DIY musicians, who choose NOT to work on their music exclusively in the headphones, often make easily addressable mistakes when setting up their recording equipment: The most common blunder that I see in DIY project studios is monitors placed on a table and facing the recorder’s nipples (or belly).
Near field studio monitors are designed to reproduce the sound accurately only at a listening angle close to 90 degrees (i.e. smack in front of them). This is why ideally you want to place them so that each on of your ears face one of them, in particular when you are mixing or looking for the right sound for an instrument you are recording. Your ears should be at the same distance from the respective monitors, or you’ll perceive one side louder than the other one. So the ideal situation is to create an equilateral triangle whose corners are formed by the two speakers and your head, with the monitors rotated and even inclined if necessary so that the tweeter faces your ear.
Mounting them on two TV racks is the easiest (and cheapest) way to get this right, although proper monitor stands are better. Although getting the proper monitor positioning is crucial, another huge factor influencing their sound is their interaction with the room that hosts them. This is a rather complex topic we can’t tackle here, but we can give you two simple rules of thumb: 1. Pick a room that has no cubical or even square dimensions, or even better, that has an odd shape; 2. Make sure you have a good amount of (solid) furniture in it, and maybe some anti-reflection panels and hanging carpets in some sections of the wall. – (image courtesy of Avid)