It’s a topic that has come up a few times lately, so here’s my take on it…
First, let’s try defining mono compatibility in this context: a two channel audio signal, recorded or mixed to stereo, in which its elements remain audible when summed to mono (same signal in both left and right channels), causing no significant imbalance to the mix or cancelling to its parts or its tonality.
Despite mono compatibility arguably being less important than it used to be, it does still matter. Ultimately it’s simply good engineering practice. A few reasons, in no particular order:
Of course, in a true stereo recording, mono compatible means phase-coherent, which in everyday terms simply means a more realistic sound – truer to the source.
If your music is mixed to sound great in mono it will likely sound great in stereo, whereas the reverse is less often true. If it sounds good to you in mono, with no parts or tonality significantly cancelling/disappearing then it should be fine, but any such errors really must be addressed at the recording and mixing stages. The main thing is that you’ve checked for it and corrected it where needed – it’s inherently part of what we check for in mastering.
As for mastering with stereo width processing? Honestly, I’d have to say I’ve used that maybe twice in as many years – and for the sake of bringing overly wide sounding mixes inwards a little to better match other tracks!
What are your experiences with mixing music for mono?
- Adam Dempsey
Our congrats to The Bon Scotts – the Melbourne “folk-pop” act scored a 4 star review in Rolling Stone magazine for their second album ‘We Will All Die at the Hands of CGI’ (or simply ‘WWADATHOCGI…’), mastered by Adam Dempsey and out on Popboomerang Records.
Also worth checking out is the album’s cover, designed by Circal – a modern day ‘Sgt. Pepper’s’ depicting a bunch of identities reflected of our times.
As part of his weekly ‘Howzat’ column, music journalist Jeff Jenkins tags along to a mastering session at Deluxe Mastering in Melbourne and chats with Tony “Jack the Bear” Mantz…
HIS MASTER’S VOICE
Look closely at your CD collection and you’ll find the credit: Mastered by Jack the Bear. He is ubiquitous. But who is Jack the Bear? Intrigued by the mastering process – Is it really a black art? – Howzat! asked to tag along when a mate was having his record mastered by Jack the Bear. I arrived early at his Brunswick studios, expecting a sterile environment, uptight and uninviting. “G’day, mate,” a large man says, hand outstretched…
Read the full piece here.
Coverage of the ongoing Loudness Wars and its potential for peacetime makes it into our national paper The Australian, featuring comment from Deluxe Mastering’s Adam Dempsey.
Read on: “Studios turning rock’n'roll into raucous noise pollution” by Andrew Harris.