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Mono is better than Stereo Studio Monitors
Old 2nd August 2014
  #121
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.
Your reasoning is the wrong way around, in my opinion. Why not start with your playback environment first? With binaural stereo (=2 ch stereo) mono signals that are not equalling L or R generate comb-filters and other distorting effects on the playback side. Therefore, it is better to use two microphones.

When you have only one loudspeaker for playback, the least distortion of sound will happen when using only one microphone. This, by the way, will yield great results - mono can sound phantastic, no interference from another loudspeaker.

Now, with 3.2 Multichannel playback, finally you have a stable center image, as you can use only the center speaker for this.

The nature of sounds is not the only factor in recording them - consider the playback environment first.

Best,
Dirk
Old 2nd August 2014
  #122
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Quote:
Originally Posted by whestworld View Post
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.

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.
I usedthe stereo word on the piano, to make clear ther is a distinction between large and small sources. On a concert grand, i can hear the individual strings, the two bridges, there are many sound holes, then you have the lid, the huge soundboard and a very important floor reflection.
Any one of those is in fact by itself a big source, that can be considered many individual sources.

On a solo voice, your ears can hear many clues, sound does not come only out of the mouth, the chest is a much forgotten element in modern pop recordings. Also, when placed in a non-anechoic environment, you will hear hundreds of directional cues immediately, reflections.

Considering the 8ch discrete setup, I have done much of those in a live context, but not in any way meant to resemble something like ambisonics. Most often to have real sound sources in a live context, so multiple mono, as opposed to the often used stereo or surround setups, that are trying to create something for a twohundred piece audience. Which never works.

That is one context where mono is clearly superior.
Old 2nd August 2014
  #123
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dtf View Post
When you have only one loudspeaker for playback, the least distortion of sound will happen when using only one microphone. This, by the way, will yield great results - mono can sound phantastic, no interference from another loudspeaker.

Now, with 3.2 Multichannel playback, finally you have a stable center image, as you can use only the center speaker for this.

Best,
Dirk
Thank you Dirk, you are the first one responding to my proposition that 3 ch reproduction is superior to 2ch, if you need a really convincing centre image.

Everybody seems to forget there is no other way around this intra aural distortion, and diffraction around the nose and head.
Old 2nd August 2014
  #124
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Just out of interest how many of the pro 'Mono' pushers actually earn their entire living from the industry and have $$$$ paying clients wanting Mono rather than Stereo or more?

Or it just a case of 'Boffins' reminiscing the 'old days'?

I do a lot of TV OB's and know VERY well if i didn't deliver good stereo I wouldn't be getting much work, AM radio is about the only thing Mono these days, but they are wanting stereo from the OB site for internet streaming and Digital Radio.
Old 2nd August 2014
  #125
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Nobody here is pushing to record in mono again.

The op called the linked article ridiculous, and if we all live in a 2ch world, there is a point made by the article.

IMO it is good engineering practice to be aware of the potential advantages of a mono setup.

That is the only point I wanted to make.

But apparantly, there are is some 2ch deafness here...
Old 2nd August 2014
  #126
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I called the article amusing because it tries to make the point that stereo was a mistake.

Then also amusing was how this thread turned into something almost equally ridiculous as no one seemed to understand anything anyone else was saying!

But I will admit there were some good (informative) points made along the way by both "sides." It's just buried in a lot of silly armchair philosophy.

Last edited by NathanShirley; 2nd August 2014 at 03:13 PM.. Reason: add sentence
Old 2nd August 2014
  #127
Point taken man, that's a good thought.

Quote:
Originally Posted by dtf View Post
Your reasoning is the wrong way around, in my opinion. Why not start with your playback environment first? With binaural stereo (=2 ch stereo) mono signals that are not equalling L or R generate comb-filters and other distorting effects on the playback side. Therefore, it is better to use two microphones.

When you have only one loudspeaker for playback, the least distortion of sound will happen when using only one microphone. This, by the way, will yield great results - mono can sound phantastic, no interference from another loudspeaker.

Now, with 3.2 Multichannel playback, finally you have a stable center image, as you can use only the center speaker for this.

The nature of sounds is not the only factor in recording them - consider the playback environment first.

Best,
Dirk
Old 2nd August 2014
  #128
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Yannick View Post
Nobody here is pushing to record in mono again.

The op called the linked article ridiculous, and if we all live in a 2ch world, there is a point made by the article.

IMO it is good engineering practice to be aware of the potential advantages of a mono setup.

That is the only point I wanted to make.

But apparantly, there are is some 2ch deafness here...
I agree with Yannick...

A topic based on a polarity such as mono/stereo, capacitor/ribbon,
analog/digital, processed/unprocessed etc. can either be treated like a Chinese restaurant menu where you have to choose the A or B menu, or you can try to have a meaningful conversation about it, accepting that there are many tools in audio and they all serve a purpose... it's not a simple minded job with ready-made answers.
Old 3rd August 2014
  #129
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Thank God for stereo!


Old 3rd August 2014
  #130
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My late friend George had his LP collection, and his student-grade Pioneer Stereo set from the 1970s, and were just putting on some records prior to jamming. Like people my age, you end collecting some blues records, it's part the formation, or basic training be a rootsy rock and roll guitarist. But then, my word, I selected this nice Sonny Terry and Brownie McGee record, probably bought at Cheap Thrills in Montreal when it was on Bishop Street, You know, the old Victorian mansion just up the street from Sound Ideas -- the Quad and B&W and Thorens dealer.

What blew my mind about the Sonny and Brownie recording was the clarity, the way it jumped out of the speakers, everything in phase. Recorded on tape in 1959, in Hollywood, with available technology -- Ampex mono tape deck, one or two mics, maybe three or four, a mono summing amp. Hearing that blew my mind.
Old 3rd August 2014
  #131
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jacktadoussac View Post
What blew my mind about the Sonny and Brownie recording was the clarity, the way it jumped out of the speakers, everything in phase. Recorded on tape in 1959, in Hollywood, with available technology -- Ampex mono tape deck, one or two mics, maybe three or four, a mono summing amp. Hearing that blew my mind.
'Kind of Blue' was also recorded in 1959. I have it on SACD. The clarity is astounding. When I listen it sounds as if I am in the room with them, and they are surrounding me, I'm sitting in the middle.
Old 3rd August 2014
  #132
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Mono cutting heads were way better than stereo until the Neumann SX68 in 1968.
Old 4th August 2014
  #133
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I don't where I get all my ideas -- but I like mono because I don't use a mixer, or a summing amp, or console, to blend the signals that I record. Also my version of mono uses the amazing Josephson C700A, and two channels of mic pre and AD Converters.

Now I was thinking I could add a stereo image by flanking this mic with a pair of Pearl CC22, and then use a second set of mic pre, converters, and stereo amps and speakers -- kind of like an installation -- like what they put in art galleries for experimental music. Thus the playback would be interacting with the room, and I emphasize, no mixing and summing.

Any pros and cons to this approach?
Old 13th August 2014
  #134
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jacktadoussac View Post
I don't where I get all my ideas -- but I like mono because I don't use a mixer, or a summing amp, or console, to blend the signals that I record. Also my version of mono uses the amazing Josephson C700A, and two channels of mic pre and AD Converters.

Now I was thinking I could add a stereo image by flanking this mic with a pair of Pearl CC22, and then use a second set of mic pre, converters, and stereo amps and speakers -- kind of like an installation -- like what they put in art galleries for experimental music. Thus the playback would be interacting with the room, and I emphasize, no mixing and summing.

Any pros and cons to this approach?
Con: Money

I had an idea for an installation, like what they put in art galleries for experimental music. I've recorded Electric Counterpoint by Steve Reich, though I would re-record it for this installation, which has about 17-19 guitar and bass parts depending on how you record it. The idea would be to have 17 - 19 studio monitors (two of the monitors would need to be subwoofers for the bass parts) placed in a rather large room in configurations that mirror the score. The installation would be interactive to the degree people could walk throughout the speakers but I all 19 speakers would be aimed at a spot in the center of the room surrounding anyone who wished to stand there to get the full effect. I'm sure there are plenty of speaker configuration obstacles not to mention finding a gallery that would host such an installation. But most of all, I would need 19 high quality studio monitors, 19 monitors stands, an interface with 19 analog outputs, and basically 19 of everything. I bet it would all cost $19,000 too.

Con: Money.
Old 13th August 2014
  #135
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Given To Fly View Post
Con: Money

I had an idea for an installation, like what they put in art galleries for experimental music. I've recorded Electric Counterpoint by Steve Reich, though I would re-record it for this installation, which has about 17-19 guitar and bass parts depending on how you record it. The idea would be to have 17 - 19 studio monitors (two of the monitors would need to be subwoofers for the bass parts) placed in a rather large room in configurations that mirror the score. The installation would be interactive to the degree people could walk throughout the speakers but I all 19 speakers would be aimed at a spot in the center of the room surrounding anyone who wished to stand there to get the full effect. I'm sure there are plenty of speaker configuration obstacles not to mention finding a gallery that would host such an installation. But most of all, I would need 19 high quality studio monitors, 19 monitors stands, an interface with 19 analog outputs, and basically 19 of everything. I bet it would all cost $19,000 too.

Con: Money.
It could be much cheaper.
Just use 19 decent guitar amps, and record the guitar direct ?

This is another example where mono (multi-mono) is really superior.
Try to do what you just described with a 7.1 setup.
Or ambisonics.
Whatever.

To rest my case: you cannot walk around a phantom mono image in a stereo setup.
Old 13th August 2014
  #136
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Most pop music isn't stereo. It is multi-channel mono with pan-pots.
Old 13th August 2014
  #137
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I was listening to Alan Parsons' 'Tales of Mystery and Imagination' record the other day, and during the awesome thunderstorm on side two I was thinking about this thread. It is so real you feel as if this storm is really going on around you outside. It takes full advantage of stereo recording. If you collapse this to mono it doesn't sound real at all.

Here is a YouTube version. (go to 5:30)

Old 13th August 2014
  #138
Quote:
Most pop music isn't stereo. It is multi-channel mono with pan-pots.
I know what you mean by recording methods, but to split hairs, Isn't that really what stereo is to begin with? Two or more individual microphones, each with a mono signal, placed and panned in the right way to give the illusion of direction when played back by two speakers? I guess I'm saying stereo isn't in the recording, it is in the playback.

I don't understand others' desires for a center speaker. I have tried it and it sounds much worse IMO. Not to mention most center channels in home theater system are built for speech reproduction and not for full frequency music. In my system, if something is panned center, It certainly sounds like there is a phantom center speaker, I cannot tell the source is to the right and left of me. Most of our stereo techniques are designed to be used with the 60 degree speaker placement which does a fantastic job of pulling off the stereo illusion.

I wouldn't mind the addition of surround speakers in a 4.0 configuration for hall ambiance. More than that seems unnecessary. Physics and psycho-acoustics can take care of everything in between.
Old 13th August 2014
  #139
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rumleymusic View Post
Most of our stereo techniques are designed to be used with the 60 degree speaker placement which does a fantastic job of pulling off the stereo illusion.
So does a 90 deg spacing with good recordings.
Old 13th August 2014
  #140
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Blumlein thought the brain processed sound by sum and difference
Spaced techniques with time of arrival never render the same imho
Old 13th August 2014
  #141
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Yannick View Post
It could be much cheaper.
Just use 19 decent guitar amps, and record the guitar direct ?

This is another example where mono (multi-mono) is really superior.
Try to do what you just described with a 7.1 setup.
Or ambisonics.
Whatever.

To rest my case: you cannot walk around a phantom mono image in a stereo setup.
It's embarrassing how much sense using guitar amps makes and yet it never even crossed my mind. Thank you for that! I'm definitely filing that idea away for later use.
Old 14th August 2014
  #142
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rumleymusic View Post
I know what you mean by recording methods, but to split hairs, Isn't that really what stereo is to begin with? Two or more individual microphones, each with a mono signal, placed and panned in the right way to give the illusion of direction when played back by two speakers? I guess I'm saying stereo isn't in the recording, it is in the playback.

I don't understand others' desires for a center speaker. I have tried it and it sounds much worse IMO. Not to mention most center channels in home theater system are built for speech reproduction and not for full frequency music. In my system, if something is panned center, It certainly sounds like there is a phantom center speaker, I cannot tell the source is to the right and left of me. Most of our stereo techniques are designed to be used with the 60 degree speaker placement which does a fantastic job of pulling off the stereo illusion.

I wouldn't mind the addition of surround speakers in a 4.0 configuration for hall ambiance. More than that seems unnecessary. Physics and psycho-acoustics can take care of everything in between.
I agree. I've tried many a center speaker, and it never works for me. Also surround is good for movies but not added to stereo music recording. I've tried that too, had some great multi-channel SACD's.

But I always end up finding that 2 properly spaced, quality speakers in a proper room, with the right record production give me the best feeling of being there with the band, orchestra, etc. Or good headphones.

And mono, for me, always takes me away from that experience and makes me notice that I am just listening to a recording.
Old 14th August 2014
  #143
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+1
Old 14th August 2014
  #144
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I cannot understand how one can find stereo so superior to mono, and in the same breath mention not to like 4.0 or 5.1

For me a good surround recording is far superior to the stereo version.
Less balancing is necessary (one can hear further into the mix, using less spot mics) and a much more natural feel of envelopment (only the hall acoustics should be in the surrounds of course, not too much of a modified front pickup) is appreciated. At the very same time, it is as if the ear/brain is fooled more convincingly, often resulting in a physically much more relaxed experience.
Unless the music warrants otherwise.

In big works with a soloist the center speaker shurely sounds much more realistic than the phantom image. But the center speaker is not used here for eg. orchestral productions without solo. In that case I also prefer without C channel.
Old 14th August 2014
  #145
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As a huge stereo fanatic, I remember being very excited about 5.1 remasters of some of my favourite cd's a few years ago now.
The end result was bitterly dissapointing.
It just doesn't work well for music.
Old 14th August 2014
  #146
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rumleymusic View Post
Quote:
Originally Posted by Richard Crowley View Post
Most pop music isn't stereo. It is multi-channel mono with pan-pots.
I know what you mean by recording methods, but to split hairs, Isn't that really what stereo is to begin with? Two or more individual microphones, each with a mono signal, placed and panned in the right way to give the illusion of direction when played back by two speakers?
No, not really. There is a key difference: each of those two L- and R-panned channels of the 'real' stereo recording does intentionally include info (intensity) coming from _all_ the sound sources located across the soundstage. That information suffices to create the stereo illusion. And importantly, the indirect, reverberant sounds from every instrument get captured in a proper relationship, appropriate for their actual location w.r.t. the stereo array.

But in the panned multi-mono approach, each channel deliberately contains information - via close miking etc. - predominantly only of its 'own' sound source. So one weakness is then the difficulty to maintain a credible relationship between all the reverberant sounds: voices or instruments often appear strung two-dimensionally, like clothes on a washing line. between the playback speakers....with each source wrapped up in its private, artificially-imposed reverb cocoon.
Old 14th August 2014
  #147
nkf
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Yannick View Post
I cannot understand how one can find stereo so superior to mono, and in the same breath mention not to like 4.0 or 5.1

For me a good surround recording is far superior to the stereo version.
Less balancing is necessary (one can hear further into the mix, using less spot mics) and a much more natural feel of envelopment (only the hall acoustics should be in the surrounds of course, not too much of a modified front pickup) is appreciated. At the very same time, it is as if the ear/brain is fooled more convincingly, often resulting in a physically much more relaxed experience.
Unless the music warrants otherwise.
For me that is 100% true and that is why I, as a composer, started work more and more on surround music. There are very few 'genuine' surround music productions. That will hopefully change in a not so distant future.
Old 14th August 2014
  #148
nkf
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TheBrightSide View Post
As a huge stereo fanatic, I remember being very excited about 5.1 remasters of some of my favourite cd's a few years ago now.
The end result was bitterly dissapointing.
It just doesn't work well for music.
I fear a lot of those 'upmixed' back catalog titles did more damage to surround propagation than anything else. Recently I bought a Coltrane Blue-ray Audio disk and the surround mix is horrible with wrong sounding room simulation (strange correlations and phasey sound). The stereo track sounds much better. But that only means to me that the people who did the upmixing were not capable. Surround is a wonderful medium.
Old 14th August 2014
  #149
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nkf View Post
For me that is 100% true and that is why I, as a composer, started work more and more on surround music. There are very few 'genuine' surround music productions. That will hopefully change in a not so distant future.
A Grammy winning friend and mentor of mine once mentioned that producing or engineering a quality surround work is possibly the easiest way to win a Grammy because of the near absence of surround music in the marketplace.
His awards weren't in the surround category, FWIW.
Old 14th August 2014
  #150
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nkf View Post
I fear a lot of those 'upmixed' back catalog titles did more damage to surround propagation than anything else. Recently I bought a Coltrane Blue-ray Audio disk and the surround mix is horrible with wrong sounding room simulation (strange correlations and phasey sound). The stereo track sounds much better. But that only means to me that the people who did the upmixing were not capable. Surround is a wonderful medium.
But also, even if the mix is done perfectly, the playback system has to be set up properly to benefit, and this is much more difficult than setting up a stereo system.
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