Interesting mixing technique, ever tried this?

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Whoops

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1974. I made a record as an artist.

We decided to leave it as it was, knowing that it would disappear on radio.

I totally understand why listening in Mono was used in the past when the playback systems or radio were mono.

But Radio is Stereo for many years now, as is TV, as are the playback systems. Yes there are exceptions, but really really small.

I understand that someone might want to check a specific stereo effect in Mono to check if it disapears,
but what doesn't make any sense at all is mixing to stereo but doing the monitoring in mono to do the volume balances, when the final result will be a stereo mix.
That doesn't make any sense.

If you are mixing to Stereo then doing the balances in Stereo will be the best judgement of the final result, a Stereo Mix.

Well if someone uses it, fine, if it works for you , thats good enough. Respect

But for the sake of someone less experienced reading this thread that might get confused, I would just like to tell that I'm a professional mixing engineer, and it doesn't make any sense to me.
Neither any professional mixing engineer I know does that.
 

abbey road d enfer

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I totally understand why listening in Mono was used in the past when the playback systems or radio were mono.

But Radio is Stereo for many years now, as is TV, as are the playback systems. Yes there are exceptions, but really really small.
Indeed. Time has passed since then.
I understand that someone might want to check a specific stereo effect in Mono to check if it disapears,
but what doesn't make any sense at all is mixing to stereo but doing the monitoring in mono to do the volume balances, when the final result will be a stereo mix.
That doesn't make any sense.
I agree. I'm not at all advocating mixing and monitoring in mono.
If you are mixing to Stereo then doing the balances in Stereo will be the best judgement of the final result, a Stereo Mix.
I think a significant progress has been made when mix engineers ceased playing with silly separation and moves. I believe it is essential for a mix to have symmetrical energy content, with space and localization clues being given by subtle timing and EQ tweaks.
 

calaverasgrande

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I guess what I do would fit under 'LCR mixing'.
All of my sources are either stereo pairs or mono sources.
I don't pan mono sources. They stay in the middle. Stereo sources do not get panned* to intermediate stops between center and left/right.
When tracking and during early stages of mix, I monitor in mono.
This has to do with a lot of tracks coming from stereo synthesizer sources, as well as stereo field recordings.
At one point I felt that mono instruments like guitar were not holding up against the more extravagant stereo sources. So for quite a long time I was very into stereo recording guitars. However, stereo pair on close mic electric guitar tends to cancel badly. So I use midside mic setups.

*I do cheat and put one channel of a stereo pair center, and one channel hard left or right. This keeps a stereo field but shoves it over at 45 degrees. Works well when I have two busy stereo fields competing for attention and time domain territory.
Disagree with the statement in the video that LCR panning leaves empty space between center and left/right.
If your stereo field is done well this should not be the case. EG when I record cars passing over a short metal bridge, the cars go fully from left to right. They don't dip down between the extremes and the center.
Likewise midside guitars sound very centered, with a vivid room blooming out around them.

I used to get really into very careful placement of sources across the panoramic field. But many times, so many times, a source that I felt needed an eq tweak would suddenly clear up when panned hard to one side, or right in the middle. This is both on analog mixers and in the box. It is hard to pin down the primary cause. It can of course be written off as bad pan laws in the mixer (analog or DAW). Or some time domain property.
Of course you can blame the monitors and the room for this as well. And this is what really bothers me.
Outside of that one nerdy uncle, who has a deliberate stereo setup for music these days?
Everyone I know has some Alexa type point source device now. Or if they do have a 'stereo' the speakers are at different heights, aiming to best fill the room with music, not for optimum imaging.
So it likely still behooves us to mix for mono and leave stereo acrobatics for the 1% of people who listen intently on headphones in a darkened room.
 

weiss

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Disagree with the statement in the video that LCR panning leaves empty space between center and left/right.
If your stereo field is done well this should not be the case. EG when I record cars passing over a short metal bridge, the cars go fully from left to right. They don't dip down between the extremes and the center.
Likewise midside guitars sound very centered, with a vivid room blooming out around them.
well that really depends on how many mono tracks you have in the mix to make it sound that way. lots of instruments are mono or maybe a little wider with some effects on it.
 

lotus11

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Interesting topic and thoughts. Couple from me.
1). yes, FM is stereo but...There is a big world out there where the terrestrial radio is AM...Mono.
2). Clubs...More mono than stereo.
3). Things have changed since the early days of stereo, yes, agreed. The idea of beginning a mix in Mono is not for a mono result. Many of the early decisions regarding dynamics, timbre, timing, tempo fluctuation and such are much more apparent in Mono than stereo. There is the thought that one can pan many of these issues away. Maybe a look into temporal fusion/integration might explain a bit. Of course, fine tuning the relationships after panning is a given.
4). Many effects, as stated here previously, should be checked for mono compatibility for reasons stated above.
5). And finally, The mix should always serve the song, mono, stereo...it is the song in the end.
Oh, One last thing, someone mentioned the Madonna effect which had issues... That was the cyclopanner, an early attempt at "binaural type effect". was a cool toy but, a monster to handle.
 

Electrobumps

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I understand that someone might want to check a specific stereo effect in Mono to check if it disapears,
but what doesn't make any sense at all is mixing to stereo but doing the monitoring in mono to do the volume balances, when the final result will be a stereo mix.
That doesn't make any sense.
This comment below sums it up well.
I have been doing this for more than 25 years:
I put all sound sources in position in the stereo image.
Then I switch to mono and make a balance.
If the balance is good in mono, I switch to stereo and most of the time the balance is good in stereo too.

I find mono mixing helps my balance by offering perspective. For me it's not about continually mixing in mono. Its another helpful tool to find an equilibrium for translation of the mix to sound good on as many systems as possible be they mono or stereo. Similar to L&R reverse the sudden change can highlight something you had become fatigued too. Level changes in mono generally have a positive effect on the balance of the stereo mix. I use a mono "horrortone" to check balance. Something I witnessed many great mixers do from the back of the room and personally it helps me a lot.

Within reason, I don't see any point in worrying about absolute mono compatibility these days. Sure, a lot of stuff might get played on an iPhone without headphones by some but, are we really wanting to conform downwards to the lowest common denominator?

I say more than 99% of people do not know how listen in a true stereo triangle. Just look at most peoples home music setups.

Have you ever noticed low bandwidth on streaming of video or music the audio will mono to prevent buffering.

Have you ever listened to DAB and the signal becomes weak and it goes mono's. Main signal is mono carrier side signal is the stereo and get dropped with weak signal.

What about all the people who listen on a single SONOS play 1 or a little mono bluetooth speaker.

The above are things I have noticed while listening outside the studio. Mono is still very prevalent and in many more situations than i've mentioned. If we disregard mono we disregard the quality of our mixes in many real world situations.

There isn't really a thing as "absolute mono compatibility" because of phase. The fold down is always going to loose something. If you work on a mix in purely stereo chances are the fold down to mono will not be that great. However if you're checking your mix to both then you can a achieve a just as good (if not better) stereo mix and a great mono fold down. No brainer for me to spend the time to have a mix sound as great as it can in every scenario....No matter how far away it is from the perfect listening conditions.
But for the sake of someone less experienced reading this thread that might get confused, I would just like to tell that I'm a professional mixing engineer, and it doesn't make any sense to me.
Neither any professional mixing engineer I know does that.
This has become two debates.
1) is mono mixing relevant?
2) OP - What is Greg's technique all about?

My Opinions

1)Mono fold down should be a big consideration in a mix
2)Never seen anything like that! doesn't seem like an intuitive way to work. It doesn't mean he is wrong. I haven't tried it..............yet!

For the sake of someone with less or more experience reading this thread. I would advise try everything and anything. Just because something doesn't make sense to one person and their colleagues doesn't mean it won't work for you.
 
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calaverasgrande

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If you have a simple facility to switch between mono and stereo (and you should if you are serious about mixing) you should only notice a subtle difference in balance when flipping between mono and stereo. The idea that monitoring in mono cannot give you a good picture? This makes me think you are leaning on stereo too much. Which to me is like relying on playback to deliver sub bass or extended highs for your mix to work.
I've always striven for mixes to work in mono 100-8k or so. If that sounds good, extended bandwidth and stereo playback will be that much better.

Love the comment about mono in clubs.
There was an article about stereo PA futility years ago. Pro Sound News maybe?
I cannot recall the acoustic math off the top of my head, but essentially at the scale of modern PA systems you are mixing in stereo for 5% of the audience who are equidistant from both speakers, and not too far away for timing cues to work or too close for timbral balance.
That leaves the audience who isn't hearing stereo image as a big donut.
Line arrays help a little bit at pushing dispersion out and widening that 'power alley'.
Probably developed a lot of my distrust of stereo in my sound reinforcement days.
(Actually I did run my PAs in stereo, but this was more for reliability. I could lose one whole side and the show could go on. There being left/right program feed, amps, and cabs. Even tried to use different mains circuits for amps if possible. So no single point of failure. My PAs were all engineered with enough headroom that I could double the output of one stack if needed in a pinch.
Also I really enjoyed blasting Diamanda Galas/John Paul Jones "Sporting Life" in stereo while packing up all the mics and cables. That 8 string bass. ).
 

abbey road d enfer

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at the scale of modern PA systems you are mixing in stereo for 5% of the audience who are equidistant from both speakers, and not too far away for timing cues to work or too close for timbral balance.
That leaves the audience who isn't hearing stereo image as a big donut.
Not a big deal, since my experience of US venues tells me that 95% of the audience is too busy shouting at the top of their lungs to be heard by their neighbours and doesn't care about the music. :D
 

Dualflip

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Not a big deal, since my experience of US venues tells me that 95% of the audience is too busy shouting at the top of their lungs to be heard by their neighbours and doesn't care about the music. :D
Agreed!

I think that is true for most of the world....
 

JohnRoberts

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I have a very specific example of the benefits of listening in mono.
1974. I made a record as an artist. I had brought a Spectrum Shifter, which was distributed by the company I was working for.
The SE decided to try it on one of the tracks. It resulted in a lush rotating soundscape we all loved.
I pressed the Mono button and all of a sudden, the effect completely disappeared. I later checked the schemo, and, of course, the processed signal was mixed out-of-phase (polarity) in both outputs.
Many units did (do?) that.
We decided to leave it as it was, knowing that it would disappear on radio.
IIRC there was a pretty high profile incident (last century) from a Madonna recording that used a special effect that dissapeard in mono. When the recording was released it started getting air play in Canada on monophonic AM radio stations..... oops. When they figured out what was going on they did a quick remix and re-release, that was mono compatible.

JR
 

calaverasgrande

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That's a fancy word to use to insult a respected forum member. I had to look it up....

Thanks for expanding my vocabulary, but no thanks for the cheap shot.

JR
Cheap shot? I'm just saying I take audio engineering seriously regardless of whether it's a beer bust or a political event.
Solipsism in this context usually means not trying because the end result doesn't matter.
"Why try, the external world cannot be verified a priori, therefore all striving towards goals is merely your imagination constructing a narrative."
Same as calling someone an iconoclast doesn't really mean you remove faces from religious images, solipsism has kind of migrated it's meaning.
No insult intended.
 
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Dualflip

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Cheap shot? I'm just saying I take audio engineering seriously regardless of whether it's a beer bust or a political event.
Solipsism in this context usually means not trying because the end result doesn't matter.
"Why try, the external world cannot be verified a priori, therefore all striving towards goals is merely your imagination constructing a narrative."
Same as calling someone an iconoclast doesn't really mean you remove faces from religious images, solipsism has kind of migrated it's meaning.
No insult intended.
Ok, you have a dictionary, you've proven that, perhaps next time just say

I take audio engineering seriously regardless of whether it's a beer bust or a political event.

And make it clear for the rest of us....
 

JohnRoberts

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Cheap shot? I'm just saying I take audio engineering seriously regardless of whether it's a beer bust or a political event.
Solipsism in this context usually means not trying because the end result doesn't matter.
"Why try, the external world cannot be verified a priori, therefore all striving towards goals is merely your imagination constructing a narrative."
Same as calling someone an iconoclast doesn't really mean you remove faces from religious images, solipsism has kind of migrated it's meaning.
No insult intended.
definition said:
the view or theory that the self is all that can be known to exist
Perhaps say what you mean instead of dropping an obscure word, and then explaining what you meant.

Or not... you'll fit in perfectly around here. :rolleyes:

JR
 

PermO

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That's a fancy word to use to insult a respected forum member. I had to look it up....

Thanks for expanding my vocabulary, but no thanks for the cheap shot.

JR

This is not an attempt to insult you any further... but I'm surprised you never heard the term.

"The Solipsist" by Frederic Brown is such a classic !

It's only half a page, enjoy, you'll be up to date ;)
 

abbey road d enfer

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OK, I had not seen this post until now.
I knew the term because in distant times I had studied philosophy and esoterism. I am cured now, thank you.
Honestly, I don't care. I stand for what I wrote. And I don't understand what solipsism has to do with it.
Call me a dickhead...

@PermO: I was not aware of this short by F. Brown. I have read a lot of his books but was not awatr he had written shorts.
 

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