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Is mono compatibility a fad that has past?
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demel
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9th January 2006
Old 9th January 2006
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Is mono compatibility a fad that has past?

Is spreading things out a bit more with longer delays becoming more acceptable for helping achieve a spacious and wide mix? Even if the overall sound is compromised when you hit the mono button?

I tracked and mixed a few songs for a friend of mine and while I was adjusting a delay on the guitar from larger to smaller and I was asked to put it back to the wider delay. I then flipped on the mono button and it became obvious to him what happened to the sound.
But the comment that came out after was, "screw it, no-one listens to music anymore on AM radio."

In the end we settled for a mix that that sounded alot better in mono.
But the point of this thead is whether I should have listened to that advice or not?
I'm not sure if you can even buy a mono system anymore. Even cheap clock-radios have 2 speakers on them.

Is it absolutely necessary to have perfect mono compatiblity on mixes or not?
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While it's true that the instances of mono delivery systems are becoming less and less, there are still a good number of analog television sets that have mono speakers, so for stuff that is broadcast on TV it can still be an issue.
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Also, although a unit might have two speakers, if they are two inches apart (like on some 'stereo TVs') but the listener is, say, 10 feet from the unit, it is essentially a mono sound the user is hearing with no stereo field what-so-ever.


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9th January 2006
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Or you could look at it like: shrinking everything down to mono is the cruelest test for your mix. If it survives that, it's truly great. Sometimes, I don't dare. I don't wanna know.
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9th January 2006
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in "POST" work for TV, mono compatibility is still an issue, like zboy2854 mentioned...lots of mono audiences still.
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9th January 2006
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If you are mixing for the clubs than yes it is an issue.
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"Is mono compatibility a fad that has past?"

A fad!?!? Is that what you think it is?
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I put a system in my daughters 99 Escort. The way the back speakers are oriented and the way they bounce off the glass, I swear it's mono. But it isn't. Anything with bad phase problems sounds terrible in that car. There are a lot of Escorts like that one and I'm sure it's not the only car that acts like that. Mono compatibility is still an issue.

Anyway, the stronger mixes are generally more mono-compatable in the first place.
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Quote:
Sometimes, I don't dare. I don't wanna know


all mixes that i love sound good in mono (steely dan anyone?). lots of listening environments are effectivly only mono... even if the speaker configuration is stereo...

self.
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they're still millions of televisions in North America that are reproducing the audio in mono, regardless of stereo capability.

If you want your mix to sound good on TV then mono matters
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My personal thoughts...I don't think it's as big of a deal as it used to be. There are some very creative things that don't work in mono, but sound great in stereo. Also, not all stereo techniques end up being panned hard L-R, so attention to detail in that area can be beneficial when doing more narrow panning. I.E. I use spaced A-B pair of cardiods on overheads. I have to be extra careful, but when it's done right I can pan 10/3 or 9/3 and it still sounds very solid. Same with guitar amps or kick drums or piano and multiple mics.
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It's still relevant for TV, movies (cheap theaters or rentals later), clubs, and even FM radio becomes mono as you travel into areas with poorer reception. Obviously if you are doing dance music and want to put it on vinyl it's also an issue. Also, mixes often sound better with good mono compatibility. It doesn't mean you have to avoid special effects, but if a mix completely falls apart when you hit the mono button, there are probably issues that deserve a second look. You have a little more wiggle room these days, but it's still best not to ignore it.
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9th January 2006
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Samc
"Is mono compatibility a fad that has past?"

A fad!?!? Is that what you think it is?

Sound reproduction is so 20th century...
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mono is everything
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Would two adjacent speakers be the same as a mono mix, in terms of acoustics and cancellation?
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i Do a fair amount of tv mixing with music.
I agree that I don't think it's as relevant anymore, but I definitely try to make sure the key elements are projecting really well in mono:
kick, snare, hat, bass, lead vocal, and maybe one key gtr rythmn part.

I'm less concerned with some pads/synths, some bgvs, washy gtrs that may help give mixes width and depth in stereo.

mono reverbs/efx can help out a lot
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Quote:
Originally Posted by wallace
Would two adjacent speakers be the same as a mono mix, in terms of acoustics and cancellation?
although similar, not the same....just try it. Stick two small speakers together, and then press the mono button. You will hear the phantom center come together
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Also, you won't get that big suprize if unfortunately, your "super stereo mix" finds it way onto an AM station...! Believe me, bad news travels fast. Just better hope the "super stereo mix" get played... BEFORE... the AM station plays it if it's not mono compatiable. It's sometimes hard to reverse first impressions!.......
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also, did you see a lot of correct stereo setups in homes? (except for the highend freaks of course). Many ppl do not care for and do not understand the concept of stereo.. still they listen to music, but 'different'. nothing leaves this room without a mono check.
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Ah man ... I have the shitiest speaker in the corner of my studio that I send a mono feed to when mixing .... its the only way I can balance vox/snare ... its really important 2 me ... mono mix ref is so, so ,so important ....
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I'm all for good mono mixing as well: think of all the times after listening and mixing something, and suddenly - you realize - I'M IN MONO', and flip back to stereo - it's a whole, new, world...

Kidding aside - lots of balance issues can become really apparant when collapsed - something lacking in the mono "centre" is usually the death of a mix IMO...

good point @ Thrill - a lot of cheap DJ'ing will often run bridged mono, or whatever is working ATM. Having good translation never hurt anyone, and it made some of the best 'hits' in recorded music.

the flip approach: there's always something to taking chances - they're often the best decisions we make...

Remember - there are no "mistakes" in this business...

regards,
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to what's already been said I can add:

Often music is heard while doing other things, cooking in the next room, sitting at a bar table etc


Is rather difficult to find somebody sitting in front of the stereo set, while is pretty common for average listeners to do other stuff while listening to muz, and if they're out of the stereo field what they hear is more or less mono





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I think KUDZU raises an excellent point here. Sometimes the best way to get good balances between certain tracks or instruments is to listen in mono. I do that all the time. I listen to my kik/snare balance. I listen to how loud/quiet my lead vocal is in mono. In addition to checking whether or not some funky stereo effect I created works in mono, I also check just for balances.

So from that perspective it's always good to listen in mono.
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9th February 2006
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I always compare my stereo mixes to mono...

In fact, I don't think enough recording/mixing engineers listen to mono for proper compatibility.

When I'm mixing in my own environment, I always listen to the mix from a mono speaker mounted six feet behind my scull. And I don't turn around to listen to it either. I want to hear how the mono signal sounds hitting the back of my head. Matter of fact, at my place my main speaker switch is patched to my nearfields and the nearfield switch is patched to that mono speaker setup behind me in. I need this setup and conditions addressed to do the job correctly.
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jayfrigo
It's still relevant for TV, movies (cheap theaters or rentals later), clubs, and even FM radio becomes mono as you travel into areas with poorer reception.
When you drive into a fringe area in the U. S. and your FM receiver blends to mono, you instantly lose a few db of loudness because the standard was set up that way a long time ago by the FCC. If a song (or in my case a commercial) has a phase issue, you'll lose still more loudness from phase cancelation. And we all know that loudness is our most important product. LOL, sort of.
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Quote:
Originally Posted by doug_hti
although similar, not the same....just try it. Stick two small speakers together, and then press the mono button. You will hear the phantom center come together
There's a very good reason for that. Think about it logically for a second. In the one case you've got one cone vibrating wildly trying to produce the entire spectrum, in the other there's 2 separate speakers vibrating completely independently. Of course it will be much easier for any system with two speakers to reproduce a fuller spectrum with a wide stereo mix.

In fact, even if you push the "mono" button on your mixer it's not the same as true mono. Even though there's two speakers supposedly doing the same thing it's not the same as one speaker, one sound source.

But in general, even if there are two speakers close together along way from the listener, it is still very different from a true mono source.

//m
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10th February 2006
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Quote:
Originally Posted by matt_tricks
In fact, even if you push the "mono" button on your mixer it's not the same as true mono. Even though there's two speakers supposedly doing the same thing it's not the same as one speaker, one sound source.
//m
'Strue...

When 'checking a mix in mono'
you should use only one speaker
(after engaging the 'mono' switch, of course)...
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10th February 2006
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Mono is hugely important. If it sounds bad in mono it gonna sound real bad in stereo. Its not just about panning, its about phase and everything's about phase. Check out how bad so called stereo guitar processors or keyboards sound when summed to mono. I've even panned things like hi hats and toms in mono just to find where pokes through the best
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Quote:
Originally Posted by demel
Is mono compatibility a fad that has past?
Huh?

Isn't this a bit like asking "Were bronze tools or horse-drawn transport just fads?"
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Here's my quote, "if you have a mono system you get what you deserve" that being said, I like to check things in mono to see what's going on, but I don't pay too much attention. A lot of studio trickery involves things that don't necessarily sound great in mono(i.e. offsetting one side of a guitar or vocal by a small amount of milliseconds on one side to create a nice stereo image "chorusing, doubling, thickening" sound that will definitely result in a certain amount of phase cancelation in mono)

check out Nine Inch Nails broken(92). It says "not for use with mono systems" If you listen to "happiness in slavery" the snare dissapears in mono cause it's out of phase...but who ****ing cares, it sounds great
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