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The Magic of Mono

Discussion in 'Archived Blogs' started by lff, Feb 2, 2008.
  1. LFF
    A lot of people like to complain. I am not one of them. However, because I want to be a lawyer - I know darn well that is PAYS to complain. Regardless, I am still not an individual who likes to complain. There are people who complain about everything or anything.

    In the audio world, one of the complaints I hear is that people dislike MONO and much prefer STEREO. I have never understood why. One quick example I always use is Pet Sounds by the Beach Boys. The new remaster is in pristine STEREO but the original mix (and the one Steve Hoffman used) is MONO. A quick comparison and you'll see that the MONO beats out the STEREO.

    Another example is The Beatles. The MONO mixes have a special magic - a special punch you can hear. The vocals are more realistic and the music sounds more immediate.

    The nay-sayers will point out that these are "special" exceptions to the rules.

    Well - yesterday I got this old, old vinyl LP which I got from ebay. I quickly cleaned it and gave it a spin. This isn't the Beatles or even someone famous. Rather it is an old folk LP featuring a singing trio. Despite being in MONO the music and vocals just sounded fantastic! I'm guessing this LP is from the mid 1960's and it sounds great. While it may not be "Hi-Fi" in modern day terms, the sound is just magical. There is depth, warmth, separation and yes - there is soundstage. [​IMG][​IMG]

    So why do I write this? Well - don't discard a recording just for being MONO. Keep in mind that STEREO or multi-channel isn't the end all and be all of music. Pick up a MONO Gray Label pressing of Sinatra or a MONO Bob Dylan and you'll see that there is a special magic within those MONO grooves![​IMG]
  2. derekbmn
    Wow Luis ....just as I was listening to some Charles Mingus "Mingus Dynasty" (original 59' Columbia 6 eye MONO)
    I run across this. I'm afraid you won't find too many interested on Head-Fi about MONO stuff . BUT it certainly can sound sublime !!
  3. 883dave
    I agree...the best way to listen to any passage of music is, I feel, the way that the artist wanted us to.
    I have several Mono and re-mastered to stereo albums and to my ears the Mono versions sound better.
    I believe there are cartridges that are best suited to Mono recording.
  4. bjarnetv
    i agree, i have too many old disco records with "extreme " stereo, making them horrible for headphone listening
  5. Andysalina5
    Definitely agree with you about the Beatles mono mixes.  Mono systems were the norm back then, and albums were mixed accordingly.  The Beatles were all present during the mono mixes because that's what mattered to them.  They would sit in the studio working on making the mono mix sound perfect.  Up until their last few albums they had very little to do with the stereo versions of their records.
  6. LFF

    Very true. It wasn't until Sgt. Pepper that the actual band members sat in for a stereo mix.
    The crazy thing for me is that some of mono recordings, like 16 Tons, have more fidelity and ambiance than many modern day stereo recordings. The audio engineers REALLY knew what they were doing back then.
  7. Redcarmoose
    Mononuclosis was a common with the Beatles cuz they kissed so many girls back then.

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