Mono record with Stereo cartridge - What to expect?

Discussion in 'Audio Hardware' started by Sbcrue, Aug 12, 2021.

  1. JohnO

    JohnO Senior Member

    Location:
    Washington, DC
    Play it, with the ML. There should be no problem. Report back. Fits this thread exactly.
     
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  2. blakep

    blakep Forum Resident

    I've experimented with strapped stereo cartridges for mono as well as mono cartridges (AT Mono3-LP, standard AT 33 Mono and my current mono cartridge which is an AT 33 Mono with a Namiki Boron cantilever and microridge stylus).

    In my setup that progression of cartridges provided much more than reduction in surface noise. My last two stereo cartridges have been pretty good but it was really driven home to me again in the past year how much different (and better) a good mono cartridge can sound on a mono record when I figured out one day that a copy of Miles Davis & Sonny Stitt/Live in Stockholm 1960 that has stereo labels on it is in fact a mono record.

    When I switched over to the mono cartridge the record sounded considerably different (and improved) mainly in terms of overall size of image and, to a great extent also, the sense of depth available in the recording. It was a substantial difference.

    The record is a good clean pressing and quiet on either of my setups, but nobody would confuse the two, at least not here.

    YMMV
     
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  3. vinylshadow

    vinylshadow Forum Resident

    Location:
    Florida
    I've been told that even the lowest quality of a mono cartridge will sound better than the best stereo cartridge on a mono LP. Whether a 50's mono or a newer reissued mono.

    Package the mono cartridge with a mono SUT/mono phono drive with mono switch? Even better.
     
  4. EdogawaRampo

    EdogawaRampo Senior Member

    Yep...it has to be said, though, that there was a legit reason for that. When stereo was introduced in the late fifties people's mono system did become obsolete. They'd ruin a stereo record if they bought one, brought it home and played it on their mono cart.
     
  5. Pondoro

    Pondoro Active Member

    Location:
    Hamilton Ohio
    About that noise and "learning to ignore it", I read a story that Paderewski (one of the best pianists ever) left behind only noisy 78 RPM records. If you want to hear Paderewski play, short of time travel, these are your only source. A piano teacher lovingly played them to his piano students. Eventually he got a student who was also an audio fanatic. That student had trained himself to listen only for noise (that was the teacher's assessment). The teacher grew frustrated trying to get the student to listen to Paderewski but it was hopeless, all the student would comment on was the noise. This story changed me and I now seek out sources that have not been manipulated. If that means mono then mono it is.
     
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  6. McLover

    McLover Senior Member

    Location:
    Athens, Tennessee
    Depends on the cartridge. Some mono cartridges were not very good, even when new. Are your mono pressings pre 1965-1966 ones? Unless it's those or Electric Recording Company reissues (which their mono is cut on authentic mono cutting heads and electronics) stick to modern mono cartridges which are vertical compliant (but non responsive to vertical modulation) or Stereo cartridges of high quality in good tonearms.
     
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  7. vinylshadow

    vinylshadow Forum Resident

    Location:
    Florida
    My mono LP's are scattered throughout the years. My earliest is a 1956(recorded) Art Farmers Farmer's Market....Other late 50's, some 60's and 70's, Classic Records mono issues in the 80'-90's, Mofi's, MMJ, TP, BN Classics and many recent mono reissues within the last 15 years like Dylan's and The Beatles Mono box sets. Just ordered Coltrane's mono My Favorite Things from ERC.....

    I intend to play all mono pressings on my 0.7mm Miyajima Zero through a mono SUT and mono phono stage/mono switch.
     
  8. Definitely no problem to play mono Lp's with your rig. Most people go for a Mono cart only when they have big collections. However apparently a true mono cart does lower the noise floor of the LP being played.

    Cheers
     
  9. fortherecord

    fortherecord Forum Resident

    Location:
    Upstate, NY
    Mono sound is glorious, full, and dynamic!
     
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  10. Sbcrue

    Sbcrue Active Member Thread Starter

    Location:
    Dunedin FL
    The (mono) record should finally arrive Wednesday. When I get a chance to listen this week I will report back for the sake of the thread.
    I appreciate the input and discussion from everyone on this topic!
     
  11. Leao

    Leao Well-Known Member

    I have been playing mono records with stereo phono cartridges for decades. Often they sound better than the stereo versions. Just enjoy!
     
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  12. misterjones

    misterjones Forum Resident

    Location:
    Andover, MA
    How about a stereo record with a mono cart? I understand it is improper, not to mention unnecessary, but I recently was playing some 1970s-1980s vintage records of old mono recordings with my AT mono cart and getting some severe popping noises (like some sort of static discharge). I switched to some 1950s mono recordings and have had no problems. If those 1970s-1980s "mono" LPs were cut with a stereo lathe (something I've read about here), could that the reason for the pops? Is the moral of my story be sure to play your modern mono records with a stereo cart/stylus?
     
  13. misterdecibel

    misterdecibel Bulbous Also Tapered

    That's what the "MONO" switch is for.
     
  14. Thank you captian!
     
  15. Muzyck

    Muzyck Real inventor of the inverted firkin

    The music will still be in mono with nice stereo separation of any noise.
     
  16. Angry_Panda

    Angry_Panda Pipe as shown, slippers not pictured

    Shouldn't be an issue to play any modern disc with a modern mono cart, provided it has some vertical compliance. If the lathe operator was feeding the same signal to both channels of the cutting amp, and everything was balanced properly, the resulting cut should be uniform depth, with only lateral excursions of the cutting head - the same thing you'd get with a mono cutting head receiving a single signal. (The Westrex stereo system wound up building in backwards compatibility with the way the signal was laid down on the disc.) Any extraneous noise is the result of something else - either static or debris - and not the use of a mono cart on a 'stereo' groove containing the same signal in both channels.

    I'm sure many folks here have seen both 'don't play this stereo record on a mono stylus' and 'go ahead and play this stereo record on a mono stylus' notices on discs from the early '60's. My understanding is the former was intended to prevent someone from playing a stereo disc on a five year old, quarter-ounce VTF, one mil stylus (or what's left of it) with no vertical compliance on grandma's heavy armed console - that wears the groove out on the first play and wipes out the signal. The latter was aimed at folks who had updated their systems to be compatible with stereo discs - a .7 mil in good shape tracking at 2 or 3 grams and with some vertical compliance won't present an issue. Neither will a modern mono cart, unless it's specifically designed to have no vertical compliance (rare, but I seem to recall reading that Ortofon still makes one). The only thing you won't get doing this with a true stereo disc is the stereo information, since that's encoded in the vertical plane.
     
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  17. Sbcrue

    Sbcrue Active Member Thread Starter

    Location:
    Dunedin FL
    I finally got a chance to sit down and give the mono record a listen with the stereo cartridge....and...as most of you said, it wasn't really an issue. It was interesting when I put it on the first time. There is a weird kinda loud "woosing" for the first maybe 5 seconds of the record and I thought "Uh oh, this sucks" and it then it went away and never returned. It's only the first couple of seconds of each side after the music has started and then it disappears. Other than that, enjoyable for the most part.

    I appreciate the feedback and responses by all.
     
  18. Otlset

    Otlset under western skies

    Location:
    Temecula, CA
    The original pressing of Parsley, Sage, Rosemary and Thyme (1966) by Simon and Garfunkel is much better in the mono version for example -- dynamics, detail, bass and treble are more distinct than the stereo version.
     
  19. Boltman92124

    Boltman92124 Fish tacos.

    Location:
    San Diego
    I think a lot of people prefer the mono version of Pet Sounds as well. Some of those 60's rock LPs had exaggerated stereo that could be distracting.
     
  20. misterjones

    misterjones Forum Resident

    Location:
    Andover, MA
    Is it essentially true that mono LPs died circa 1970? Obviously, subsequent stereo records were cut with a stereo lathe and certain special mono collections were cut with a mono lathe (like, I assume, the Dylan mono box). But what about all those post-1970 LPs containing mono recordings (for example, the Bluebird Goodman and Shaw LPs)? Can I assume such post-1970 records all were cut with a stereo lathe (two channel mono), thereby eliminating the need for (or benefit of) a mono cart or mono switch?
     
  21. JohnO

    JohnO Senior Member

    Location:
    Washington, DC
    Yes, but it would still be a very slight advantage to play them with a mono switch.
     
  22. Pondoro

    Pondoro Active Member

    Location:
    Hamilton Ohio
    I just bought the combined mono/stereo CD of Pet Sounds. The stereo is wider but it doesn’t feel like a band is situated on a stage. The various instruments are just “out there”, I can’t really describe it better than that. I prefer the mono versions.
     
  23. Boltman92124

    Boltman92124 Fish tacos.

    Location:
    San Diego
    Yeah have never been a big fan of the drummer in one channel (Think The Doors, Jimi Hendrix etc..). Drummer sits in the middle of the band.
     
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  24. TheVinylAddict

    TheVinylAddict ___The Enforcer___

    Mono LP's 1958 and before, but after 78's (aka when everything was mono) - best results with mono cartridge, spherical, preferably 1 mil stylus if you can but 0.7 mil will do

    Post 1958 mono, but pre-late 60's - still best with mono cartridge but 0.7mil spherical IMO, but if stereo cart used shoot for elliptical or spherical and mono switch. (note that transition dates are rough, some labels printed 1 mil mono LP's into the 60's, so it's not hard and fast. good news is you can't hurt a 1 mil groove with an 0.7 mil cartridge!).

    "Modern" mono - '70 and later - stereo cart with a mono switch or Y cable (any profile conical, elliptical, line contact), modern mono cartridge with 0.7 mil stylus / conical still OK, but you won't typically detect much difference on modern mono on stereo system when mono switch is employed.

    Note I own over 1500 mono LP's (not sure of exact count) from all era's, so an investment in mono cartridges was justified. It was fun trying them too.
     
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  25. misterjones

    misterjones Forum Resident

    Location:
    Andover, MA
    The best I can do for these right now is a mono cart (.6 mil conical) or a stereo cart/stylus (.7 mil spherical) with a mono switch. I'll try them out on some of my 10" LPs and 7" 45 RPM sets from the 1950s. I had been using my mono cart on these . . . with the occasional stereo .7 mil conical for a little more oomph, which I might add to the mix now that I have an M/S switch (which I bought over here - https://forums.stevehoffman.tv/threads/stereo-mono-switch.386061/).
     

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