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loudandclear

Stereo vs Mono

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I have a question regarding stereo or mono. I was doing some listening over the weekend and unbeknownst to me at the time I was listening in mono and it amazingly sounded very good. The lyrics sounded more detailed. Anyone else experience this? Thanks and happy jammin'.

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I haven't noticed the greater clarity, but do think I hear less dimensional sound field from stereo played in mono. Since I'm quite deaf in one ear (the left one), I must get some of the stereo effect from constant small head movements while listening.

I'm not sure that's the whole story, though, especially re recordings originally in mono from the start, like the famous jazz monos that Gary and Allan rightly love.

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No...I haven't. But when I had room acoustics issues (early midrange reflections) I had trouble hearing a focused mono image at a listening position midway between the front loudspeakers. It sounded diffuse or even out of phase while in the center listening position.

 

Mono sound is quite dull to me - and sounds like most "stereo" recordings of older vintage, since many/most stereo recordings of that age have very little real stereo content to them. I recommend listening to something like Curtis Counce as an example of a "bi-mono" stereo recording.

 

Chris

Edited by Chris A

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I agree with your observations about mono sound.

My AVR has to cycle through the listening modes, so I sometimes hear the same sound in all the 5.1 codecs, Dolby PLII, Neo6, Stereo, front three speakers only, all speakers stereo, stereo, and mono. The Mono sounds just about the same as all speakers stereo, and it's a very good sound! Pleasant and clear from all listening positions in the room.

Fortunately, I'm enough of a audio snob that I have to listen to my fancy codecs, partly because of my Golden Ears, and because I paid for it. :rolleyes:

But if all I had was mono from the same receiver, I'm not sure I would miss all the fancy stuff.

Edited by wvu80

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... My AVR has to cycle through the listening modes, so I sometimes hear the same sound in all the 5.1 codecs, Dolby PLII, Neo6, Stereo, front three speakers only, all speakers stereo, stereo, and mono.

I find that various PLII, Neo, etc. options sound bad, not open, and not dynamic, while real 5.1, multi-channel SACD, all speaker stereo, and 2 channel stereo all sound good.

Edited by Garyrc

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It's the same tonality minus the "perspective geometry" which varies with time delays, eq, phase, room placement, speaker type, spacking, and whether or not you use signal processing a head of the speakers (Sonic Holography, Audyssey, etc.)

Edited by ClaudeJ1

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^ this... I have heard mono that is credibly detailed and quite nice sounding... it just happens to lack great dimension and is very flat, yet still crystal clear and detailed.

Edited by Schu

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I grew up in the '50's and early '60's listening to mono on a single Klipschorn. (I still regret not getting my hands on that speaker but it was long gone before I was grown). I still listen to some of my folks old mono LP's. Nice clean sound from quality recordings. Yeah, it's different, but much of it is really good stuff.

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... My AVR has to cycle through the listening modes, so I sometimes hear the same sound in all the 5.1 codecs, Dolby PLII, Neo6, Stereo, front three speakers only, all speakers stereo, stereo, and mono.

I find that various PLII, Neo, etc. options sound bad, not open, and not dynamic, while real 5.1, multi-channel SACD, all speaker stereo, and 2 channel stereo all sound good.

Good call. My Onk 717 receiver also has a "Pure Audio" mode, which defeats all the codecs. Music sounds tremendous, and you really get that alive punchiness the listening modes seem to dumb down.

I don't know if mine really "sounds bad" because with the codecs the sound is better distributed to the 5.1 speakers, ie sub. I don't get sub sound with Pure Audio.

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Thanks for the responses. It is just another dimension to experiment with in Hi-Fi. Fun stuff! I agree with Schu, my experience exactly-flat yet detailed.

Edited by loudandclear

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There are some very powerful "mono" recordings that were made in the late 50's....

Edited by Boxx

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:unsure: This just reminds me I have 78's that I need to listen to. No idea what I've been given.

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There are some very powerful "mono" recordings that were made in the last 50's....

And this is why I fully plan on having a Mono set up some day with a single KHorn or perhaps an LS. I even have the corner all picked out all ready.

Edited by Schu

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There are some very powerful "mono" recordings that were made in the last 50's....

And this is why I fully plan on having a Mono set up some day with a single KHorn or perhaps an LS. I even have the corner all picked out all ready.

I don't think you will go wrong... (also, I meant the "late" 50's)....

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There are some very powerful "mono" recordings that were made in the last 50's....

And this is why I fully plan on having a Mono set up some day with a single KHorn or perhaps an LS. I even have the corner all picked out all ready.

I also think a dedicated mono set up may be the way to go to listen to good mono recordings. For me, I tend to get the impression that even vocalists sound somewhat different when listening to a single mono speaker rather than from a pair of speakers. Maybe some type of comb filter cancellations occur when the stereo pair try to produce a mono sound wave?

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There are some very powerful "mono" recordings that were made in the last 50's....

And this is why I fully plan on having a Mono set up some day with a single KHorn or perhaps an LS. I even have the corner all picked out all ready.

I also think a dedicated mono set up may be the way to go to listen to good mono recordings. For me, I tend to get the impression that even vocalists sound somewhat different when listening to a single mono speaker rather than from a pair of speakers. Maybe some type of comb filter cancellations occur when the stereo pair try to produce a mono sound wave?

If the stereo pair are close enough to each other, comb filtering can be significant when listening in mono.

Edited by Don Richard
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sonny rollins, sax colossus...............................such a good mono recording, close your eyes and on a good system it almost sounds stereo

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I also think a dedicated mono set up may be the way to go to listen to good mono recordings. For me, I tend to get the impression that even vocalists sound somewhat different when listening to a single mono speaker rather than from a pair of speakers. Maybe some type of comb filter cancellations occur when the stereo pair try to produce a mono sound wave?
If the stereo pair are close enough to each other, comb filtering can be significant when listening in mono.

My Khorns have about 15 feet of space between the cabinets, with nothing in between them (The front of the Belle Klipsch center channel is in the same plane as the wall, and its rear sticks into a bumpout we built for that purpose). On this set up, mono recordings can go three ways: some sound better with the center channel on, some sound better just coming out of the Belle, but many sound best with only the Khorns on, with the vocalist, violin, or whatever magically hanging in phantom space, dead center between the Khorns. The "dead center" part tends to work only from the sweet spot.

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Now some of my receivers have a mono selector switch. Would it be the same if I turned receiver to mono and balance to just one speaker?

:huh:

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It won't be the same as listening to mono from two speakers. The feed to the speaker would be the same however.

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