Is it better to mixdown using mono tracks ?

Share your Ableton Live secrets here
dinaiz
Posts: 414
Joined: Thu Jul 24, 2008 2:50 pm
Location: France
Contact:

Is it better to mixdown using mono tracks ?

Post by dinaiz » Tue Jun 09, 2009 12:53 pm

Hi folks !

I was experimenting today on a song of mine, and I had the idea of making every pad track mono (using Utility plugin), then pan them 50% left or right. I actually had the impression it sounded better, or, at leat it had more potential and it's easier to pan and mix.

I got the idea because I was thinking that when you pan a stereo pad, you loose some information. Let's say you pan a stereo pad 50% left, then the sounds on the right channel will be barely audible, while the ones on the left one will be way louder. If you "mono" it first, then you've got the same volume for the left and right chanel, and this is apearing on the left of the stereo field.

I found plenty of posts about doing the whole mixdown in mono using one speaker, but I couldn't find any about using mono tracks, INSIDE the mix.

Any thoughts about that ? Is this the right direction to go ?!

dinaiz
Posts: 414
Joined: Thu Jul 24, 2008 2:50 pm
Location: France
Contact:

Re: Is it better to mixdown using mono tracks ?

Post by dinaiz » Tue Jun 09, 2009 6:01 pm

No one has an idea ? 8O

Superchibisan
Posts: 593
Joined: Thu Jun 10, 2004 7:25 pm

Re: Is it better to mixdown using mono tracks ?

Post by Superchibisan » Tue Jun 09, 2009 7:29 pm

its really up to you.

i use stereo synths for everything, mono drum sounds....

Tone Deft
Posts: 23662
Joined: Mon Oct 02, 2006 5:19 pm
Location: SF, CA

Re: Is it better to mixdown using mono tracks ?

Post by Tone Deft » Tue Jun 09, 2009 7:29 pm

use your ears. I can't imagine there's a singular answer to this.
"Obsession is a great substitute for talent." - Steve Martin on learning the banjo

dinaiz
Posts: 414
Joined: Thu Jul 24, 2008 2:50 pm
Location: France
Contact:

Re: Is it better to mixdown using mono tracks ?

Post by dinaiz » Tue Jun 09, 2009 10:46 pm

Tone Deft wrote:use your ears. I can't imagine there's a singular answer to this.
Yeah you're right but there's a lot of stuff you can't figure out by only using your ears when you're a beginner.
It's easy to judge a final mixdown, but when you have 10 tracks with several effects, it's hard to know the influence of one parameter in the global sound. And having your track in mono is just ONE of the many parameters you have. Or in other words, to find out the right combination which will make everything sound like you want. :-). It SEEMS to me that one this particular song, it sounded better (more accurate) using mono pads...but I don't trust my ears enough yet ! :-)

That's why my question was more like "Is it a common practice to do that, or not ?". Ok apparently it's not, so I'll keep learning and doing by trial and error :-)

Thanks for your replies

michaellpenman
Posts: 396
Joined: Wed Dec 12, 2007 1:12 pm
Location: edinburgh
Contact:

Re: Is it better to mixdown using mono tracks ?

Post by michaellpenman » Wed Jun 10, 2009 5:20 pm

Hey man
its about complimenting the sound elements, so with drums have them as mono and pad them. Bass mono center and then lead elements spread across.
What you need is to spread the sound, so each element has its space. Then start to diverge the sound with reverbs and delay and stereo width.
This will make your mix clear with more definition.

hurlingdervish
Posts: 1242
Joined: Mon Jun 01, 2009 1:06 am
Location: The New England Colonies

Re: Is it better to mixdown using mono tracks ?

Post by hurlingdervish » Thu Jun 11, 2009 2:54 pm

if all your stuff is mono and panned acordingly it should sound a bit clearer than normal but, your probably using some stereo effects so it doesnt really matter

houseofmidi
Posts: 12
Joined: Thu Jun 11, 2009 9:50 am

Re: Is it better to mixdown using mono tracks ?

Post by houseofmidi » Thu Jun 11, 2009 3:16 pm

um so you want to MONO-ify your stereo pair and then pan that new Mono-ified version to a fixed spot?

well that sort of defeats the prupose of Stereo as you now have exactly the same signal going to left and right (but at different volumes) . That is you have lost any stereo width you had in the original.

The point with stereo is that the signals can differ in more than just volume (ie say phase/ tone etc.) which can provide more 'space' and ambience in the Mix.

However a lot of sounds that may be using a Stereo Track may be pretty much Monon anyway. (very little deviation between Left & Right) so your suggestion will actually make little difference.

dinaiz
Posts: 414
Joined: Thu Jul 24, 2008 2:50 pm
Location: France
Contact:

Re: Is it better to mixdown using mono tracks ?

Post by dinaiz » Thu Jun 11, 2009 8:06 pm

OK !!! I see your points :-). Thanks a lot for your different views. I'll experiment more, but probably will keep my stereo tracks :-)

houseofmidi
Posts: 12
Joined: Thu Jun 11, 2009 9:50 am

Re: Is it better to mixdown using mono tracks ?

Post by houseofmidi » Fri Jun 12, 2009 9:35 am

hurlingdervish wrote:if all your stuff is mono and panned acordingly it should sound a bit clearer than normal but, your probably using some stereo effects so it doesnt really matter
um this is actually bullshit. If you use Stereo Tracks instead of Mono then you should be able to Squeeze More into a mix without losing Definition. because you have a range of other 'tricks' to increase the apparent 'space' in your mix.

If you want to mix to sound like odl beatles records then yeah go ahead convert everything to Mono.

three
Posts: 220
Joined: Mon May 12, 2008 2:16 am
Location: secret lair
Contact:

Re: Is it better to mixdown using mono tracks ?

Post by three » Mon Jun 15, 2009 10:59 am

Always, always, always, THINK in mono.

There's no such thing as a stereo track, it's just a pair of related mono tracks.

If your source is stereo, like a stereo synthesizer, then record two mono tracks from it. If your source is mono, like a simple sample, then record one mono track from that. If you use a stereo effect on a mono track, you'll want to record two mono tracks from the output.

dinaiz
Posts: 414
Joined: Thu Jul 24, 2008 2:50 pm
Location: France
Contact:

Re: Is it better to mixdown using mono tracks ?

Post by dinaiz » Mon Jun 15, 2009 12:01 pm

three wrote:Always, always, always, THINK in mono.

There's no such thing as a stereo track, it's just a pair of related mono tracks.

If your source is stereo, like a stereo synthesizer, then record two mono tracks from it. If your source is mono, like a simple sample, then record one mono track from that. If you use a stereo effect on a mono track, you'll want to record two mono tracks from the output.
Cool but....why ?! :)

inakiesarte
Posts: 259
Joined: Wed Jan 21, 2009 2:51 pm

Re: Is it better to mixdown using mono tracks ?

Post by inakiesarte » Mon Jun 15, 2009 12:52 pm

dinaiz wrote:Hi folks !

I was experimenting today on a song of mine, and I had the idea of making every pad track mono (using Utility plugin), then pan them 50% left or right. I actually had the impression it sounded better, or, at leat it had more potential and it's easier to pan and mix.

I got the idea because I was thinking that when you pan a stereo pad, you loose some information. Let's say you pan a stereo pad 50% left, then the sounds on the right channel will be barely audible, while the ones on the left one will be way louder. If you "mono" it first, then you've got the same volume for the left and right chanel, and this is apearing on the left of the stereo field.

I found plenty of posts about doing the whole mixdown in mono using one speaker, but I couldn't find any about using mono tracks, INSIDE the mix.

Any thoughts about that ? Is this the right direction to go ?!
it doesnt sound better, it just seems to be "louder"

three
Posts: 220
Joined: Mon May 12, 2008 2:16 am
Location: secret lair
Contact:

Re: Is it better to mixdown using mono tracks ?

Post by three » Mon Jun 15, 2009 12:58 pm

dinaiz wrote:Cool but....why ?! :)
Any time you run a mono effect over a stereo track, you have in effect mixed two mono tracks (a stereo pair) down to a single mono track. Basically the stereo is silently reduced to mono, so why have double the audio data in the first place?

I believe that Ableton corrects for this to some degree by running mono effects twice on stereo tracks, but that's a bit of a crutch. In general you risk losing the width of running stereo in the first place, so might as well come out with mono in the at the beginning.

The reason I said it so emphatically above, is that you'll work cleaner always thinking in mono. Lots of sounds don't need (and shouldn't have) stereo width. I, personally, run all kicks and the bassline mono (front-and-center) because I think it sounds better. Other sounds need more width.

Anyway, I think it'll help anybody's workflow: think in terms of mono and be aware of what's stereo.

houseofmidi
Posts: 12
Joined: Thu Jun 11, 2009 9:50 am

Re: Is it better to mixdown using mono tracks ?

Post by houseofmidi » Mon Jun 15, 2009 6:26 pm

three wrote:Always, always, always, THINK in mono.

There's no such thing as a stereo track, it's just a pair of related mono tracks.

If your source is stereo, like a stereo synthesizer, then record two mono tracks from it. If your source is mono, like a simple sample, then record one mono track from that. If you use a stereo effect on a mono track, you'll want to record two mono tracks from the output.
I disagree. what is the point of this? I think its better to keep things as stereo if they are stereo. it makes editing easier.

There is no point separating everything to two mono tracks

Post Reply