Here's the monitor speaker setup I use for my DAW, and the setup I recommend for your home recording studio.
Before I tell you the setup I like best, after many years of experimentation, I'd like to first tell you the setup I personally don't like (even though a lot of sound engineers do this). Two studio monitors, five feet apart, on a desk two feet away from their face. And NO sub-woofer! I think they call this "near field" monitoring. But at some point during the audio mastering process, you must crank the music up very loud to set your final compression and to hear how it translates at high volume levels. You can't do this if your speakers are right next to your ears! At least I can't.
Maybe this is why the songs I get in for re-mastering badly break up when cranked up loud, and the bass is totally washed out. They were originally mastered at very low levels without a sub-woofer, and not optimized for loud playback.
I also find it hard determining the overall depth and stereo width in music when the speakers are two feet in front of me. Which makes sense. Its like watching a 50" TV. I want it to be far enough away so I can take the whole picture in. No one puts a 50" TV on a table right in front of them, yet this is done with speakers.
My Personal Speaker Placement
First off, I use speaker stands for my studio monitors, and the speakers stand 3.5 feet off the ground. I have the stands roughly 7 feet apart, and the speakers are about 6-7 feet away from my face. The sub-woofer is on the floor, centered between the two speaker stands.
Note - Do not put the back of the speakers right up against a wall. Have at least 10 inches between the back of your speakers and the wall, or the sound will be altered.
I've found this setup is close enough where I can here all the details in the music, wide enough so I get a full representation of the stereo field, and the speakers are far away enough so I can crank the music up to 105dbs to make sure it sounds right for loud playback, without blasting myself in the face.
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