How Far Apart Should Studio Monitors Be?

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Studio monitors are a kind of speaker usually used in professional settings. They aim to create the most accurate sounds to point out imperfections or mistakes. Studio monitors work best when used in a pair of two.

This is where some may question how to position each monitor in regard to the other.

The general rule of thumb is this: place the monitors the same distance from each other as they are from you. You may hear this as the equilateral triangle rule, which implies that you form an equilateral triangle between yourself and the two monitors.

Because the distance you are from the monitor affects how it sounds, this setup ensures that one monitor doesn’t sound different than the other.

Of course, other things can affect how a monitor sounds and whether or not the sound is distorted.

Monitor Orientation

The orientation of your monitors can also greatly affect sound quality.

Be sure to check if your particular monitor is meant to be vertically or horizontally positioned. Some monitors can do both, but for most, it’s usually one or the other. Vertical monitors are the most common.

Placing them in the wrong orientation can degrade the stereo image and cause comb-filtering and phasing. Stereo images affect how we perceive sound. It controls how deep or wide it sounds and how even the sound is in terms of the right and left sides. Comb-filtering happens when two identical sounds mix within a small time frame. The result can sound very undesirable and causes distortions. Phasing refers to two signals with the same frequency canceling each other out, causing that signal/sound to disappear from the audio altogether.

Another thing to remember when considering orientation is direction. High frequencies are directional, meaning you will experience them differently depending on what direction they’re facing. Facing you, you can get the most out of them.

The tweeter, which is the upper circular speaker, is responsible for producing the higher frequencies; it should be pointed directly at you. It would be best to position your studio monitor so that the tweeter’s center is level with your ear. If not ear level, then at least a minimum of 47 inches from the floor. Placing monitors too close to the floor can cause muffling.

Placement Regarding Walls

Where your studio monitors are compared to your walls is very important and directly affects the sound they produce.

Your studio monitors need to be at least 8-12 inches away from any walls. This will help prevent sound reflections and other distortions that walls may cause.

Due to this, it’s not ideal to use wall mounts for your studio monitors.

You Need To Center Your Mix Position

Mix position refers to the symmetry of your monitors’ positions from the walls. The center of the wall yields a more consistent listening point.

Your monitors should be placed the same distance away from any walls. If one monitor is 2 feet from the back wall and 5 feet from the side wall, the other monitor should be positioned the same.

Doing this ensures your system produces more reliable low frequencies.

Your monitors should be at a different distance from the side walls than the back walls. This creates a corner, which is undesirable as it distorts the sound. It’s better for your monitors to have more space between them and the side wall than the back wall. This will help prevent side reflections.

producer consulting with professional guitarist about style of a song to record

Don’t Place Your Studio Monitors On Your Desk

Placing them on a desk or any hard surface will cause sound distortions and reflections.

The best option would be monitor stands, which can elevate your monitors to the correct height and prevent sound quality loss. But they tend to be quite expensive. Although monitor stands are more productive, there is a cheaper option.

Isolation pads can help with this problem. They’re usually made from a foam or rubber material and help to reduce distortion. Instead of the vibrations bouncing back off the hard surface, they’re absorbed by the isolation pad material.

What If You Have A Small Room And Limited Space?

Although more space would be ideal, we can’t always have the perfect setup, and sometimes there isn’t a choice. If you have a small room and can’t avoid putting your monitors near a wall or in a corner, I have some tips for you.

First, check to ensure your monitors come with built-in settings that can reduce distortions caused by your room. Some monitors have a setting called “Room Control.” This setting reduces distortions in low frequencies caused by placing monitors too close to a wall. Another setting, called “High Trim,” allows the reduction of distortions in high frequencies due to near-wall placement. These settings can be very useful to people with limited space.

If your studio monitors don’t have those convenient settings, you may want to consider foam padding your room. This remedy will depend on how serious your sound quality is to you. If you happen to be using a studio monitor for casual listening, this may not be the step for you.

Padding should go on the back and side walls of the room. If you have a ceiling higher than 7 feet, you may also want to install padding up there. If you have a lot of furniture in the room, you may consider putting some padding on the bottom of those too. This can all sound like a hassle, but if you’re serious about your sound, every little bit helps.


Studio monitors can be helpful when making music in a professional setting or partaking in casual listening, but many things can affect how they sound. Keep studio monitors at an equal distance from each other as they are from you. Always keep them as far away from the walls as you can. Always keep your monitors’ orientation symmetrical and facing you. And always use a monitor stand to keep them off hard surfaces and at ear level. Happy Jamming!

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