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Do your monitors have sharp edges? Shouldn't they be more curvy?

A post by David Mellor
Saturday February 12, 2005
Monitor loudspeakers are traditional box-shaped with 90-degree edges. But some monitors are noticeably curvy - you need look no further than some of the Genelec range. Is this just a design feature, or are there benefits to the curved shape?
Do your monitors have sharp edges? Shouldn't they be more curvy?

Monitor loudspeakers are traditional box-shaped with 90-degree edges. The reason for this? It's easy for the manufacturer.

In fact even if you built your own loudspeakers, you would probably find yourself giving them square corners without even thinking about it.

But some monitors are noticeably curvy - you need look no further than some of the Genelec range. Is this just a design feature, or are there benefits to the curved shape?

Yes there are distinct benefits, to the point where you have to wonder why square-edged loudspeakers still exist.

As sound travels away from a source, such as the drive units of the loudspeaker, it spreads out rapidly and widely. And when the sound wave encounters some kind of discontinuity in the medium through which it travels - such as an object, or the edge of an object - then it tends to 're-radiate' as though this object were a sound source in its own right.

So, when sound leaving the drive units encounters the edges of your loudspeaker cabinets, it re-radiates from these edges. The four front edges of the cabinet become four sources in their own right, delayed with respect to the direct sound by several hundred microseconds.

This delay is significant. When the delayed signal mixes with the direct signal, it causes interference. This leads to a series of peaks and troughs in the frequency response. This is bad, but the frequencies where this occurs change as you move your head even slightly, which makes the problem worse.

The solution is to make speakers with nice curvy edges. This doesn't totally banish the effect, but it makes the sound subtly but noticeably cleaner.

A post by David Mellor
Saturday February 12, 2005 ARCHIVE
David Mellor has been creating music and recording in professional and home studios for more than 30 years. This website is all about learning how to improve and have more fun with music and recording. If you enjoy creating music and recording it, then you're definitely in the right place :-)
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