What instruments should be mono?

Discussion in 'Mixing and Mastering' started by GoldenEar, Sep 5, 2018.

  1. GoldenEar

    GoldenEar Ultrasonic

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    What instruments do you usually leave in mono or convert into mono during mixing?

    vocals? (lead vocals? background vocals?)
    bass?
    drums? (hihats? percussion? snare? base drum?)
    synth? (lead synths? etc.)
    piano?
    guitar?

    any other instruments that you should convert to mono? and what should be stereo?

     
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  3. junh1024

    junh1024 Platinum Record

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    Mono: Bass, Kick, Snare, LV.

    Stereo: everything else.

    You can try monoing things, but panning them LR
     
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  4. DanielFaraday

    DanielFaraday Platinum Record

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    Totally wrong. Not instruments but frequency below some point. And this point mostly depends on key of the song you are trying to mix. Sometimes everything below 80Hz, sometimes 150hz and higher.
     
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  5. Iggy

    Iggy Platinum Record

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    Best Answer
    Anything that would "really" be mono (mono mic'd) should, at least in theory, be mono. Bass guitar, kick, snare, hi-hats, lead vocals, tambourine, shaker, lead guitar, rhythm guitar (this one is tricky, as it's usually doubled, meaning, the left and right side guitars are actually each recorded in mono, then panned hard left and right to give the illusion of one wide stereo guitar part), acoustic guitar (which is sometimes recorded in stereo, depending), solo strings, brass and woodwinds. Stuff like toms are close mic'd, but then panned to their individual spots in the stereo field and sometimes just recorded to stereo. Lead synths can be recorded in mono, but it depends on the synth sound (see below).

    Then, it gets tricky: piano is usually recorded in stereo (sometimes, with three or four mics), but there are a lot of classic songs where it's recorded in mono and panned to one side. Same goes for organs and synths (Van Halen's "Jump" is an example of all the synth parts being recorded in mono -- in that case, from a mic'd Marshall amp stack). Some backing vocals are recorded in mono, but if it's multiple singers at once, they often get recorded in stereo. Drum overheads are usually always recorded in stereo. Synths or drum samples with a lot of stereo action should obviously be in stereo -- recording them in mono can lead to phasing issues.

    If you don't know whether a sound should be recorded and mixed in mono or stereo, just figure out whether or not the real life version (assuming you're recording and mixing samples and not the real thing to begin with) would be recorded that way.
     
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  6. Tealla

    Tealla Kapellmeister

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    All of 'em!



    :bleh:
     
  7. GoldenEar

    GoldenEar Ultrasonic

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    Thank you for the reply guys. This is really helpful. :yes::bow:
     
  8. cjw198433

    cjw198433 Newbie

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    NO RULES man.... use common sense.

    IMO and in my experience, the only things that usually stay truly MONO in the MIX are Kick and Bass GTR (which even then, I will obviously track it to a mono track but sometimes I like to use a ^slight^ chorusing on it via my old SPX90 so it moves a bit in the mix (old Andy Wallace trick); which in Cubase, I would have to move said mono-track to a stereo track so that any plug-ins I use to do this are truly in stereo. It's not perceivable or obvious in the mix but when you take it away you go "ohhhhh".

    The other answer above about certain freq's being made mono (always low-end oriented) can be very helpful but is probably a bit too advanced to delve into for you right now if you've just recently started your audio journey. You can ruin shit QUICKLY. BUT, say, using a plugin on your kick / bass and having it "mono-ize" everything below a certain freq (I usually only go 80hz or so) can really help tighten up your mix. Again, this leads into M/S processing (HP'ing the side higher than the mid, etc can be cool) but learn the basics like the back of your hand, memorize and master them and then throw it all out the window and do what sounds good to YOU.

    That's my best advice.

    TL;DR = If it sounds good, it is good. Fuck being so dogmatic. You will learn to be much more pragmatic as you improve. =D
     
  9. acecohle

    acecohle Newbie

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    it depends but understand that a true stereo is the recording process not put a mono signal in a stereo track ;)
     
  10. Riot7

    Riot7 Producer

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    Why would you convert any tracks to mono by default? None of this makes any sense to me.

    I'm trying to come up with reasons but it's like. Um, maybe... like, are you talking about reverb busses? A stereo hihat? What? But it was a mono track at first? But now it maybe needs to be converted back to mono?

    What?
     
  11. Qrchack

    Qrchack Producer

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    The instruments that should be mono are the ones that don't need stereo. Which is most of them. Default to mono, and keep stereo as your "wow factor" for instruments that really need it. You create stereo with panning (and automation thereof) first. If everything is stereo, nothing is wide. And please do automate your pan, at least have stuff go wider for the chorus.
     
  12. SquareDjay

    SquareDjay Platinum Record

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    Personnally sometimes I leave some drums/instruments mono but I NEVER convert a stereo sample or instrument into stereo,- like @Iggy said - you will get or at least you will risk to get phase issues,because by nature a sound with a stereo image is a sound that has some phase shift between left and right channels.
    If I don't convert it in mono I reduce or extend the stereo image.
     
  13. meow

    meow Guest

    To "monoize" a stereo sound, it's better to choose one side only. Take a snare, compare the L and the R, one of them has more energy.
     
  14. mild pump milk

    mild pump milk Russian Milk Drunkard

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    Mostly kick, snare, lead vox, bass (lows, not mids/highs content of bass).
    Doesn't mean low frequency must be strictly mid/mono, they should be perfectly mono compatible, not out of phase nor very wide.
    As gearslutz pro guys say, mono for lows are for vinyl mostly and not for obvious outofphase hyperstereousness. But kick, bass, lead vox, snare is centre
     
    Last edited: Sep 7, 2018
  15. Iggy

    Iggy Platinum Record

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    No clue what you're talking about. I believe the OP was more or less asking what sounds should be mono during mixing and what sounds should be stereo. If you have a stereo VI like, say, EZDrummer, you can record the snare, kick, hi-hat, tambourine, shaker, etc. as separate mono audio tracks into your DAW, as you would a real drum kit, then mix and process them accordingly. You don't have to do it that way. You can just record the whole kit as one stereo track, if you want to, or keep it live until you record the final mix. I assumed the OP was asking how to do it the "old" way.
     
  16. No Avenger

    No Avenger Audiosexual

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    Nope, every x.1 system separates the low freqs from the stereo monitors, depending on the size of x and .1. So, if you have for instance 80Hz at extreme stereo, chances are this effect not audible anymore because the stereo monitors don't get this frequency.
     
    Last edited: Sep 7, 2018
  17. Iggy

    Iggy Platinum Record

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    Also, bass (the frequencies we're talking about, anyway) isn't actually directional stereo to begin with, which is why you only need one sub-woofer for a home entertainment system and you can place it anywhere in relation to the other front-facing speakers.
     
  18. Baxter

    Baxter Audiosexual

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    Sub frequencies are omni-directional to the human ear (we have trouble pinpointing its origin due to the long wavelength), compared to higher frequencies. Maybe that's what you meant.
     
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  19. Iggy

    Iggy Platinum Record

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    Yeah, but that's also basically what I said: they're not directional stereo frequencies. They may technically be able to come out of one speaker or another discretely, but as far as the listener is concerned, it's not stereo. Hence the mention of only needing one sub-woofer.
     
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  20. mild pump milk

    mild pump milk Russian Milk Drunkard

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    For 5.1, 7.1 where subwoofer is mono, you may play stereowide bass frequencies, but only MID will be played by subwoofer. Thequestion is mono compatibility, center. As what we do with stereo tracks, we make it stereo wide, but mono compatible.
    Take Depeche Mode "Angel" from the beginning. Listen to with 5.1 and watch mid/side spectrum analyser a-la dmg equilibrium. It is in center, super wide, sub works, mono compatible.

    The question #2
    What to do with 22.2 systems? should we make bass wide and surround?)
     
  21. No Avenger

    No Avenger Audiosexual

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    You are right, I should have written 'with 2.1 systems', sorry, my fault, I was too quick.
     
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