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loudandclear

Stereo vs Mono

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:blink2: :blush: :blush2: oops

Edited by Taz

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I should clarify that I was listening with 2 speakers, just had the mono switch 'on'. I assumed that was understood, but thought I should mention that. Sorry if that created some confusion.Happy jammin'.

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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.

then how about if I turn the receiver to mono and leave the balance in the middle. Both speakers, same signal?

That's what I would think.

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I should clarify that I was listening with 2 speakers, just had the mono switch 'on'. I assumed that was understood, but thought I should mention that. Sorry if that created some confusion.Happy jammin'.

Well I guess you would call that "Dual Mono" B)

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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.

If you can get the derived surround modes to sound very good, then I think you'll find your real multichannel music will sound even better. I think I've experienced what you're describing and I had to upgrade my center channel and improve my subwoofer xover. There were also a few adjustments for the surround modes that affected the front spread, and really dialing in the delay settings made a big difference too.

I eventually ended up with Chorus mains, and Heresy speakers everywhere else with some custom subs.

I think that was nearly ten years ago when I last played with it....my how time flies.

Lately I've been doing a lot of mono listening with a single speaker. I use winamp for playback, and install a stereo to mono widget so I can use normal source material. I've been trying to get comfortable listening in mono because it's easier to hear artifacts when you don't have a stereo image. This is useful for voicing speakers or designing other audio equipment. One thing that always sticks out is just how much better and more clear vocals sound with a single speaker......or really anything mixed right down the center of a stereo mix. You give up all sorts of other great things like soundstage (both width and depth) as well as less separation of instruments.

I think the holy grail of stereo is getting that solid center image without giving up the soundstage. I think that's where PWK started exploring 3-Channel stereo so that you actually had a single central source in the middle. My problem has always been that I've only heard it with a dissimilar center speaker (like a Belle between khorns). The minor change in voicing has always been distracting and not outweighed the compromise......so normal stereo for me until I have a room and speakers fit for more identical channels.

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PWK started exploring 3-Channel stereo so that you actually had a single central source in the middle. My problem has always been that I've only heard it with a dissimilar center speaker (like a Belle between khorns). The minor change in voicing has always been distracting and not outweighed the compromise......so normal stereo for me until I have a room and speakers fit for more identical channels.

I have Khorns on the sides, and a Belle in the middle. Several years ago, I took a $50 gamble and bought a K401 horn for the Belle so it would have the same mid horn as the Khorns (no, it won't fit in the cabinet, but our Belle is behind an acoustically transparent wall fabric anyway, so we just built a new high hat that accomodated the lager mid horn and the tweeter). We kept the same crossover, which was one of the ones used just before the Belle was discontinued, which meant it crossed over at 450 and 4,500, just like the AK4 Khorns. We decided to just try it this way, without dealing with any balance issues within the Belle components. It sounded a little better, both in vocal sound and soundstage in the same "Wide Stage Stereo" set up we had before (a la PWK, except we used a Marantz pre-pro set on "Multi Channel Stereo," which gives you a R + L mix in the center, and the normal stereo feed to the Khorns, with no fancy processing. We were going to futz around with it longer, but then we got a new pre-pro with Audyssey, and the frequency response (and time domain, they say) adjustments of that produced very good results indeed. In both real multichannel (SACDs and movies) and 2 channel "Wide Stage Stereo" the sound is great, with improved sound from the center. As I said in an earlier post, the mono is best in one of the three choices (Dual mono with magical phantom center, all three channels on, or one speaker only), depending a lot on the recording, and where the listener is sitting.

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I've noticed the same thing about mono too (listening quieter). When hosting dinner parties (or the functional equivalent) and I want background music - I'll always do mono from a single speaker. It's less distracting, but also the volume creep doesn't happen as much when people hear a song they like and want it turned up.

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Mono always sounds best to me with only ONE speaker. I have had many instances where I listened to mono for some time. I can be pretty happy with mono. Something odd I noticed is that when listening to mono, I play at a lower SPL. Not sure why.

Mono over one speaker in a typical listening space exhibits the highest level of clarity, detail and tonality in my experiences.

Two speakers reproducing mono in a typical listening space will exhibit constructive and destructive behavior causing a loss in quality of detail, clarity and tonality. Even if they were identical in performance themselves by the time they are placed in typical listening room their performance will be altered(ie: colored) because no two locations in a room are identical and thus perceived by the listener as different. Also the listener or listeners will most likely not be equal distance from the loudspeakers which again will lead to a loss in clarity, detail and tonality. The sound reflections in the room will also be more complex for two loudspeakers versus one which will also lead to a decrease in clarity, detail and tonality in my experiences.

My experiences have been that because clarity, detail and tonality are at their best for a single speaker mono reproduction I have less desire to turn the volume up trying to hear the clarity and details of the music.

Actually one RED FLAG for me is that if something isn't right about my system I will catch myself trying to up the volume until listener fatigue soon sets in where as if the system synergy is working good listening for many hours is possible unless I get so relaxed that I fall asleep.. :lol:

miketn

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loss of tonality?

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Mono always sounds best to me with only ONE speaker. I have had many instances where I listened to mono for some time. I can be pretty happy with mono. Something odd I noticed is that when listening to mono, I play at a lower SPL. Not sure why.

Mono over one speaker in a typical listening space exhibits the highest level of clarity, detail and tonality in my experiences.

Two speakers reproducing mono in a typical listening space will exhibit constructive and destructive behavior causing a loss in quality of detail, clarity and tonality. Even if they were identical in performance themselves by the time they are placed in typical listening room their performance will be altered(ie: colored) because no two locations in a room are identical and thus perceived by the listener as different. Also the listener or listeners will most likely not be equal distance from the loudspeakers which again will lead to a loss in clarity, detail and tonality. The sound reflections in the room will also be more complex for two loudspeakers versus one which will also lead to a decrease in clarity, detail and tonality in my experiences.

My experiences have been that because clarity, detail and tonality are at their best for a single speaker mono reproduction I have less desire to turn the volume up trying to hear the clarity and details of the music.

Actually one RED FLAG for me is that if something isn't right about my system I will catch myself trying to up the volume until listener fatigue soon sets in where as if the system synergy is working good listening for many hours is possible unless I get so relaxed that I fall asleep.. :lol:

miketn

All you are really saying is that speaker placement is important.

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Think of the money one could save by only needing one amp. Just the other day I saw an incredibly nice amp for sale and it was a "one only deal"

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loss of tonality?

Thanks Schu for making me think...... I believe a loss of Timbre is probably a better descriptor of what I'm describing.

miketn

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I've listened to mono recordings that you would swear are stereo. Mostly from live acoustic venues, but delightful nonetheless.

Bruce

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Fresh Cream US White Label Promo Mono Monarch is the only way to fly!

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I've played both mono and stereo of the same album and the stereo does sound more spacious with more detail and a touch clarity than the mono.

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I've played both mono and stereo of the same album and the stereo does sound more spacious with more detail and a touch clarity than the mono.

 

A stereo recording almost always sounds better to me when played in stereo, in all the ways mentioned by Dr. Morbius.  Sometimes the stereo version (played in stereo) has greater dynamic contrasts, as well.  I had a couple of older preamps that allowed playing a stereo record in mono [a + b] and in general, this setting took the life right out of a recording.  I did not do much experimenting with playing mono records over just one channel instead of two, but the couple of times I did, they sounded better over both channels.  I always sat near to, or at, dead center, in symetrical rooms, though.

 

Over the more than 50 years I have been an audiophile, format changes (e.g., mono to stereo) have been less important than the tender loving care used in making the recordings.  Some mono Lps of the late '50s, like The Westminster Classical Sampler, or some Crest jazz/pop recordings are about as good as any modern recordings.

 

P.S. I can't type "a + b" in capital letters and in parentheses; it always comes out (A + B).

Edited by Garyrc

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I played the thrid man soundtrack on vinyl this morning... mastered in mono, it sounded really great and fairly dimensional in 2 channel playback, albeit flatter than a modern recording.

Edited by Schu

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I've got some 5.1 DVD-As and multi-channel SACDs that don't sound very good in 5.1 mode, but a lot better in stereo.  I would guess that the issue is that the material wasn't originally recorded with five microphones, but much, much later converted to 5.1 using algorithms. 

 

As far as stereo goes, the only tracks that sound better to my ears in (multichannel) mono are ones that were originally recorded in mono (monaural -- i.e., using effectively one microphone) but later "enhanced" to stereo...but not always. 

 

I've always been intrigued that anyone would actually like mono over reasonably done stereo recordings.  In other words, it's always astonished me that anyone would prefer mono (...and this is my point of view only...). 

 

I've also found that all the musicians that I've met, i.e., those that have studied music and their instrument playing in acoustic ensembles for years on a daily basis, also prefer stereo to mono given that the recording(s) originally were done in stereo.  The loss of aural information in mono vs. stereo is usually a dramatic one (unless there is overwhelming infrasonic noise/booming on the recording that's being reproduced, too, that disappears when played in mono). The only folks that I've found that like mono typically listen to electrically amplified popular music mostly derived from blues or rock-and-roll. 

 

Is this preference difference actually pointing to a difference in musical backgrounds?

Edited by Chris A

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A good performance and recording trumps the type of playback system. You can get very satisfying results with just about any recording format. However the whole reason I listen to recorded music is the 3 dimensional space from a 2 channel recording. For me stereo is best and I think popular usage also supports that assumption.

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...For me stereo is best...

 

...and I think popular usage also supports that assumption.

 

I agree with the first statement, but I'll agree to disagree with the second one--which appears to be an informal logical fallacy (argumentum ad populum).

Edited by Chris A

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