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Number 6
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15th May 2009
Old 15th May 2009
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Anyone like Mono mixes?

I've been mixing a few tracks for someone who is going for an electronic-abstract-1965 kind of sound. We had a discussion about approaches to mixing (using very little in the way of processing) and decided to try a couple tracks mixed in mono (we'd been listening to a lot of classic electronic music from the mid-'60s).

In this instance, it seems to be just the right thing! It's kind of the difference between monochrome and color photography I guess - what you lose in stereo space you gain in something else... depth? Maybe not as clear cut as that.

Sounds good though, on the right material.

Maybe give it a try?
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Number 6 View Post
I've been mixing a few tracks for someone who is going for an electronic-abstract-1965 kind of sound. We had a discussion about approaches to mixing (using very little in the way of processing) and decided to try a couple tracks mixed in mono (we'd been listening to a lot of classic electronic music from the mid-'60s).

In this instance, it seems to be just the right thing! It's kind of the difference between monochrome and color photography I guess - what you lose in stereo space you gain in something else... depth? Maybe not as clear cut as that.

Sounds good though, on the right material.

Maybe give it a try?
+1

Mono is underrated. For the appropriate kind music it has such a different and lovely life to it.

I still have to find the right project to record to 1/4" vacuum tube full track mono at 15ips then take to the disc cutter for 45 rpm mastering.
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I love mono. The mixes are denser, more solid. I think stereo is way over-rated.
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16th May 2009
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Another MONO lover here.

I recently mixed a single in MONO for a band. The song has a slightly spooky mid-60's stonesy vibe - like the Dave Hassigner engineered stuff.

Everyone agrees - the greatest mix I ever did.
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Yes to Mono
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Nothing better than mono in my opinion. For the past two years all I've mostly listened to has been Phil Spectors Back to Mono set. Spectacular stuff.
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Mono doesn't have the phase weirdness that stereo creates. It's great.
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ok, i'll have to disagree big time here. Mono recordings of the past that i've heard sounded like a load of crap. I can't imagine anyone trying to promote a mono recording in this day and age. You might as well throw your gear out the window.











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Originally Posted by syntheticrhyme View Post
ok, i'll have to disagree big time here. Mono recordings of the past that i've heard sounded like a load of crap. I can't imagine anyone trying to promote a mono recording in this day and age. You might as well throw your gear out the window.
Things that sound like crap in mono usually sound like crap in stereo as well.

I like mono. Mixed a similar abstract project in mono just a week or two ago. Good stuff.
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For the most part, I say No to mono.

I think stereo is the next best thing since two ears.

I do mix in mono before going to stereo
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Theres a lot to be said for mono, I don't really have the time right now to go into detail but there are a lot of very famous recordings that were mixed in mono and then quickly remixed to stereo later. (I'm not talking about new stuff but oldies) The mono mixes obviously had more work put into them. Just because it's stereo doesn't automatically make them better....
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Quote:
Originally Posted by syntheticrhyme View Post
ok, i'll have to disagree big time here. Mono recordings of the past that i've heard sounded like a load of crap. I can't imagine anyone trying to promote a mono recording in this day and age. You might as well throw your gear out the window.
I don't know about that - I've heard many mono recordings that I've liked. I know what you mean about promoting a mono recording in these modern times, but taken in the context of the material (abstract, electronic, very early-mid '60s sounding, virtually no top end), it's the right thing.

When mixing, I approached the whole thing differently to the way I would mix a modern record. Different musics require different strategies. It's not a modern pop / rock record.

I guess I just like lots of different sounds and approaches.
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Makinithappen View Post
Theres a lot to be said for mono, I don't really have the time right now to go into detail but there are a lot of very famous recordings that were mixed in mono and then quickly remixed to stereo later. (I'm not talking about new stuff but oldies) The mono mixes obviously had more work put into them. Just because it's stereo doesn't automatically make them better....
Yes, I've found a lot of records in my collection that are like that. Also, a few interesting pop pressings on Decca from the '60s which had been 'specially processed from mono to give a stereo output' as it said on the sleeve (something like that, anyway). I think they used the old trick of passing a mono signal through an EQ, set to cut and boost symmetrically on each side. Interesting effect, but the mono pressings sounded better (maybe a marketing thing, trying to update their catalog for stereo).
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dragan View Post
I like mono. Mixed a similar abstract project in mono just a week or two ago. Good stuff.
Very interesting. Did you find that you approached other elements differently than you would usually? I was finding that I was using less EQ and compression. Reverbs were a couple of different springs and delays were either from a bucket-brigade box or set up on a Revox tape recorder (quite often during tracking).
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17th May 2009
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Quote:
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Very interesting. Did you find that you approached other elements differently than you would usually? I was finding that I was using less EQ and compression. Reverbs were a couple of different springs and delays were either from a bucket-brigade box or set up on a Revox tape recorder (quite often during tracking).
Hmm....... cover one ear and listen to some music. Does it sound better to you?

Not to me it doesn't. I'd say the same for mono.
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Love mono.

Stereo mixes that are mostly mono with some ear candy on the sides are also great.

Headphones are going to make mono mixes tough for some people to get their heads around, but sure you could put out a successful mono recording now if you found the right niche.

Probably wouldn't make the Pop Top 40, but so what?
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A Nigel Godrich technique often overlooked.

Listen to Beck's "Nausea."

Mono except for one element in the chorus.

Think like a painter, people. Contrast.

The blue dot in the corner of the red painting.

The red dot in the corner of the blue painting.

Where does your eye go?

Yup.

- c
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Silver Sonya View Post
A Nigel Godrich technique often overlooked.

Listen to Beck's "Nausea."

Mono except for one element in the chorus.

Think like a painter, people. Contrast.

The blue dot in the corner of the red painting.

The red dot in the corner of the blue painting.

Where does you eye go?

Yup.

- c
A great technique. I often try to keep my verses "narrow" (not necessarily mono, though), because a wide stereo image just screams "chorus" and sounds huge. Perfect! Nigel is awesome.
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Ask Vincent Gallo!!
he just love mono!!! actually think he just listen all music only in mono .
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Quote:
Originally Posted by syntheticrhyme View Post
ok, i'll have to disagree big time here. Mono recordings of the past that i've heard sounded like a load of crap. I can't imagine anyone trying to promote a mono recording in this day and age. You might as well throw your gear out the window.192k - Pro HD 192k Audio Recording
Yeah! or give it to me! :D

Seriously, I think Mono has its place. For a time I was recording everything in stereo but mono adds another dimension in an odd sort of way to a stereo recording.
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i like mono.
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mono, a kissing mix ?
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What I'm most interested in with the upcoming Beatles remasters are those mono mixes. Back then, stereo was the tedious chore they had to do, a remix for those 2-speaker gimmick lovers out there with their chopped up sounds...but that was only done after already having mixed the real version.

Times change. But mono still sounds great to me too.
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Quote:
Originally Posted by syntheticrhyme View Post
ok, i'll have to disagree big time here. Mono recordings of the past that i've heard sounded like a load of crap. I can't imagine anyone trying to promote a mono recording in this day and age. You might as well throw your gear out the window.

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Well, I don't know what you listening on, but if a well recorded mono record doesn't sound good on it there's something seriously wrong.

And maybe you SHOULD throw most of your gear out the window because your response indicates to me an essential ignorance of the basics of the recording art - like mic choice, mic placement, acoustics, keeping a clean signal path, etc. If you don't use all those bells and whistles you might learn something that seems to have been lost by a lot of people trying to do sound engineering these days.

When recording something like a solo singer/guitarist you often don't need more than one good mic and a good sounding room. I was just commenting on that to a friend the other day while listening to one of Bob Dylan's early recordings - my guess is that all they needed was a U-47 and a tape machine, maybe a mic pre. That approach eliminates a lot of the phasing and interference problems you get when using multiple mics on that type of source.

Another application of mono mixing is live sound reinforcement. In any live situation greater than a fairly small room the bulk of the mix sould be done in mono, with only a very slight stereo spread and possibly stereo effects if appropriate for the material. Why? Because in a room of any size doing any sort of extreme stero spread means that anybody standing anywhere except the middle of the room will miss a great deal of the music. In fact, in a smaller room it sometimes helps to use a reverse stero mix of the instruments in the PA to make the overall mix of stage and system MORE monophonic, so everybody hears all the instruments. (This is a general rule of thumb, of course there are exceptions in the case of certain acts that use placement effects as part of the performance - Pink Floyd, for example.....)
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we only have two ears , why do we use, 127 microphones? i love mono very much.
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The guy does Pro Audio HD 192 K recording!! 192!!! That's twice as much as I ever use. Clearly he knows more than I do!! Probably twice as much!!!

I mean, did you miss the word "Pro"?


- c
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I personally don't like mono mixes at all.

That being said, I think it's a good deal harder to create a mix that retains its integrity with respect to levels and frequency balance when folded down to mono. Stereo allows us so many convenient paths around these issues!

Mono is a great tool to check progress on a mix, but not exactly my idea of a destination.
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Silver Sonya View Post
A Nigel Godrich technique often overlooked.

Listen to Beck's "Nausea."

Mono except for one element in the chorus.

Think like a painter, people. Contrast.

The blue dot in the corner of the red painting.

The red dot in the corner of the blue painting.

Where does your eye go?

Yup.

- c
If I walk into a room filled with one color paintings with a single dot of color in each of the corners, it wont be long before I'm walking into another gallery.

Unlike a painting, a recording must serve the song and performance. If mono serves that then it might be a great thing, but advocating for mono to me is like advocating for piano or bagpipes, etc. It might be phenomenal or it might completely suck.
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kenny M View Post
If I walk into a room filled with one color paintings with a single dot of color in each of the corners, it wont be long before I'm walking into another gallery.
Yeah, Rothko sucked!



I'm only kidding.

Listen, nobody's advocating for mono, just saying that it can be a satisfying sound and approach to mixing/recording in certain circumstances.

- c
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