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Mono is better than Stereo Studio Monitors
Old 25th September 2014
  #211
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Sounds Great's Avatar
 

Stevie Wonder was one my first discoveries that really showed me the magic of stereo when I was just a teenager.

About 1977, a pair of Koss Pro 4a's, and a little doobie, and that magic voice coming from all over. I remember it like it was yesterday.

He figured it out, two ears, two speakers. Put on your best phones and feel the magic of stereo.

Old 17th October 2014
  #212
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Every time I hear the great use of stereo, I can't help but think of this thread.

Sometimes it is really just a great mono production with bits coming out of the corners. Like this one!


Of course when you have Jimmy Page on one side, and John Paul Jones on the other, you can't really lose.

Old 17th October 2014
  #213
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Bob Olhsson's Avatar
 

I think what's important is that recordings be listened to in the format they were produced for. Prior to around 1968 most pop and especially rock music was produced to be heard in mono. Stereo had the very same "only done to appease the suits" status that 5.1 has today. The elbow grease all went into the mono mix. After '68 it went into the stereo mix.
Old 17th October 2014
  #214
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bob Olhsson View Post
I think what's important is that recordings be listened to in the format they were produced for. Prior to around 1968 most pop and especially rock music was produced to be heard in mono. Stereo had the very same "only done to appease the suits" status that 5.1 has today. The elbow grease all went into the mono mix. After '68 it went into the stereo mix.
Good point. There are exceptions to your time line though.

The Moody Blues 'Days of Future Passed' is very stereo and it was recorded in 1967.

'Kind Of Blue' was recorded live in stereo, 3 microphones according to the book, and it was recorded the year I was born, 1959.
Old 17th October 2014
  #215
Gear Guru
Probably a stupid question, but here goes: I have been recording mono sources on two tracks (ie vocals, mic'd guitars, etc). I have been bringing them into my mixer DAW as stereo (or dual mono) tracks. No particular reason but figured effects like reverb, delay, etc work better in stereo (?). Also been bringing in bass (when done on a synth), in stereo. Would I be better off working with mono tracks, where the source is mono? Does it matter? Really curious since I never questioned it...!
Old 18th October 2014
  #216
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TheBrightSide's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ardis View Post
Probably a stupid question, but here goes: I have been recording mono sources on two tracks (ie vocals, mic'd guitars, etc). I have been bringing them into my mixer DAW as stereo (or dual mono) tracks. No particular reason but figured effects like reverb, delay, etc work better in stereo (?). Also been bringing in bass (when done on a synth), in stereo. Would I be better off working with mono tracks, where the source is mono? Does it matter? Really curious since I never questioned it...!
There is some great advice regarding mono/stereo in this thread.
In short, keep most things mono.

How do I get my mixes to sound wide....
Old 26th November 2014
  #217
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TheBrightSide View Post
There is some great advice regarding mono/stereo in this thread.
In short, keep most things mono.
Great stereo is just a great collection of mono events placed around the sound-field.

Another beautiful example from our friend Tom:

Old 26th November 2014
  #218
Gear Head
Yea I first realized this when I switched from fl studio to protools... sounds cleaner and better panning mono sounds where I want them
Old 3rd December 2014
  #219
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Another great example of simple stereo that just makes the song! Much love for these guys:

Old 3rd December 2014
  #220
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There's no such thing as true mono.
Old 3rd December 2014
  #221
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MUSICMUSIC View Post
There's no such thing as true mono.
Tell that to Van Gogh
Old 3rd December 2014
  #222
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JackHenry View Post
Tell that to Van Gogh
Ah! But you can still localise a sound with one ear and the signal will still not be mono. If he wears headphones that's still not mono.
Old 3rd December 2014
  #223
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MUSICMUSIC View Post
There's no such thing as true mono.
Sure there is:

Monaural - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Quote:
Monaural or monophonic sound reproduction (often shortened to mono) is single-channel. Typically there is only one microphone, one loudspeaker, or (in the case of headphones and multiple loudspeakers) channels are fed from a common signal path. In the case of multiple microphones the paths are mixed into a single signal path at some stage.
Old 3rd December 2014
  #224
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sounds Great View Post
Ok I get your point but listening to a mono signal won't reach both ears at exactly the same time in the real world. Headphones get close to the experience but needs a dual mono signal.
Old 4th December 2014
  #225
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MUSICMUSIC View Post
Ok I get your point but listening to a mono signal won't reach both ears at exactly the same time in the real world. Headphones get close to the experience but needs a dual mono signal.
And, as I said, in the case of Van Gogh........
Old 4th December 2014
  #226
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JackHenry View Post
And, as I said, in the case of Van Gogh........
Haha, ok I see where this is going..... Van Gogh could still hear in stereo, after the bandage came off just like Evander Holyfield. Maybe Hendrix would've been a better example.
Old 4th December 2014
  #227
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Yannick's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by MUSICMUSIC View Post
Ok I get your point but listening to a mono signal won't reach both ears at exactly the same time in the real world. Headphones get close to the experience but needs a dual mono signal.
If you really that, you should read this entire thread, and the files linked to.
Our two ears are very able to hear and recognize a true mono source in a fraction of a second.

Of course you need two ears for that.

So it is your opinion that a mono source is always exactly in the middle, in front of you ?
Old 5th December 2014
  #228
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Yannick View Post
So it is your opinion that a mono source is always exactly in the middle, in front of you ?
No! to me, Mono is Greek for one or single. If it reaches the second ear a millisecond after it has a phase difference and is still technically different.
We can widen a single mono source, like a bass with delay but the source is still mono.
Maybe we need a definition of mono and stereo.
Old 6th December 2014
  #229
Quote:
Originally Posted by MUSICMUSIC View Post
Maybe we need a definition of mono and stereo.
Maybe you need to learn what the rest of us already knows?
Old 6th December 2014
  #230
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dtf View Post
Maybe you need to learn what the rest of us already knows?
Guide me, instead of being smart, there are 8 pages here!!
Old 7th December 2014
  #231
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How do I un-subscribe from this discussion?
It started out silly and has only got worse over time.
Old 8th December 2014
  #232
Gear Head
 

TL;DR

I fell asleep while reading the article, then awoke 8 pages later to a nightmare.

There are much betterer things to discuss in the higher realms of audio, such as PVC vs Mylar, etc etc.

Old 9th December 2014
  #233
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rumleymusic View Post
Voice dialogue comes to mind. Live event backing tracks that have to be reproduced in mono, some sound design etc.

I can't think of any music I would prefer in mono for personal enjoyment.
Unfortunately with the added 'stereo' variable there are a great many recordings that are intrinsically less satisfying than they might be due simply to less then competent stereo mixing.

I am trying to think of a single mono recorded tune that is unsatisfying because of a 'mono' tracking/mixing mistake & can't (doesn't mean there isn't one)

Certainly into the 70s any number of commercial stereo mixes were not superior in any particular to the mono mix. A lot of that had to do with vinyl as the distribution media but while a good stereo mix might not be harder then a mono mix it tends to need to be different or the effort is wasted.

Over more than twenty years I've done a lot of dual mono commercial work that as a general rule neither clients nor end user were able to distinguish from 'stereo'. A reason for doing dual mono was never political aesthetics but had to do with economic aesthetics . . . I could bring home the mono mix on budget (time & money) while 'stereo' as something other the Fx would have required different arrangements, different tracking, probably a different skill set for essential musical performers

not saying stereo sucks but it's incredibly easy to do stereo poorly

(on a personal aside if bouncing the commercial mix to mono for listening while I'm driving destroys the musical experience (in that environment) then I tend to not be particularly interested in reviewing it in the relaxed home environment either. On the other hand for a mono presentation that I can enjoy while driving (my default approach when driving is mono) to appear to be richer, present more (if not always easily defined) information in the home stereo environment is not unusual. The process simply tends to confirm that if it sucks in mono, going stereo ain't going to fix it!)
Old 3rd July 2016
  #234
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Episode 717 - Neil Young — WTF with Marc Maron Podcast

There has been no discussion on this thread for at least a year. If you listen to the interview between Neil Young and Marc Maron, Mr Young touts the idea that a mono mix sounds thicker. My theory is that that the left and the right channel are sometimes duking it out. My only thought now is that most electric guitars sound pretty good when played in mono through only one guitar amp, but for a full blown audio experience you need an acoustic guitar or other instrument played in a room that enables the sound to resonate. Stereo pickup is optional.

Added bit. The Beatles original hits were mixed for mono...

http://radio.com/2014/07/22/the-beat...apple-records/
Old 3rd July 2016
  #235
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[QUOTE=TheOracleofSherbrooke;11996693]
Added bit. The Beatles original hits were mixed for mono...

However the latter were not, and stereo was not popular in the late 60s
Old 4th July 2016
  #236
Deleted User
Guest
I don't want to antagonise anyone by restarting this thread. I simply had a little chuckle as Neil Young explained to Marc Maron his feelings about sound (he likes the original mono mix of Heart Of Gold)...on the appropriately titled WTF podcast. One of the prize bits of kit of a friend in the audio industry is a Gates two inputs to one line mixer. I have no idea what it sounds like -- (it's kept in a secret cabin in the woods)....but I have heard a Sonny Terry and Brownie McGee album made in 1959, perhaps two or three mics mixed down into one mono track -- and by my musical standards, it was spectacular -- even when played on cheap and cheerful 1970s Pioneer Stereo.
Old 4th July 2016
  #237
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Since this thread just popped up again, I read the original article and the lively discussion to follow.

I did want to make a couple of points from a classical musicians point of view.

The writer argues that "spacial effects", or the "spreading out of the sound in space" is not an important feature of classical music. (!) He has to make this an important point in his argument because mono, of course, is unable to capture the "geometry" of the performing ensemble. He makes a radical statement,

"The spreading out of the sound in space is totally unimportant to and contrary to the aims of most music written before stereo became popular." [emphasis mine]

What came to my mind is how antiphonal writing is replete in the symphonies of Mendelssohn, Schumann, Brahms, and Mahler, among others. And from the performance angle, some conductors will place the second violins on the opposite side of the stage (stage left) from the first violins (stage right) to bring out the antiphonal effects between the two sections and to create a "stereo" effect. In fact, when Mendelssohn was the conductor of the Leipzig Gewandhaus Orchestra, the violins where in this configuration!

So to say that the sound stage is unimportant in classical music is pretty uninformed. And I haven't even mentioned the vast amount of antiphonal writing that took place in the 16th and 17th centuries!

I would also add that the wide spread of the orchestra is part of its appeal. The wall of sound with the many different tones colors coming from different points before the listener is part of its emotional impact! To reduce it to a smaller point in space via mono diminishes this impact. Why the writer reduces the emotional impact of music to dynamics is baffling.

While the writer points out that stereo cannot accurately reproduce the sound stage, it is certainly better at this than mono.

Classical halls also envelope the listener, creating a sense of spaciousness. Even if sitting in the balcony where the sound is most blended, the ambient sound is coming at the listener from all directions. While stereo cannot capture this in its entirety, it certainly has the potential be far more spacious than mono.
Old 4th July 2016
  #238
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When I am at an acoustic concert I get the wide spread of sound in a 3-D or stereo image. When I hear it at home I would like as close an approximation to this as possible. (Reginald) De Koven was a great advocate of mono but he had other idiosyncracies, too. But the article that Nathan Shirley posted is all BS and poppycock.
Old 4th July 2016
  #239
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Old fuddy-duddy's that don't want anyone messing with their cheese.

Stereo is everything mono is, and more.
Old 4th July 2016
  #240
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Quote:
Originally Posted by boojum View Post
When I hear it at home I would like as close an approximation to this as possible.
Booj, you need some constant directivity loudpseakers!
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