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Horizontal Studio Monitors: Sideways Instead of Upright?

Horizontal Studio Monitors_ Sideways Instead of Upright_

Setting up your studio monitors can be a contentious subject, but it’s a matter of setup preference.

People place their studio monitors in a vertical position, but a horizontal configuration may be better.

We all want to ensure that we get the best sound out of our studio monitors regardless of the model and the room we use.

So here is why you should consider a horizontal setup rather than a vertical setup.


  • Most studio monitors are made and set up in vertically to create the best sounds possible.
  • It is possible to set up your monitors horizontally, but there are a few rules and “only ifs” to consider.
  • Make sure to read the monitor’s manual to check if its manufacturing allows it to be set up horizontally.
Table of Contents

Is it OK to Set Up Horizontal Studio Monitors?

Studio monitor placement is the most important thing to consider when setting up your monitors for the first time.

Having a horizontal placement of your studio monitors as compared to a vertical placement can be possible when these three factors are met:

Ear Height

It would be best if you always positioned your monitor at ear level. Placing your monitor correctly and listening will help you get the MOST out of your sound.

The key is to get a sweet spot of the frequency response so that it won’t overlap.

Overlapping frequencies can occur because the speaker placement is wrong, causing a “phasing” or comb filtering when you move out of the sweet spot.

Furthermore, overlapping frequencies occur when the different frequencies are meeting at the same moment.

You can avoid this by ensuring the monitor is a horizontal model. Otherwise, the speaker has to be oriented vertically.

NOTE: Placing your studio monitors sideways without thinking can cause potential audio issues for beginners. Always make sure you follow the manual’s specified alignment!

The Shape of Your Wave Guide

The shape of your waveguide on your tweeter determines frequency dispersion. Most of us will have speakers with two drivers: the woofer and the tweeter.

Finding the waveguide is easy. It’s always around the tweeter and can be shaped as a square, circle, or rectangle.

Understanding the shape of your waveguide can help you decide better. If you are unsure, consider putting your monitor upright first. 

Most studio speakers have a vertical alignment as their default setting.

Putting the speakers sideways will disrupt the stereo image and other audio complications and disperse audio waves on a horizontal plane.

Yet, specific models will need the monitor orientation to be set on a horizontal plane instead of setting it up vertical.

The Manual Guide Says So

Most speakers must be placed in a VERTICAL position.

Putting your speaker horizontally, even if it’s not allowed, will also cause comb filtering. Most speaker manuals would mention your monitor’s position if it is vertical or horizontal.

Placing your studio monitors sideways by mistake can create a blurry stereo image. So, always consider the default setting of your studio monitor.

Why Should I Put My Studio Monitors Horizontally?

You shouldn’t! 

But some speakers produce sound better when the monitors are on their side.

Yet, if you plan to put the monitors on their side, make sure that it makes sense for you or that you’re a music professional.

For example, if vertically setting up your speakers is blocking your view of the control room, it makes sense to put your monitors sideways.

As a professional, audio mixing by placing your monitors on their side creates an impossible sound in a vertical position.

You may have to change your listening position to get the correct sweet spot when listening to your speakers.

So, this would yield the results you want compared to putting your speakers on a vertical plane.

Otherwise, like most studio speakers, set it up vertically because a horizontal position can ruin your stereo image.

How to Set Up Studio Monitors Sideways

Setting up your studio monitor speakers sideways is a simple feat. Yet, some people make mistakes when putting their monitors on their side.

The wrong setup runs the risk of comb filtering. It causes audio frequencies to move within a horizontal plane instead of a vertical plane.

Here are some essential tips to help you set up correctly:

1. Set Up Your Speakers Away From The Walls.

Placing your monitors AWAY from the walls prevents any form of echoing. Any audio waves from your monitors will not immediately hit the wall.

Putting some distance between your monitors and the walls can give you a way to avoid any bass buildup.

As a bonus, you can have free access to the back of your monitors, which is a plus!

2) Monitor Stands

Always use monitor stands to align the audio drivers on the same vertical line when setting your monitors sideways.

Your solution is efficient since you want to align your tweeter to your ear level.

Sideways monitors can be challenging to set up because the audio frequencies of your monitors will mix and may cause a stereo image blur.

Using stands allows you to avoid potential problems when you place your studio monitors sideways.

Knowing your ideal speaker placement with these stands will come a long way when creating professional audio.

Yet, if you are on a tight budget and still plan to place your studio monitor sideways, it is best to use an isolation pad and place your monitor on a desk.

Your isolation pads will help you adjust your monitor’s vertical and horizontal alignment.

TIP: You can avoid this tip if you can set your monitors sideways, and it would not cause any stereo image issues or comb filtering.

3) Always, Always, Always, Check Your Monitor’s Orientation.

We might sound like a broken record already but always check the manual of your studio monitor.

If the monitor is in a horizontal configuration, follow it.

Otherwise, placing your monitor in a vertical position instead of a horizontal position will cause issues for you and your monitor.

WARNING: Do not just put your studio monitors sideways freely unless stated. A wrong alignment can damage your monitor in the long run.

How to Choose Your Studio Monitors?

Choosing where you are putting your speakers is as important as choosing the right monitors. Here are some quick tidbits on how to select your studio room.

1. It Should Fit Your Room

Placing speakers in a small room can be very awkward. Buying small speakers and placing them within a large room can give you that feeling.

The same can be true if your buy a speaker that is too large or too small relative to the size of your room.

Not only will it look goofy but also, you can encounter acoustic issues when you are blasting max volume on your speakers.

Always make sure that your room isn’t too big or too small.

BIGGER rooms are always preferred because the frequency spectrum won’t be affected.

Keeping in mind the frequency spectrum when sound waves travel is essential. Putting your speakers in a room not fit for size can cause sound issues or comb filtering.

In case you cannot avoid getting a smaller or more ample room, consider changing the position of your studio monitors.

Positioning your monitors will cause fewer echoes and reverberations when you play.

Finding the right sweet spot between the size of your room and your speakers will result in better acoustics.

2. Quality Over Quantity

Buying a poor-quality speaker can affect the audio quality you will produce. Even worse, your monitors may break down during your audio production.

Always trust certified brands selling speakers when you are scouting. Do not buy your products on dubious websites!

If you’re planning to buy a generic brand, always test your speakers before buying.

Testing them would ensure you get the audio you want or expect from the monitors. Ask the salesperson if the speakers can work in vertical and horizontal configurations.

Testing first before buying is a great way to check the bass driver inside and ensure you are getting good quality monitors.

3. Know Your Budget

Knowing your budget can give you an idea of which speaker you want to buy.

Are you aiming to get professional sound from your control room? Or are you just aiming for something more casual?

Even if you can get a high-quality bass driver with that $1,000 speaker, you can get the same quality with around a $500 speaker.

Always scout first and compare different products at different price points before making a final decision. 

YOU know what kind of speaker you need!

4. Room Acoustics

Always consider your acoustics before buying anything as well. Sound waves from your monitor move in the vertical and horizontal planes.

At some point, audio waves will bounce and reflect on your floor and walls causing echoes and reverberations.

If your monitor/s are too close to the walls and ceiling, you will get echoes and reverberations frequently, which can be bad for your audio mix.

Similarly, the same effect can happen by using simple building materials for your walls and floors for your acoustic setup.

Wooden floors and cemented walls do not absorb audio waves, so it causes echoes when it bounces too early.

Fixing this issue can be costly as you have to spend money on floor or wall audio absorption material to stop echoing and phasing issues.

So, What’s The Best Mixing Room Setup?

To give you an idea, anything below 10ft in length and width and 10ft in height can handle acoustic issues whenever you produce music.

Investing in soundproofing materials for your floor and wall, acoustic panels, and bass traps will also help make your place the ideal setup for producing music.

Setting up your mixing room from scratch can be pretty expensive.

You will have to spend on audio absorption material for your floors and walls, not including the labor cost.

But, if you already have a potential space in your house or another location, ensure that the size is wide and long enough for audio waves to travel longer.

Frequently Asked Questions

Why Do You Always Need Two Studio Monitors?

You cannot create amazing music with only one monitor. Having only one monitor while creating audio can make life difficult for you.

Having more than one monitor allows you to create and experiment with more audio files to reproduce stereo audio.

Some producers buy low-quality monitors and experiment with their listening position to test the audio quality for casual users.

Would The Size of My Room Matter?


Bigger studios are preferred more over smaller studios because having a tight space can affect the frequency response of your sound.

Having a larger studio would also mean a more extended frequency range where it will take a long time to reverberate.

A smaller room would entail more sound reverberations which can cause echoes and other sound resonance issues.

However, if you use smaller speakers, a small room is fine!

In unique scenarios, such as tight room space, you may want to put your monitor sideways and lower the volume so that audio issues will not occur as often.

Final Thoughts

Setting up your studio monitors sideways can have its benefits and downsides.

Getting a monitor meant to have a horizontal setup will make your life easier, and creating and mixing audio will be a stellar time.

Though a vertical setup can be a great way to produce quality music, trying out a horizontal monitor setup for added creativity may lead your music production to greater heights!

About the author


After becoming obsessed with the beats that were the soundtrack to his youth, Nick became a student of hip hop, digging for vinyl records, looking for the perfect break. Before he got his hands on an MPC sampler, he would mash these records, beats, and breaks into mixtapes and live DJ sets.