Mono vs. Stereo for Audio Recordings

#1
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!
 

Pete Thomas

Administrator
Staff member
#2
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.
 

Markdvc

Administrator
Staff member
#3
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

Mark
 

Peter Ostry

Administrator
Staff member
#4
I could only hear my voice in one of my headphones
Don't confuse input and output. Preferably you record mono sources in mono but afterwards you pan them and construct a stereo image.

I was wondering what is the difference between mono and stereo?
Stereo delivers different information on two channels.

Why should I make my audio recordings mono tracks when pretty much all of my instruments I use to make beats are stereo?
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.
 
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