Why We Check Sound Balance in Mono Mode

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The Music Telegraph
Text 2020-01-06


▲ Radio with mono speaker

© Talentree


Why We Check Sound Balance in Mono Mode


Nowadays, the use of large-sized analog mixing consoles, such as SSL and NEVE, has significantly declined, so mixing is almost done entirely in stereo. Although most listeners enjoy music  with stereo system today, it's important for mixing engineers to check sound balance in mono  during a music mix. Don't forget the sound also sounds good in stereo if the sound has a good balance in mono. The reasons we do a sound balance check in mono are as follows: 



1) To make it easier to figure out the distance between instruments and listener

First, listen to the stereo sound which has got audio treatments such as panning and effects during stereo mixing, then listen to that sound again in mono with a small volume. If you listen carefully, you may relaize that the perception of distances between listener and instruments is better in mono than listening in stereo mode.



2) To check phase cancellation of instruments for each frequency

Check if the instruments panned too far left or right can be heard without phase cancellation even in mono mode.



3) To check the amount of reverb or effect processed for each instrument

When you monitor a stereo sound in mono mode, which is distributed to the left and right speakers, the distributed sounds are arranged in one line on the speaker. At this time, the spatial sense, distance, and amount of effects processed with various instruments such as vocals, rhythms, and other instruments, and the panning state and phase difference of each instrument can  be identified.



In the past, recorded sound source of piano was not much different in phase between the left and right microphones, but piano sounds in popular music these days are very wide and colorful. This style of sound source causes distortion of sound due to phase cancellation in mono mode, and in particular, causes a lot of low bass sounds to disappear.






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