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View Full Version : How do you feel about the Mono Revolution?


bobzilla77
June 2nd, 2011, 09:42 PM
Curious to hear your folks' takes on this...

Since around the time of the Beatles box sets, the Mono Reissue has become a popular staple. While at first this seemed like a toss to the completist collector types, I'm starting to get won over to the side that says mono is the preferred medium for most rock records recorded up to about 1965.

I've been really astounded listening to the new Roy Orbison Monument Collection with the mono masters of his early 60s singles, and how different they are from the common stereo versions. My amateur ears tell me that some effort must have been made to filter and separate some of the elements on those stero mixes, because the stereo is so surgically separated it's actually distracting. Hearing everything glued together makes a big difference - I've never been so bowled over by Roy's stuff as I am with this new collection.

I don't think it's the superiority of the medium as much as the fact that when the records were made on 2 or 3 tracks, they weren't thinking about panning specific instruments. As such, those sessions don't lend themselves to true stereo mixes. And also, the fact that the artist & producer were likely more focused on the mono mixes since that was the one that went to radio & that most people would buy, so they represent the best effort of the artist at the time the record was made.

I'm not suggesting we go back to mono for new recordings but wondering how you folks who work with audio all the time are reacting to this trend of reissuing sixties stuff in its mono state.

weedywet
June 2nd, 2011, 09:50 PM
when the record was made listening in mono, and intended to be mono, and stereo was only an afterthought - then naturally the mono is going to sound better

that's really all

I don't believe mono is intrinsically better at all

PRobb
June 2nd, 2011, 10:21 PM
when the record was made listening in mono, and intended to be mono, and stereo was only an afterthought - then naturally the mono is going to sound better

that's really all

I don't believe mono is intrinsically better at all

That.

eagan
June 2nd, 2011, 11:55 PM
Same here. I don't have any particular fetish for mono. I actually like stereo some lots. Few things make me happier in pure sonic terms than stuff with a big ambient stereo spread.

On the other hand, some stuff can actually sound better in some way by just being simple and coherent. Contrary to what I just said above, with material that it relatively sparse and simple, it can actually be kind of, no, really distracting and annoying to hear the stuff with somebody trying a little to hard to make it all stereo just for the sake of stereo.

But if something was made in mono with everything involved based on the premise that this is mono, end of story, then it's probably going to sound best in mono.

No mysteries there, in my mind.


JLE

ManRoom Studio
June 3rd, 2011, 12:21 AM
when the record was made listening in mono, and intended to be mono, and stereo was only an afterthought - then naturally the mono is going to sound better

that's really all

I don't believe mono is intrinsically better at all

That pretty much sums up the first Buffalo Springfield album - they slaved over the mono mix to get it right, only to have it handed to others to do the stereo mix, which at the time, was uncharted territory - as such, the stereo mix was a combination of experiment and what sounded cool to the mixers at the time. The band members were not amused. The mono mixes were included on the CD reissue so people could hear the difference - and of course, the mono mix kicked the stereo mix in the cans.


The ManRoom

Bob Olhsson
June 3rd, 2011, 05:14 AM
Stereo related to a pop mono record the way 5.1 does to a stereo record today until the stores refused to order any more mono around 1967-68. All of the sweat went into the mono.

I used to have fun at parties showing people the difference between a mono Motown album from 1965 and a stereo. I'd play the stereo and the reaction was "wow, I see why that was a hit!" Then I'd play them the mono and the reaction was consistently "Oh my God!"

Dr. Bob
June 3rd, 2011, 05:50 AM
I dunno what the bug is, but to my ears, I mix what the song dictates.

If its nice big, lush, phat and wide tracks, then it's obviously a multi-channels mix... but I' find I mix a lot of stuff mono to mono-ish. The song dictates what happens with the mix in today's world of 1-256 tracks.

I mean... some stuff just sounds like it does.

You get 9 guys in a hot sweaty studio, puttin' down some rough an' dirty shuffle... then hell yeah. Drive to have it sound like what it is, in the room... with one mic.

Lots of acoustic music, like bluegrass, americana and most solo instruments pretty much mean you're gonna be mono, so it's not like it should be unfamiliar territory.

I guess it'd be fun to do an entire project that would lend itself to more of a wider stereo field, and force it to mono sometime, but as far as any kind of trend and demand... I haven't seen any here, yet. But what do I know?

jerryskid
June 3rd, 2011, 06:39 AM
Brian Wilson did EVERTHING in mono..cause he didn't have a left ear.....My left ear has been clogged since '99...so I LOVE mono....but I like the stereo shit you kidz play......:Wink:

NathanRocks88
June 3rd, 2011, 08:46 AM
I don't know about you guys. But automating pans excite me :vuvu:

ivmike
June 3rd, 2011, 03:50 PM
I'm about to drop this recently recorded and released mono recording onto my turntable:

http://media.fanfire.com/images/product/large/JME/JME50506.jpg

NathanRocks88
June 3rd, 2011, 08:02 PM
I'm about to drop this recently recorded and released mono recording onto my turntable:

http://media.fanfire.com/images/product/large/JME/JME50506.jpg


love the vinyl

anyone know where or how an independent artist can go about getting their music cut onto a 45?

ivmike
June 3rd, 2011, 10:34 PM
love the vinyl

anyone know where or how an independent artist can go about getting their music cut onto a 45?

There's a place south of Montreal, called RIP Vinyl that presses most major (and indie) stuff in Canada; they pressed the Arcade Fire "Suburbs" release.

Johnny
June 3rd, 2011, 10:59 PM
Couldn't they just vote mono out of office?

ivmike
June 4th, 2011, 12:33 AM
I'm about to drop this recently recorded and released mono recording onto my turntable:

http://media.fanfire.com/images/product/large/JME/JME50506.jpg

And I've gone through it, all four sides....it's spectacular.


John Mellencamp has not only created a great album; this is great art.*






*which has nothing to do with mono or stereo, it's just a great record

radiationroom
June 4th, 2011, 05:55 PM
Mono tends to work better in big rooms with lots of reflections which is why many dance remixes are cut in mono or "near mono". A good example of this is the work Armand Van Helden did on The Real McCoy 12-inch singles of the mid 1990's. Those mixes sound big and fat on a club system yet there is almost no stereo field what-so-ever in them. :Thumbsup: :Thumbsup:

overeasy
June 5th, 2011, 11:38 PM
A GS link to (a stereo... couldn't specify which one) mix of "She Said, She Said" inspired me to seek out a (again, origins/format/resolution unknown)) mono mix of same.

I really enjoyed it, but I missed the stereo. Mainly because that's how I was first introduced to the song.

It's (vaguely) like reading one version of a book (say... Stephen King's "The Stand") and then - years later - reading the "other". Be it unabridged v. abridged.. etc..)

At least that's how it struck me. I kinda couldn't wait to get back to the stereo mix I'm familiar with - HOWEVER fucked up and "connected but for the grace of good balancing" it may be...

Perception. Mood. Expectation. Ouch.

6x2
June 8th, 2011, 10:52 PM
when the record was made listening in mono, and intended to be mono, and stereo was only an afterthought - then naturally the mono is going to sound better

that's really all

I don't believe mono is intrinsically better at all

Absolutely.

And Brian Wilson is a great example of true mono music-making. The guy had to make up for his natural lack of stereo separation by making absolutely stunning arrangements where the separate parts molded into one entity. When the parts get overly separated - like in Pet Sounds' stereo and surround versions - it falls apart as something essential disappears.

6x2