The No.1 Website for Pro Audio
 Search This Thread  Search This Forum  Search Reviews  Search Gear Database  Search Gear for sale  Search Gearslutz Go Advanced
Mono is better than Stereo Studio Monitors
Old 19th July 2014
  #1
Gear Nut
 
NathanShirley's Avatar
 

Mono is better than Stereo

And here I could have paid half what I did on microphones!

I thought some of you might find this amusing-

STEREO: A MISUNDERSTANDING
Old 19th July 2014
  #2
Gear Head
 
whestworld's Avatar
 

Amusing...

the guy is RIGHT! The expressive part of music IS in the dynamic content. When my daughter was 3 she proved it by smashing the hell out of my Sony FM radio! That was her expressing the need for more attention
Old 19th July 2014
  #3
Gear Addict
The only way to truly enjoy the stereo experience is to sit in a perfectly measured listening position, such as how a mixing engineer positions him or herself in front of the monitors. Otherwise you're getting an inaccurate stereo image. I think the consumer market has been brainwashed and confused enough to not realize this. Mono would be better, the same mono signal being played on two speakers, for just enjoying music would work fine.
Old 19th July 2014
  #4
Lives for gear
Nonsense
Stereo is double the info
Our brain needs information to translate it to perception
Old 19th July 2014
  #5
Lives for gear
 
Washington's Avatar
 

This one was very funny. And interesting, and in an academic sense, probably right (I haven't had a quad-monophonic experience, so I couldn't tell how my own body vibrates in a such environment ).

Now the parallel between stereo and 3D technology in movies, however absolutely spot on, made me think.

There is a code, deeply embedded in everyone (save maybe a very few remote individuals who have never seen a movie), that we come to expect; we know perfectly how to reconstruct a linear story from a series of shots presenting events in a succession of discrete shots, we are not baffled by the multiplicity or peculiarity of angles, and we know an ellipse, a flashback or a subjective point of view when we see one. We don't even think of it.

Similarly, all modern recorded music has a common aesthetic and code, on a very basic level, which as this paper points out, is really different from a "live" experience.Whether this is for better or worse is entirely subjective. But what is for certain is that it is originally the unvoluntary byproduct of the limitations of technology. We wouldn't spend so much money on recreating the sweet, warm and oh-so-lush rendering of yesteryear's recording equipment otherwise.

This code, or these aesthetic artefacts, are as deeply perceived at a non-conscious level in music as they are in movies: no one is to question the "realistic possibility" of a heavily compressed acoustic guitar sounding like it's half an inch away from your ear, or the beloved harmonics and transient flattening analog tape adds to the capture. We expect it, and we're happy when we're presented with some out-of-wordly sound (or picture) experience.

Good luck with trying to changing that (if anyone intends to, that is).
Old 19th July 2014
  #6
I say, anyone who thinks mono is better than stereo should commit to it! The rest of us will clean up on the business you all lose as a result of your misguided dogma.
Old 19th July 2014
  #7
Methinks the author and his affiliation with the tax exempt Anstendig Institute is very telling. One look at the long list of papers criticizing everything from stereo audio reproduction and Compact Discs, the financial crisis, patents, deep breathing, and bad posture to the "flawed state of photography" and their preoccupation with all things vibrational tells a lot about their general consideration of modern society.

The paper is chocked full of misunderstanding of theory, reality, and is packed with plain "wrong" information. It's obvious that the author has no scientific training or credibility in this area.

I absolutely love his concluding statement: "Because the musical experience is predominately physical, mono with at least four speakers surrounding the listener is the most effective way to experience recorded music."

We should all obviously trade our stereo, 5.1, and 7.1 systems for "Four-speaker mono". I guess it would be called a "1.4 system"

Anyone can publish anything in a non-peer reviewed outlet, and anyone can fill pages with pseudoscience. There are always Luddites around who probably would be happier if they were born 2-millennia ago. Happy to critique anything they don't like, but seldom able to produce any kind of solution to their perceived "problem".

I'm sure that if you agree with their philosophy, the Anstendig Institute will happily accept your donations. As for me, I'd rather spend the limited time I have left on this planet with the works published by Georg Neumann, Benjamin Bauer, Alan Blumlein and Harry Olson.
Old 19th July 2014
  #8
Lives for gear
 
Washington's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Lotus 7 View Post
I'm sure that if you agree with their philosophy, the Anstendig Institute will happily accept your donations. As for me, I'd rather spend the limited time I have left on this planet with the works published by Georg Neumann, Benjamin Bauer, Alan Blumlein and Harry Olson.
Sums it up. In a five-hundredth of the length of the article.
Old 20th July 2014
  #9
Gear Nut
 
NathanShirley's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Lotus 7 View Post
There are always Luddites around who probably would be happier if they were born 2-millennia ago.
Or they might just be depressed by their conviction that the old stone tools were far superior to the new unnatural bronze and iron tools.

I think the concept of comparing stereo to 3D is pretty funny. Really a better visual comparison would be with shallow focus. However as a photographer he doesn't seem to have any problem with the "unnatural gimmick" that is shallow focus. Or maybe he just hasn't thought about that one yet... I better write to him.
Old 20th July 2014
  #10
Based on a cursory reading (there's 15 seconds of my life I'll never get back), I believe that the author is under the impression that music did not actually exist before the phonograph.

I base my belief mostly on this statement:

Quote:
Until the advent of stereo, spatial relationships were unimportant, even undesirable in the bulk of the world's music. In most classical music, the introduction of directional effects in the sound-reproduction distracts the listener from the important factors that actually contain the musical experience. The most important aspects of sound, especially those of classical music, have nothing to do with spatial effects
which is so patently false that it actually borders on the absurd.

However, Phil Spector would be pleased.
Old 20th July 2014
  #11
Remember folks, the average human IQ is ~100. Just about as many seemingly normal functioning people are under it as over it. Unfortunately, everyone has an opinion.
Old 20th July 2014
  #12
Deleted User
Guest
Quote:
Originally Posted by RobAnderson View Post


However, Phil Spector would be pleased.
Ah hah -- but there is enhanced mono -- which is available to you if you record two separate channels on a Josephson C700a microphone. But you need to play it back through two speakers, positioned one on top of the other. It has been explained by me on previous occasions. There is no need for separation and careful positioning. A boombox or laptop is all you need.
Old 21st July 2014
  #13
Lives for gear
 
recordinghopkins's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by Nosajjao View Post
The only way to truly enjoy the stereo experience is to sit in a perfectly measured listening position, such as how a mixing engineer positions him or herself in front of the monitors. Otherwise you're getting an inaccurate stereo image. I think the consumer market has been brainwashed and confused enough to not realize this. Mono would be better, the same mono signal being played on two speakers, for just enjoying music would work fine.
I rather enjoy the stereo experience whether I am in a perfectly measured listening position, sitting off center at the wheel of my truck, or playing pool in a bar with speakers on opposite sides of the room. Inaccurate does not equal unpleasant!

I find that the same mono signal through two speakers is a worse experience than stereo when you aren't in that center position...

Also, what about headphones?
Old 21st July 2014
  #14
Gear Addict
 
OzGizmo's Avatar
 

I think the author of the article would also believe the world is flat and goes about trying to prove it so.
Old 21st July 2014
  #15
Gear Addict
Quote:
Originally Posted by recordinghopkins View Post
I rather enjoy the stereo experience whether I am in a perfectly measured listening position, sitting off center at the wheel of my truck, or playing pool in a bar with speakers on opposite sides of the room. Inaccurate does not equal unpleasant!

I find that the same mono signal through two speakers is a worse experience than stereo when you aren't in that center position...

Also, what about headphones?
Headphones are the perfect stereo possibility because you are always in the perfect listening position to get the right amount of left ear and right ear.

I'll put it this way, if you were in a bar and the speakers were playing in dual mono (both speakers each receiving L & R signals) and no one told you, you would not be able to tell the difference. It wouldn't even occur to you, you might even enjoy it more, but you would not notice. Mono doesn't mean one less channel of audio, it means the left and right signals are combined to be reproduced in one speaker.
Old 21st July 2014
  #16
Lives for gear
 
TheBrightSide's Avatar
STEREO: A MISUNDERSTANDING.

Well he got the title right.
Old 21st July 2014
  #17
Lives for gear
 
muziksculp's Avatar
 

If Mono was better than Stereo, we should have had only one ear located at the center of our forehead, and we will never have to worry about stereo phasing, or related issues. and our glasses will be worn suspended from our center ear to sit comfortably balanced on our nose.
Old 21st July 2014
  #18
Lives for gear
 
Richard Crowley's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by RobAnderson View Post
....which is so patently false that it actually borders on the absurd.
No, I disagree. It does not BORDER on the absurd. It is straight-up, provably ABSURD. Are they pulling our leg? Was this published on April Fools Day? This is the kind of thing that earns those pointy-head intellectuals their reputation for being locked up in their ivory towers hermetically sealed off from the Real World.

The antiphonal brass compositions of Montiverdi and Gabrieli recorded in St. Marks Basillica in Venice by Andrew Kazdin were a showpiece of quadraphonic recording when Columbia started their SQ scheme of compatible stereo/quad LP records.
Old 21st July 2014
  #19
Lives for gear
 
recordinghopkins's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by Nosajjao View Post
Headphones are the perfect stereo possibility because you are always in the perfect listening position to get the right amount of left ear and right ear.
Naturally! But you said ...the only way....
Quote:
I'll put it this way, if you were in a bar and the speakers were playing in dual mono (both speakers each receiving L & R signals) and no one told you, you would not be able to tell the difference. It wouldn't even occur to you, you might even enjoy it more, but you would not notice.
Now, with distributed audio through a Muzak system this may be true. In that case, since we have stereophonic hearing, the decorrelation would be from room reverberation and differing time arrivals. But I certainly CAN hear stereo elements coming from opposite sides of the room and I DO notice the difference. Would the drunk bachelorette party notice? Probably not.
Quote:
Mono doesn't mean one less channel of audio, it means the left and right signals are combined to be reproduced in one speaker.
Not exactly... But in the case where a stereo recording is summed and played back through a monaural system, that's true. But then unless the stereo recording is perfectly mono compatible- never, unless every element was recorded with only one microphone and no reverb is used- there is some degree of destructive interference that effects playback no matter where you are in the room. Summing a stereo recording to mono is destructive to the source audio. Playing it back through multiple speakers further distorts the listeners perception in all cases except where the listener is centered between the two speakers or is out of earshot of one of them, as in a properly designed distributed audio system where each speaker covers a precise area with little spill into the next zone. So we're back at square one. Stereo playback is superior for a native stereo recording, even when the listening position is less than ideal and the haas effect is in full force.
Old 21st July 2014
  #20
Lives for gear
 
Richard Crowley's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Nosajjao View Post
Mono doesn't mean one less channel of audio, it means the left and right signals are combined to be reproduced in one speaker.
HUH? If there is are TWO channels ("right channel" and a "left channel" by your own description), then "combining" them down to ONE channel, how is that NOT "one less channel of audio"?

This discussion has become absurd.
Old 22nd July 2014
  #21
Gear Addict
Die-hard 'twotrack is better than multitrack' people should agree with this ....
Old 25th July 2014
  #22
Deleted User
Guest
Quote:
Originally Posted by heva View Post
Die-hard 'twotrack is better than multitrack' people should agree with this ....
If any of you are interested you should read the documents listed in the philosophy at Sear Sound NYC, NY.


http://www.searsound.com/philosophy.html


Basically his ideal set-up is two channel. Not to say that one channel is so bad either, or multiple good channels going into a decent console. I am finalizing my own home studio using these ideas.
Old 25th July 2014
  #23
Gear Nut
 
NathanShirley's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Richard Crowley View Post
This discussion has become absurd.
No, I disagree. It has not BECOME absurd. It BEGAN straight-up, provably absurd.

But seriously, for those of you with more historical knowledge of mono recording techniques than me- What is this about the old mono Mercury recordings "nearly" perfecting mono? Is there actually anything to that?

Quote:
but there is enhanced mono -- which is available to you if you record two separate channels on a Josephson C700a microphone. But you need to play it back through two speakers, positioned one on top of the other. It has been explained by me on previous occasions.
And how does this work? Sounds intriguing.
Old 25th July 2014
  #24
Lives for gear
 
boojum's Avatar
FWIW, DeKoven (Seymour DeKoven - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia) also believed that mono was superior and would talk about it on his radio show. He was an interesting fellow.
Old 25th July 2014
  #25
Gear Head
 
whestworld's Avatar
 

This is silly...

Surely the majority of outboard processing relies on time, level and phase relationship of BOTH L&R channels. How do you do a time,level and phase RELATIONSHIP with one channel?

Mono maybe good for.... I have no idea. BUT for all modern day recordings you NEED 2 channels. I couldn't imagine mixing down something like 'Songs in the Key of Life' by Stevie Wonder without effects etc etc on one loudspeaker! Any for everyone else that says mono sounds better on 2 loudspeakers then maybe the speakers have phase issues making it sound like 'pseudo stereo'.

Mono was good for 'back then' but today....
Old 25th July 2014
  #26
Gear Nut
 

[QUOTE=

Mono maybe good for.... I have no idea. [/QUOTE]


Mono is good for someone who is deaf in one ear,
Old 25th July 2014
  #27
Gear Head
 
whestworld's Avatar
 

I initially laughed at that comment but then remembered that my mother-in-law is deaf in one ear but is still able to locate sounds due to certain bones below her ear being able to process 'sounds' and send them off for processing.
She can't hear what I am saying through that deaf ear - bless her

Anyone know the definition to being deaf? Sounds like a silly question. I could wiki it but I quite like listening to 'Mystery Hour' on LBC radio (London). Someone asks a question and anyone can answer it BUT they cannot use the internet for the answer...just use the 'grey matter'.
Old 25th July 2014
  #28
Lives for gear
 

It's also incorrect to assume that every recording should be made in stereo. Obviously not every recording should be made in mono, but there are rare situations where it can work better.
Old 25th July 2014
  #29
Quote:
Obviously not every recording should be made in mono, but there are rare situations where it can work better.
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.
Old 25th July 2014
  #30
Lives for gear
 
boojum's Avatar
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.
Vocal dialog is maddening in mono. Watch any news show with a bunch of talking heads. It's in mono and a jumble of sound. The same with speakerphones. In stereo each voice would have its place in space and be more identifiable. I wish that the news shows were in stereo.
Topic:
Post Reply

Welcome to the Gearslutz Pro Audio Community!

Registration benefits include:
  • The ability to reply to and create new discussions
  • Access to members-only giveaways & competitions
  • Interact with VIP industry experts in our guest Q&As
  • Access to members-only sub forum discussions
  • Access to members-only Chat Room
  • Get INSTANT ACCESS to the world's best private pro audio Classifieds for only USD $20/year
  • Promote your eBay auctions and Reverb.com listings for free
  • Remove this message!
You need an account to post a reply. Create a username and password below and an account will be created and your post entered.


 
 
Slide to join now Processing…
Thread Tools
Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search
Forum Jump
Forum Jump