MONITOR PLACEMENTYour speakers should be at ear level, which usually requires that they be on stands that put them at head height and angled towards the listening position. In most nearfield monitoring situations, it is best to place the monitors so that they form an equilateral triangle together with the listening position. Be sure to use a tape measure to assure that the distance between your left and right speakers is equal to the distance between each speaker and your head. For the best stereo imagining, it's also best to place your speakers symmetrically in the room. Be sure to arrange your setup so that both the wall behind you and the ceiling are as far away as possible. That said it is also important that you do not place the speakers so that they are at the midway point between the floor and ceiling. For example, in a room with 8-foot ceilings, do not place your speakers 4 feet off the ground. A good rule of thumb here is to place your speakers at a height that equals 38% of your ceiling height, i.e., place your speakers so that the tweeters are 3 feet above the ground in a room with 8-foot ceilings.
SOUND REFLECTIONSMid-range and high frequencies reflect off of hard surfaces much like a Ping-Pong ball. Due to the directional nature of these frequencies, it is good practice to use a mirror to find first-order reflections in your room. Start by sitting your usual listening position, and have somebody hold the mirror against the wall to your left. Have your friend move the mirror around until you can see your left speaker clearly. Once you have found that spot, place some studio foam, rockwool or fiberglass there and repeat the procedure on the right side of the room. If you do not have the budget for studio foam or acoustic panels, get creative and place a bookshelf or thick tapestry on that wall. Keep in mind that anything has the potential to help dull these reflections, as long as it is soft and has some texture to it. Once you have taken care of the right and left walls, be sure to treat the ceiling above your head. Together with the left and right walls, these are the most critical reflection points to focus on when treating your studio space. Remember that if you tend to move around a lot while recording and mixing, the treatment used should be larger to create a broader sweet spot.
BASS MODESUnless you are mixing in a custom-built studio space, you are going to have some major bass problems. Bass reflections are the hardest to treat, as they require specialized materials such as high-density rockwool or fiberglass. That said, this is one area in which you simply cannot have enough treatment. In fact, I would recommend using the majority of your studio budget to purchase fiberglass or rockwool bass traps between 4”-6” thick and cover all four corners of your room from floor to ceiling. Though foam bass traps from companies like Auralex are all over the internet, just stay away from them. They do basically nothing under 100hz and are thus complete waste of money when it comes to treating bass response.
ROOM CORRECTION SOFTWAREDon’t waste your time with room correction software such as IK Multimedia’s ARC system. This is another unfortunate product, which will end up causing more problems than it fixes. For the $129 that you would spend on this software, you would be much better off buying some Owens Corning 703 fiberglass panels and just taping them up in the corners of your room. The same goes for any sort of auto-equalization processor like the UltraCurve Pro by Behringer. This thing is garbage, doesn’t work well to begin with and will definitely break after about year of moderate use anyways (it’s made in China). Just save yourself the headache and skip these products, as they are only designed to steal your money.
MEASUREMENT MICROPHONESI would highly recommend that you get a good measurement microphone and use it in conjunction with Room Eq Wizard (REW) , a great free application available for both Mac and Windows, which will help you figure out what areas of your room’s response require the most attention. Just be sure to get a quality calibrated measurement microphone. I recommend any of the products available at Cross Spectrum Labs. My personal favorite is the Dayton UMM-6 as it is USB compatible and doesn’t require any external phantom power. Just be sure to pick up a good microphone stand as well, and measure your left and right speakers independently from one another to avoid comb-filtering issues.
*Final note on microphones…though many people swear by the Behringer ECM8000, you need to understand that quality control at Behringer fell off a cliff about five years ago. What was once a great measurement microphone is now a piece of garbage, and it should not be relied upon in any meaningful way for accurate and/or consistent room measurements.