Why Does Mono Sound Bad To Me?

Discussion in 'Audio Hardware' started by MrMojoRisin, Apr 9, 2017.

  1. Grant

    Grant A Brady-Boomer Musical Free-Spirit

    I just don't understand your way of thinking, nor can I relate to it. Each one of our brains work in a unique way. That's what makes the world spin.
  2. blakep

    blakep Forum Resident

    Putting aside headphone listening (which admittedly was what the OP was focusing on and clearly can present some problems for mono), I doubt whether most listeners would even know they were listening to a mono recording as opposed to a stereo recording when the recording itself is of high quality and is being played back on a high quality two channel system.
    sotosound and Grant like this.
  3. Time Is On My Side

    Time Is On My Side Forum Resident

    Madison, WI
    I get the same feeling. When I can get a good stereo mix, I prefer that to mono. Not sure why, maybe I grew up listening to music in stereo and am more used to it...
    dalem5467 and SoCalWJS like this.
  4. I'm in the same camp. I know that there are many people who love the Mono recordings (frequently the original way it was recorded), but I almost always prefer the Stereo version provided it is reasonably well recorded. And as far as comments that nobody could tell the difference between the 2 on a good system, the only way that would be true is if the engineer recorded it that way - i.e., everything in the recording is balanced out perfectly even between the 2 channels, and that would be an absolute waste.
  5. Plinko

    Plinko Forum Resident

    If you heard mono playing a mono classical lp (or jazz) on a large horn speaker with an incredibly dynamic cartridge of the era like a GE VRII, I'm sure you would be impressed. Not the system for everyone though, that is for sure.
    RhodesSupremacy likes this.
  6. Joe D.

    Joe D. Active Member

    Oak Forest, IL
    The next post after you certainly backs you up.

    They would rather listen to a great stereo recording of Coltrane's music than the man himself.

    bherbert and RhodesSupremacy like this.
  7. Time Is On My Side

    Time Is On My Side Forum Resident

    Madison, WI
    I've also noticed where some stereo mixes just sound incredibly weak (like the ones on the Japanese and European London CDs of The Rolling Stones "Hot Rocks 1").
  8. bherbert

    bherbert Forum Resident

    South Africa
    Because, like me, you probably grew up listening to stereo and therefore mono sounds outdated and boring to you. I can relate.
  9. I recently played an old Elgar and Vaughan Williams mono LP (Enigma Variations and Tallis Fantasia, HMV Concert Classics, Sargent, Philarmonia Orchestra) on my stereo, and the recording and performance were such that all I heard was great music. The mix and mastering was so good that it had a 3D quality even though it was actually 1D.
    McLover and ShallowMemory like this.
  10. Bathory

    Bathory 30 yr Single Malt, not just for breakfast anymore

    because you've heard stereo
  11. Postercowboy

    Postercowboy Forum Resident

    I once again listened to the MoFi Stereo SACD of the first Bob Dylan album last night. This is an acoustic album, basically a guy and his guitar. Voice on the right channel, guitar on the left. Makes me feel like I'm listening to some kind of alien, with arms that are seven feet long.
    Great album, great SQ, but I just can't relate to the Stereo mix at all. I've decided to give up on this one and will get the new MoFi Mono version instead. I already have John Wesley Harding in Mono and I'm very happy with that one. I prefer the Stereo mixes on his electric albums, though.

    I recently bought Art Pepper meets the Rhythm Section on japanese Blu-Ray Audio. The existing SACDs are Stereo, the BR-A is also a Mono mix. My SHM-SACD sounds great, but has Mr. Pepper blowing out of the right channel. To my ears, his alto sax playing center stage sounds a lot nicer. I actually like both versions, but if I had to make a choice, I would stick with the Mono album.
  12. And w
    And what does that first Dylan album sound like when folded down into mono?

    (I find that folding down my stereo LP of "Rubber Soul" delivers some reasonable results, plus the frequency extremes are better represented than on the mono mix, i.e. the sound has a little more air to breathe.)
  13. dkmonroe

    dkmonroe A completely self-taught idiot

    Here's "Bad To Me" in mono so we can all hear it and judge for ourselves.

    Wait, that's not what's being discussed? :eek::laugh:
    Last edited: Aug 12, 2017
  14. Postercowboy

    Postercowboy Forum Resident

    It's not folded down. It's a different mix.
  15. I know. But if you have a mono switch and use it to reduce the stereo down to mono while listening to it then how does it sound?
  16. Wally Swift

    Wally Swift Forum Resident

    Brooklyn New York
    I grew up with stereo but I love mono equally. When it's done right it's awesome.
  17. RhodesSupremacy

    RhodesSupremacy yeah, man

    Music is good
    TheVU and andybeau like this.
  18. Grant

    Grant A Brady-Boomer Musical Free-Spirit

    Well, I finally ordered the 5th Dimension mono set, and will pre-order the Doors singles set too.

    You see, it's not really about mono in and of itself, it's about getting those unique mixes, many of which have not see the light of day since they were released the first time.
    andybeau likes this.
  19. To support Grant's point, the same applies to some dedicated stereo single mixes that no longer get an airing.

    When mono disappeared and stereo became the only medium I assumed that there would only ever be one stereo mix of any given track. How wrong I was! Instead, the care and attention that used to be lavished on a dedicated mono single mix often ended up being lavished upon a dedicated stereo single mix instead.

    An example that my ears discovered recently is "I Wanna Get Next To You" by Rose Royce. Great single mix. Not so good album mix. And the only version that I've encountered on CD is the album mix.
  20. Grant

    Grant A Brady-Boomer Musical Free-Spirit

    I thought the only difference is that the single is edited.
  21. OldSoul

    OldSoul Well, I'm a lonesome schoolboy...

    Vallejo, CA
    This reminded me of something. When I was teching a play once in high school, I was doing something sound related with a classmate, and the teacher and I were talking about panning something. We had to explain to my classmate what we were talking about. She honestly had never considered, or noticed, whether two speakers or headphones were outputting different signals. Mind you, we were in a theater with two huge speakers about 30 feet apart from one another, so stereo separation should've been very obvious.

    I usually defend my generation against you guys :D but I will say, with the number of people my age who'll listen to a single earbud, play music on a single wireless speaker, or play music through a phone/computer, I think a vast majority of them have no clue about stereo vs. mono. So I always kinda smirk when some of you guys say albums need to be remixed to a certain style of stereo to make them modern, because I doubt most would notice. Mono would probably be the best for most people.
    Last edited: Aug 13, 2017
  22. Grant

    Grant A Brady-Boomer Musical Free-Spirit

    Well, that requires people to actually sit down and critically listen to the sound. Most average people don't.
    OldSoul likes this.
  23. Yeah, that's what I thought, but when I listen to the version on CD and compare it with the version on vinyl, it seems that the lead vocal on the vinyl version is mixed to sound far more up close and personal. If ever there was a track which should have been sung by Eddie Kendricks, this is it.

    (I'll have to do another back-to-back on this to confirm that it's the case and not just my ears.)
  24. So... I did a back-to-back comparison, and - for the first verse at least - the single mix on original MCA 7" vinyl has the lead vocal, piano and cellos more upfront and mixed dry.

    The longer version that I found on a recent UK various artists compilation CD, (presumably the album mix because it's 3'56" long), has more reverb in general with the lead vocal, piano and cellos set further back in the mix also with reverb. The overall mix has a bit more air around it but less "feel" IMHO.

    Then I dug around and up popped an older various artists compilation CD with the single mix on it, with dry vocals etc. and running at 3'24" with that frustratingly short fade.

    So... two mixes but both found on CD (after all that!).
    Grant likes this.
  25. Chris C

    Chris C Music was my first love and it will be my last!

    Buy a 50's/60's tube amp jukebox and load it with original 45's like "C'mon Marianne", "Willie and The Hand Jive" or Elvis' "Little Sister" and then tell me that you don't like MONO!
    sotosound likes this.

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