Monitors sideways or upright?

Hey all,

We all see lots of photos of various studios in which the monitors are standing upright, and just as many where they are lying on their sides. This is in studios ranging from homebrew to total pro, both are commonplace seemingly in all settings. Which do you use and why?

There’s a passage in Mike Senior’s book where he comes down firmly on the side of upright speakers for a reason that makes a ton of sense to me. Namely, that with speakers on their sides, slight turns of the head remove your hearing from the sweet spot because you’re turning in the (horizontal) plane in which the speaker cones are aligned, and the head turns move your ears with respect to that plane. In contrast, with upright speakers, that plane is perpendicular to the horizontal, and one would have to move one’s head up and down for the same issue to arise.

He points out that pointing one’s chin up or down does far less to move the ears with respect to the vertical plane than does turning one’s head with respect to the horizontal plane for sideways monitors. I buy this line of reasoning. Now, in my setup it is just not really practical to put my monitors on their sides just for space reasons, but after reading this I wouldn’t put them sideways.

What about you?

I would leave mine on their sides for obvious reasons lol.

For others like these NS-10’s, part of it has to do with the height, whats behind and infront of it, and if the speaker allows you to rotate the tweeter 45 degrees.

I think this comes down to how specific speaker is designed. But once the tweeter is turned, in my understanding, there is an actual up and a down.

There’s a poorly designed broadcast room I work out of that the speaker mounts were fixed on the wall. They were using Mackie 824’s, and the tweeter was shooting way over your head and they refused to move them. Four years ago, I turned them upside down when no one was looking. They’re still upside down now lol.

Forgive me, but these reasons are not the slightest bit obvious to me, hence my question…

Those other images are kinda small so it’s not easy to see what you’re referring to. How does rotating or turning the tweeter factor into it?

Sorry for being dense, but I’m ignorant here…

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There’s actually feet on the bottom. The Subwoofer is optimized to be facing up. And the the control panels on the sides would be at the top. These things are 80 lbs each but the weight isn’t evenly distributed. I think these speakers would be pretty unhappy if they weren’t on their sides. lol.

My understanding is that some tweeters don’t shoot sound in a strait line. So they might spread sound 90 degrees vertically, but maybe 115 degrees horizontally. That’s why some speakers are designed so you can rotate the tweeter, relative to weather the cab is upright or on its side. The focal Trio6 for example:

When I was on tour, the tech production manger and front of house engineers would occasionally unscrew the grill plates on the front of house speakers, and turn the tweeters 45 degrees. In venues with multiple balconies, this was so our line arrays would toss high frequencies from the bottom-rear of the venue to the top-rear of the venue evenly. So instead of the tweeters throwing side to side (as most venues are wider than they are tall), we could fly our rig without having to re-align the entire rig before we got it in the air.

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Thanks for the extra info J! I didn’t realize those first ones were configured that way. Clearly they need to be on their sides.

But still, it seems like some folks put speaks on their sides that are designed to be upright, and maybe it’s the tweeter-rotation that enables it? Like I said, I’m ignorant…! :laughing:

Precisely. Try it with your eyes closed. - if you drop your head just a few degrees the top end starts to become more prominent. So I don’t think it matters either way, what matters is that you develop consitency in your listening position.

On the other hand you can fit more beers on top of monitors that are on their sides.

I’m wondering if the type of monitor makes a difference. If its specifically a near field, it seems it would make less difference, but I really don’t know.

Seems the far fields have pretty precise designs in the tweeters. Sort of like a PA, because they have to spread high frequency detail evenly throughout a much bigger space.

I would be surprised if you could turn a far-field on its side and it gave you the same result, but I’ve never tried it, and never known anyone to try it lol. Again my point being a mere hypothesis that the results would be less noticeable at close range, with a monitor that was designed to work at a close range.

When I was talking to room designers (for my own spot) about the Augpurgers and other midfields, both Russ Berger and Wes Lachot made a pretty big deal over how important it was to have them properly tuned to the room, and putting them in a highly flawed room nearly defeated the purpose of having them. The necessity of them (especially for the $40,000 it costs to acquire them) seems to be a subject of debate. But they didn’t seem to follow some of the same placement and installation principles as a normal monitor.

I only use monitors when playing live… as most of you know I don’t have a home recording studio. They are angled upwards, which is great when you’re playing live!

Can’t put beers on them though… they slide off :laughing:

Gives a whole new meaning to the word workflow. :nerd:

But the point Senior was making, and I agree, is that tipping one’s head up and down results in a lot less movement of the ears than does turning side to side. In the former case, the ears are moving maybe a cm or two (less than an inch) whereas in the latter, it is many cm/in.

But as Adrian said, if one has done the due diligence to know one’s listening environment, this can be dealt with. And I only ever drink one beer at a time anyway. :wink:

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[quote=“Chordwainer, post:9, topic:1567”]
In the former case, the ears are moving maybe a cm or two (less than an inch) whereas in the latter, it is many cm/in.
[/quote]In the former case, the ears anly need to move about 3cm to go through a 90 degree change of angle. In the latter, they don’t change angle at all, rergardless of distance travelled.

Oh well, I thought they put the monitors on the side to get “more stereo” per used bench space.
Seem to recall a physics lesson where they said treble was more directional than bass sounds…
But this could just be Sven’s cognitive dissonance…

Quite so, good point, and ear angle is major, no doubt. Comes back to knowing one’s listening environment…

As far as I know it’s an NS10 thing. They are light on bass so we used to stand them on the meter bridge in order to produce more bass through resonance. If you place them on their sides there is more surface area, therefore more resonance.

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It depends on your music. If it’s ‘gangsta’ put the speakers sideways. :grin:

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I use whatever sounds more right to my ears. My NS10’s are supposed to be lying down (I have the older ones…the newer ones stand upright.) but I like them standing up. Something about tweeters being sideways always made me a little uneasy.

I also notice I like the sound better when they are upright. Just a personal preference for me. In this field, use what works for you and just go with it no matter how ridiculous or off the wall it may be. :slight_smile: