Home studios aren’t perfect.

In a perfect world, your home studio would be designed by a professional. You’d have a great-sounding control room, a couple of tracking rooms, and a nice, quiet vocal booth.

Raise your hand if your control room, tracking room, and vocal booth are all the same room. (Joe quickly…and sheepishly…raises his hand.)

That’s the reality we face. We’re weekend warriors, home studio recordists. Hobbyists. We’ve got to make the best of what we’ve got.

One of the casualties of a less-than-perfect room is your studio monitors’ stereo image. What’s stereo image? Simply put, it’s how wide your music sounds, coming out of your monitors.

As you might have guessed, your room (and the stuff IN it) plays a big role in how good your monitors sound. It can also severely effect the stereo image.

To be a bit tongue-in-cheek today, I’ll share with you 3 ways to KILL your monitors’ stereo image.

If you’re into bad-sounding music, by all means do the steps below. 🙂 The rest of you should avoid them.

1. Don’t acoustically treat the side walls

One of the easiest and quickest improvements I made to my monitors’ stereo image was when I placed some simple absorption on the side walls (to the left and right of the speakers).

IMMEDIATELY I could hear things much more clearly. It was almost as if I was listening in mono before. Wild.

2. Place obstructions next to the monitors

One of my readers, Binu, commented a while back on my home studio tour video. He said:

Hi.. Joe.. nice arrangements. Please put your rack into floor, I think it will obstruct the sound from your monitor.

By the time I read that, I had already figured it out, but he was absolutely right. I had my equipment rack to the right of my mix position. It was obstructing the sound waves from being absorbed by the treatment I had placed on the side walls.

The results was an off-center stereo image. Everything sounded like it was panned slightly to the left. (Talk about ANNOYING.)

I moved the rack back behind the monitors, and everything was good again.

3. Don’t center the monitors

You’ve got no chance of a good stereo image if you don’t center your monitors along the wall in your room. If they’re in the corner, forget about it. You’ll never get a clear stereo image.

Which of these tips are you going to apply to your studio TODAY?

[Photo Credit]