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  • Damien Sullivan

    Good stuff! Thanks!!!

    • Damien, I’m glad you like it!
      Thanks for reading. :-)

  • Guest

    Well done my friend….

  • Mimi Dhof

    Well done my friend

    • Thanks, Mimi.
      I hope it’s useful to you or someone you know!

  • Márcio Borges

    Still I don’t speak english very well, but your enterprise is cool…very cool

    • Thanks Márcio. I’ve been trying for years to be cool so I’m glad it’s finally paying off. :-)

      • Márcio Borges

        Thanks Tim for goods words.

  • Clark Magagni

    Thanks for this guide.

    “For the sake of your sound and your sanity, don’t sit at the halfway point of your room, lengthwise”.

    So, basically I shouldn’t place my desk and my monitors in the center of the longest side of my room? Yet it should be symmetrical…this means I should only use the shorter sides?

    Unfortunately where I am I must use the longest side. Being in a corner isn’t good, being in the middle neither? Is it that terrible that I place them approximately in the middle? Or is it better to move myself a little to the side (the room is 20 sq/m, so I don’t really have to corner myself)?

    • Hi Clark,

      The most important thing is left-right symmetry. If you must sit facing the longest side, then in that case let’s call the short dimension your length and the long dimension your width.

      Your first priority is to be halfway between the sidewalls. Even if it forces you to be near the middle of the room.

      • Clark Magagni

        Thanks for the clarification. I take I’ll have to deal with a dip in bass, though?

        • Yes, there will be a dip due to the bass null at the center of the room. You can reduce it by moving forward or back from center, and by installing lots of bass traps.

          Here’s my bass trap placement guide: http://arqen.com/bass-traps-101/placement-guide/

          In addition to corner bass traps, bass traps on the rear wall behind the listening position can help reduce that null.

  • Jimmy

    I’ve got a 10×10 room, wit 7th ceilings, carpet floor, sheet rock, (I know, but it’s all I’ve got to work with). Any suggestion on monitor height and placement, would help. I’m a newbie, and before I start spending what I already can’t afford, I could use some wisdom.


    • Hi Jimmy,

      See the email I sent you. The biggest problem in your room is lack of acoustic treatment. Follow the general monitor placement guidelines in this guide and see my email regarding acoustic treatment.


  • Brian Martin

    Hey! Huge fan of your articles. I’m finally sealing the deal on some room treatment and had a few quick questions!

    I’m going to be building 6’x2’x2″ panels made from Owens Corning 603. I was hoping to get by and use these as my two main bass traps (behind monitors in the corner) and then two for my first reflections (on either side of me).

    Do you have any suggestions for using panels vs. bass traps?

    Also wanted to know, since I can’t quite get it to reach the very top of my 9ft ceilings, what can I do to easily bridge the gap of 3ft?

    Appreciate the help!

    • Brian Martin

      The speakers are actually on stands, this is kind of a rough example of what’s going on in here.

      • Hi Brian. Glad you like the articles. If you’re using basic Owens Corning 703 panels as bass traps, see the quarter wavelength rule section of my bass trap placement guide: http://arqen.com/bass-traps-101/placement-guide/#quarter-wavelength-rule

        You’ll want to use thicker panels, mount them with an air gap, or both. Rather than using 2″ thick panels at your first reflection points, I suggest 4″+ thick panels mounted with an air gap.

        Why don’t you build two 4′ tall panels for each corner instead of 6′ tall panels? That way you can span 8′ vertically (with the panels vertically centered so there is 6″ gap above and below).

        Also, it looks like your chair is near the center of the room. I would move your entire listening triangle forward, so your studio monitors are up against the front wall and your mix position is closer to 38% of the room’s average length. That would reduce problems caused by the bass null at the center of your room, rear wall comb filtering and front wall speaker boundary interference. 3 birds with one stone.

        • brunomartin

          Awesome reply Tim. Very very helpful!! I can’t wait to start building. Do you have any additional information on how to do the air gaps particularly in corners? (Still unsure on both unfortunately)

          Another quick question, what do you usually recommend for the cloud panel (or panels). I originally thought directly above the chair was ideal but I’ve seen others that are kind of “angled” on the front wall.

          Thanks Tim!!

          • Hi Brian. If you straddle a corner with an X foot wide
            panel, you have a an air gap that varies from 0 to X/√2 = X/1.414. So if your panel is 2 feet wide, the maximum size of the air gap = 2’/1.414 = 1.4′. That corresponds to a quarter wavelength frequency of 1/4(1125/gap) = 199 Hz.

            Assume the acoustic panel is 6″ thick, then the longest quarter wavelength for this absorber is closer to 2 feet, which corresponds to a frequency of 140 Hz. This is the lowest frequency where the corner absorber will have maximum efficiency. It will still provide some absorption at lower frequencies, but efficiency gets worse and worse as we drop below 140 Hz.

            If instead you have a 4 foot wide panel straddling the wall, the maximum size of the air gap is 4’/1.414 = 2.8′. That corresponds to a quarter wavelength frequency of 99 Hz. Assume the panel is 6″ thick and the lowest quarter wavelength frequency drops closer to 80 Hz.

            The second choice absorbs to much lower frequencies, but takes up much more space.

            I usually recommend broadband absorption for the ceiling cloud. It does not have to go all the way to the front wall, but the type of angled cloud you’re describing is designed to double as a bass absorber by straddling the front wall-ceiling corner.

            The most important thing is that the cloud covers your first reflection points. In the future I’ll have a detailed guide on how to find your first reflection points. In the meantime, you can see acoustic treatment recommenations for your first reflection points here: http://arqen.com/acoustics-101/reflection-free-zone/#treating-various-rooms

  • LeRobot

    Hello Tim. This info is really great! Thanks.

    I’m creating a room that will be a good mastering room. But I also compose and record (live room) in there. The front portion of the room is putting accent to the mastering needs while the back portion, will have instruments (Mostly synths and electronic instruments)

    If I may, I have a question:
    Situation – My room is not ideal in many ways, although it is a great room (8.4 feet high and 23×16 feet wooden floor). It’s got windows, a back corner door (no possible bass trapping there) and it isn’t entirely symmetrical (Outch!) it’s got an angle about 32 degrees that cuts the front corner for approx 5′ on the front right side to the right wall. And on the left part of the facing wall, there is a patio door from half the left front wall portion, all the way to the left sidewall.

    Room dimension = 23′ x 16′ (on the 16′ front wall, left side is a patio door. Right side has a 35% angle in its last 5 feet approx, cutting in to the right wall)

    Solution #1:
    I am in the process of making a full wall coverage with a 4inch (2″roxul rockboard 80 + 2″Safe n Sound DIY panels) placed 4 inches from the front wall and doing this in a way that the panels in front of the patio door could be mobile (not always in a mastering situation, so sometimes light will be the thing!) and my thought is to recreate the same angled wall as on the right side, with these acoustic panels…
    This will create a visual symmetric situation and probably eliminate part of the problem. But whatever goes through those acoustic panels, will reflect differently since the left side, in back of the panels, is a corner (approx a little over 2′ deep) and with a patio door, while the right side is a real full wall, 4″air space in back of the panels.

    Solution #2

    This is a though one also. Assuming that a symmetrical front wall is the most important thing, and back-wall reflections is second. I could then assume that placing myself in direct front of the angled wall section (approx 5′ large), giving me a very symmetrical front room, for at least an equal 12′ on each side, but then getting the whole back-room in an angled situation.

    Conclusion: Is this a better thing? getting 100% symmetric front room with a twisted angled back room or is having a symmetric acoustical panel as a front wall (with different back configurations) a better situation?

    Wow, hope this makes some sense for the visual folks out there! :)
    I found these pictures to help a little…
    1-front right (with angled corner)
    2-front left (with patio door)
    3-left back wall corner (door)
    4-Room walls

    Sorry for the mess but I’m in action in that studio place as of now… :)

    Thanks Bruno

    • Hi Bruno,

      I’m honestly not sure which option is best just by looking at it. Another option is to put your listening position in the other end of the room, by your stairs.

      I suggest you first run tests to compare the response of the left and right speakers in each case. Play the same excitation signal through each speaker, one at a time, and capture the response using Room EQ Wizard (free acoustic measurement software). There are many online tutorials showing you how to “shoot your room” using Room EQ Wizard.

      You want the left and right speakers to produce a similar frequency response and impulse response / energy time curve (ETC)… especially in the zero to 40 ms range. Focus mainly on low frequencies (e.g., below 300 Hz), as mid and high frequencies are easier to tame with acoustic treatment.

      That will help you choose the best setup. Other things to consider are workflow, lighting, etc. I wish I could give a simple answer but that would just be speculating. There are pros and cons to each room setup, so it’s a balancing act of multiple variables. Best let the measurements tell you how to proceed. :-)


      • LeRobot

        Thanks Tim
        I meanwhile have decided to face the patio door direction (bassed on multiple needs and a few sound checks with tones). The back wall was really gathering energy in the corners as one would expect. So I’ve created a large superchunk bass trap in the only available corner and a full monitor wall in the front end (patio door), 4″ from the wall. It is created in a way to make the symmetry as perfect as possible. Also, I’m taming bass pretty much everywhere I can.

        With these all set up, I’ve ran some tones and sweeps and the room is already greatly balanced. In the way that my listening position doesn’t have large peaks or dips making it quite right. So far so good….

        Now, gotta make my corner superchunk bass trap look good! This is whats going on today.

        Thanks for coming back at me Tim.

        • Bruno, congrats on achieving a balanced sound! It sounds like you’ve taken a pragmatic approach to room layout and bass control, and the results have paid off.

  • Luis Emilio Lopez

    Hi Tim. I´ve following your website for a while and I find it amazing, however, I´ve been looking for acoustic treatment for recording or rehearsal rooms. Any information will be greatly appreciated.

  • Moby

    This is an excellent article that’s very concise and helpful. Thank you.
    Been struggling for a while to deal with a problem of video monitor and their interference in the sound path. I need a setup with 3 video monitors, or 2 with another big one some distance away in the front of the room. This presents many problems such as interference from the audio monitors (in the 3 video monitors version) where the video monitors find themselves in the audio path most of the time. In the other version, with a huge video monitor in the front, I wonder what problems would be encountered from the fact that sound absorption in the front of the room would be impossible where the big screen is. How would would one deal with such a situation?

  • Hi Tim, great article. We are trialing a lot of your advise in one of our demo rooms, with some very good success I might add. We are however finding that what is good for studio is not necessarily the best for a surround situation. In a surround situation if you are listening by yourself it may be good to have the main speakers pointing directly at you or just behind your head however this can result in a very small sweet spot. We have found toeing in slightly to a focus point a couple of meters behind your head in the center position gives a wider sweet spot, although not as perfect as the previous option it does result in a better imaging and overall theater experience for more listeners in the room. This however is very speaker dependent and trial and error is essential.

  • Akshay Singh Khanna

    Thank you so very much for the excellent and practical write-up. I have a question about the 38% rule. Is this to be taken along the length or width of the room or both? I have a room that is lxwxh 10x13x10 (ft), which I am trying to change to 1:1.14:1.39. The other room I have of course is much smaller in width 15x7x10. Which out of the two would you suggest for a home studio? I look forward to hearing back from you.

  • 문창환

    유익한 정보 감사합니다.

  • jz

    I,m reading articles on this topic and 90 percent go with 30 degree angle from sitting position. Your 60 degree is even more than 45 degree equal lateral triangle. . Now I,m confused.

    • Hi Jz, each speaker is 30 degrees from the direction of listening, meaning the angle between the two speakers is 30+30=60 degrees. They mean the same thing. They’re just using a different point of reference.

  • Kirk

    Greetings! Hope you are still around to talk. If so, I’m looking for some Novice advice as I am horrifically limited to my studio space. I’d love to send pics if you’re still replying. You may think my setup is weak, or you may think I’m actually in a great room because of the shape and setup – I’ll try to just get the pics and post them later (I have to run to Guitar Center right now!).

    Best Regards,


  • Doug Pyper

    These articles are by far the most readily understandable yet comprehensive I’ve found on the subject of room set up. I’m in the middle of trying to figure out how to set up my home theatre and have run into a snag. It’s a small room, 12′ x 10′, with the screen on one short wall and the listening position 2ft from the rear wall opposite. There’s no room to manoeuvre the front speakers or seating. The front speakers have to go on the sides of the screen, about 30cm from the wall behind/to the side. The problem is, on the first reflection point for the right speaker there’s a cupboard built into the wall, but on the opposite side (i.e. the first reflection point for the left speaker) there’s a solid brick wall. Is there any way to treat these areas without the sound being uneven? I would have thought that if I put a panel on the cupboard door it’d make a good bass trap, but it would be difficult to replicate that on the other side…

    • Hi Doug. Looks like I missed this comment earlier. I recommend you treat both identically. The brick wall will reflect more low frequency energy than the cupboard, but that’s a difficult thing to control for in a measured way. Focus on what you can easily control — in this case, mid-high frequency reflections. You could in theory balance out the sidewall reflections at low frequencies, but you would have to be scientific about it and it would involve much trial and error guided by measurements.

  • Arjun Prajapat

    superb article ……………………….really its so much helpful for me……………Thanxxxxx.

    • You’re welcome, Arjun. Glad you found is useful!

  • thisissami

    Hi Tim! Thanks so much for your series of articles. :) Super informative and useful!

    I had some questions about vertical positioning/height of studio monitors. You say to avoid having the tweeters in the vertical center of the room. This leads me to a couple questions:

    1) How far off from vertical center does one need to be? Is being 51-52% of the way from floor to ceiling enough, or does one have to hit higher distances?

    2) Wouldn’t there be issues still if the woofer is in the vertical center, even if the tweeter is above? It makes sense to me (on an intuitive non-scientific level) that both the woofer + tweeter should be off center for an ideal listening environment.

    3) Similar to the above – why not use the origin of the acoustical axis of the speaker? (this assumes that the manufacturers have provided the details on such an acoustical axis within the product manual)

    Unfortunately for me, the ideal positioning for me for my ear levels seems to be right at the vertical center, so I want to make sure I move off center properly. :) Thanks again for your articles – you clarified a huge number of topics for me!

    • Hi Sami. Glad the articles helped you. Much better to put your tweeters at ear level, and avoid centering your low frequency drivers. It’s easy to use acoustic treatment to tame high frequency behavior, but very difficult to do the same for lows, so we rely heavily on speaker placement to control low frequencies.

      Without measurements I can’t predict what will work for a given room, but I think 52% is too close to center. Low frequencies have long wavelengths, so as far as they’re concerned, 52% is not much different than 50%.

  • alphaOri

    I would like to place my speakers closer than 8″ to my front wall as Tim recommends, but my speaker boxes are 12.5″ deep! And then if I add 4″ traps behind the speakers I’m up to 16.5″ away from the front wall. Any ideas?

    • I think you’ll be fine whether or not you use the 4″ absorption behind the speakers. You’re still acceptably close to the front wall according to the calculations on page 2 of this guide: http://arqen.com/acoustics-101/speaker-placement-boundary-interference/ . When in doubt, use the manufacturer recommendations as a starting point and the guidelines on page 2 of this guide to further inform your decision. Then, if you want to optimize placement for your room, use Room EQ Wizard to take measurements: http://arqen.com/acoustics-101/acoustic-measurement-primer/.

      • alphaOri

        https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/41513a11478a91e002ea5779eb061e397ef01e91b859d55d49d0a3130e322069.png Ok. Using the calculation on that page, my quarter wavelength cancellation frequency would be 1125/(4*12.5″/12″)=270Hz. Wouldn’t I need acoustic treatment behind the speakers to prevent that reflected frequency from creating a node? Otherwise, I would need to place my speakers about 8′ from the front wall to move the cancellation node below my speakers 3dB low-cutoff. Actually I’m trying to decide between these two room configurations. Would you mind taking a look at my attached image with the 2 layouts? Which layout would you recommend. If one isn’t significantly better than the other, I’d highly prefer to face the long wall for furniture placement reasons.

        • It’s usually better to face the short portion of wall and be up against the front wall, but if these are the two choices I’d pick the first.

          270 Hz is treatable with thick absorption / bass traps, so in this case absorption behind your speakers should help reduce the cancellation node.

  • Mohamed Chaouech

    Those articles helped me alot ! Thx Tim.
    but i want to make sure what to do with my studio.
    my studio dimensions is ( 3.20m x 3.70 m ) i’m facing the small wall , placed my chair at 38% ( my ears ) facing the front wall , placing the monitors just 10 cm far from the front wall , at a 30% angle each from my ear , and the monitors’s height are 1.20 m from the floor ( the tweeters facing my ears ).
    is it correct?
    and what do you advice me to put on my room corners , behind the speakers , and at the rear wall , i mean , i”m looking for a cheap materials , can’t afford any atm… Placing Wools or carpets in corners and at the rear wall will do the job?
    Sorry for the noob questions , but i’m thinking too much on this…
    will appreciate your answer , Thanks !

  • Kyle Ravv

    Hey, thanks so much for this article. This is very helpful, especially for people like me who are kind of new to mixing and studio speakers in general. I recently decided to take mixing seriously and purchased a set of KRK Rokit 5 monitoring speakers. It sounded good but couldn’t figure out how to make these studio monitors sound better. I was reading other guides and they were very helpful as well (this site helped me decide which studio speakers to get) but this article was what solved my problem. The bass on my monitoring speakers still sounds a bit emphasized but it’s better than before.

  • Tony El Tigre

    Your tutorials have been a godsend mate as I’m just about to rebuild my studio. My only issue is that unlike many of the designs here that are purely listening/mixing rooms my studio is a fully working studio within one room using near field monitors. My studio has to house my collections of analogue synthesisers, drum machines, tape delays, organs, etc. A lot of my analogue gear like my compressers, distressors and modular synths are also rack mounted, which by its very nature creates a lot of reflective surfaces . What would your advice be to maximise the sound quality given the restricted space I have.

  • Andre Rahming

    I have a room 12’x10′ with a closet and about a 2’x5′ niche facing the back was wondering about speaker placement with the closet was wondering if with this closet if I should consider the room to still be 12′ or cut out the 2 inch and consider the room 10 x 10

  • Sam Roney

    I’m looking for guidance on setting up a room for a 3-4 pc band that is recording & rehearsing in a 15’Lx15’Wx8′-10’H(ceiling pitched up from the two 8′ sides to a 10′ center line). We are monitoring with 4 speakers: a pair of 2 way 15″ mains, mounted on sub poles attached to a pair of 18″subs from our PA gear. I have carpeted floor and the walls are 85% covered with flat Aurelex 2″ thick foam absorption panels. the only parts not covered are the ceiling, 2 doors, and one window. There’s also a double door sized opening to an adjacent room. Bass has odd resonance and microphone feedback is an issue due to room size. We’d like to find a way to adjust the acoustics such that we can run the PA vocals loud enough over a full drum kit, bass, keys, and electric guitar, but with significantly less of these problems.

  • jonas nymose

    My problem is that if I place my monitors 120 cm from the floor, then the tweeters will be more or less dead in the center vertically. If I place them higher, then the tweeters wont point diricetly at my ears, the subs will though, or they will go above my ears if placed even higher while sitting down. Don’t make sense for me standing up while mixing, if I do it all on the computer and don’t have a standing desk. Can’t make this to add up at all.

    • Noharm

      It doesen’t matter if tweeters are dead center with the room, they are tweeters…

  • Citizen

    I have recently move to a new apartment and I’m trying to set up my home recording studio.
    The room is a rectangle 2.90metres x 3.40metres. Due to windows and doors i can only place my studio desk in the side of 3.40m. . I have place my desk and monitor speakers right in the middle. There is the same distance between them and my ears. The speakers height is also at the same level as my hearing area.
    There is zero bass sound where i’m siting and right behind me. Everywhere else in the room, especially corners there is full of low frequency response.
    Any ideas how to fix this?

  • Outatime

    Hi Tim – don’t know if you are still replying to these comments but here goes. I understand all your advice about centering head as part of triangle etc etc for one person but how would building a cinema room 10 foot wide x 22 foot long and 9 foot high ceiling with two rows of seats affect this advice? Regards.

  • Matthew Brown

    Hello big issue presently i am useing a 16×12 ft space both for tracking and mixing.
    As of late my space has been used also for live play by 5 member bands (very tight)lol.
    I retrack vocals after and some how it comes out good the room at piont is 50% delusion and cross pattern with 12×12 2″ blocks .
    And I sit in i rear corner nin of it should work .
    I am expanding the room (with fear ).
    At piont cement floors 2 walls brick 2 walls and cieling sheet rock with 1 ft gap to upper floor no insulation. Cieling is only 7 ‘6” high
    The expansion will only give 3 ft more working room in the live area and move the mixing area to a small area 6ft x6ft sepreate with a open front to the room .
    End result in play space 15x16x7 1/2
    The pa system would essentially end up just below existing duck work running in the full length of the control or front wall 5 ft high i am worried about exesive vibrations even if covered and treated it makes the control wall 6 ft 10 inch high compared and protrudes 3 ft into the room .
    I plan on bass trap all the way across the duck work on a 45 degree angle to cieling and same for back cieling and corners treating most of the back wall about 50% of all walls and cieling as before .
    Bad idea .
    The room is 3 sided and opened to a finished basment now and I have a flat clean response only took a year to get it that way lol .
    Great artical thanks for any thought .

  • Dave Falk

    Hello, is this topic still open? Can you treat a room with 2 walls glass and 2 walls brick?

    I am in a 10 x 11 room.
    South/East walls are glass (French doors – cloth shades)
    North/West walls (with 2/3 glass doorway) into home are brick.
    Floor – wood with carpet (2/3 of floor covered
    Ceiling – wood planked
    Furniture – Large fabric sofa and fabric chair

    I am thinking that perhaps I can start with acoustic bass traps in corners…….but what about all this glass on the South/East walls..

  • RazorXcom

    The “38% Rule” should no longer be used as a suggestion. It’s close but not accurate. 38% is too close to the 4th harmonic null at 37.5%. The real listening position is at 39.6%. Why? Because it’s exactly between the 4th (37.5%) and 6th (41.7%) harmonic null. We have 37.5% + 41.7% / 2 = 39.6%. So if you are keeping your head in-between the harmonic nulls, then your possible Listen Positions will always be the same in any room: 32.8%, 39.6%, or 45.8%.

    Room length makes a big difference is where the Listening Position will be located. There’s no way a Listening Position of 37.5% will work in a small length room. Small rooms will have a Listening Position of 45.8%, medium length rooms will be 39.6%, and rooms with larger lengths will be 32.8%.

    Overall the 38% Rule is inaccurate, is outdated, and doesn’t work for every room length.