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Mono mix.

PostPosted: Wed Apr 20, 2016 12:07 am
by woodlands
Hi All. I'm looking at mixing a 50's style blues band I recorded through 1" 8 track down to mono.

Question is , do I make the file true mono (1 track) or stereo (two identical tracks)? It will go on CD , vinyl, no3 etc etc. Thanks in advance.

Re: Mono mix.

PostPosted: Wed Apr 20, 2016 8:44 am
by gigpiglet
if you want stereo compatibility (ie: people to play it on their CD player and have it come out both speakers)
than you have to make it a stereo file (2 identical tracks)
i get what you are saying that this makes it not "true" mono.
but if you want true mono (one sound source) then you will alienate a lot of listeners, and get a lot of returns because people think its a bad pressing.
i dont even know if a CD plant would press you a recording that was only one side..

Re: Mono mix.

PostPosted: Thu Apr 21, 2016 2:45 pm
by Paul Maybury
Hi, Gareth is right, but I would suggest mixing it on only one speaker, not two. Are you going to be mastering it?
Cheers, Paul

Re: Mono mix.

PostPosted: Thu Apr 21, 2016 8:47 pm
by woodlands
Hey Paul and Gareth. Yes, I've been mixing with one speaker (ns-10) and I probably will master it. I'm thinking of running 1ch through 1/4 inch tape..anything you suggest with mastering Paul?

Will it make any difference if I bounce the file as a mono or stereo file? Will a mono file cause any dramas further on?


Re: Mono mix.

PostPosted: Thu Apr 21, 2016 9:13 pm
by a.beck
If two sides of a stereo track are truly identical, there's no actual difference between that and what you're calling "true mono".

You can even mix in mono with more than one speaker! True story.

You might as well output an interleaved stereo file. Some manufacturing places might be thrown off by a single mono file. If you're worried, do one of each. You can always change between digital formats (identical channels stereo or single audio file mono) easily with no loss of quality.

You should absolutely have it mastered by someone who is across all this stuff. Any of the usual suspects will do.


Re: Mono mix.

PostPosted: Thu Apr 21, 2016 10:39 pm
by gigpiglet
hey andrew.

im not entirely sure on your above.
maybe its just semantics, but i would say that TRUE mono, is a single source.
ie: a single file, playing back through a single (point) speaker.

as soon as its played back through two (or more) speakers, it ceases to be TRUE mono (to me)
there is mono compatibility, with the same thing playing back from two sources, but that not REALLY mono.

my point was that since around zero percent of his listeners will have actual mono systems, and will in fact be listening to a mono file, on a stereo system, then he is best of mixing/ mastering/ pressing with that in mind.

likewise paul, while mixing it on one speaker might be interesting for him, since the product is being released, and will be (nearly 100%) listed to by people with two speakers, than it should be mixed with two speakers.
if you want translation and understanding of what the end product will sound like, you should at least use the same system!

if this was an art installation for for a performance, where the engineer was controlling the playback system, none of the above would be relevant, and id say do it all TRUE mono and put in a mono system - awesome. but since its being sold as a CD, you have to consider that is the end product, and people will listen to that.

Re: Mono mix.

PostPosted: Thu Apr 21, 2016 11:09 pm
by woodlands
I am also monitoring on two speaker, and switching between other speakers etc.

I've done some bounces with a stereo file (two identical) mixes and it's playing back on a number of systems fine.

I think it's safer to go this way. It for no other purpose than it sounds cool and fits with the band.

My understanding of true mono is one single source, obviously that's non existent these days...

So I think I'll provide a dual mono file? No real point in providing a single mono there?

Re: Mono mix.

PostPosted: Fri Apr 22, 2016 8:34 am
by Drumstruck
Good topic - it reminds me of the endless arguments that went "that's not stereo, it's dual mono....."

Remember that mono records have 2 sides to the groove so this is no new dilemna.

Re: Mono mix.

PostPosted: Fri Apr 22, 2016 11:49 am
by Paul Maybury
Hello, yes the final (stereo) consumer medium it ends up on should have the same signal on left and right.
In regards to translation, it's never possible to listen on the same system as every consumer.
Mixing mono on two speakers can give false spatial cues and make it seem that there is more sonic real estate available than there really is. Personally, when I have done this mono mixing thing before, I've mixed on one speaker. Preferably something close to a point source speaker, like a Tannoy or Auratone.
Also note that on the '50's records feeling that you are looking for, loudness was achieved largely through use of echo and room ambience. Not much compression, a little bit of limiting but nothing like what is common practice now. Mono makes this bit more challenging at first but even more obvious when it is working. It will also help you achieve front to back depth.
My 2c.
Have fun!

Re: Mono mix.

PostPosted: Tue Apr 26, 2016 1:43 pm
by woodlands
Thanks Paul. Yes it was tracked live, so there's some nice ambience/bleed in the tracks. I do like the front to back achieved in those older recordings, it makes it all quite natural when it's tracked live..I might put some links up here when I get a few done. Thanks y'all.