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Producing and mixing in mono...
Old 11th July 2009
  #1
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XAXAU's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
Producing and mixing in mono...

I produce dance music for clubs which mostly have systems in mono, and when I produce I´ve been collapsing my mixes into mono and a lot of stereo stuff sounds really weird when doing this.

I was thinking about producing in mono and was wondering if anyone here does this or have any points I might be missing?

Usually I have mono sources with stereo effects, but I really like huge synth sounds in the mix but these always change dramatically (for the worse) when collapsed.

So honestly I´m thinking about buying a single speaker and put it up in the middle and produce on it and just checking stereo on headphones.

A lot of old timers say that it´s far more accurate to mix this way and makes leveling and eqing easier.


Please enlighten me, cheers...
Old 11th July 2009
  #2
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🎧 15 years
Or just route the stereo mix to a single speaker. I do this a lot while mixing to do levelling, EQing etc.
Old 11th July 2009 | Show parent
  #3
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golden beers's Avatar
 
2 Reviews written
🎧 10 years
or route the main stereo bus into a mono channel.
that way you get the double mono you get in a club.
Old 11th July 2009 | Show parent
  #4
FBM
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🎧 10 years
Hi XAXAU
Most "Dance music" is built up out of mono tracks or double mono to get a stereo effect that is also mono compatible. The problem in clubs is the distance between speakers on one side and the other or the use of mono(doesn't have to spoil the sound for people who are dancing on one side or the other). When all is mixed mono compatible and not to wide spread there will be no problem. This works for mono and stereo systems.
Example:
Kick centre mono
Bass centre mono
Snare centre mono
Hi hats one left and one right double mono* example lft 76 and rght 76
Percussion Ditto or stereo (Or both mixed) lft 65 and rgt 65
Lead one left one right and one centre 3x mono* (+insert effect of your choice on lft+rght) lft+rght 30
Strings one left one right double mono* lft+rght 58

*1.Place two mono parts with the same sound left and right in the stereo field. (stereo track!)
2.Create a small delay between left and right 3 m/s is enough. (experiment!)
You can use the track delay or insert a double delay (feedback etc. not to high!)
3.Connect the stereo track with the two delayed mono sounds with a stereo re verb. (Send effect!)
4. Use moderate settings.

This way you can create Super Fat sounds that sound stereo but are 100% mono compatible.

You can place the left and right part in the stereo field making the individual sounds picture wider or narrower. This way you can create your horizontal and vertical perspective.
Give all sound their own space and size.
In Cubase there are special pan modes for this to move left and right in the stereo field .
Use a meter and your ears!

Problem solved! This is how it is mostly done in dance music.

Good Luck David
Old 12th July 2009 | Show parent
  #5
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What is the difference between true mono (single speaker dead center) and double mono? Will it sound different in the mixing room?
Old 12th July 2009 | Show parent
  #6
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golden beers's Avatar
 
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yes you'll get some phase variance depending on where you put your head. i guess the real advantage of a double mono setup is, if you've set it up right you can turn a couple of pan-pots and hear it in stereo
Old 12th July 2009 | Show parent
  #7
FBM
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🎧 10 years
In Dance Music most of the sounds you use are MONO anyway!
All your hard and soft synths use that effect, because they are mono!
When you read my story in detail and try it out you will understand it more.
I learned it from Rick Snoman's "Dance Music Manual" (there is a 2e edition now!) and Torsten Fassbender
"The Trance Experience" (Waves sound.org) years ago.
With double mono you can create pseudo stereo fat sounds with mono compatibility and place them exactly where you want. No phase problems! Built your horizontal and vertical perspective. On the dance floor everybody hears the whole sound!!! Get the most transparent mix you have ever encountered! Give all "stereo" and mono sounds their own pan location.
David
Old 13th July 2009 | Show parent
  #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by FBM ➡️
In Dance Music most of the sounds you use are MONO anyway!
Hey FBM,

would you place a plugin or something on your VST stereo-outs to put everything in mono (or use a panner mode where you can collapse the stereofield), or do you bounce everything down into audio in mono before mixing it?


i.e. do you make 100% sure that all your tracks are in mono before you mix them?

I currently only do this for my kick and bass but can definitely see the benefit of doing it to everything using the slightly shifted double up method you describe to get the stereo in there...
Old 13th July 2009 | Show parent
  #9
FBM
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🎧 10 years
Hi, What I do is export in stereo convert mono covert to stereo. But I only do it with the above described instruments. I use a lot of single mono sounds for example background tb303 sounds and keep them mono and put one sound somewhere left and a completely different sound somewhere right in the stereo field. Send both to a group put a stereo re verb on it.
But only with strings, fat leads , vocals and hi hats I perform the double mono trick. Experiment!
Hoop this answers your question!
The sounds are mono anyway!
David
Old 13th July 2009 | Show parent
  #10
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🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by FBM ➡️
Hi, What I do is export in stereo convert mono covert to stereo. But I only do it with the above described instruments. I use a lot of mono sounds for example background tb303 sounds and keep them mono and put one sound somewhere left and a completely different sound somewhere right in the stereo field. Send both to a group put a stereo re verb on it.
But only with strings, fat leads , vocals and hi hats I perform the double mono trick. Experiment!
Hoop this answers your question!
The sounds are mono anyway!
David

right, cheers dude.


the vst-outputs have been confusing me as, like you say, if i run hats from a vst drum machine using a mono sample, the out is unnecessarily in stereo.

heres another one for you: if I keep this mono sample on a stereo out, is this gonna waste space in the mix, or is the stereo out acting as a mono out considering the sound coming out of it is in mono anyway?
Old 13th July 2009 | Show parent
  #11
FBM
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🎧 10 years
Yes but sometimes effects are used to make the sound "stereo" so better check it with a meter, but to be on the save side you can always make it mono. There are some plug ins that have a mono switch .
Old 13th July 2009 | Show parent
  #12
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🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by FBM ➡️
Yes but sometimes effects are used to make the sound "stereo" so better check it with a meter, but to be on the save side you can always make it mono. There are some plug ins that have a mono switch .

good stuff bro, thanks


yeah, been liking that otium basslane and the cubase spatial plugs (they have the mono switch you mention)
Old 14th July 2009 | Show parent
  #13
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farjedi's Avatar
 
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I use Kelly Industries Stereo Tool free vst plugin, always on my master buss along with a voxengo span, another freebie, spectrum analyser.
As a rule I always start a production in mono, for me, it forces you to stack your sounds vertically, giving each sound it's own space and frequency range.I've found when you get the mono side right, when you open it up to stereo and start panning you have a real separation going on which makes for an easier mix and sense of space and clarity(providing you don't have any wildly out of phase stuff that might corrupt your balance)...
So my way is to create a track in mono, make sure all the parts are working, that every sound has a space, once that is done then the stereo placement/enhancement of sounds happens....
In answer, mono is a good technique/discipline which I think will improve anyones mixes regardless of if they plan to play it in mono or not.....
Old 14th July 2009 | Show parent
  #14
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kraku's Avatar
Also a quite common trick I've noticed in dance tracks is mid/side processing.

With mid/side processing you can add reverb to the "side" and when you listen to the mix in mono, the wide stereo reverb disappears completely without a trace and keeps the mix very clear and punchy on the dance floor. You can use mid/side effecting with pretty much any effect you'd like to widen your stereo field and keep the whole mix mono compatible.

Mid/side processing enables you to create two different mixes into one track: stereo & mono. Experiment with it and see what happens.
Old 14th July 2009 | Show parent
  #15
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zebastian21's Avatar
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kraku ➡️
Also a quite common trick I've noticed in dance tracks is mid/side processing.

With mid/side processing you can add reverb to the "side" and when you listen to the mix in mono, the wide stereo reverb disappears completely without a trace and keeps the mix very clear and punchy on the dance floor. You can use mid/side effecting with pretty much any effect you'd like to widen your stereo field and keep the whole mix mono compatible.

Mid/side processing enables you to create two different mixes into one track: stereo & mono. Experiment with it and see what happens.
Mid/side processing?? what u mean by that??
Old 14th July 2009 | Show parent
  #16
FBM
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He is talking about this:
But has nothing to do with the topic.
Indeed interesting stuff!!!
David
Attached Thumbnails
Producing and mixing in mono...-ddmf.jpg  
Old 14th July 2009 | Show parent
  #17
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iangomes's Avatar
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by zebastian21 ➡️
Mid/side processing?? what u mean by that??
google it. aka, sum and difference
Old 14th July 2009 | Show parent
  #18
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🎧 10 years
About Phil Spector:


"Spector was already known as a temperamental and quirky personality with strong, often unconventional ideas about musical and recording techniques. Despite the trend towards multi-channel recording, Spector was vehemently opposed to stereo releases, claiming that it took control of the record's sound away from the producer in favor of the listener."

"Many producers have tried to emulate the Wall of Sound, and Brian Wilson of the Beach Boys—a fellow adherent of mono recording—considered Spector his main competition as a studio artist, going so far as to name the acclaimed Pet Sounds album using Spector's initials."



I personally like to sometimes pan things that wouldn't normally get panned. Sometimes i will pan the a bass guitar/bass synth slightly to the right and the kick slightly to the left. Some people might find that weird or stupid, but I think it sounds pretty cool... and when played mono it all goes dead center. When I started recording I used to double guitars and pan them hard left and hard right. I used to do the same with overheads, and most other things would stay dead center. It just sounds weird/unnatural to me. I think that reverb is great stereo and there are some cool stereo effects, but it's a lot easier to EQ things when you have everything dead dead center or pretty close to it. Almost always these days, I never will go hard left and hard right...

MOSTLY I think of the stereo field in the same way I think about big low end and big high end. It's like desert. I like it subtle and light. Never too much... So that when it is more present it kicks you a lot harder. I hate cymbals that shimmer like glitter, and prefer kicks that have more of a midrange punch than a deep low end. I know most people scoop the low mids on kicks, but I would rather just have good tight sounding low mids than scoop em out.
Old 16th July 2009 | Show parent
  #19
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XAXAU's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
Thanks for contributing to this thread ya´ll.

What I mean is that my synths sounds totally ****ed when collapsed into mono, mainly because I pan oscillators around in the stereofield.

What I was thinking, and the old timers recommend, is to have true mono and use stereo effects, pan stuff around and even go crazy. You won´t hear the stereo field but you´ll know if the stuff works together.
Old 21st July 2009 | Show parent
  #20
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kraku's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by FBM ➡️
He is talking about this:
But has nothing to do with the topic.
Indeed interesting stuff!!!
David
Mid/side processing has quite a lot to do with the topic. I was answering to this part in the OP's post:

Quote:
I produce dance music for clubs which mostly have systems in mono, and when I produce I´ve been collapsing my mixes into mono and a lot of stereo stuff sounds really weird when doing this.
If you make sure the mix works in mono and then add for example reverb/flanger/phaser/something in the "side" part of the mix, this widens/creates the stereo field (depending on your approach). The end result works both in stereo and when collapsed in mono. This is because the effect disappears completely when you listen to it in mono, so there won't be any muddying or phasing in the sound.

You have to be a bit more careful with panning though, when using this approach.

Checkout this plugin:
Audio mid/side encoder/decoder plugin - MSED - Voxengo
Old 22nd July 2009 | Show parent
  #21
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UnbalancedBeats's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by kraku ➡️
Mid/side processing has quite a lot to do with the topic. I was answering to this part in the OP's post:



If you make sure the mix works in mono and then add for example reverb/flanger/phaser/something in the "side" part of the mix, this widens/creates the stereo field (depending on your approach). The end result works both in stereo and when collapsed in mono. This is because the effect disappears completely when you listen to it in mono, so there won't be any muddying or phasing in the sound.

You have to be a bit more careful with panning though, when using this approach.

Checkout this plugin:
Audio mid/side encoder/decoder plugin - MSED - Voxengo

This is the first time ive posted here so "hi everybody"

Fabfilter has a nice compressor with this mid/sid function too. FabFilter Software Instruments - Audio effect and synthesizer plugins AU VST RTAS

It may not be the topic but really helps to make things "more mono" or to widen the track. Have a look at the manual and youll get valuable info

Regards!
Old 22nd July 2009 | Show parent
  #22
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🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by UnbalancedBeats ➡️
Have a look at the manual and youll get valuable info

''Compression can easily be overdone though, and this leads to music with little or no dynamics. This
also created the so-called (not so cool) "loudness war" to which FabFilter Pro-C does not intend to contribute.''


argh, another reason for me to buy the damn thing... ethical blackmail.




cheers for the link UB!
Old 4th August 2009 | Show parent
  #23
Gear Nut
 
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by FBM ➡️
Hi XAXAU
*1.Place two mono parts with the same sound left and right in the stereo field. (stereo track!)
2.Create a small delay between left and right 3 m/s is enough. (experiment!)
You can use the track delay or insert a double delay (feedback etc. not to high!)
3.Connect the stereo track with the two delayed mono sounds with a stereo re verb. (Send effect!)
4. Use moderate settings.

This way you can create Super Fat sounds that sound stereo but are 100% mono compatible.

You can place the left and right part in the stereo field making the individual sounds picture wider or narrower. This way you can create your horizontal and vertical perspective.
Give all sound their own space and size.
In Cubase there are special pan modes for this to move left and right in the stereo field .
Use a meter and your ears!

Problem solved! This is how it is mostly done in dance music.

Good Luck David
I have seen and read about this technique from various places but every single time I try it and I test the mix in mono it always sounds different than if I had just left the track as single mono source to begin with. I am basically always hearing phase issues no matter how much I adjust the delay. Also in mono it sounds thin or metalic... definitely not good for percussive sounds.

So I am wondering:
-does this technique only work on certain types of sounds? (e.g. a close hat is too short a sound?)
-what is the range of delay values that should be used?
-When you test in mono should it sound exactly the same as a single mono track (i.e. the original)
-do you put feedback on the delay (if so how much and why)?
Old 4th August 2009 | Show parent
  #24
Gear Nut
 
🎧 15 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by FBM ➡️
Hi XAXAU
Most "Dance music" is built up out of mono tracks or double mono to get a stereo effect that is also mono compatible. The problem in clubs is the distance between speakers on one side and the other or the use of mono(doesn't have to spoil the sound for people who are dancing on one side or the other). When all is mixed mono compatible and not to wide spread there will be no problem. This works for mono and stereo systems.
Example:
Kick centre mono
Bass centre mono
Snare centre mono
Hi hats one left and one right double mono* example lft 76 and rght 76
Percussion Ditto or stereo (Or both mixed) lft 65 and rgt 65
Lead one left one right and one centre 3x mono* (+insert effect of your choice on lft+rght) lft+rght 30
Strings one left one right double mono* lft+rght 58

*1.Place two mono parts with the same sound left and right in the stereo field. (stereo track!)
2.Create a small delay between left and right 3 m/s is enough. (experiment!)
You can use the track delay or insert a double delay (feedback etc. not to high!)
3.Connect the stereo track with the two delayed mono sounds with a stereo re verb. (Send effect!)
4. Use moderate settings.

This way you can create Super Fat sounds that sound stereo but are 100% mono compatible.

You can place the left and right part in the stereo field making the individual sounds picture wider or narrower. This way you can create your horizontal and vertical perspective.
Give all sound their own space and size.
In Cubase there are special pan modes for this to move left and right in the stereo field .
Use a meter and your ears!

Problem solved! This is how it is mostly done in dance music.

Good Luck David

nice one fbm
Old 4th August 2009 | Show parent
  #25
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zebastian21's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by theque ➡️
nice one fbm
this is a great tip...but how do you do when you have lots of Synths and they are very stereo like? should you leave that alone or bounce the synths as mono, duplicate and pan as you said?
Old 5th August 2009 | Show parent
  #26
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XAXAU's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
Tried this a long time ago but gave it up cause I thought it sounded like crap. Although I didn´t think of connecting them with a reverb, will def try it out. Thanks...
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