Screen Real Estate

This is a really stupid question but I can’t seem to wrap my head around it.

If I currently have a 22" widescreen monitor and I replace it with a 27" widescreen monitor, will I get more screen real estate in Cubase or will everything just be bigger? For instance, watching a film on either screen, I’m not going to see any more content on the larger screen, everything will just be larger.

But in Cubase, if I upgraded to a larger screen, and opened up a project would I now be able to see more tracks from top to bottom for instance? I’m thinking if I use the same resolution on both monitors everything would be the same size as it was on the smaller screen and I would actually be able to fit more on the screen on the larger monitor but I’m just not sure…

If the resolution of the smaller screen and the larger screen are the same, you won’t gain any more screen real estate.

1920 x 1080 on a 22" screen is the same as 1920 x 1080 on a 27" screen.
The only difference is that objects will appear larger on the 27" screen, due to the larger pixel size.

Unfortunately, most of the monitors on the market today are all 1920 x 1080 or below (despite physical size).
You can get larger monitors with higher resolutions, but they’re usually pretty expensive (nearing $1,000).

Yup, Better IMO to use two (or more) monitors, then you get loads more screen real estate :slight_smile:


Hmmm, ok thanks guys. I currently use a 22" monitor at 1680x1050. I can’t go any higher with this bad boy and I guess I won’t gain much by bumping up to 1920x1080 on a monitor that can.

I would love to do dual monitors but I’m having trouble visualizing exactly how to set up my workstation with two. As it stands, I’ve built a riser for my desk upon which sits my 22" monitor and my studio monitor boxes. I can build a wider shelf I suppose and maybe orient a second monitor vertically squeezed in next to my primary 22". The only thing is then I will always be looking more to one side than the other(depending on where my primary monitor goes) which kind of sucks ergonomically. I suppose I could mount the secondary above my primary but then I’m kinda crooking my neck to look up at it.

At work I use three monitors with the biggest one centered in front of me and two vertically mounted to each side, this keeps the ergonomic balance. I don’t know that I want/need three at home and my video card only has two unoccupied outs(though I’m doing a new build with a Z77 mobo next week so I think I can use the on-board video to get a third output if I wanted?). Ahhh, decision, decisions.

Maybe I’ll just build the wider shelf and leave the primary monitor more or less centered so there will be a hole between it and my left audio monitor. I could put the submixer there that currently routes my outputs from my interface. Yeah…I think I might like that idea. Maybe I’ll hit Best Buy tomorrow then Home Depot! How do you configure your multiple monitors placement-wise and what not?

If you buy a 27" model with a 2560x1440 resolution you get about twice a much pixels as you have now. It would fit the 16:9 factor (same as 1920x1080), so movies would use the whole area of the screen. Also, those are not as expensive as the 30" 2560x1600 models.
Maybe the next best thing would be two 1920x1200 (16:10 aspect) 24" models. They are not ideal for watching movies (black bars on bottom and top), but I prefer two of them instead of two 1920x1080 ones.
If you could still find your exact model, just buy a cheap used one ant put it beneath the one you’ve already got.
Don’t mix different sizes/resolutions, as it will drive you crazy when placing the windows inside Cubase (mouse jumps up or down as soon as you pass the boarder between the monitors.
It all depends from different things like the distance between your eyes and the monitor, the angle you get with your speakers placed at the left and right side of the monitor(s), the importance of the “right” aspect ratio for movies, etc.
I started with two 20" 1600x1200 monitors (not very common these days) and a good angle for the monitors. But the picture was quite fine (small pixels), so I wished I’d taken two 21" 1600x1200 models (not very much bigger, but just the small improvement that’s better for the eyes. Your actual model has got about the pixel size of those. When 16:9 became an important factor (in conjunction with the HDMI connection and HDCP), I switched to two 23" 1920x1080 models. There I had to do the same thing as you will need to do: widen the the shelf to get enough place for two screens and two speakers. 23" was too tiny again (pixel-wise), and there was always missing something at the botton and the top. So I got the “final” setup with two 24" 1920x1200 monitors. To me, that’s the best solution, but I don’t use them to watch movies anymore.
You see, there’s quite a lot to consider, and maybe it’s like finding “the one” guitar. (Which is your favourite guitar? – Always the one I haven’t got yet …)
There is an easy way to compare “monitor real estate”. Just use a drawing software to create squares that correspond to the different resolutions (like 1680x1050, 1920x1080, 2560x1600, …). 1680x1050 pixels would be 168x105 millimeters. And if you need the naked figures to compare: 1920x1080 gives you 2.073.600 pixels, for example.
Don’t confuse inches with pixels. 1920x1080 is always the same, no matter if the monitor is a 23" or a 40" model. Inches only are important if the monitor is placed too far away from your keyboard/mouse (mixing desk inbetween, e.g.).
Sorry for being so talkative – it’s just some thoughts to keep you away from my own (quite expensive) “learning by doing” process :wink:

Hey, much thanks for passing on your own lessons learned. I was on the fence on whether keeping any secondary monitor at the same resolution was all that important but with your advice I have decided to get a second 22" with native 1680X1050 like the one I currently have. It was either that or get a bigger primary with higher resolution but then if I wanted a secondary and wanted to run it at the same resolution that would get expensive very quickly. A decent 22" can be had for $150 or so (plus however much for a vertical mounting stand for what I intend to do).

I went to the lumber store today and had them cut me some pieces to build a a new 5’ by 17.5" riser so I can get the platform ready for the extra monitor(s). I got it home and was trying to visualize every thing and I wasn’t quite sure it would all fit so I downloaded Google SketchUp and drew up it that way and it does like like everything will fit beautifully. Check it out(top down view):

Of course, the narrow rectangles(3) are spaces for LCD screens and the two chunkier ones on the ends are my audio monitors. I’m going to start with one secondary monitor to the right of my primary and Ill either get a third for the left space or just appropriate that extra surface for something else. I use three monitors at work and never feel like I have too much screen so I may just go for it with the third monitor here at home too.

Does anyone have experience running two monitors from their dedicated video card and then running a third monitor straight from an Ivy/Sandy Bridge motherboard and having them all play nice?

I use three monitors, two from a graphics card and one from the motherboard, works very well. Only problem is getting the monitors to Identify in a logical order!

As a point of interest, Using three monitors side by side forces you to place the Speakers very wide! usually way off the recommended equilateral triangle when sitting at a work station.

I actually have two 24" monitors mounted vertically, and find this to be very comfortable, the third monitor is actually positioned beyond the left speaker. The speaker positions are the most critical things to consider and should be in the optimal position, then the display should be made to fit thereafter. Also don’t forget that putting all those screens in make a very good acoustic reflector approximating a parabolic sound reflector!!!

Dolby recommends placing the speakers above the video monitors when this is the case. That’s what I did. It’s better not to compromise your imaging, but if someone else is doing your mixing and mastering it’s not as critical.

Hmmm, well it is possible I hope(though it may take a bit of mucking around with the settings)? So if you successfully set up your center monitor as your desktop proper and extend your desktop off to the left and right on the respective monitors, then when you open up Cubase it will behave basically the same way?

Ok, well I’m glad you mentioned that. I was thinking that placing the monitors more widely would give me a better awareness of the stereo imaging but if the equilateral triangle positioning is the ideal then I think I can set it up more like this(more fun with SketchUp!):

I’ll have to actually start positioning things physically to see if that setup feels right from my position in the chair but I have a pretty good feeling about it so far.

Is this generally a good or a bad thing or does it depend on the room?

I meant only two (identical) screens between the speakers.

It’s a bad thing.

Well, I want my primary view centered in front of me when sitting at my desk. My plan at the moment is to center my primary 22" between my audio monitors(oriented horizontally) to keep the equilateral sound image like Split suggested, and to get a second 22" to place vertically to the right of my right monitor. I’ll be running both at 1680x1050. If I decide I want to add a third screen I’ll have a space on my desk riser to the left of my left monitor. I’ll take a picture and post it once everything is in place.

That’s a strong point.
(I’m sitting in front of one big 30" screen most of the time, and it’s very comfortable.)

On the other hand, two screens positioned side by side are easily perceived as one. The center is where the frames meet.
(Watching a movie on either the left or right half of that super-wide screen is not different from sitting at the extreme left or right in the cinema.)

Here’s my setup,
Marcus_Studio-15 small.jpg
2x high res 24 inch with one high res 30 inch in the middle. They’re on different planes so I’ve a clear,unimpeded space for the quested monitors to fire through.

The monitor on the left is for the Mac and the the 30 and right 24 are my main windows DAW.


Looks great!

I just built a new computer for my studio I used a Galexy Gforce GTX560 MDT which has 4 DVI outs and is capable of doing 1 monitor for the desktop and 3 set as 5760X1080 @ 50Hz. it is Geat for Cubase. One thing to note it requires a custom resolution setup in the nvidia conrtol panel including setting the custom timings. Mot hard to setup but know documentation telling you how to get it right. If going with this go to galexy’s website and there is a list of tested monitors that handle the 50Hz Refresh. I did not do that first and had to ship back the asus monitors I bought in favor of 3 viewsonic VX2450wm-LED which were on the list. It looks awsome.

Also, as far as mounting there are a host of 3 monitor desktop mounts that mount off a single vertical pipe clamped to the desk. just google triple monitor mounts.