Where Should I Put My Studio Desk?

Chris K

New member
Howdy folks,
Now that I have finished installing hardwood flooring in my studio, I'm looking seriously into "doing it right" with speaker placement, acoustic treatment, etc. I don't have any "proper" treatment yet (just bookshelves and stuff like that), but it seems like finding the best position for my speakers/desk would be a good place to start.
The room I am using is 14' 6'' X 11' 6'' with drywall walls and a 7' drywall ceiling. The windows are 1.5' deep (as shown in the drawing) due to the odd "pole barn" type construction of the house. The door (for now) is just a standard hollow interior door.

From the research I've done, I'm leaning toward the idea the best position (acoustically speaking) would be to have the desk about a foot (?) out from wall "A",and centered between the edge of the door and the wall A/B corner.
That being said, this could be totally misguided...:confused:

So what do you guys think (acoustically speaking) is the best place and position for my studio desk?

Oh, and I'm using 5'' M-audio Bx5a studio monitors.

I would really appreciate any advise on desk placement, and some guidance on what esle to adress first (for example, would it be better to spend my money on better monitors, before I spend it on bass traps etc?).

Thanks in advance for y'alls input!
Here's a diagram of my room:
 

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Massive Master

www.massivemastering.com
Your head should be 5.5' from the short wall. Assuming your speakers are 1.5' from the wall, put them 4' apart.
 

dwillis45

Número sesenta nueve
You won't know where to put the desk until you know. :D For me, at least, this is a progressive process. I would treat the room with the basic stuff that most rooms have: Four corner base traps (floor to ceiling if possible), a ceiling cloud, and panels at the first reflection points along the side wall. I would position the desk about a third of the way off the front wall (Massive's numbers posted above). Then I would measure using something like Room EQ Wizzard (REW) and tweak the desk, the speakers, and the listening position. Start with the desk in the suggested position and then move it in increments (6" or 12") towards the front wall and see what the measurements tell you. It may work better flush or close to the wall or it may not. The key is to know what sound deficits exist at the spot where your head will mix. Only measuring, well-trained ears, or a series or test tones will tell you that. Most of the suggested recommendations are theoretical. I prefer data based on a specific room.
 

dwillis45

Número sesenta nueve
You may also face another decision: Which short wall to use. My eye says don't face the door. Face the window. It looks more symmetrical to me and symmetry is important. On the other hand, placing corner traps is going to be hard with the door located in the corner. And off the top of my head, I can't tell which is more important: having traps in the front corners or in the rear. I'd say all corners, but if you can't put a trap near the door, this may affect which way the desk faces. Again, it gets back to your particular room and how front and rear corner traps work. Does that make any sense?
 
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dwillis45

Número sesenta nueve
Of course, now that I see the side wall window, that may influence your choice. If you can't cover that window with a first reflection point panel, you probably can't place the desk facing the short wall with the other window. Did I mention that this was a process. :D
 

dwillis45

Número sesenta nueve
From the research I've done, I'm leaning toward the idea the best position (acoustically speaking) would be to have the desk about a foot (?) out from wall "A",and centered between the edge of the door and the wall A/B corner.

I'd opt for the center of the room, not the center between the edge of the door and the corner. Left-right symmetry should be a basic goal.
 

dwillis45

Número sesenta nueve
On a side note. It looks like you have a decent shaped room. Although it's a little small and the ceiling could be higher, you should have a good shot at positioning your desk and treating the room with success. At least, that's what the REW room simulator suggests along with the AMROC room mode calculator. The room falls within the Bolt area for ideal room shapes, the room modes follow a fairly even distribution, and they don't appear to be stacked on top of one another. Tthose are all good things. You're a lucky man. Just don't bump your head on that ceiling. :D
 

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Buggaluggs

New member
Is there a how-to or white paper somewhere to help with installing REW? I'm having trouble getting it to install on WIn 7.
 

dwillis45

Número sesenta nueve
Is there a how-to or white paper somewhere to help with installing REW? I'm having trouble getting it to install on WIn 7.

Your best bet is to try the help files that come with the program. Of those aren't working, I'd go to the REW website:

REW - Room EQ Wizard Room Acoustics Software

They have some help files and links there.

And when in doubt, register on the AV Nirvana forums and post a question on the REW page. People there are very helpful and you can also search the site to see if anyone is having similar issues.
 

Chris K

New member
Wow, guys. Thanks so much for all the pointers! This is SO helpful!!!

Of course, now that I see the side wall window, that may influence your choice. If you can't cover that window with a first reflection point panel, you probably can't place the desk facing the short wall with the other window. Did I mention that this was a process. :D
If covering up one of the windows with a first reflection point panel is a necessity for proper desk placement, I'm not necessarily opposed to that idea. So, If I went the route of putting the desk on wall "C" instead of "A", what about the window that is on wall "C"? I could cover the wall "B" window up (which would give me symmetrical walls on either side of wall "C"), but there would still be some asymmetry going on... Let's say I put the desk on wall "C", centered between walls "B" and "D". That would put my left monitor up against the drywall and my right monitor in front of an empty space with a window behind it. That would seem pretty off-balance, considering I would have subs at the back of my monitors reflecting in drastically different ways. I could scoot everything over, so there's not a window behind it, but that would be even more asymmetrical than having it on wall "A".
That being said, your point about not being able to put a bass trap in the door corner is interesting... What do I do about that?! :0 Also, should I worry about having a hollow door, yet?

Seems that the best position (acoustically speaking) would be to cover up both windows and put the desk centered on wall "C", correct? I just don't know If I'm willing to cover up both windows...
 

Chris K

New member
Are you doing anything else in that room except mixing - tracking for example? Any other gear/furniture?

Thanks for this question! I definitely should've talked about that...
I use it for mixing, tracking vocals, and tracking instruments (mainly acoustic guitar).
 

mjbphotos

What?!?
Thanks for this question! I definitely should've talked about that...
I use it for mixing, tracking vocals, and tracking instruments (mainly acoustic guitar).

Most of us have to multi-use our rooms, too. Putting a desk in the 'ideal' spot in a small room seldom works because you're not left with enough room to do anything else! You might do better to put your desk up against the wall on the left or right, centering it, and trying to make things as symmetrical as you can. If you leave that door open, it's a partial 'trap' in that no sound bounces back from the opening. You can always put traps on a stand (or hanging from ceiling) and place them across the corner (with door closed) when using the room.
 

sasquatch

Member
Thanks for this question! I definitely should've talked about that...
I use it for mixing, tracking vocals, and tracking instruments (mainly acoustic guitar).

Pick a wall that makes the most sense with regards to comfort/ergonomics when furnished.
Wall hangings/drapes/pillows etc...added in the voids leftover.

G
 

dwillis45

Número sesenta nueve
Most of us have to multi-use our rooms, too. Putting a desk in the 'ideal' spot in a small room seldom works because you're not left with enough room to do anything else! You might do better to put your desk up against the wall on the left or right, centering it, and trying to make things as symmetrical as you can. If you leave that door open, it's a partial 'trap' in that no sound bounces back from the opening. You can always put traps on a stand (or hanging from ceiling) and place them across the corner (with door closed) when using the room.

Trying the desk against the wall might work, but how will you know? Again, testing or listening to test tones would be helpful. Or if you have very good ears and know what to look for. Although, sadly, most of us don't.

Which wall to use comes down, in part, to the choice between light and sound. I'd vote for sound. Unless you are planning to paint with water colors and need some decent North light. :D Besides, you don't have to completely block the windows. Panels on stands about 4" off the wall/window will most likely give you that adequate first reflection point coverage.

A far as the bass trap/door problem. You mostly need the corner trap for mixing. So make or buy two that can be stacked and moved. Cover the door with the trap for your final mixes and put a sign on the door: Mixing in progress. Then, roll away the stone, my friend! :D While you're tracking, the door trap can simply be pushed off to the side.
 

mjbphotos

What?!?
I agree with dwillis45 and recommend that you listen to his advice. However, I think you have already chosen the most optimal option for yourself by trial and error. I think musicians, in general, are very amazing people. For example, I rented furniture from https://onstage-online.com for the first two years for my house. But in my studio, I had everything I needed of the best quality. The studio is the musician's home, and I want everything to be perfect there, but before you reach the ideal, you will have to redo everything several times.
Necro-ed a 3-year-old-thread, sir!
 

rob aylestone

Well-known member
The link's a bit of a give away too - a company who rent furniture for homes - rather bizarre to add that to a studio post? I suspect it's a bot and not a real person.
 
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