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Topic: The old Stereo vs Mono issue

  1. #1
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Jun 2005
    Martinez, California (Bay

    The old Stereo vs Mono issue

    Hi everyone. I know this issue has been brought up before in the past but I feel a need to bring it up again and get opinions so I can make a final decision as to whether I am going to proceed with my original plans or not.

    I had a very premium system put together about a year ago (see general specs in my signature), which even since then, has been upgraded with more and better hard drives. I own Gigastudio Orchestra 3.2, GVI 3.52, Sonar Producer 6.01, Kirk Hunter Emerald, TBO (both 16 bit and 24 bit), LPC Guitars (both clean and distorted), and recently Garritan Jazz & Big Band.

    My system works great. It is well tuned (although it probably needs some more tweaking to maximize how many instruments can get loaded into memory using GS 3.2).

    But everything I bought was intended to be used for live gigging. I don't compose music and I spend so much time practicing and gigging for my band that I don't do side music projects either.

    I am so frustrated because my band's PA system is not really set up for stereo imaging and practically everything I own sounds lousy in mono. I don't know if there are any tricks to overcome this problem or whether there are piano and brass libraries particularly suited to mono playing.

    I have the ability to send two signals to the PA and run in stereo but honestly, the types of gigs we are doing (clubs, corporate parties, etc), don't tend to provide very good opportunities for good sounding stereo imaging.

    I am about at the point where unless someone can give me some advice that I can use to move forward with more success than I have had up until now, I think I will scrap the whole idea and just sell the entire workstation with all the software on it to someone who will make me a fair offer, considering I now probably have somewhere between $5k and $6k in it (I also have a MOTU 8 port rack mountable midi switch that was purchased with the PC). PCAUDIOLABS built the PC and they have been great with me on support.

    I really thought that as long as I spent enough money, I could get very realistic sounding instruments for live gigging. I don't quite understand why I can go to concerts and hear great sounding music even though I am sitting all the way to one side of the arena yet I can't produce the same thing when gigging with my band. Is there something I'm missing that I can do to help?

    I would really appreciate your opinions here because I can't figure out what to do next.

    If you don't have any suggestions regarding the stereo vs mono issue but think you might be a person interested in the system, please send me a private message with any questions or offers you might have. I may be willing to consider any fair offer once I've had a chance to review the responses I get.

    Thanks ........ Rob

  2. #2

    Re: The old Stereo vs Mono issue

    I remember reading long ago that live sound was rarely in stereo, because the people on one side of the room only hear half the mix, as mentioned.

    I believe that some people have run mono-stereo hybrids, similar to narrowing the image with the GigaStudio width control, mixing part of the R signal to the L channel and vice versa

    Another possibility would be to send the delayed R signal to the L channel and so on, but who knows what phasing issues that might give.

    With some libs - especially solo instruments that are point sources - you can just use one mic, and throw away the other. For point sources, stereo is used more for the room than the instrument.

    Of course, with a close mic'd piano you can't throw away one channel, as you'll lose the bass or the treble.

    If the recording was done using M+S mic'ing, you're in luck. Just add the L+R signals, and you get true mono.

    I don't think the DAW is your problem. You just need to go through your sounds one by one to figure out which ones work best as a single channel, R+L or hybrid mono-stereo approach.

    BTW, if the FOH sound system is stereo, there are places where you can get away with a true stereo sound. For instance, if you're doing a big synth stereo chorus whoosh-whoosh-whoosh, just go for it. People on one side will hear the sound come and go, but they'll "get it". That's different than not being able to hear the sax player though the whole set.

  3. #3

    Re: The old Stereo vs Mono issue

    I sometimes have to use a mono speaker for live gigging - actually not for samples but for miked instruments. I just use the left channel of my mixer and that's it. No adding. It works nice. Even with an electric piano.

    If your music does not sound well in mono maybe it also does not sound too well in stereo supposed the listener goes far away. Note to myself: Do a mix in mono for a test and then un-mono it.

    All your strings belong to me!

  4. #4

    Re: The old Stereo vs Mono issue

    Quote Originally Posted by Ernstinen
    Then there's Pink Floyd.
    Speaking of which, the best concert sound I ever heard was Pink Floyd's The Wall at the LA Sports Arena - and that place has horrid acoustics!

    They had speakers surrounding the audience, all time aligned. I sat off to the left side, half way up the bleachers. I could hear the bass from the speaker behind me, and the treble/mid from the speakers around the arena, facing me. It all seemed to line up, and, yes, they moved the sounds all around the venue.

    I recall a religious couple emploring everbody in line not to see the concert, or we would burn in hell. I've never regretted ignoring them. Best concert of my life. I think St. Pete will understand.

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