Music Player Network
Previous Thread
Next Thread
Print Thread
Joined: Jan 2000
Posts: 9,515
Likes: 186
MPN Advisory Board
MP Hall of Fame Member
OP Offline
MPN Advisory Board
MP Hall of Fame Member
Joined: Jan 2000
Posts: 9,515
Likes: 186
Since Martha Davis can't tour, she's releasing a new track every month - some new stuff, some old. She liked the mastering I did for her jazz album (which had been intended only as a demo), so she asked I'd master the monthly releases.

This month's song was from 1989 and all I had was the finished two-track, not the original tracks. There were a lot of technical issues. It had been limited, but the right channel was limited more than the left one, so the stereo placement was skewed. Also, Martha's voice was simply not loud enough. EQ'ing voice brought up other instruments in the same frequency range I didn't want to hear.

While screwing around with fixing the stereo placement, I put the song into mono and suddenly, the whole thing fell into place. The stereo wasn't an issue, her voice benefited from the 3 dB center buildup, and the song in general had a lot more power and oddly enough, depth.

I sent her the best stereo version I could do, and a mono one. On first listen, she liked the mono one better as well.

The first Beatles albums were done in mono and only turned into stereo because, well, you needed stereo back then. A lot of the songs we now consider classics, like some Beach Boys cuts, were mono.

I remember the whole "back to mono" thing from a few years back, and dismissed it more or less as nostalgia. But I'm going to try doing some more mono mixes of my own material, and see what happens. This could be interesting, or it could suck. Maybe songs that don't have a lot of tracks might be a good place to start.

Sound, Studio, and Stage Island
Joined: Sep 2019
Posts: 3,244
Likes: 267
MP Hall of Fame Member
Offline
MP Hall of Fame Member
Joined: Sep 2019
Posts: 3,244
Likes: 267
At the very least, a song should sound great in mono.

The stereo imaging of the speakers in laptops and computer monitor screens is questionable unless you position them (or your head) carefully.

Even if the music is played back in stereo, often it is coming from a distance and is essentially mono at that point.
Retail outlet sound systems are all mono.
Cell phone dropped into a large drinking glass for more "bass" is mono.
Out on my friend's deck with the "stereo" coming through the window (30 feet total distance from speaker to ear) is mono.

No harm in putting bits and dabs in the stereo field but vocals, bass and kick should stay near or in the center.
My excellently sub-par reference "stereo" has a pair of speakers set side by side. If you lean way over the kitchen sink and put your head about 1 foot away and in the center, they are stereo.

If you get a great seat at the symphony, it is better than stereo. If you are back and to the side, it's not.
Rock concert? Mostly no. I did see ELP on the Brain Salad Surgery Tour and that was in Quad with 4 stacks spread through the arena. Still, a huge reflective building with crap sound so big whoop.
Prety impressive if one's perceptions were "enhanced". laugh


There is never enough time to be in a hurry...
Joined: Feb 2005
Posts: 711
Likes: 23
MPN Advisory Board
Gold Member
Offline
MPN Advisory Board
Gold Member
Joined: Feb 2005
Posts: 711
Likes: 23
When recording a string band, I'll often start with all the instruments panned to the center, get a good balance, then spread them out a little and, if necessary, beef up something that's starting to get buried.

Given that everyone is playing together and at "acoustic distance" rather than "social distance" there's always some leakage, and panning things around can either lose the enhancement you get when leakage between mics is in phase, or lessen the cancellation when the leakage is out of phase.

Joined: Jun 2006
Posts: 247
Likes: 12
N
Senior Member
Offline
Senior Member
N
Joined: Jun 2006
Posts: 247
Likes: 12
Part of the original attraction of stereo was the novelty of it. We've had stereo so long now, and stereo treatments have become somewhat conventional and predictable - it could be that mono brings a little bit of something fresh (as odd as that sounds.)

I use the Avantone Mixcube for supplemental monitoring. I like it so much, that I find myself using it for background music often. Something about the lack of a crossover, the simple clarity of midrange scratches an itch for me. There are certainly very bad speakers that reproduce all ranges badly - but the Avantones are not that. They are excellent-sounding midrange.

Stereo is of so little use in the wild, the way people listen now.

I tend to very much like material that has a lot of mic bleed. So much so that I experiment with fake mic bleed in my mixes. Probably 'cause it sounds more like what I listened to as a kid. I feel like I might as well mix my material the way I like it, since who sits down and listens attentively to stereo tracks in a good environment? Besides engineers and such.

But then I'll tire a bit of mono and mono-ish material, and I'll go back to stereo and it sounds all fresh and amazing. So I'm happy all day smile

nat

Last edited by Nowarezman; 08/13/20 11:04 PM.
Joined: Feb 2005
Posts: 711
Likes: 23
MPN Advisory Board
Gold Member
Offline
MPN Advisory Board
Gold Member
Joined: Feb 2005
Posts: 711
Likes: 23
Because I'm the vice president of getting terminology correct around here, I must point out that "stereo" has a very specific meaning, and it doesn't mean that the sound comes out of two speakers. In order to be real stereo, the recording must be made with a stereo microphone that captures the sound of the room which, of course includes the music.

Pan pot stereo is really a form of mono recording.

But then, the term will live on to mean whatever the custom is, no matter that it's technically incorrect.

Joined: Jan 2000
Posts: 9,515
Likes: 186
MPN Advisory Board
MP Hall of Fame Member
OP Offline
MPN Advisory Board
MP Hall of Fame Member
Joined: Jan 2000
Posts: 9,515
Likes: 186
Originally Posted by Nowarezman
I tend to very much like material that has a lot of mic bleed. So much so that I experiment with fake mic bleed in my mixes.
One of the elements I like about Studio One is their Mix FX. These are somewhat like console emulation, but more complex because they insert into buses, and take into account all the signals feeding the buses. One of the controls can increase crosstalk among channels. I wrote up a
post for my Friday Tip of the Week that covers how to use with electronic drums to have them not sound so effing sterile, and it's surprisingly effective.

Joined: Jan 2000
Posts: 9,515
Likes: 186
MPN Advisory Board
MP Hall of Fame Member
OP Offline
MPN Advisory Board
MP Hall of Fame Member
Joined: Jan 2000
Posts: 9,515
Likes: 186
Originally Posted by Mike Rivers
Because I'm the vice president of getting terminology correct around here
That didn't sound right, so I checked the minutes of the board meetings. You are still the president, so I don't know why you think you were demoted. That means you still have access to the corporate jet and the condo on Kona. I think Trixie, Heather, and Shane have the condo booked for this weekend, but it's free after that.

1 member likes this: Joe Muscara
Joined: Jan 2015
Posts: 601
Likes: 41
N
Gold Member
Offline
Gold Member
N
Joined: Jan 2015
Posts: 601
Likes: 41
Yes, changes in spatialization are quite interesting to the ear in any direction (down to mono, up to surround). But sometimes, it takes a moment to realize that what has changed is the spatialization.

I had a friend over recently, we were going through some synths and sound libraries to select some things to sample into her Kronos for further manipulation. She was sitting at my composing rig, and I was off to the side just acting as scribe for the "patches that are interesting". It took a few minutes, but I noticed that some of the patches had very similar names, and that we both preferred the second one of every patch like this. All the "favorite" patches were the surround version of the patch. I have surround monitoring in the studio, and the stereo version of the patch just wasn't as engaging. None of this was crazy swooping panning stuff. But when the sound envelops you, it just feels better.

I have had the same experience with the VSL Syncron Steinway. It is glorious in surround, and a significant improvement from stereo.

But mono is powerful too - concert sound is often in mono (or practically so anyway as an attendee fixed in one spot not on the centerline).

Tell us what you find - there have been amazing recordings made around a single microphone. Watching a top bluegrass band trade off around a mic is pretty cool.

Joined: Jan 2000
Posts: 9,515
Likes: 186
MPN Advisory Board
MP Hall of Fame Member
OP Offline
MPN Advisory Board
MP Hall of Fame Member
Joined: Jan 2000
Posts: 9,515
Likes: 186
Originally Posted by Nathanael_I
But when the sound envelops you, it just feels better.

I agree, and I like SACD, too.

But surround for audio has been around since, well, forever, but people don't seem to be interested. Why?

Joined: Jan 2015
Posts: 601
Likes: 41
N
Gold Member
Offline
Gold Member
N
Joined: Jan 2015
Posts: 601
Likes: 41
Too hard to setup. Too expensive (2x speaker cost). And in a living room, the effect is really best in a very small area. It is something that has been much better done in movie theaters, honestly. Most home setups are never calibrated right, so it is questionable how much people have actually experienced it.

It will be interesting to see if Avid's big push on Atmos for music mixing goes anywhere in the market. They are promoting the idea of "mix to Atmos once, deliver to any format". Dolby is pushing that also. Some soundtracks are remixed for stereo release, others are just down-mixed on the dub stage. The new ProTools Atmos tools let you specify what formats you want to output, and it will run out whatever stems are needed for however many formats you choose. I haven't heard it. I haven't tried it. But they are definitely selling it at their Nashville and LA pro audio events. I've caught a few of the YouTube broadcasts and am "following it from a distance".

But yeah, today, music only distribution to surround sound is pretty much non-existent. No one has the playback environment. But the engineers who have done surround music mixing all seem to be big fans of the sound they get and the freedom it gives them. The last one I watched, the mixer had taken a rap/urban kind of track and done it in Atmos. His first observation: There is so much room to position things that I hardly used compression. Without trying to squeeze things into a horizontal panorama, the mix could breathe more and still have definition and punch. The film guys say they don't use a lot of compression on Atmos music, but acknowledge that typically it is pretty well compressed before the stems get to them.

Still early days - I am watching with interest. I just know that we don't hear in mono or in stereo, so "more immersion is better", but will it ever be practical? My crystal ball is hazy. If they ever get it right in headphones or wearables, I think it will go mainstream. In living rooms? Hard sell unless "Atmos soundbars" can do enough with room reflections to matter....

Joined: Sep 2019
Posts: 3,244
Likes: 267
MP Hall of Fame Member
Offline
MP Hall of Fame Member
Joined: Sep 2019
Posts: 3,244
Likes: 267
Originally Posted by Nathanael_I
Too hard to setup. Too expensive (2x speaker cost). And in a living room, the effect is really best in a very small area. It is something that has been much better done in movie theaters, honestly. Most home setups are never calibrated right, so it is questionable how much people have actually experienced it.

It will be interesting to see if Avid's big push on Atmos for music mixing goes anywhere in the market. They are promoting the idea of "mix to Atmos once, deliver to any format". Dolby is pushing that also. Some soundtracks are remixed for stereo release, others are just down-mixed on the dub stage. The new ProTools Atmos tools let you specify what formats you want to output, and it will run out whatever stems are needed for however many formats you choose. I haven't heard it. I haven't tried it. But they are definitely selling it at their Nashville and LA pro audio events. I've caught a few of the YouTube broadcasts and am "following it from a distance".

But yeah, today, music only distribution to surround sound is pretty much non-existent. No one has the playback environment. But the engineers who have done surround music mixing all seem to be big fans of the sound they get and the freedom it gives them. The last one I watched, the mixer had taken a rap/urban kind of track and done it in Atmos. His first observation: There is so much room to position things that I hardly used compression. Without trying to squeeze things into a horizontal panorama, the mix could breathe more and still have definition and punch. The film guys say they don't use a lot of compression on Atmos music, but acknowledge that typically it is pretty well compressed before the stems get to them.

Still early days - I am watching with interest. I just know that we don't hear in mono or in stereo, so "more immersion is better", but will it ever be practical? My crystal ball is hazy. If they ever get it right in headphones or wearables, I think it will go mainstream. In living rooms? Hard sell unless "Atmos soundbars" can do enough with room reflections to matter....


As always, an interesting and informative post. I've always preferred to play music in another room and listen to it off yonder a bit. That is another argument for mono AND another way of using surround sound since the sound of the music is profoundly affected by my proximity in an environment. All that said, I am still playing with "dual mono" which I believe is a term that Mike Rivers will approve of and I concur.

I do think you can (and must) record stereo with two mics though. Even a stereo mic is two mics in one chassis in the end. This is a great thread!!!!


There is never enough time to be in a hurry...
Joined: Feb 2005
Posts: 711
Likes: 23
MPN Advisory Board
Gold Member
Offline
MPN Advisory Board
Gold Member
Joined: Feb 2005
Posts: 711
Likes: 23
Originally Posted by Anderton
I checked the minutes of the board meetings. You are still the president, so I don't know why you think you were demoted.
.

Well, they told me that I didn't get paid as president, and they told me that I wouldn't get paid as vice president either. So I figured I'd take the demotion to the lower paying positin and save them some money to keep the jet gassed up.

Joined: Jan 2000
Posts: 9,515
Likes: 186
MPN Advisory Board
MP Hall of Fame Member
OP Offline
MPN Advisory Board
MP Hall of Fame Member
Joined: Jan 2000
Posts: 9,515
Likes: 186
Originally Posted by Nathanael_I
Still early days - I am watching with interest. I just know that we don't hear in mono or in stereo, so "more immersion is better", but will it ever be practical? My crystal ball is hazy. If they ever get it right in headphones or wearables, I think it will go mainstream. In living rooms? Hard sell unless "Atmos soundbars" can do enough with room reflections to matter....

Ultimately what will make it happen is if there's a "helmet" made for VR that's big enough to incorporate surround. People are getting so used to headphones it wouldn't be much of a stretch to put a Buck Rogers-type space helmet around your head.

Joined: Sep 2005
Posts: 1,402
Likes: 9
Platinum Member
Offline
Platinum Member
Joined: Sep 2005
Posts: 1,402
Likes: 9
Originally Posted by Anderton
Ultimately what will make it happen is if there's a "helmet" made for VR that's big enough to incorporate surround. People are getting so used to headphones it wouldn't be much of a stretch to put a Buck Rogers-type space helmet around your head.


[Linked Image]

( I hope Twiki's photo appears here)




Ohh please....... i still have cant believe they gave that poor robot "Twiki" a helmet as such.

At least i now know why they did .......for the ahead of its time (in robot technology) suround sound.


Moderated by  Anderton 

Link Copied to Clipboard
Powered by UBB.threads™ PHP Forum Software 7.7.5