Sounds Better in Mono

name that tune
jdjohn
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Sounds Better in Mono

Post by jdjohn » 16 Mar 2019 04:34

What vinyl do you have that sounds better in mono...with a proper mono cartridge???
I'll start with this Animals record.
AnimalsBestOf.jpg
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Played with an AT-Mono3/LP high-ish output moving coil cartridge.

jdjohn
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Re: Sounds Better in Mono

Post by jdjohn » 16 Mar 2019 04:41

Adding this:
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Sunwire
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Re: Sounds Better in Mono

Post by Sunwire » 16 Mar 2019 05:16

Have you heard Muddy Waters Folk Singer in stereo?
It's really great.
I haven't heard the mono, but it sounds so good in stereo it's hard for me to believe the mono could be better.
It has a great feeling of space and separation of the instruments.
I'm new to the album, but it quickly became one of my favorite recordings because of the great stereo sound.

vinyl master
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Re: Sounds Better in Mono

Post by vinyl master » 16 Mar 2019 08:50

You know what's great in mono? We recently mentioned the passing of drummer Hal Blaine...Well, he played on those Simon & Garfunkel hits and the 45' versions definitely sound better in mono, but that could just be my view...With many of the 60's hits, though, the mono versions are preferable to the stereo, at least IMHO...

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Re: Sounds Better in Mono

Post by davidsss » 16 Mar 2019 13:46

I don't have a mono cart but the Doors debut album is so much more alive in mono. The stereo is great, but the mono is astounding.

DS

Bob Dillon
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Re: Sounds Better in Mono

Post by Bob Dillon » 16 Mar 2019 19:21

Sunwire wrote:
16 Mar 2019 05:16
Have you heard Muddy Waters Folk Singer in stereo?
It's really great.
I haven't heard the mono, but it sounds so good in stereo it's hard for me to believe the mono could be better.
It has a great feeling of space and separation of the instruments.
I'm new to the album, but it quickly became one of my favorite recordings because of the great stereo sound.
The mono is probably just a fold down from the stereo as was the practice at Chess. If you have a mono button on your amp, just play the stereo in mono. There's also the possibilty that some mono cutting itself has something special about it.

Leonard Cohen - Songs of Leonard Cohen. Someone needs to put out a good new reissue of this in mono that is is easy to obtain. Just U.K. pressings are what you can find, normally.

Sunwire
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Re: Sounds Better in Mono

Post by Sunwire » 16 Mar 2019 20:12

I'm not disputing that the Muddy Waters album sounds great in mono. I imagine it does.
It's a great recording so I bet it sounds great in any format.
But I'm sincerely curious if the OP has heard the stereo version and can really say it's better in mono.
So far, the only records I've preferred in mono versions are the ones that were originally mastered in mono. Fake stereo made from a mono master usually sounds pretty bad.
Folk Singer is a far above average stereo recording.

I think some of this may depend upon your age.
When I was a little kid, we listened to all our records on a mono system my dad built out of a Heathkit tube amp and a single kit speaker with a Lenco turntable. We didn't know anything else and we loved listening to it. I was always fascinated by the glowing tubes and the speed control on the turntable.
When I was about 10, we got a portable stereo record player that had one detachable speaker that could be moved about ten feet away from the speaker that was attached to the record player and its built-in amp.
It was a very solidly built unit, much heavier and better sounding than the average portable. I don't remember the brand or model but I may try to find out now that I'm thinking about it.
Anyway, we got this thing around 1966 or 67 as the Beatles and other bands were getting into psychedlia and stereo mixing was at its peak. Instruments were widely separated. Effects moved from left to right and back again. It was very exciting compared to mono where nothing ever moved and everything came from the same place.
I think I became a big fan of stereo because of the time when I first experienced it. Mono has never been as thrilling to me and I don't think it ever will be.
If you grew up always listening to stereo and then heard the solidity and coherence of mono, it might have a similar effect on you that my discovery of stereo had on me.
Just my musings. :)

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Re: Sounds Better in Mono

Post by Bob Dillon » 16 Mar 2019 20:25

Sunwire wrote:
16 Mar 2019 20:12
I'm not disputing that the Muddy Waters album sounds great in mono. I imagine it does.
It's a great recording so I bet it sounds great in any format.
But I'm sincerely curious if the OP has heard the stereo version and can really say it's better in mono.
So far, the only records I've preferred in mono versions are the ones that were originally mastered in mono. Fake stereo made from a mono master usually sounds pretty bad.
Folk Singer is a far above average stereo recording.

I think most people dislike simulated stereo these days. What people usually are on about in the mono /stereo debate is the mix. From the advent of 3-track tape onward, you have the situation where an album may be mixed seperately into stereo and mono. Some mixes are better than one or the other. Some are just different. I was playing the mono reissue of Hendrix's Axis : Bold As Love not too long ago. I'm torn between the stereo and mono on that one. Some early stereo stuff was recorded alongside the mono with seperate mic setups for each, one recorded on stereo tape machine and one on mono running simultaneously.

Bob Dillon
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Re: Sounds Better in Mono

Post by Bob Dillon » 16 Mar 2019 20:34

jdjohn wrote:
16 Mar 2019 04:34
What vinyl do you have that sounds better in mono...with a proper mono cartridge???
I'll start with this Animals record.
AnimalsBestOf
Played with an AT-Mono3/LP high-ish output moving coil cartridge.
I wonder how much early Animals stuff was true stereo anyway. I seem to recall that the 'stereo' B.O.T.A. I had was simulated stereo. Bass in one channel, highs in the other.

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Re: Sounds Better in Mono

Post by sunderwood » 16 Mar 2019 21:52

I have both the stereo and mono versions of the animals album. The stereo version sounds like mono to me, but with better highs.

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Re: Sounds Better in Mono

Post by hobie1dog » 16 Mar 2019 22:40

I went to a friends house and listened to some mono recordings on a dedicated tt, then did the rest of the day listening to stereo recordings.
I don't want to ever listen to a mono recording again.

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Re: Sounds Better in Mono

Post by zlartibartfast » 16 Mar 2019 22:47

vinyl master wrote:
16 Mar 2019 08:50
..With many of the 60's hits, though, the mono versions are preferable to the stereo, at least IMHO...
I agree with that. I believe it was due to them being mixed to playback on small mono players like portables & consoles.

Someone might correct me on this, but AFAIK the dynamic range of the single-channel groove is greater than the stereo groove, and it's easier for a stylus to track. I have some old mono records that were mastered from 35mm film, and the dynamics are really impressive considering they're from the early 50's. I play them using a stereo elliptical stylus.

Sunwire
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Re: Sounds Better in Mono

Post by Sunwire » 16 Mar 2019 23:48

Axis Bold As Love has some pretty extreme stereo effects. It's hard for me to even imagine listening to it in mono.

Bob Dillon
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Re: Sounds Better in Mono

Post by Bob Dillon » 17 Mar 2019 00:20

zlartibartfast wrote:
16 Mar 2019 22:47
vinyl master wrote:
16 Mar 2019 08:50
..With many of the 60's hits, though, the mono versions are preferable to the stereo, at least IMHO...
I agree with that. I believe it was due to them being mixed to playback on small mono players like portables & consoles.

Someone might correct me on this, but AFAIK the dynamic range of the single-channel groove is greater than the stereo groove, and it's easier for a stylus to track. I have some old mono records that were mastered from 35mm film, and the dynamics are really impressive considering they're from the early 50's. I play them using a stereo elliptical stylus.
In the old days, cutting engineers could have more freedom cutting mono, whereas with stereo they may have needed to compromise some so that they wouldn't mistrack on the players people had at the time. The old mono records were lateral cut only, 1 mil groove. Now, if you buy a new mono record it's still cut on a lathe that cuts a stereo 45/45 degree groove, lateral and vertically encoded, for stereo phono cartridges. Been that way since probably the late 1960's - early 1970's. With modern practices and cutting lathes I don't know if you could use the old way of cutting mono and achieve more dynamic range than what a good cutting engineer could do now on a stereo lathe. Someone might correct me.

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Re: Sounds Better in Mono

Post by Bob Dillon » 17 Mar 2019 00:28

Sunwire wrote:
16 Mar 2019 23:48
Axis Bold As Love has some pretty extreme stereo effects. It's hard for me to even imagine listening to it in mono.
On some tracks the rhythm section is more prominent in mono, which I appreciate, like having Mitch Mitchell's drums front and center. I'm a Hendrix fan, but I'm also a Mitch Mitchell fan.

EXP is not the same in mono, in fact they lopped off a good part of the second half of it. I'm guessing that was created in stereo and Hendrix / Kramer decided not to even bother leaving it whole for mono. Without the stereo panning, it might have sounded like a mess mixing from 4-track and trying to get what Hendrix wanted.

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