in mind, let us discuss whether you should place your studio monitors sideways or not below.
Should You Place Your Studio Monitors Sideways?
While it appears to be common practice, you should not place your studio monitors sideways. Instead, placing them vertically is ideal because sideways placement can negatively affect cooling and longevity.
Regardless of the reasons why you place your studio monitors sideways from tweeter-air alignment to a matter of preference, your placement option can potentially undermine your studio monitors. Below are some of the risks:
The amplifier pack in studio monitors heats up with active use. Most designs have a heatsink installed to allow ample cooling, mostly in the rear panel. For this cooling system to work optimally, the studio monitors need to be in a vertical position.
Therefore, placing the studio monitors on the side can reduce the cooling efficiency. One way around this is to use adjustable stands, as previously discussed. However, this will oftentimes involve introducing various teaks, such as reversing the tweeter waveguide to hit that acoustic sweet spot.
Placing stereo monitors sideways also has a negative impact on stereo imaging. In most contemporary stereo monitor designs, the bass and tweeter drivers feature a vertical alignment. The essence of this alignment is so that the bass and tweeter sounds arrive to the listener simultaneously.
Therefore the sound from these drivers will arrive at different timers. The result is a disconnected and unstable stereo image. This means that the different parts of a singular sound source will sound as if they are coming from different sources.
Phase Cancellation Issues
Phase cancellation issues occur in the crossover region. During this point, both bass and tweeter drivers try to reproduce similar signals. Because both drivers have different path lengths due to the speaker configuration, this will lead to a comb-filtering effect.
The output thus becomes both inaccurate and colored, rendering your speakers useless as an accurate and reliable tool for monitoring.
As you probably know by now, studio monitors are different from speakers. But what exactly are the differences? You should read my comparison guide to learn everything you need to know. [Studio Monitors Vs Speakers: Everything You Need to Know]
In closing, most people place their studio monitors sideways for four main as follows:
- To align high-quality drivers with the engineer’s ears
- To reduce bass deflection back to the console
- To keep your speakers more stable on your set
- To maintain a clear plane of view in your control room
Whether out of practicality or convenience, most speakers are intended to work optimally while placed vertically. Refer to your user manual or contact the manufacturer to find out whether it is safe to place your speakers sideways.
Else, you may have issues such as overheating and poor stereo imaging.
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