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Speaker Stands or DAW Desk?


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I realized that I've been monitoring and mixing my music wrong all this time -- my studio monitors are not level with my ears. So I've decided to remedy this problem by elevating my monitors.

I have two options -- get studio monitor stands or a DAW desk with a monitor speaker shelf. What are the advantages of each and which route should I go? I also have very limited room in my studio for the DAW space, so I can't get any option that eats up valuable real estate.

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I don't think there's really a right or wrong answer here Elson, but here's a few things to consider.

 

Depending on your room and desk shape, I think stands give you a bit more flexibility in terms of placement.

 

With stands, you'll probably want to fill them with sand for better mass and improved stability.

 

Speaking of stability, if you live in earthquake country, stands could topple in the event of a quake. Then again, if it's a big enough quake, your monitors will probably go flying either way.

 

The biggest issues with using a desk with a monitor shelf is potential reflections off the desk that interfere with direct path sound from the monitors, and the fact that the speakers will be very likely to "couple" with the desk and cause sympathetic vibrations, loss of bass and other maladies that can be solved fairly easily with a pair of Primacoustic Recoil Stabilizers. If you're going to go with this option, I can't recommend a pair of these highly enough!

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I don't think there's really a right or wrong answer here Elson, but here's a few things to consider.

 

Depending on your room and desk shape, I think stands give you a bit more flexibility in terms of placement.

 

With stands, you'll probably want to fill them with sand for better mass and improved stability.

 

Speaking of stability, if you live in earthquake country, stands could topple in the event of a quake. Then again, if it's a big enough quake, your monitors will probably go flying either way.

 

The biggest issues with using a desk with a monitor shelf is potential reflections off the desk that interfere with direct path sound from the monitors, and the fact that the speakers will be very likely to "couple" with the desk and cause sympathetic vibrations, loss of bass and other maladies that can be solved fairly easily with a pair of Primacoustic Recoil Stabilizers. If you're going to go with this option, I can't recommend a pair of these highly enough!

 

 

Thanks Phil. I was originally leaning towards stands but it looks like more clutter to the studio. I heard of the reflection problems on DAW desks but didn't understand the nature of them, I do already have these foam speaker bases made by Auralex I got several years ago that are already resting under my monitors. I don't know if they're recoil stabilizers per se, but I assume they do the same thing?

 

 

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Thanks Phil. I was originally leaning towards stands but it looks like more clutter to the studio. I heard of the reflection problems on DAW desks but didn't understand the nature of them,

 

In the same way that sound can bounce off of your side walls and ceiling and interfere with the direct sound from the speakers (causing phase issues, partial cancellation, and transient smearing), it can bounce off the top of your desk or mixing console. Getting that to not happen is all a matter of geometry and angles. Remember - angle of incidence equals angle of reflection. If the sound hits at a 45 degree angle, it will generally bounce off at a similar angle in the opposite direction. If that reflected sound hits your ears within the Haas window (the first 15-20ms) your ears have a hard time differentiating it from the direct sound. That's the basic idea behind a LEDE style control room - the front is very absorptive to cut down on those early reflections while the rear of the room is left reflective (or is made diffusive) to keep the room from sounding too dead. By the time the sound makes the round trip from the speakers, past the mix position and bounces off the reflective / diffusive rear part of the room and makes its way back to the mix position, it has taken longer than 20ms and our ears hear it as ambience, not as the original sound.

 

I do already have these foam speaker bases made by Auralex I got several years ago that are already resting under my monitors. I don't know if they're recoil stabilizers per se, but I assume they do the same thing?

 

MoPads. I have some too, but IMHO they're not nearly as effective as the Recoil Stabilizers. They're more expensive, but the Radial Engineering / Primacoustic models are far more effective, and the sonic difference is not at all subtle - especially in the bass. If you can, go audition a pair of speakers with and without the MoPads, then with and without the Recoil Stabilizers. You'll be shocked. Seriously. :)

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MoPads. I have some too, but IMHO they're not nearly as effective as the Recoil Stabilizers. They're more expensive, but the Radial Enginnering / Primacoustic models are far more effective, and the sonic difference is not at all subtle - especially in the bass. If you can, go audition a pair of speakers with and without the MoPads, then with and without the Recoil Stabilizers. You'll be shocked. Seriously. :)

 

Arrrgh damnit, this thing is costing me more! :p

Okay, here's my situation, I'm using a pair of Yamaha MSP5 monitors, which roll off at 50Hz. I have a Tannoy subwoofer on the floor that picks up from 50hz and down. Would the recoil stabilizers still be as crucial?

 

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Arrrgh damnit, this thing is costing me more! :p

Okay, here's my situation, I'm using a pair of Yamaha MSP5 monitors, which roll off at 50Hz. I have a Tannoy subwoofer on the floor that picks up from 50hz and down. Would the recoil stabilizers still be as crucial?

 

Sorry to say it (because I don't want to bust your budget :lol: ) but... yes. Your bass above the crossover point will be tighter, your stereo imaging better... they really do make a big difference. In fact, I'd want to try one with the sub too - I've never done that, but I wouldn't be surprised if it led to even more improvement.

 

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