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Mono vs. Stereo for Audio Recordings

Discussion in 'Studio Techniques' started by Taybot, Nov 10, 2009.

  1. Taybot

    Taybot Senior member

    I'm trying to learn how to record audio on Logic and the instruction book I have says to make a record-enabled mono audio track.

    This confused me because I'm so used to doing stereo tracks. I didn't even know people did mono.

    Also, I have a fast track audio pro, and I could only hear my voice in one of my headphones, until I pressed the switch that turned it to mono. Before it was in stereo and I could only hear it on one headphone. I figure this is because I had a mono audio track set up and was listening back to it on stereo.

    I was wondering what is the difference between mono and stereo? Why should I make my audio recordings mono tracks when pretty much all of my instruments I use to make beats are stereo?

    Thanks a ton!
  3. Pete Thomas

    Pete Thomas Administrator Staff Member

    If all your instruments are stereo, then use stereo.

    You would use mono for mono sources, such as anything recorded on a single microphone, guitar (unless it's going into and out of a stereo processor or amp).

    It doesn't do any harm to record a mono source to stereo, it's just that each side of the stereo file (left and right) will be identical, as opposed to being different which is what makes actual stereo or "2 track".

    The only issue is that the stereo audiofile is a bit bigger. If hard drive space is a real issue then make sure you only use mono tracks for mono sources.

    NB, re: your beats, just because a box has a stereo out, doesn't necessarily mean the signal coming out is proper stereo. It could just be mono beats coming out of a stereo output, in which case you could record mono. But if in doubt in the case use stereo.
  4. Markdvc

    Markdvc Administrator Staff Member

    When recording audio, I tend mostly to use Mono, even for sources such as drum OHs, I prefer the flexibility of having two mono tracks. If I need some stereo effects, I just route them to an aux channel strip. I would not record a mono source as a stereo file, that, it seems to me, is just wasting HD space and other resources

    Of course with sources such as external keyboards, there is little point in not recording them as stereo.

    kind regards

  5. Peter Ostry

    Peter Ostry Administrator Staff Member

    Don't confuse input and output. Preferably you record mono sources in mono but afterwards you pan them and construct a stereo image.

    Stereo delivers different information on two channels.

    If you use hardware instruments first check if they really deliver a stereo signal that makes sense or some fake. For the latter take the mono output or just one side (depends on the synth) and make your own stereo.

    The first test is to invert the phase of one side. If the signal gets quieter, the manufacturer of the synth did just the same to let the the sound appear stereo-like. You are better off with the mono output or only one channel. The second test depends on personal taste. Listen to the stereo sound and decide if you really like it as it is. If not, and the stereo image has no musically relevant information, take only one side.
  6. Taybot

    Taybot Senior member

    k thanks for the advice!

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