If like many music producers you’re using your bedroom, basement or spare room as your “studio” – and possibly also you’re home office – then chances are you’re used to working with at least one pair of monitors sat on a desk. While such working methods might be common they are not, however, ideal.
There’s a reason the world’s best music recording studios don’t look anything like your bedroom or spare room!
Whatever home studio set up you’re currently rocking – or suffering – a pair of quality monitor stands really can improve the clarity of your monitors and for a relatively low outlay.
Do you really need monitor stands?
The short answer is yes! The longer answer is that while It’s perfectly possible to mix and even master using nothing but a laptop and a pair of wallet-friendly budget monitors plonked somewhat randomly on your desk, there’s a reason that pretty much all professional music producers, film score composers and the like spend time and money trying to create a studio space that is better (in terms of acoustics) than the average hobbyist’s.
If you’re at that stage of your music making journey where you’ve happily spent a month’s wages or more on a pair of “serious” monitors in an effort to up your music production and mixing game then you’re doing your monitors – and your ears – a grave injustice if you haven’t also gone the extra step of investing in a pair of stands to rest your monitors on.
How monitor stands improve the sound of your monitors and help you make better mixing decisions:
If you’re working with your monitors resting on your desk – perhaps on top of a few books, magazines or piles of junk mail – you’re really not doing them justice. By moving your monitors on to stands you can quickly and easily reduce reflections and resonances from the table’s surface as well as any other objects sitting on your desk such as a monitor, laptop, audio interfaces, MIDI keyboards and the like.
When setting up your monitors properly you really need to dampen vibrations and taking your monitors off your desk and placing them on stands at the correct height (in relation to your head and ears) helps to bring out the best in your monitors.
As well as a reduction of vibrations and resonances caused by the desk you might also notice a tighter and more responsive bass from your monitors.
When your monitors are placed on stands and isolated from the desk, you might also notice a marked improvement in your ability to determine exactly where individual elements sit in the soundstage in terms of both depth (back to front) and stereo (left to right) and that improved clarity means it’s easier and quicker making mixing decisions.
Remember: your mixing is always going to be hampered by your tools and environment to some extent. Even the wealthiest music producers in the world do not get to mix in a “perfect” environment with “perfect” gear because no such “perfect” exists.
While a “perfect” studio set up is an impossibility, what you can and should be doing is taking whatever steps you practically can to minimize any unnecessary flaws and imperfections in your music production set up. Taking your monitors off the desk and putting them on stands is a quick and easy “win”.
Are expensive monitor stands necessary?
Luckily there’s no need to spend a fortune on monitor stands but you should at least aim for well made stands from a well known and respected manufacturer in the field such as IsoAcoustics, Thor or Genelec. As a general rule of thumb, it’s a case of you get what you pay for when it comes to both monitors and the stands they rest on.
Pro Tip: it makes no sense whatever to spend big bucks on professional studio quality monitors only to hamper their ability to help you mix your tracks because you’ve failed to make even a basic attempt to set them up correctly.
Best monitor stands under $100
Check out the award winning IsoAcoustics ISO Stands. Starting at less than $100 for the ISO130, the smallest stand in the range, the IsoAcoustics ISO Stands are used in countless professional and hobbyist music studios around the world and have achieved rave reviews from the likes of Sound on Sound, MusicRadar and Grammy award winning composer Darrel Thorp.
The IsoAcoustics ISO-Stands boast a patented isolation system for superior isolation and decoupling from the supporting surface and they offer 14 variations of height and tilt adjustment to optimize the placement and performance of your studio monitors.