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Old 23rd February 2004
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Re: soffit mounting speakers for mastering

Originally posted by genericperson
hello everyone,

i'm not sure if i picked the right subset of gearslutz, so my apologies if i'm in the wrong place for this.

i'm planning to build a listening/mixing/mastering room. i was thinking about pursuing a soffit mounted approach. does anybody have an opinion on this?

i plan to build a Tom Hidley-style, floated room within a room. with lots of trapping and broadband absorbtion. i'm into detail more than ambience, so this suits me.

somebody on the chatroom was saying that soffit-mounting is a waste of time unless you have a big room. but i can't see why that would make any difference.

i'm looking to do a 9.8x13.3 with a 7ft average ceiling, taking the slope into account (interior dimensions). i know this is kind of tiny, but it will adhere to the 1:1.4:1.9 ratio and i plan to do the best i can to control room modes with trapping, slot resonators, etc.

the reason i'm interested in sofft-mounting is that everything from the front comes at you time-aligned, rather than rear speaker radiation blending in out of phase, causing comb filter distortion and phase issues.
Not true. Soffit mounting can and does introduce a lot of other issues into the equation. One of the reasons that many mastering studio's go with room positioned speakers.

Wherever you mount speakers you are going to get reflections, be it your floor, the ceiling, the console. Actually mounting speakers on stands can have the benefit of putting your speakers in "free" air making less early reflections. One of the principles that Thomas Hidley championed was the LEDE room that sought to do away with early reflections leaving only later reflections (15ms or more) which fall into what is known as the Haas effect. In brief the concept is that reflections of over 15ms are percieved by our brains as "ambience" and as such ignored from colouring the original sound.

For the size of room you are talking about you really are not going to be wanting to install huge monitors and most smaller monitors (if correctly designed) have the drivers placed at very specific points on the baffle to minimise cabinet defraction effects. Placing speakers like this into a soffit mount could (quite conceivably) place them way outside their designed parameters.

On a personal note, I rarely enjoy listening to "main" monitors partially because there usually are issues, maybe this is why in many major studio,s more often than not the engineers will end up using the nearfields.

Good luck with your build, whichever way you decide to go!