I've been playing around with converting some of my stereo sample libraries to mono, in order to halve the size and allow me to load more instruments in my templates. I've been doing this in Giga 3.0, but I think the principles involved apply equally to any program.
I've been very surprised by how little difference I hear in many cases between the stereo samples and mono versions of them, created using the built-in utility in Giga, and keeping just the left side.
The first library I converted was Quantum Leap Brass. There was a discernable (thought slight) difference between the stereo and mono versions. I could only describe it as a kind of "glow" to the stereo sound that wasn't there in mono.
I heard less difference converting a few selected patches from the PMI Bosendorfer 290, which surprised me since pianos are supposed to rely so much on stereo ambiance.
So far I've been thinking I'd convert all my brass and woodwind, but maybe keep strings in stereo to maintain the sense of spaciousness of a large section. However, today I just had a go at converting some of Garritan Orchestral Strings, and I swear I can't hear any difference at all! The mono left version sounds exactly the same as the original stereo to me.
Is there something I should be listening for, that I'm not aware of? Is one of my ears not working? Or is the whole idea of these libraries being stereo a pretty pointless waste of hard drive and RAM space in the first place?
I should maybe add I'm talking about auditioning single patches. I haven't tried doing a complete arrangement and playing it with all the parts stereo vs all the parts mono. Maybe in this case all the little differences would add up to something substantial, I dunno.
But I just wonder what it actually is that stereo is supposed to contribute to samples? I can understand in something like EWQLSO, where each section is recorded in its stage position, that you need the stereo effect to hear the positioning. But outside of that, with anything recorded without any particular panning, what's the point?
I don't get it.
It's very tempting to go ahead and convert my entire collection, instantly allowing me to load twice as many instruments for the same RAM load! But I look at the fact that these developers produce instruments that are twice as big as they'd otherwise be, to make them stereo, and I think there must be some point to this, no?
It was interesting for me to note that the Scarbee Rhodes and Wurlitzer, which are two of my all time favourite libraries ever, are recorded in mono.