MIXING in MONO ??

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brian sansone
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MIXING in MONO ??

Post by brian sansone » Thu Feb 11, 2016 1:21 am

I just read the article on Laid Back Luke, on the Ableton site. He is offering one of his live sets for download; so folks can pick it apart
to see how he does things.

One thing he talks about is the importance of mixing in mono; especially when using head phones.
He states "mono is truth".


How do you mix in mono when abletons tracks are stereo tracks?
Use a utility on every channel?

Can anyone elaborate? I need some enlightenment on this approach.
-Brian

fishmonkey
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Re: MIXING in MONO ??

Post by fishmonkey » Thu Feb 11, 2016 2:36 am

you don't need a Utility device on every track, just whack one on the master...
badbrainz wrote: I'm a drummer, so I'm already at an intellectual disadvantage here

Angstrom
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Re: MIXING in MONO ??

Post by Angstrom » Thu Feb 11, 2016 3:05 am

I wouldn't mix in mono, I just check it in mono. Mono is like a lens which will reveal glaring errors.
Check your mix will work in mono, also check it on an iphone speaker, but is that "truth" nah. It will reveal a lot, but that doesn't make it a way to mix everything. At the end of the day it will be played in stereo 99% of the time . So mix it in stereo... use mono (and tiny speakers) to check if you've made a glaring error in your arrangement and instrumentation.

Emanresu0891
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Re: MIXING in MONO ??

Post by Emanresu0891 » Thu Feb 11, 2016 3:08 am

so what does it mean if your mix sounds like it was recorded underwater
when listening in mono?

brian sansone
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Re: MIXING in MONO ??

Post by brian sansone » Thu Feb 11, 2016 4:32 am

Angstrom wrote:I wouldn't mix in mono, I just check it in mono. Mono is like a lens which will reveal glaring errors.
Check your mix will work in mono, also check it on an iphone speaker, but is that "truth" nah. It will reveal a lot, but that doesn't make it a way to mix everything. At the end of the day it will be played in stereo 99% of the time . So mix it in stereo... use mono (and tiny speakers) to check if you've made a glaring error in your arrangement and instrumentation.

That sounds completely reasonable. What causes a mix to not translate to mono?
What if you have stereo plug in instruments cranking out complex stereo sounds, and your mix sounds off on mono?
Where do you start?

Thanks

fishmonkey
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Re: MIXING in MONO ??

Post by fishmonkey » Thu Feb 11, 2016 4:49 am

brian sansone wrote:
Angstrom wrote:I wouldn't mix in mono, I just check it in mono. Mono is like a lens which will reveal glaring errors.
Check your mix will work in mono, also check it on an iphone speaker, but is that "truth" nah. It will reveal a lot, but that doesn't make it a way to mix everything. At the end of the day it will be played in stereo 99% of the time . So mix it in stereo... use mono (and tiny speakers) to check if you've made a glaring error in your arrangement and instrumentation.

That sounds completely reasonable. What causes a mix to not translate to mono?
What if you have stereo plug in instruments cranking out complex stereo sounds, and your mix sounds off on mono?
Where do you start?

Thanks
parts of the L + R channels that add together or cancel out will affect how the track sounds when collapsed to mono. when sound waves are mixed together parts of the sound waves will add and subtract from each other. as an extreme example, if the right channel contains the exact same signal as the left channel, then collapsing them to mono will simply make the sound louder. if however you flip the phase on one side only, then the two channels will cancel out completely, resulting in silence. this is how a 'null test' works.

say you have a basic oscillating synth sound which relies on a simple delay on one channel to create a sense of stereo. if the delay time coincides with roughly half the oscillation time of the synth, then when collapsed to mono the synth sound will tend to cancel itself out. it will become thin and weedy in mono.

another thing about collapsing to mono is that it shows how well your two channels differ in frequency content. if you have two sounds that tend to mask each other out, then you can make them more distinct by EQing them, to make them more dissimilar. alternatively, you could also pan them to separate them in space. the EQ approach will work better when collapsed to mono.

i personally think that at least checking how a mix sounds in mono is a good idea...
badbrainz wrote: I'm a drummer, so I'm already at an intellectual disadvantage here

mrgrim3
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Re: MIXING in MONO ??

Post by mrgrim3 » Thu Feb 11, 2016 5:09 am

fishmonkey wrote:you don't need a Utility device on every track, just whack one on the master...
i wish i knew this earlier lol lots of time wasted slapping utility on seperate tracks

Stromkraft
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Re: MIXING in MONO ??

Post by Stromkraft » Thu Feb 11, 2016 6:20 am

brian sansone wrote: What if you have stereo plug in instruments cranking out complex stereo sounds, and your mix sounds off on mono?
Where do you start?
Collapsing the bass spectrum to mono is a good start. Unless you need the bass spectrum in stereo. There was a recent discussion about different techniques in October: Collapse bass to mono alternatives (non m/s). Not exhaustive, but useful. There was also a sibling discussion: Fully Mono compatible Mid/Side techniques? with great contributions from Angstrom and andy_cytomic. I'm sure there have been other discussions before those too.

When you are mixing in mono, remember to turn off one speaker and focus on one. I find at least testing in mono is important because of possible phase cancellations when equalizing. Why waste time on a superb stereo mix only to realize it gets dull in mono?
Make some music!

Tarekith
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Re: MIXING in MONO ??

Post by Tarekith » Thu Feb 11, 2016 6:49 am

Agreed, it's a nice reality check when you're almost done with a mixdown. Especially since everyone is slapping stereo wideners on everything these days, and you suddenly realize that wicked wide lead you made is now totally silent in mono :)

But yeah, as mentioned the vast majority of people are going to be listening in stereo anyway, so I'd still focus on making your song sound good that way versus making compromises strictly for mono.
Tarekith
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ZaBong69
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Re: MIXING in MONO ??

Post by ZaBong69 » Thu Feb 11, 2016 11:11 am

brian sansone wrote: One thing he talks about is the importance of mixing in mono; especially when using head phones.
He states "mono is truth".
Hi,

he is right. Mixing on headphones leads to all kinds of listening errors bc. of that "super stereo" effect - your track sounds wider than it actually is, your brain tries to compensate that, you therefore tire more easily using the headphones, making even more mistakes.

But mono mixing is pretty brutal - many stereo reverbs and delays simply phase cancel each other for instance. Truth hurts. What I believe mono will give you: if you get a balanced track in mono (i.e. good separation of a tracks instruments), then this separation will usually even be better in stereo. If a sound's volume suddenly jumps up when switching to stereo, that seems to be a good indicator for phase cancellation problems that you otherwise can not hear on headphones at all!

I have to use headphones as I do music mostly while travelling. So there is Utility on the master track for switching between mono and stereo, then Sonarworks Reference 3 for making my AT M50x headphones' frequency response almost linear, after that comes Toneboosters Isone to simulate the head-related frequency response that you get from listening on real speakers, which is extremely useful when switching back from mono to stereo.

The result is a very flat, boring, mono sound that I can make even more unappealing by dialing in the Yamaha NS10 speaker simulation in Reference3 (no bass, just mids, plain terrible). Anything that sounds halfway balanced on this murderous chain will sound balanced in stereo as well.

Best,

K
Last edited by ZaBong69 on Fri Feb 12, 2016 6:38 am, edited 1 time in total.

Stromkraft
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Re: MIXING in MONO ??

Post by Stromkraft » Thu Feb 11, 2016 6:29 pm

ZaBong69 wrote: Sonarworks Reference 3 for making my AT M50x headphones' frequency response almost linear, after that comes Toneboosters Isone to simulate the head-related frequency response that you get from listening on real speakers, which is extremely useful when switching back from mono to stereo.
Sounds interesting. I'm so far very happy with Waves NX for speaker in a room simulation, but I'll have to wait for the bluetooth detector.
Make some music!

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