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Old 05-15-2002, 05:40 PM
Mark_Knecht Mark_Knecht is offline
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Default Near-field vs. far-field monitoring

Hi,
OK, so this is a question I've wanted to ask for a while, but never got around to. Since I got some great pushes yesterday to finally handle my monitoring situation, it seems a good time to ask.

OK, given the normal layout of studios, it's pretty easy to see the need for near-field monitors. If they're backed up against a window or wall, and only away from the mixing engineer by the depth of the console, you need them. No question.

However, what if that wasn't the case?

Would anyone ever build a studio with a lot of space behind the console so that near-fields weren't really required?

In my situation, one very real option for me is to completely rearrange my family room where I would use a set of high quality Left/right monitors that are already part of my home theater setup for my PTLE monitors, placed about 10 feet in front of me.

This would have the extra advantage that if I ever wanted to do sound for some 5.1 video stuff, I'd be looking right at the HDTV and listening to my normal home theater system while doing the mix. Sort of cool.

The room dimensions are about 14 feet wide, where the TV and front speakers sit, by about 20 feet deep. I'd be a little more than half way back in the room.

So, the question is this: "What would the advantages of disadvantages be of mixing using high quality stereo/home theater speakers at a distance of about 10 feet from my mixing position?"

I'm thinking that the sound would be a bit more driven by the reflectivity of the rear wall than in a near field setup. I don't like this, but then I like spending almost no money to solve this problem. Later on I might end up with both near-field and far-field in the room also.

I'd love to hear from anyone with ideas about this sort of layout. If it's too confusing I could put a drawing on-line.

Thanks in advance,
Mark
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Old 05-15-2002, 07:15 PM
soundsurfr soundsurfr is offline
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Default Re: Near-field vs. far-field monitoring

>>>So, the question is this: "What would the advantages of disadvantages be of mixing using high quality stereo/home theater speakers at a distance of about 10 feet from my mixing position?"<<<<<

Hi Mark.

Many disadvantages. The beauty of near field monitoring is that being physically close to the speakers overrides most of the acoustic coloring of the room itself, and allows you to monitor at lower SPL's which then FURTHER reduces the acoustic effects of the room. Once you get more than a few feet from the cones, you are listing to your primary source mixed with early reflections, late reflections and standing waves from every single reflecting surface in the room including the ceiling, floor, walls, furniture, equipment and other people.

Before near-field monitoring became popular, studios literally spent hundreds of thousands of dollars to try to offset or at least control these effects. They were sometimes successful, but not usually, because you can optimize a room for one kind of music and find that it's sub-optimal for another.

You could try to analyze the room and tune it so that your listening area approaches a flat, diffuse sweet spot as opposed to the serpentine monster you'd see if you put spectrum analyzer at the chair. Unfortunately, to really do a good job of calculating the acoustic effects of a listening room requires an MIT graduate with a Uniblab computer and 25 reams of paper, and as soon as somebody brings in a new chair to sit on, the whole calculation becomes moot.

It's much easier and cheaper to use near fields.

On the other hand, if your room/speaker/amp situation by some freak of nature has characteristics that allow you to hear program material accurately and produce mixes that you're happy with, you're in.
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Old 05-15-2002, 07:37 PM
Mark_Knecht Mark_Knecht is offline
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Default Re: Near-field vs. far-field monitoring

soundsurfer,
Thanks. That's the feedback I was looking for.

Mark
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