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Mono is better than Stereo Studio Monitors
Old 31st July 2014
  #91
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roonsbane's Avatar
I believe what you are hearing is the natural ring out of a room. This would give you depth information. How far away from a single microphone a source is. That will be translated upon playback. I don't believe you will hear a left to right sound stage. All of those Haas effect perceptions Placement left to right between speakers. Still the power of great music will overcome mono!
Cameron
Old 31st July 2014
  #92
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rolo 46 View Post
What amazes me is that well recorded mono can have depth on a good system
Where are the spatial clues coming from?
What is our brains DSP perceiving?
For a single sound source, a key factor for the perception of depth is the level ratio of direct to reverberant (indirect) sound. As the sound source gets closer to you, the direct sound component will increase in relative strength.

This pertains also in mono - for you don't actually need to have any information on the direction of incidence of the sound waves at the capsule to be able to distinguish between what's direct and what's reverberant: the reverberant stuff will be arriving a bit later than the main front and be smeared out in time.

You could verify that by listening, eyes closed and finger plugged in one ear, next time you find yourself in:
- a cobbled alleyway, with a mate yelling greetings as he approaches
- a deserted London metro tunnel, as you approach a distant busker.

Of course, with the multiple sound sources in an orchestra there are additional clues operating to provide info on the relative distance relationships of the various sound sources, viz. arrival time differences of direct sounds, and absolute level differences of direct sounds. Again, those arrival time and level differences will still be observable in mono.
Old 31st July 2014
  #93
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whestworld's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Tom McC View Post
For a single sound source, a key factor for the perception of depth is the level ratio of direct to reverberant (indirect) sound. As the sound source gets closer to you, the direct sound component will increase in relative strength.

This pertains also in mono - for you don't actually need to have any information on the direction of incidence of the sound waves at the capsule to be able to distinguish between what's direct and what's reverberant: the reverberant stuff will be arriving a bit later than the main front and be smeared out in time.

You could verify that by listening, eyes closed and finger plugged in one ear, next time you find yourself in:
- a cobbled alleyway, with a mate yelling greetings as he approaches
- a deserted London metro tunnel, as you approach a distant busker.

Of course, with the multiple sound sources in an orchestra there are additional clues operating to provide info on the relative distance relationships of the various sound sources, viz. arrival time differences of direct sounds, and absolute level differences of direct sounds. Again, those arrival time and level differences will still be observable in mono.
The finger in one ear does not close off sounds to that side.... So the above cannot be verified using that technique. You'd have to be totally deaf in one ear to do that experiment. Not allowing sound pressure into the ear cavity does not stop sound from reaching the bones within the ear.
Old 31st July 2014
  #94
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whestworld's Avatar
 

I do find it incredible that on this forum, in this industry that there are people that not only prefer mono BUT PREFER MONO !!!!!
Old 1st August 2014
  #95
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Sounds Great's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by whestworld View Post
I do find it incredible that on this forum, in this industry that there are people that not only prefer mono BUT PREFER MONO !!!!!
I don't think anyone said they would prefer mono in all cases. With certain music it frames the song in a way that just works. It can also be an artistic decision. It immediately puts you back to a previous time, and is presenting the music in that time. Like watching a black and white movie. Adding some crackle in the background can help to.

I find this to be true with differences in the fidelity of recordings as well. When I hear a Jimi Hendrix song I also imagine how it would sound had it been recorded a little later with better fidelity. I find his music wonderful but the actual sound quality lacking a bit. And then I think that would take away from the mystique and the time and space it drags me into when I hear the song. This music is likely more intriguing the way it is.
Old 1st August 2014
  #96
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boojum's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by whestworld View Post
I do find it incredible that on this forum, in this industry that there are people that not only prefer mono BUT PREFER MONO !!!!!
Stick around, more shall be revealed.
Old 1st August 2014
  #97
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Sounds Great's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by whestworld View Post
We don't learn how to hear - we hear
I have to go with learned. Everything about every living being is learned.

Hearing is not automatic. Sound waves hitting the ear drum is not hearing. The brain figuring out what this means is hearing. We learn to hear as we start to experience sounds and learn about those sounds and figure out what direction they are coming from relative to the position of the head. And how big things make deeper and lower sounds than small things. This learning starts as soon as you are born. Fortunately (for most) the discovery of sights with the eyes is happening at the same time and helps with the positioning of those noise makers in our line of sight. The two senses working together to learn even faster about the stuff going on around our head.

We're learning from day one until the day we die. Or the ears and/or eyes stop working.

Similar things are happening with touch, like discovering hot surfaces and boiling water are not good for touching.


Quote:

Potty training is learnt
Yes, with the help of someone who's already figured it out.
Old 1st August 2014
  #98
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NathanShirley's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by whestworld View Post
The finger in one ear does not close off sounds to that side....
A screw driver might do the job.
Old 1st August 2014
  #99
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Quote:
Originally Posted by whestworld View Post
The finger in one ear does not close off sounds to that side.... So the above cannot be verified using that technique. You'd have to be totally deaf in one ear to do that experiment. Not allowing sound pressure into the ear cavity does not stop sound from reaching the bones within the ear.
True. The experimental design had flaws - but I was just looking for a convenient, vivid way to confirm the general principle. The more rigorous way would be to venture into that dark alleway or deserted tube tunnel armed with a recorder and (mono) mic. I hereby deny liability for any ensuing robbery of slutz gear. :-)
Old 1st August 2014
  #100
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roonsbane's Avatar
Well, we sharpen our hearing perceptive skills, but I don't believe we learn to hear. I don't believe we learn to hear in stereo any more than we learn to hear mono, anymore than we learn to see. Right out of the womb or very soon after we can see, though our interpretation skills are pretty bad compared to some game animals that pretty much needs to sense danger and run immediately. Human babies are pretty much blobs for a while, but many other animal babies are immediately much more instinctually impressive.
Cameron
Old 1st August 2014
  #101
nkf
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Quote:
Originally Posted by roonsbane View Post
Well, we sharpen our hearing perceptive skills, but I don't believe we learn to hear. I don't believe we learn to hear in stereo any more than we learn to hear mono, anymore than we learn to see. Right out of the womb or very soon after we can see, though our interpretation skills are pretty bad compared to some game animals that pretty much needs to sense danger and run immediately. Human babies are pretty much blobs for a while, but many other animal babies are immediately much more instinctually impressive.
Cameron
We're able to hear in every direction - far beyond what stereo or mono can deliver. Our primate ancestors developed directional hearing under evolution pressure to avoid being eaten by carnivores. That is one of the reasons we're so sensitive for transients and have a very good hearing for things behind us. But every hearing and seeing to become conscious has to be constructed by our brains. The amount of information (the bandwidth) is very high and get filtered down by and for our brain to compute the changes that may be interesting. Furthermore there is a social/cultural side of this construction of audio reality by our brains. It was clearly shown by researchers that music intervals etc. and their emotional 'meaning' is a learning effect. Not all cultures develop the same intervals or can 'understand/feel' them. The idea about mono being better as stereo is completely silly because every step to a multidirectional sound generation comes closer to our evolutionary ability. 'Stereo' has nothing to do with having two ears or mono with having only one. All sound sources are heard within a room anyway with two ears and a holistic construction of the soundfields by our brains, which are widely 'wired' by social learned 'interpretations' of these soundfields.
So, "right out of the womb" you get some dendrites and neurons from ears to brain, but the brain cannot build a construction of reality at the beginning - this has to be learned (lifelong).
Old 1st August 2014
  #102
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Sounds Great's Avatar
 

Nicely put, nfk.
Old 1st August 2014
  #103
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Music is an encoded, abstract message and does not require the full range of hearing. The language of music is learned through cultural conditioning. Listening to recorded music is part of that conditioning (mono is a tool available to use in the craft of recording).

Music starts naturally outside of human culture, particularly in birds, and insects such as crickets.
Old 1st August 2014
  #104
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BlackBackDrop's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by whestworld View Post
We don't learn how to hear - we hear

The meaning of Up and down is learnt ( a baby will try and go up as part of its development to stand up)

Potty training is learnt

Lol
What I meant is that we learn to associate Up and Down sounds with been up or down through experience whereas hearing the direction of a sound is innate (left to right), you are hard wired to discriminate the direction of a sound source because it is vital to survival.
Old 1st August 2014
  #105
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BlackBackDrop's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by aracu View Post
Music is an encoded, abstract message and does not require the full range of hearing. The language of music is learned through cultural conditioning. Listening to recorded music is part of that conditioning (mono is a tool available to use in the craft of recording).

Music starts naturally outside of human culture, particularly in birds, and insects such as crickets.
Just saying; Birds have a different time perception to humans, from a birds perspective it is not singing, its just tring to get laid or warn his mates that a cat is about. You can have lots of fun recording bird song and playing it back to scare them....

Bird song has inspired many a classical masterpiece.
Old 1st August 2014
  #106
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BlackBackDrop's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Rolo 46 View Post
What amazes me is that well recorded mono can have depth on a good system
Where are the spatial clues coming from?
What is our brains DSP perceiving?
The clues are coming from you buddy. We all build (through learning) different schemas, (think of them as frameworks or patterns that representing some aspect of the World) which we use to best represent what we perceive.

Imagine an endless deck of cards. The brain searches the pack simultaneously then gives you what it thinks is the best match. Sometimes it gets it wrong.

So you have learnt to associate a well recorded mono source as having great depth, your brain is in a way doing the listening for you, filling in some parts so you believe (and rightly so) the recording has great depth. Others obviously would disagree because they have a different deck of cards.
Old 1st August 2014
  #107
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Yannick's Avatar
 

Whestworld and Roonsbane,

What you still do not grasp is that there is a distinct and quite huge difference between what YOU call stereo, and the stereo listening experience over two loudspeakers.

A real 3d soundfield consists of thousands of discrete sound sources, maybe all being mono by themselves.
A hifi playback is two sources faking a few tens of "stereo" positions.

The hifi stereo experience is a LEARNED one.
The real life NOT. A baby of a few months clearly reacts to directional information.
A toddler points out a speaker as a sources within milliseconds. Mono or stereo or 5.1, whatever.

A total non-soundengineer only last week pointed out to me how amazing it is, walking on a market place, that our ear picks up these thousands of discrete sounds coming out of all directions, and we can hear this in one very instant, at the very same time discriminating different voices and music and pitch and noises.

The next remark he made was, why cannot stereo recording do this yet ???

So please stop confounding both stereo experiences.
Old 1st August 2014
  #108
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We are not born with the ability to localize sound. Young infants can only react but not localize (turn to) sounds. Near the middle of the first year infants learn to localize sounds in a left vs right plane. By 9 mos they learn to localize sounds in 3 dimensions-including up or down (ie they can turn immediately/ directly to a sound regardless of where it is.

Bill, MD (pediatrician)
Old 1st August 2014
  #109
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One of my first digital freelance recording gigs was Only Fools and Horses on location in Bristol using a Fostex PD4
This machine recorded TC in a different format to the Sony machines in the transfer houses and Labs
Consequently Fostex tapes from my new machine would not play on the Sonys..
I retransferred at home to another Fostex with better azimuth alignment, a pain.
However I monitored on my Apogee Scintilla ribbon speakers and was amazed at the depth coming from the mono source (Batman and Robin running down an alley behind the city morgue!)
It was something I had never been aware of before on my Nagras.
Now I hear it many times.
A learning experience.
Old 1st August 2014
  #110
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whestworld's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Yannick View Post
Whestworld and Roonsbane,

What you still do not grasp is that there is a distinct and quite huge difference between what YOU call stereo, and the stereo listening experience over two loudspeakers.

A real 3d soundfield consists of thousands of discrete sound sources, maybe all being mono by themselves.
A hifi playback is two sources faking a few tens of "stereo" positions.

The hifi stereo experience is a LEARNED one.
The real life NOT. A baby of a few months clearly reacts to directional information.
A toddler points out a speaker as a sources within milliseconds. Mono or stereo or 5.1, whatever.

A total non-soundengineer only last week pointed out to me how amazing it is, walking on a market place, that our ear picks up these thousands of discrete sounds coming out of all directions, and we can hear this in one very instant, at the very same time discriminating different voices and music and pitch and noises.

The next remark he made was, why cannot stereo recording do this yet ???

So please stop confounding both stereo experiences.
Well I can honestly say I really don't understand a word you are saying.

Are you saying a human voice at 1m is made up of thousands of discrete sound sources? You've lost me on the '3D soundfield'.

I realise that stereo is a reproduced by a playback system. I know that in real life we don't have stereo sound sources - although you seem to think a piano is one.

I'm not 'confounding' or confusing the experiences. I just think mono is no where near as good as, or will even reach, or be aurally pleasing as stereo for PLAYBACK !

Your non-sound engineer friend and yourself have probably never recorded and played back an 8 channel discrete setup. It's fun, has solid sounds (stereo = solid in Greek) and teaches you a lot about what is possible and not possible with playback systems.
Old 1st August 2014
  #111
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jimjazzdad's Avatar
Little mention has been made of binaural recording in this discussion. If we take a high quality device like a Neumann head, record a 'sound field', and play it back through top notch 'cans', the listener hears something very close to a faithful reproduction of the original. How many channels are used for this process? Two! Is it stereo or binaural? Semantics. Humans hear sound through two receptors (ears) and process it in our brains in terms of phase, timing, level, etc. How well a given recording/reproduction system is able to transmit those cues to our brains (through two ears) is somewhat dependent on the medium - style of mics, recording technique, speaker(s) or headphones, mono, stereo, quad, 5.1, etc. etc. For my money, stereo is logically the best bang for the buck. All other methods sound good some of the time, but stereo sounds best most of the time.

Not sure if I am prepared to try the screwdriver trick to see if I can more fully appreciate mono. lol.
Old 1st August 2014
  #112
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roonsbane's Avatar
The way we hear is far beyond mono. Sound does not come out of one particular spot an instrument, especially a piano. Stereo is not learned. If you where able to take some of these isolated people recently found in Brazil's tropical forest, I believe they would instantly hear the phantom images and sound stage that we hear with stereo playback. But I can't prove that. Each discreet speaker that you add during playback allows better localization of sound sources. This will make the cat or any other listener find the sound source easier. The binaural technique is indeed very impressive. Mono is closer to a sonic "effect" than stereo. Stereo is more of a sonic "effect" than 5.1. Each one becomes increasingly more transparent. This is a little outside the scope of this discussion, but I can walk into a control room when someone else is mixing and from the far corner of the room instantly tell a piano recorded with two mics is in mono or narrowly panned from it's nasty frequency response.
Cameron
Old 1st August 2014
  #113
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BlackBackDrop View Post
Birds have a different time perception to humans, from a birds perspective it is not singing, its just tring to get laid or warn his mates that a cat is about.
We have no way of knowing what a bird percieves. A friend's parrot sings
opera arias in an eerily human voice.

The distinctions we make between ourselves and nature are conveniant
for expressing ideas, but the distinctions are imaginary... we and our electronic devices are part of nature.

One possible advantage of mono over stereo is that it is always completely
symetrical, and in that sense is a distilled version of sound in which there
is less distraction involved in percieving the encoded messages of music.
Old 1st August 2014
  #114
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BlackBackDrop's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by aracu View Post
We have no way of knowing what a bird percieves.
There are plenty of people who would disagree.

Birds are subjected to extensive research Aracu.
Old 1st August 2014
  #115
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BlackBackDrop View Post
There are plenty of people who would disagree.

Birds are subjected to extensive research Aracu.
There is a limit to what can be known as fact, but no limit to speculation. To know what a bird percieves... do we even know or agree upon what we percieve?
Old 1st August 2014
  #116
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roonsbane's Avatar
On the other hand, cat lays in yard, bird tweets behind cat, cats ear spins in birds direction! Perception? Extremely likely. I have observed the same behavior watching nature with said cat in my tv/listening room. Equal perception? Extremely likely.
Cameron
Old 1st August 2014
  #117
Anyone who's ever placed a microphone on a sound source before should be aware that different close placements result in different sound qualities. A saxophone for example resonates sound from both the bell and pad holes. A string instrument from its tone hole(s) but also from its vibrating wooden surfaces. Piano is the easiest and most obvious example because of it's size and the easily observable stereo bouncing effect one gets from placing a stereo pair of microphones in front of it.

Add to this the fact that any acoustic space you play in will inevitably have an effect on your sound source, and the argument that even a small instrument is naturally a mono source is moot. As my teacher once asked me, in a discussion on violin recording, to imagine what a violin would sound like in an anechoic chamber. He said "I've heard it, and you don't want to". His point being that no acoustic instrument sounds as it should without the reaction from the space it is being played in.

And so, while it is certainly possible and common to record sources in mono, for the most natural sound on a single source, a stereo capture will always yield a better sound when placed well.
Old 1st August 2014
  #118
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Quote:
Originally Posted by king2070lplaya View Post
And so, while it is certainly possible and common to record sources in mono, for the most natural sound on a single source, a stereo capture will always yield a better sound when placed well.
A mind which tolerates no exceptions to the conforming rule.
Old 1st August 2014
  #119
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whestworld's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by roonsbane View Post
The way we hear is far beyond mono. Sound does not come out of one particular spot an instrument, especially a piano. Stereo is not learned. If you where able to take some of these isolated people recently found in Brazil's tropical forest, I believe they would instantly hear the phantom images and sound stage that we hear with stereo playback. But I can't prove that. Each discreet speaker that you add during playback allows better localization of sound sources. This will make the cat or any other listener find the sound source easier. The binaural technique is indeed very impressive. Mono is closer to a sonic "effect" than stereo. Stereo is more of a sonic "effect" than 5.1. Each one becomes increasingly more transparent. This is a little outside the scope of this discussion, but I can walk into a control room when someone else is mixing and from the far corner of the room instantly tell a piano recorded with two mics is in mono or narrowly panned from it's nasty frequency response.
Cameron

Cameron

You are correct in assuming that the tribesman in the amazon rain forest world hear a phantom image because of the way the phantom image is 'created'. We don't need to learn how to hear that as it uses time delay to produce the phantom image. We use the same technique everyday of the week.

We certainly don't hear in mono because of the delays/ time difference between our ears. If you think about it... if mono is the way to go then why on earth were we born with a PAIR of ears. It could be that the 'monoites' just prefer this way of listening to reproduced sound with 2 ears.

So to the mono brigade....

If you were to record an early music quintet with a small 5 piece choir, how would you do it in mono to achieve a real enjoyable and 'listenable' playback. Seeing as the playback is mono... all I would need is one loudspeaker?
Can you please explain how you would achieve a great recorded outcome?
Old 1st August 2014
  #120
Quote:
Originally Posted by aracu View Post
A mind which tolerates no exceptions to the conforming rule.
Hmmmm?
Topic:
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