I've not long moved into a new home and am looking to make a studio in the bedroom. One thing I came across on many forums and youtube videos was that comb filtering can occur when the speakers reflect off the surface of the desk. In a lot small studios this can be difficult to solve. But I had an idea. Would slotting a small acoustic panel directly beneath the speaker cone (facing upright) solve the issue of early reflections bouncing off the desk? It doesn't seem like anyone has tried this so perhaps it might be a first haha
OK...as far as early reflection problems go, here's some ideas...
First up, the only problems you'll experience at that close a distance are going to be in the high frequency ranges. But the solution ISN'T to put foam/etc in place to kill a reflective path. Instead, you need to set your nearfields up so that you have a direct line between you and the tweeters in these, and the nearfields also need to be higher than just sitting on a basic home studio mixer bridge. While it's a bad idea with many things to aim them at your head, in THIS case that's exactly what you should do: angle the nearfields inward so that both tweeter elements are focused identically at the spot where you do your mixing, and put these on stands to raise them up closer to head-level. These issues, however, aren't that severe a bugaboo when compared tooooooooooooo....
ROOM NODES. Now, these acoustical vermin are the REAL problem for most home studios, since most homes don't have ample rooms with non-parallel surfaces. Right-angled corners are also a serious problem, especially in electronic music where bass content is frequently very significant, as they allow bass build-up.
The bass build-up issue is actually pretty easy to solve, these days: just buy a couple of good bass traps and install them. How these work is that they're attached to a pair of surfaces that make up a 90-degree corner, and create a boxed-off triangle of dead space that's backed along its greatest length by something that appears to be acoustically infinite...foam, rockwool, fibreglass, etc. When in place, the bass buildup goes right into this space, which acts as sort of a broadband absorptive cavity for sounds below 150-200 Hz, and this eliminates your studio space's tendency to appear to have more bass, when in fact it's just buildup...which winds up making your mixes anemic in the low end because the bass SEEMS loud in your studio space, but the reality is actually quite different!
Nodes themselves, though...they're a little trickier. What happens with those is that the distance between parallel walls will act as a resonant space on the fundamental AND harmonics based on the wavelength between the surfaces. Doesn't matter if these are walls or a floor and ceiling, either...if they're parallel, they're going to be a problem. But at the same time, you DO NOT want to turn your workspace into an anechoic chamber by lining every surface with Auralex. Looks cool, but it sounds deader'n'hell and actually is MORE difficult to mix reliably in than one might think!
One concept that I picked up on in Nashville many years ago, and which works well, is LEDE, or Live-End/Dead-End. With LEDE, you want your space around the desk to be relatively free of reflections so that you get the optimal imaging and frequency response from your monitor setup. But further back in the space, you want to shift from absorption to deflection to control the acoustical space. So, if there's a parallel wall behind you at your mix position, the correct device(s) needed aren't foam, but hard-surfaced devices such as the ones you can see here: www.primacoustic.com/diffusion/ What these do is to kill the straight-line reflection, and scatter any direct sound all over the room so that it's not (as) possible for nodes to form. However, a cheap workaround here is to just put your keyboards behind your mix position on stands that allow you to angle them; by setting up the keyboard surfaces in that way, you accomplish the same trickery that a spendy deflector does. And also, with a TINY bit of (non-resonant) reflective time in your mix space, you can mix in a space that behaves a bit more like a typical listening space, and get a far better idea of what your listeners should be hearing in their own situations. But the basic idea for the Live End is just to keep the sounds bouncing...just not necessarily in straight, parallel lines.
Lugia thanks for taking the time to write that. So far my studio is in it's early stages so at the moment I am doing my homework on all this acoustic stuff. I've heard the ideal listening position is about 35% of the way across the room. which is supposedly better than being half way across the room due to these nodes you were talking about. Since it's only a 5x4 meter room, I'm trying to strike a balance between good acoustics and effective use of space. I have recently brought a small desk and have placed the speakers behind the desk. Using the mirror trick that seems to minimise the problem, since the early reflections would most probably reflect off the top shelf of the desk and up towards the ceiling. But the main drawback is that I'm having to bring the whole setup further out from the wall than I'd like. I might consider angling the monitors as you suggested, but again wouldn't that affect high frequency perception since the tweeters aren't firing level to the ear?
Nono...the angling of the monitors isn't along the vertical axis, but the horizontal one. You want to angle these inward so that the drivers are firing into a sizable "blob" of space that can encompass where your head would normally be while mixing. Treat high frequency audio like it was light...travels in a straight line, bounces off of smooth surfaces, etc. As long as the HF drivers are firing into that central "blob" with a minimum of scattering off of other surfaces, you're golden.
As for that "1/3rd distance rule"...it's sort of not accurate. This sort of thing would apply to "mains"...bigass monitors like Westlakes, Ureis, ATCs, etc etc...where you need that distance to form up an image from a source that's that physically large before it arrives at you. Putting a set of Urei 811s at the typical distance for nearfields would result in a confusing mess because of their size and the sound source geometry, time alignment crossovers notwithstanding. But proper nearfields are actually designed to be MUCH closer, such as just behind or on the meter bridge of a console. The physical driver geometry deals with this, as well as the overall size, so that the result seems more like a theoretical "point source" instead of something emanating from this driver and that driver and so on. So you can actually have nearfield monitors much closer than that 1/3rd distance as long as you have them properly physically aligned for that "sweet spot" where you mix.
That being said, I do have a pair of "mains" in here, Altec 3841s with a Crown D150 amp. But it's for _general_ listening, not mixing, so I can get a proper idea of what I'm doing frequency-response-wise. Very different.