This post is all about the benefits of using mono sound during the production and mixing of your track to get better judgement and improve the sound and stereo image. The benifits are two fold:
1.MIX IN MONO: THE EASIEST WAY TO JUDGE YOUR BALANCES, LEVELS AND EFFECTS IS TO WORK WITH MONO STEMS.
Often the easiest way to judge your balances, levels and effects is to mix in mono. If you find yourself torn when trying to balance levels, not sure if your vocal should be a db higher or lower, or if your drum track is balanced properly, then I find that switching the output to mono somehow makes this judgement incredibly easy. The chaotic stereo sound you often get in the DAW environment clouds your perspective and can make it hard to judge important mix settings. If you want you can even just go ahead and convert all your channels to mono and you‘ll have a much easier job of balancing your song. You can then move forward from there to create your stereo field.
I also find converting synth channels to mono just seems to sound much more analog, there is something really tacky about the kind of automated stereo spread you get with preset synths.
So in essence you‘ll be able to judge your balances, levels and effects much easier when working in mono. The messy stereo sound you often get in the DAW environment clouds your perspective and can make it hard to judge important mix settings. Convert all your channels to mono and you‘ll have a much easier job of balancing your song. You can then move forward from there to create your stereo field.
2.CREATING A SUPER-WIDE STEREO FIELD USING MONO SOUND SOURCE
Which leads to the second benefit, which is that when working with mono stems you can create a much wider and impressive stereo image for your recording than you would have with standard stereo spread sounds. In the DAW environment so many sounds, synths, FX and sample banks are all created in stereo.
But the reality is that the stereo field of all of these sounds have no intelligent relationship with each other in the stereo field, and you will generally end up with a messy, random and cluttered stereo image. To take control of this you need to work with mono stems and build your own stereo image from the ground up. It might seem unusual at first but once you complete your first mix in this way you‘ll never go back, as you can control your audio so much without the constant distraction of preset stereo spread. You can control exactly where you want everything to sit in the stereo field and with good use of panning, parallel processing and FX you can create a much wider and coherent stereo image. This clear and well defined stereo image will give your mix a wonderful wide and pro sounding result.
1. First convert a stereo signal into mono, either by ditching one channel, or merging the 2 in one.
2. Pan this isolated dry signal hard to one side. Now you duplicate this mono channel and pan it hard in the other direction.
3. You can now go ahead and process this duplicate channel with a variety of FX to colour the aesthetic (such as reverb, distortion, chorus, delay, EQ), so you end up with one dry and one processed in opposite channel. You‘ll find the result to be quite impressive and pleasingly wide!