The digital revolution brought us all the software to become home recording engineers, while musicians were enthralled to take the old reel-to-reels, 4-track cassette recorders, and other anachronisms up to the attic or down to basement for storage – much like the old film projectors. Musicians would take up various computer software and hardware, such as Cakewalk, Garage-band, and other devices to plug-in and play. They also needed to be able to listen to the live performance, as well as the mixdown after and during editing.
While many use headphones for home recording, a great number will use monitors on to listen to the recording while playing – this gives a sense of being “live” and gives a touch of reverb and room ambiance to the recording. In addition, while editing the digital sound file – such as WAV – the editor will adjust levels of volume, tone & other acoustic tendencies to get a feel for how the playback should sound to his or her audience.
Is one seated or standing during the operation of recording or mixing?
Seated – on floor or typical chair 24” to 36” – similar to bookshelf mounting.
AMS-124B or AMS-136B from pinpointmounts.com is recommended
Standing – one has a diversity of options in mounting the speakers
Recommended is ear level – roughly 5 – 6 foot
AM-20, 30’s series of Universal Wall & Ceiling Speaker Mount or for larger heavier speakers the Universal Bookshelf Speaker Ceiling Mount from pinpointmounts.com. are recommended.
For example, watch a session of “Live at Darryl’s House” on YouTube or TV and if one looks carefully the musicians are on stools which by height corresponds to the shelf where the studio monitors are placed. There are P.A. monitors on the floor at a 45% but also studio monitors at ear height connected to the recording apparatus which is attached to the P.A. mixer.
Location – Although some desire a flat background in recording music, probably the most accommodating for ease of access and room ambience is the use of a corner, it takes up less space and the equipment is easier to control.
Position – The Equilateral Triangle of 30 degrees.
The best set-up for live sound, using either the corner of the room, or symmetrical to the wall, is a placement of speakers which are 30 degrees from you at the height of the triangle (envision upside down triangle with you as A while B and C represent the speaker location. The following triangle is fairly representative of this, though mathematically probably not perfect:
B C - Speaker Placements
A - Musician/Editing Recording (Mixdown)
The point being the distance between you, the left speaker, and the right speaker should all be equal for the perfect “live” performance while recording and/or listening and mixing. In addition, give some space away from the wall, for speakers if possible (even a few inches can make a big difference) to achieve the dynamics of sound in relation to the qualities of the room. Depending on what the room is constructed of (Wood, Concrete with Insulation, etc.) and what items or furniture is in the room while define the sound quality to some extent. From this, the musician or sound engineer can tweak the room, further dampen the sound and employ other modifications as needed.