Jump to content


Please note: You can easily log in to MPN using your Facebook account!

Back to Mono?


Recommended Posts

Phil Spector and Brian Wilson preferred it, and George Martin like to listen in mono to the Beatles playbacks, etc. So I was curious how many of you might(sometimes)prefer to record in mono and why? For example, for a simple voice and acoustic guitar demo I think it's cool to do it as a two track and give each its own channel. Long live the "wall of sound"!
Link to comment
Share on other sites



  • Replies 21
  • Created
  • Last Reply
I'm recording/mixing in mono and I love it. There's a number of reasons why, but I can give you a few: * Mono requires more participation on the part of the listener. Mono is like a black and white photograph, while stereo is like color. Stereo provides you with more detail, and the listener has to work less to understand what's going on. * Call me weird, but I dig the sound of a good-sounding bootleg. That's maybe the opposite of what a good audio engineer is supposed to like, but oh well... I like the fact that mono makes you listen more carefully. * I like the idea of working within limitations. When you can't think about stereo placement in a mix, then suddenly you work on things differently, and arrange things differently too. * There is a practical reason as well... Mono requires less gear you'd normally need. You need fewer microphones, less computer processing power, and fewer tracks. * Another practical reason: a mono mp3 is half the size of a stereo mp3... Quicker downloads, less bandwidth being used. * Mixing is *soooo* much faster. Mixing has always been my least favorite part of recording, and it's great to only have to worry about top to bottom (frequencies) and front to back (depth), but not left to right (stereo spread). * Mono recordings pretty much sound the same no matter which speaker you're near. * Mono sounds more "present"... * I like a challenge... Mono *does* require you to think differently when arranging and mixing... I love the freedom that it's also brought. I'm not saying that mono is always better than stereo... But for certain things (my music, in particular), I like the sound of mono. I wouldn't use mono on any commercial contemporary music, or on a mix where the recording is going to be compared to another contemporary mix. My music is probably not very commercial (and heavily influenced by Brian Wilson/Les Paul/Phil Spector's productions), so the mono thing fits right in with what I'm doing. I'm not using mono for a two track recording... I'm working with usually 30+ tracks (lots of vocal tracks, in particular). Anybody else mixing in mono? I'm having so much fun I may never go back to stereo... [img]http://www.musicplayer.com/ubb/wink.gif[/img]
Link to comment
Share on other sites

I've been doing some mono mixing...haven't put anything "out there" yet but I have been experimenting with it. Somewhat related...my brother and I did a [b]full stereo[/b] mix the other night...y'know like Sly Stone/Beatles mixes. Drums mixed to one mono track and panned all the way to the right, Vocals all the way to the left, Rhythm Guitar Left, Bass Center, Heavy lead guitar Right. Sounds really cool and took me back to my youth while still sounding fresh...I'll be uploading it to the internet tonight if you're interested. This message has been edited by Steve LeBlanc on 10-15-2001 at 09:27 PM
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Very few record in true stereo. Most of us record in mono and mix in a pseudo-stereo. Bruce Swedien records a lot in stereo. That's why his records sound so sweet. Obviously, a lot of film scores are recorded in stereo. That's why they sound so sweet.

GY

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

? it never left. i am a stone true believer in MONO- i think i got this beautiful affliction back in the 60s listening to most music on the radio and on my my record player-(WEBCOR?)- i think(unless you are using headphones) that everything we hear is in mono since we only have(well,most of us...)one head w/ less the a foot between yer earholes,huh? i could be wrong and i'll eat a bug but i'm a mono guy for good. rip~phil spector~(musically)
AMPSSOUNDBETTERLOUDER
Link to comment
Share on other sites

I always start out mixing in mono. All initial level settings, EQs, etc. are in mono because of the "limitations" angle mentioned above - if you can make things sound good in mono, then you're ready to think about stereo. I really do like the stereo part, though, broadening sounds out and such. Still, most of my music is center-heavy, I think if you spread things out too far the overall sound becomes weaker and more diffused. Or maybe I just like center-channel buildup .
Link to comment
Share on other sites

I Can't stand mono, always use panning when mixing, but try to be careful as Craig talks about in his reply above. Maybe it's just personal preference, but I also don't like the way those first few CDs by the Beatles that are only in mono sound. I've heard the mono Beach Boys stuff and don't like it either. Too much music is buried in a mono mix, and it "breathes" in stereo...
Link to comment
Share on other sites

almost everything i track is in mono except drums and maybe some guitar parts or a "space bass" type of thing. when mixing i like some stuff really wide mainly sweetner stuff...the extra goodies if you will...and i am always checking the mix in mono just to be sure it breaks down without to much lose. it is funny about 2 years ago i was working on a house track and i had everything in mono when i was tracking....got time to mix and i started doing the stereo placement thing and all of a sudden the "uhmp" was gone...in mono it just had this big wet pychedelic glue that disapeared when i went "stereo"...so to make a long story short i brought most of the channels more towards the center and it rocked.... i think for alot of dance music mixing mostly in mono really helps glue it all together. my 2 cents
Link to comment
Share on other sites

FWIW, here's a link where you can download the ultra stereo mix I was talking about earlier. It's really a horrible mix by most sane standards but I can't help but love it...I'm weird. [img]http://www.musicplayer.com/ubb/smile.gif[/img] It's basically all mono tracks hard panned and everything was tracked pretty badly on a Yamaha MD8. [b]"We Have The Power" (4.5 MB)[/b] http://www.artistlaunch.com/jamfree You'll have to scroll down a little to find it...lots of tunes on that page.
Link to comment
Share on other sites

I started a thread about this a while back, I've always dug the Chess and Sun sounds. Super pure. Lots of folks are back into it in the blues scene, and I would gander to guess that radio is somewhat center configured.....dunno. Some of it anyway. I like the way old bluegrass cats stand around one big microphone and step up to solo. It don't get much better.
Down like a dollar comin up against a yen, doin pretty good for the shape I'm in
Link to comment
Share on other sites

I check things in mono to make sure I haven't done any phase madness along the way. Come to think of it, I don't listen with one speaker. A dual voice coil full range would be really handy for that. I'm not much into stereo exactly, I like panned mono. I'm really sick of wide panned drums so I pan stereo drums at like 11:00 and 1:00 and it works fine to my ear. Usually always have some contrasting instruments at like 3:00 and 9:00.
Link to comment
Share on other sites

[quote]Originally posted by DC: [b]I check things in mono to make sure I haven't done any phase madness along the way. Come to think of it, I don't listen with one speaker. A dual voice coil full range would be really handy for that. I'm not much into stereo exactly, I like panned mono. I'm really sick of wide panned drums so I pan stereo drums at like 11:00 and 1:00 and it works fine to my ear. Usually always have some contrasting instruments at like 3:00 and 9:00.[/b][/quote] I'm with ya. Theres some interesting sounds with panned mono, especially with guitars. Lots of frequencies bouncing around that are pleasing to my ear. Though its really a stereo mix at that point. This message has been edited by strat0124 on 10-16-2001 at 10:45 AM
Down like a dollar comin up against a yen, doin pretty good for the shape I'm in
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Strat- I may beg to differ on yr last statement... Panned mono ain't stereo. There's no time difference between the 2 channels (and therefore no phase difference)and no ambient information... In order to obtain a *true* stereo recording you've gotta record it with a 2 microphone setup! Having said that, I do agree with some earlier posts re. the fact that mono mixes *can be* bolder and punchier and sound "better" (whatever that means) under certain circumstances. Now, the best of both worlds would be a 5.1 mono surround mix, eh? [img]http://www.musicplayer.com/ubb/smile.gif[/img] My 2 ears' worth Paul

JingleJungle

...Hoobiefreak

Link to comment
Share on other sites

[quote]Originally posted by JingleJungle: [b]Strat- I may beg to differ on yr last statement... Panned mono ain't stereo. There's no time difference between the 2 channels (and therefore no phase difference)and no ambient information... In order to obtain a *true* stereo recording you've gotta record it with a 2 microphone setup! Having said that, I do agree with some earlier posts re. the fact that mono mixes *can be* bolder and punchier and sound "better" (whatever that means) under certain circumstances. Now, the best of both worlds would be a 5.1 mono surround mix, eh? [img]http://www.musicplayer.com/ubb/smile.gif[/img] My 2 ears' worth Paul[/b][/quote] Correct me if I'm wrong, but I thought a mono mix had the same info in each speaker if played back on a stereo system, whereas a stereo mix would contain that and different stuff on each channel?
Down like a dollar comin up against a yen, doin pretty good for the shape I'm in
Link to comment
Share on other sites

When I was a kid and got my first stereo system, I used to listen through headphones most of the time. My receiver had a MONO button on the front. A favorite thing I used to do was engage the MONO during certain parts of a song -a verse, for example- and then release it to stereo when a chorus would start, or right after a break. I liked the way the mono sounded more restrained, and then the stereo just opened everything up. I think both mono and stereo can be used to great effect in a song. If everything is stereo-ized, then the potency of stereo can be lost. Kind of like the use of the phaser effect in 70's fusion bands. Phasers really cool, but when EVERY instrument (even drums) is running through a phaser, the music loses the very thing the effect was intended to produce. Same thing goes for the overuse of reverb and DX bell sounds in the late 80's. I can't even listen to 'wind beneath my wings' anymore without feeling like I've just been drenched in syrup! How ironic is it that low fi sounds are so popular these days. Yet I think phasers, reverbs, and DX bell sounds are all still viable. It's just that they need to be used judiciously. I think the same principle can be applied to stereo and mono -they're just more colors to paint with.

Super 8

 

Hear my stuff here

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Strat- As I stated above, a mono signal routed to each speaker is still a mono signal even if it appears in a different *position* in the resulting "stereo" field. This is what happens when, for example, you use a drum module and you pan each drum across the stero buss; what you're getting is a series of mono signals placed L-R but you don't have the phase differential between the channels which makes *real* stereo that much more "realistic". When you mic your drumset with 2 overheads you are getting that the information (which in part is the [b]same information[/b]) appears at the 2 mics with a [b]different phase relationship[/b] due to the very slight time delay caused by the distance between the 2 microphones. This is - partly - what happens with your ears [I am assuming your manufacturer installed a standard stero pair [img]http://www.musicplayer.com/ubb/smile.gif[/img] ]. Sorry if I was not clearer in my previous post - you know, phase differential between my right and left brain hemispheres, etc... [img]http://www.musicplayer.com/ubb/wink.gif[/img] Paul

JingleJungle

...Hoobiefreak

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Funny, hadn't really thought about mono lately, 'cept to check mixes. I was reading this thread as I was listening to "Shadows In The Rain" from 'Zenyatta Mondatta'; this is really the first time I've noticed it as a very 'restrained stereo', much like what DC mentioned about his drum panning, but ALL instruments are within that 11 to 1 space. Only the occasional guitar or vocal effect gets outside of it. Funny...I've been listening to this album for, what 20 years?...never noticed that.
I've upped my standards; now, up yours.
Link to comment
Share on other sites

[quote]Originally posted by JingleJungle: [b]Strat- As I stated above, a mono signal routed to each speaker is still a mono signal even if it appears in a different *position* in the resulting "stereo" field. This is what happens when, for example, you use a drum module and you pan each drum across the stero buss; what you're getting is a series of mono signals placed L-R but you don't have the phase differential between the channels which makes *real* stereo that much more "realistic". When you mic your drumset with 2 overheads you are getting that the information (which in part is the [b]same information[/b]) appears at the 2 mics with a [b]different phase relationship[/b] due to the very slight time delay caused by the distance between the 2 microphones. This is - partly - what happens with your ears [I am assuming your manufacturer installed a standard stero pair [img]http://www.musicplayer.com/ubb/smile.gif[/img] ]. Sorry if I was not clearer in my previous post - you know, phase differential between my right and left brain hemispheres, etc... [img]http://www.musicplayer.com/ubb/wink.gif[/img] Paul[/B][/quote] Thanks Paul, I gotcha. Man I record in my garage! So alot of things you guys explain I may or may not do and can't explain it when I did it! Ha Ha!!! I guess in essence, I am doing the same thing tracking guitars in mono, then spreading them out over the field to get that phase difference if there is any. The only thing I've multiple mic'd is drums and acoustic instruments, and occasionally a room mic for an amp thats already close mic'd. Its been all trial and error in my experience. I just try what sounds right to my ears and go with it.....make it gospel so to speak. But back to the mono mix, I've found with some music, a stereo mix killed it, whereas the mono mix sounded alot better. Ever had that?
Down like a dollar comin up against a yen, doin pretty good for the shape I'm in
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Archived

This topic is now archived and is closed to further replies.

×
×
  • Create New...