The term Direct Field, as applied to studio monitors, derives from concepts in close field monitor design, and can be used interchangeably with “nearfield.” However, the term “nearfield” is actually a trademarked name held by Ed Long’s Calibration Systems of Oakland CA. In common usage, “nearfield” has become synonymous with close-field monitor systems, like Kleenex is synonymous with tissue paper.
The term Direct Field derives from the following: When listening to loudspeakers in a control room, you hear both the direct sound emanating from the speakers and the reverberant field or early room reflections. The more omnidirectional the loudspeaker, the more the listener will hear of the room’s reverberant field. As this can cause inaccuracies in mixing, the goal is to increase the ratio of direct sound to early room reflections, so that the listener is more in the direct field and is able to hear more of the program material and less room effects. Subjectively this is perceived as improved imaging and better definition. The objective of controlling the directivity of sound emanating from monitors has lead to other trademarked names from loudspeaker manufacturers such as Constant Directivity by Electro-Voice, and Directivity Control Waveguide by Genelec.