Monitor requirements for small surround studio

Discussion in 'rec.audio.pro' started by Bob Ingalls, Sep 2, 2003.

  1. Bob Ingalls

    Bob Ingalls Guest

    Does anyone know a link or any information that discusses the size speakers
    that are optimal for a given room or space size? I need to buy studio
    monitors as part of a surround system for film scoring. My studio is
    relatively small (11 feet long by 9 feet wide). I have a pair of powered
    Tannoy PBM 6.5 nearfield monitors that I was planning on using as rear
    speakers in the new studio and buying new monitors a center speaker and a
    sub, but I know little about how to configure a balanced 5.1 surround
    configuration based on room size. Any thoughts would be appreciated
  2. Dale

    Dale Guest

    Bob,

    There are quite a few websites dealing with surround issues, definitions,
    concepts. Unfortunately, I often download and quickly format text info without
    including the sources and author(s). Try searches regarding DTS. I found some
    lengthy Q&A pieces that I found very useful.

    I'll begin doing surround mixing for clients this fall and have similar
    questions. I am using a pair of Mackie 824s and am wondering what specific
    speakers may work well to round out 5.1 in a 22.5 ft x 9.5 ft room.

    Good luck,
    Dale
    Oddio Guy
  3. Dale

    Dale Guest

    Scott and all,

    Okay. I have much more homework to do before I enter the surround arena - so
    to speak.

    Are there "typical" EQ curves, speaker pan/volume relationships, speaker delay,
    etc for commercial theater vs home theater applications? I'll be using a
    Yamaha DM1000 in my studio as of November. It has some fairly sophisticated
    surround mixing and monitoring capabilities, so I'm reading the manual now
    trying to get a little head start.

    Do theaters provide canned details on the acoustics, house speakers / placement
    in their specific rooms that would help with pre-mixing sound efx, recorded
    music, etc. for that room? Or do you generally have to demo a rough mix in the
    actual space and modify as appropriate?

    I need to learn more about what equipment theaters have (and are moving to) for
    generating and automating surround sound (and coordinated lighting).

    I'm surrounded by questions, but eager to learn . . .

    Dale
    Oddio Guy
  4. Scott Dorsey

    Scott Dorsey Guest

    Dale <mrdaled@aol.com> wrote:
    >
    >Are there "typical" EQ curves, speaker pan/volume relationships, speaker delay,
    >etc for commercial theater vs home theater applications? I'll be using a
    >Yamaha DM1000 in my studio as of November. It has some fairly sophisticated
    >surround mixing and monitoring capabilities, so I'm reading the manual now
    >trying to get a little head start.


    It's more a matter of how the speakers are set up and what kind of speakers
    that distinguish a typical home system from a normal theatre system. Also
    the low end on typical home systems tends to be pretty lumpy. Take a recording
    to your nearby furniture store and listen to it on their surround rig. It's
    always very strange, with a poorly matching center channel too.

    >Do theaters provide canned details on the acoustics, house speakers / placement
    >in their specific rooms that would help with pre-mixing sound efx, recorded
    >music, etc. for that room? Or do you generally have to demo a rough mix in the
    >actual space and modify as appropriate?


    If you're mixing for a theatre, your best bet is a large room with a full
    theatre system, like most mixing stages. But you can get a very Altec-like
    sound out of the Radian 12" speakers and in a smaller room you can get some
    sense of what will happen through a set of Altecs using them. You still do
    not get a sense of the space of a big dead room without using a big dead room,
    though.

    >I need to learn more about what equipment theaters have (and are moving to) for
    >generating and automating surround sound (and coordinated lighting).


    It's scary and somewhat horrifying, but ask your local art house if you can
    4-wall the theatre for an afternoon and play some CDs through their system.

    >I'm surrounded by questions, but eager to learn . . .


    Get some discs and go out and listen!
    --scott
    --
    "C'est un Nagra. C'est suisse, et tres, tres precis."
  5. Match the sonic character of the loudspeakers. If you have Tannoy's
    you want to re-use, get more of them... (5x the same loudspeaker is
    better than 3x the same + 2x something like that, which is again
    better than 2x something + 2x something else, and yeah, let's put this
    one on it's side (yuk) and call it a center.)

    Curves, timing et cetera, for music or film use: see Tom Holman's book
    about 5.1; there is a recap in there that is still quite useful. That
    book was published in 1995 mind you...

    rt60



    On Tue, 2 Sep 2003 10:59:01 -0700, "Bob Ingalls"
    <bingalls@isomedia.com> wrote:

    >Does anyone know a link or any information that discusses the size speakers
    >that are optimal for a given room or space size? I need to buy studio
    >monitors as part of a surround system for film scoring. My studio is
    >relatively small (11 feet long by 9 feet wide). I have a pair of powered
    >Tannoy PBM 6.5 nearfield monitors that I was planning on using as rear
    >speakers in the new studio and buying new monitors a center speaker and a
    >sub, but I know little about how to configure a balanced 5.1 surround
    >configuration based on room size. Any thoughts would be appreciated
    >
  6. Marc Wielage

    Marc Wielage Guest

    On Tue, 2 Sep 2003 10:59:01 -0700, Bob Ingalls wrote
    (in message <vl9miga5bbmmc3@corp.supernews.com>):

    > Does anyone know a link or any information that discusses the size speakers
    > that are optimal for a given room or space size?
    >-----------------------------<snip>----------------------------<


    Dolby Labs has some decent "white paper" engineering reports that give
    general specifications for mixing rooms dedicated to doing surround mixes for
    either film or music. THX has a "PM3" certification for pro speakers for
    medium-to-small mixing rooms, and speaker size and sensitivity are among the
    main specs provided.

    I also saw where Sony's DVD mastering department just presented a paper that
    specified which speakers they found most useful for creating "5.1 Home
    Surround Mixes," as opposed to theater mixes. I raised my eyebrows when I
    saw their preferred speakers were five Genelec 1031's (also PM3 rated by
    THX), along with a subwoofer.

    --MFW
  7. Bob Ingalls

    Bob Ingalls Guest

    Scott,

    I want speakers that will allow me to mix effectively in my studio. When I
    want to listen in a "theater" setting I'll grab a cd or dvd and join the
    family in the rec. room and listen to it on the family surround system. So
    I guess I want speakers that give the best image in my studio. Does that
    help?

    "Scott Dorsey" <kludge@panix.com> wrote in message
    news:bj2oma$a47$1@panix2.panix.com...
    > Bob Ingalls <bingalls@isomedia.com> wrote:
    > >Does anyone know a link or any information that discusses the size

    speakers
    > >that are optimal for a given room or space size? I need to buy studio
    > >monitors as part of a surround system for film scoring. My studio is
    > >relatively small (11 feet long by 9 feet wide). I have a pair of powered
    > >Tannoy PBM 6.5 nearfield monitors that I was planning on using as rear
    > >speakers in the new studio and buying new monitors a center speaker and a
    > >sub, but I know little about how to configure a balanced 5.1 surround
    > >configuration based on room size. Any thoughts would be appreciated

    >
    > Well, first off, what do you want them to sound like?
    >
    > You want monitors that sound like a typical home surround system, monitors
    > that sound like a typical theatre surround system, or speakers that are
    > able to give the best possible image in the room you have?
    > --scott
    > --
    > "C'est un Nagra. C'est suisse, et tres, tres precis."
  8. Bob Ingalls

    Bob Ingalls Guest

    See below!!
    <rt60@whatever.co> wrote in message
    news:fd6alvoif4hqu6hgnuj637u42lh4ishmse@4ax.com...
    > Match the sonic character of the loudspeakers. If you have Tannoy's
    > you want to re-use, get more of them...


    Thanks....that really makes a lot of sense

    (5x the same loudspeaker is
    > better than 3x the same + 2x something like that, which is again
    > better than 2x something + 2x something else, and yeah, let's put this
    > one on it's side (yuk) and call it a center.)
    >


    Hmmmm....interesting....One of the thoughts I had been toying with was
    adding a pair of the new Alesis Pro Linear DSP studio monitors since you can
    reconfigure them from your PC to sound like anything from a car speaker to
    high quality mixing monitors. They would then be my main monitors when I
    was not writing for surround. Maybe that isn't such a good idea?


    > Curves, timing et cetera, for music or film use: see Tom Holman's book
    > about 5.1; there is a recap in there that is still quite useful. That
    > book was published in 1995 mind you...
    >


    Thanks for the suggestion.....I'll look it up

    > rt60
    >
    >
    >
    > On Tue, 2 Sep 2003 10:59:01 -0700, "Bob Ingalls"
    > <bingalls@isomedia.com> wrote:
    >
    > >Does anyone know a link or any information that discusses the size

    speakers
    > >that are optimal for a given room or space size? I need to buy studio
    > >monitors as part of a surround system for film scoring. My studio is
    > >relatively small (11 feet long by 9 feet wide). I have a pair of powered
    > >Tannoy PBM 6.5 nearfield monitors that I was planning on using as rear
    > >speakers in the new studio and buying new monitors a center speaker and a
    > >sub, but I know little about how to configure a balanced 5.1 surround
    > >configuration based on room size. Any thoughts would be appreciated
    > >

    >
  9. Bob Ingalls

    Bob Ingalls Guest

    I wish I could afford five Genelec 1031's ............

    I searched on the THX PM3 certification and wound up signing up for whatever
    they send out.....hopefully it will be valuable

    Thanks for the help

    "Marc Wielage" <mwielage@mac.com> wrote in message
    news:0001HW.BB7A8A2400350020F0101600@news-server.socal.rr.com...
    > On Tue, 2 Sep 2003 10:59:01 -0700, Bob Ingalls wrote
    > (in message <vl9miga5bbmmc3@corp.supernews.com>):
    >
    > > Does anyone know a link or any information that discusses the size

    speakers
    > > that are optimal for a given room or space size?
    > >-----------------------------<snip>----------------------------<

    >
    > Dolby Labs has some decent "white paper" engineering reports that give
    > general specifications for mixing rooms dedicated to doing surround mixes

    for
    > either film or music. THX has a "PM3" certification for pro speakers for
    > medium-to-small mixing rooms, and speaker size and sensitivity are among

    the
    > main specs provided.
    >
    > I also saw where Sony's DVD mastering department just presented a paper

    that
    > specified which speakers they found most useful for creating "5.1 Home
    > Surround Mixes," as opposed to theater mixes. I raised my eyebrows when I
    > saw their preferred speakers were five Genelec 1031's (also PM3 rated by
    > THX), along with a subwoofer.
    >
    > --MFW
    >
    >
  10. In article <vl9miga5bbmmc3@corp.supernews.com>,
    "Bob Ingalls" <bingalls@isomedia.com> wrote:

    > Does anyone know a link or any information that discusses the size speakers
    > that are optimal for a given room or space size? I need to buy studio
    > monitors as part of a surround system for film scoring. My studio is
    > relatively small (11 feet long by 9 feet wide). I have a pair of powered
    > Tannoy PBM 6.5 nearfield monitors that I was planning on using as rear
    > speakers in the new studio and buying new monitors a center speaker and a
    > sub, but I know little about how to configure a balanced 5.1 surround
    > configuration based on room size. Any thoughts would be appreciated
    >
    >


    You're best off with 5 identical speakers and a matching sub (actually 2
    subs are best). What you'll find is that you can generally get by with
    much smaller speakers than with stereo since a higher SPL with lower
    distortion is possible thanks to having more speakers and a sub (if you
    use bass management). Also, the system is usually set up in the near to
    mid-field, so this means that you usually don't have to worry about
    enough level to fill the room either.

    I really would suggest that you use both a proper bass manager and dual
    subs. The bass manager will give you low frequency extension and the
    dual subs will give you more headroom, make calibration easier, and keep
    the LFs from leaning to one side because of placement (you hardly ever
    get to put it in the center).

    Of course, the whole key to the system is proper calibration (see our
    website for some helpful articles - www.surroundassociates.com). You
    might want to check out some other resources other than Dolby and DTS
    since they can be very dogmatic in their approach and you might have a
    hard time decerning the valuable info from the party line if you're new
    to the field.

    Check out Surround Professional magazine (www.surroundpro.com) for some
    good info in all aspects of the genre. They also have a nice forum at
    http://www.musicplayer.com/cgi-bin/ultimatebb.cgi.

    On the film scores that I've worked on (granted they are medium to large
    budget Hollywood films), all of them were delivered in stems to the dub
    stage. The stems usually consisted of a 5.0 music bed, separate bass or
    LF instruments, 5.0 lead instrument, and 5.0 anything else of interest
    or secondary music element. In general, the dub mixer always wanted
    anything with very high or very low frequencies as a separate element.
    All of the stems are mixed so that when the dub mixer brings all the
    faders up to zero, it accurately represents your mix.

    It's always a great idea to talk with the dubbing mixer before you begin
    to mix just to make sure that you can deliver what they want.

    If you're asked to mix in stems, it eliminates the need for super
    precise system calibration and worry about how the project will
    translate to a theater, since it's all on the dubbing mixer to put it
    together.

    Now mixing for the home theater (which is 95% of our work) is a
    different kettle of fish altogether.

    --
    Bobby Owsinski
    Surround Associates
    www.surroundassociates.com
  11. Dale

    Dale Guest

    Yo, Bob

    Actually, Bobby Owsinski's material at surroundassociates.com was one of the
    most useful sources I had read - including the Q&A (you've probably read it by
    now). And (ditto) the surroundpro site has more good info.

    Bobby: I don't remember reading about *dual subs* - or I never read that far
    in any material to date. With the particularly non-directional nature of
    frequencies below 80Hz, would dual subs really be very useful in a 10 x 23
    studio if a single sub is truly centered in an "acoustically symmetric",
    treated mix room? How do they make calibration easier?

    I gather that my current pair of HR824s would benefit from the company of 3
    more 824s in a 5.1 scenario (yowzie, on behalf of my credit line, I hope the
    economy improves). Any thoughts on a sub for this setup?? I have NOT
    researched them yet.

    Cheers,
    Dale
    Oddio Guy


    >You're best off with 5 identical speakers and a matching sub (actually 2
    >subs are best). What you'll find is that you can generally get by with
    >much smaller speakers than with stereo since a higher SPL with lower
    >distortion is possible thanks to having more speakers and a sub (if you
    >use bass management). Also, the system is usually set up in the near to
    >mid-field, so this means that you usually don't have to worry about
    >enough level to fill the room either.
    >
    >I really would suggest that you use both a proper bass manager and dual
    >subs. The bass manager will give you low frequency extension and the
    >dual subs will give you more headroom, make calibration easier, and keep
    >the LFs from leaning to one side because of placement (you hardly ever
    >get to put it in the center).
    >
    >Of course, the whole key to the system is proper calibration (see our
    >website for some helpful articles - www.surroundassociates.com). You
    >might want to check out some other resources other than Dolby and DTS
    >since they can be very dogmatic in their approach and you might have a
    >hard time decerning the valuable info from the party line if you're new
    >to the field.
    >
    >Check out Surround Professional magazine (www.surroundpro.com) for some
    >good info in all aspects of the genre. They also have a nice forum at
    >http://www.musicplayer.com/cgi-bin/ultimatebb.cgi.
    >
    >On the film scores that I've worked on (granted they are medium to large
    >budget Hollywood films), all of them were delivered in stems to the dub
    >stage. The stems usually consisted of a 5.0 music bed, separate bass or
    >LF instruments, 5.0 lead instrument, and 5.0 anything else of interest
    >or secondary music element. In general, the dub mixer always wanted
    >anything with very high or very low frequencies as a separate element.
    >All of the stems are mixed so that when the dub mixer brings all the
    >faders up to zero, it accurately represents your mix.
    >
    >It's always a great idea to talk with the dubbing mixer before you begin
    >to mix just to make sure that you can deliver what they want.
    >
    >If you're asked to mix in stems, it eliminates the need for super
    >precise system calibration and worry about how the project will
    >translate to a theater, since it's all on the dubbing mixer to put it
    >together.
    >
    >Now mixing for the home theater (which is 95% of our work) is a
    >different kettle of fish altogether.
    >
    >--
    >Bobby Owsinski
    >Surround Associates
    >www.surroundassociates.com

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