SH Spotlight If you have a turntable you need to play your mono records in true MONO. How to do it cheaply..

Discussion in 'Music Corner' started by Steve Hoffman, May 14, 2006.

  1. Steve Hoffman

    Steve Hoffman Your host Your Host Thread Starter

    As I've mentioned many times before, for reasons like this you need to combine the channels to play mono records on a stereo table. If you don't have a dedicated mono cart or a separate 'table or if you have a phono stage without a mono button you must do this simple hookup to get the best from your mono records with the least noise:

    You need to go to Radio Shack or someplace like that and get a DOUBLE Y CORD setup and plug it in between your phono stage and your line stage (or your turntable and phono stage).

    A double Y: The first part of the Y cord combines the left and right signal to cancel out all of the stereo noise. The second part of the Y cord brings that cancelled signal to BOTH stereo channels so the good sound will play out of both of your speakers. There are more upscale versions of this type of setup out there and this has been covered here.

    This is essential for good mono listening. Don't forget to give it a try. It's how I do it in a few systems.
  2. Grant

    Grant Life is a rock, but the radio rolled me!

    Steve, how about summing them in the software?
    DRM likes this.
  3. Steve Hoffman

    Steve Hoffman Your host Your Host Thread Starter

    Sure, sum any way you can.
  4. Grant

    Grant Life is a rock, but the radio rolled me!

    Good! That's what I sometimes do. What about any phase distortions coming from the cart? Wouldn't that make matters worse?
  5. Larry Mc

    Larry Mc Forum Dude

    Thanks for the info, Even someone as "Audio Hardware" challenged as me can understand that. My local Radio Shack is going under, everything is 20 to 30% off. :righton:
    ramdom likes this.
  6. stever

    stever Senior Member

    Omaha, Nebr.
    I'm going to go get one of those @ Radio Shack -- I've got several Beatles mono LPs, and I guess I am not hearing what I should be hearing!
  7. Steve Hoffman

    Steve Hoffman Your host Your Host Thread Starter

    Try it and see. Shouldn't be any phase problems if the record was cut correctly.
  8. Gregory Earl

    Gregory Earl Senior Member

    Me got a mono switch.

    Though I do wonder if I'm missing out on anything by not using a dedicated mono cartridge?
    Bingo Bongo likes this.
  9. Another interesting note: Regarding correct mono playback, I also heard that some mono records should be played with a 1.0 mil stylus? I know of a few mono records that seemed to mistrack on my setup, and I'm guessing this was perhaps a result of using the incorrect stylus? I may soon be building a dedicated turntable to play these earlier mono LP records and if necessary, another setup for styrene 45s (which have their own issues when played with a line contact or microridge stylus). Anyone else here have experience with mono LPs and the 1.0 mil stylus?
    Licorice pizza and masterbucket like this.
  10. Yes, some early ones really benefit, but most mono LPs play better with a microline. I tend to use about 1955 as a rule of thumb, but that's just the point at which I'll try out the 1 mil. Just my opinion. Even though later LPs (like Mercurys) say to use a 1 mil on the back cover, I haven't really found that there's an improvement in the least. On a worn record, I get better results with a cheap conical stylus that can track at 6.5 grams. I know, that's heavy, but it's about the only thing I have found that will reduce distortions on some mono records.
  11. Tullman

    Tullman Senior Member

    Boston MA
    I think I will avoid mono lps in the future. Too much effort to crawl behind the rack and insert a y cord.
  12. matt_vinyl

    matt_vinyl Forum Resident

    Norwich, England
    I had great success by using a normal household '1-way' light switch to 'sum up' the stereo channels. The phono lead has to be cut in order to allow the two ends of the left channel wires to be twisted together and afiixed to one of the light switch connection holes. The two ends of the right channel wires are then twisted together and go in the other light switch connection hole. The 'ground' or shield wires must be connected together with a connection block and kept away from the left and rights as much as possible, to avoid shorting. It does work well, though, and once fitted, avoids the need to swap wires for mono listening, because all you do is flick a switch for mono, then flick it off for stereo ! This method depends on whether you would want to cut your nice expensive interconnect, or if I am making any sense whatsoever !
  13. Ed Bishop

    Ed Bishop Incredibly, I'm still here

    This is why many of us have two TT' for mono, one for stereo. Good setup, no muss no fuss...

    M1ke2345, LinnsondekLP, e.s. and 2 others like this.
  14. -=Rudy=-

    -=Rudy=- ♪♫♪♫♫♪♪♫♪♪ Staff

    I doubt it. You just want to electrically sum the signal into mono...whether it's done at the cartridge, in the cables, or at the preamp with the mono switch, the end result would be the same. (We're assuming that a "mono" cart these days is taking the output of a standard stereo cart and summing it within the body.)

    If I do needle drops, I always do them in stereo. The advantage there is that I'm able to clean up the recording better before summing to mono. If one channel has distortion or a click, and the other one doesn't, I can easily copy in a split second from the opposite channel to fix it. Then when all the cleanup work is done, I can sum the two together.
  15. william shears

    william shears Senior Member

    new zealand
    Very interesting, I wish someone would manufacture something like this. Could you photograph your 'switch' Matt?
  16. Ski Bum

    Ski Bum Happy Audiophile

    Vail, CO
    My pre-amp has a mono button. I have to access it from the remote control; there is actually no mono button on the pre-amp itself. It quite noticeably cleans up the sound on mono LPs, even if they're in pretty decent shape.
  17. rushyescrim

    rushyescrim Forum Resident

    Lutz, FL US
    i am glad i saw this post as i just obtained a mono copy of the doors first lp.. once i did my mono reconnect, the difference in sound was very drastic.. this may be a dumb question, but would you need to do the same thing if you want to play a mono cd? just curious...
    WMTC and Peachy like this.
  18. sberger

    sberger Dream Baby Dream

    nope. just vinyl.
  19. Gregory Earl

    Gregory Earl Senior Member

    Sam is correct. Just vinyl.
  20. OcdMan

    OcdMan Senior Member

    In my experience, any phase differences between the two channels of the actual phono cartridge itself only show up as insignificant deviations in frequency response. That's assuming that the record is cut properly, of course. 99% of the time I've found summed is better than stereo or picking only one channel.
  21. lukpac

    lukpac Senior Member

    Milwaukee, WI
    I guess it's a matter of luck. I've got at least two mono records that have noise and/or distortion in one channel but not the other. Picking the "clean" side ends up sounding better than both summed to mono.
    polchik and nm_west like this.
  22. soundQman

    soundQman Senior Member

    Arlington, VA, USA
    Picking one channel could be better if you have a mono CD however. There's always the chance that mastering was done with a stereo playback head on the mono tape, and there could be phase/alignment problems then. Probably a rare occurrence, though, and there aren't very many mono CDs anyway.
  23. OcdMan

    OcdMan Senior Member

    Funny, I just posted something similar in this thread. :thumbsup:

    In those cases I usually burn a copy with one channel split out as both.
    marcfeld69 likes this.
  24. Jtycho

    Jtycho Forum Resident

    I thought since 1960-something almost all mono albums were cut with a stereo lathe, eliminating the need for a mono cart or button.

    Can we get a definitive answer to this question: all else being equal, will modern mono records sound better with a mono cart?
    funknik likes this.
  25. hodgo

    hodgo Tea Making Gort (Yorkshire Branch) Staff

    East Yorkshire
    Bumping Steve's thread due to this topic arising in the Beatles Mono Vinyl Thread

    Guys another way around this is to build your own Mono Switch Box I did it for a total cost of £18 GBP ($31 USD)


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