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Topic: Stereo versus Mono

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  1. #1

    Stereo versus Mono

    I'm a Sonar user who likes to bounce my midi tracks to wav files where I do my final editing. I've always mixed them down to mono tracks and then panned them respectively afterwards. So here's my question: Let's say I have a violins section track that I keep dead in the center. Does it make a difference if I bounce it to a mono track versus a stereo track since the audio data isn't panned in one direction over the other?

    After the fact I will likely pan it to the left. I understand that if it's already panned to the left then it will make a difference when bouncing it as a stereo track but will it make a difference as a mono track?

    -Dane

  2. #2

    Re: Stereo versus Mono

    The samples are stereo though, aren't they?

    Personally, when I bounce any tracks for continued editing, I do it in stereo.

    I have wavs mixed with midi data, and the wavs are stereo - and on very rare occasion where I use a sample produced by an artist (like from a cover mag DVD) - those too, are in stereo.

    I really think you're not getting the full quality of the sound if you're bouncing mono tracks. But others here might have better information on this than I.
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  3. #3

    Re: Stereo versus Mono

    Most of GPO's samples are Mono. That's why it works well to move the Aria pans so they're centered, and to bounce to Mono tracks which you then pan as needed. A few instruments are stereo - one of the lead Oboes, and one or two of the Harps, for instance.

    EDIT: I found what I was hoping to find earlier. An old post from DPDAN which lists the mono/stereo status of GPO instruments. Here's a C&P of that post, along with the archive link:
    --------------------------
    I use DP too, and many times I use one mono audio track in DP for track rendering of the mono instruments. There's no sense in wasting a stereo audio track for a mono instrument panned in a stereo field. I do prefer most of the time to keep the stereo sounds as they are, however as Bill P. said, accurate panning of some of these stereo instruments needs to be dealt with in detail, provided a traditional orchestral recording/performance environment is desired.

    This is a list of the GPO instruments and their STEREO / MONO status as currently available in the October 2004 update...
    This stereo / mono status list pertains to the dry folder. Any instruments used from the WET folder will be stereo, but only because of the Ambience reverb.

    dpDan

    All Flutes MONO

    All English Horns MONO

    All Oboes MONO except...
    Oboe 2 Modern Solo and Oboe 3 Modern Solo (STEREO)

    All Clarinets MONO
    All Bassoons MONO
    All French Horns MONO except...
    Overlay F, Overlay F AG, and Overlay FF (STEREO)

    All Trumpets MONO except...
    Overlay, Overlay AG, TPT Piccolo NV Solo and TPT Piccolo V Solo (STEREO)

    All Trombones MONO except...
    Overlay and Overlay AG (STEREO)

    All Tubas MONO except...
    Overlay and Overlay AG (STEREO)

    All Percussion Instruments STEREO except Snares KS (MONO)
    All Harps STEREO
    All Pianos STEREO
    All Pipe Organs STEREO
    All solo Violins MONO except... Violin 2 Strad Pizz Solo (STEREO)
    All solo Violas MONO
    All solo Cellos MONO
    All solo Basses MONO
    All section Strings STEREO

    DPDAN

    http://www.northernsounds.com/forum/...p/t-36373.html

    SECOND EDIT: HA! DPDAN was on the job, updating this thread while I was editing my post. Thanks, Dan!

    Randy

  4. #4

    Re: Stereo versus Mono

    I made this a long time ago.
    It is ideal to not waste stereo audio tracks for mono instruments, since ideally these instruments will be panned by the user to wherever He/She wants them.


    This is a list of the GPO instruments and their STEREO / MONO status.

    All Flutes MONO

    All English Horns MONO

    All Oboes MONO except...
    Oboe 2 Modern Solo and Oboe 3 Modern Solo (STEREO)

    All Clarinets MONO
    All Bassoons MONO
    All French Horns MONO except...
    Overlay F, Overlay F AG, and Overlay FF (STEREO)

    ALL SAM BRASS are stereo I believe, I have not checked those to be sure but this list was made from back in the Kontakt days


    All Trumpets MONO except...
    Overlay, Overlay AG, TPT Piccolo NV Solo and TPT Piccolo V Solo (STEREO)

    All Trombones MONO except...
    Overlay and Overlay AG (STEREO)

    All Tubas MONO except...
    Overlay and Overlay AG (STEREO)

    All Percussion Instruments STEREO except Snares KS (MONO)
    All Harps STEREO
    All Pianos STEREO
    All Pipe Organs STEREO
    All solo Violins MONO except... Violin 2 Strad Pizz Solo (STEREO)
    All solo Violas MONO
    All solo Cellos MONO
    All solo Basses MONO
    All section Strings STEREO

  5. #5

    Re: Stereo versus Mono

    JABB


    MONO

    Saxes
    Bones
    Trumpets
    Electric Guitars
    Basses
    Tuba
    Accordian

    Mono Percussion


    Bongos
    Cajones
    Conga
    Cuica
    Djembe
    Pandero
    Quinto
    Super Tumba
    Surdo
    The Box
    Tumba
    Udu
    Cabassa
    Guita
    Maracas
    Shakers
    Shekere
    Clave
    Jam Blocks
    Wood Block
    Agogo Bells
    Bong Bells
    Cha Cha Bells
    Castinets
    Jawbone
    Rainstick
    Tamborine
    Triangles
    Whistles
    DBL LAYr-HD bass drum




    STEREO


    Acoustic Guitar
    Steinway pianos
    Vibraphone hard and soft mallets
    Vintage Electric piano (Rhodes)
    01 Brush drum kit
    02 Brush drum kit, single layr-hd bass (MONO)
    Timbales

    Handclaps and finger snaps. I recommend that you use an EQ to seriously reduce the gain of frequencies 150hz and below. The sensitive microphones were too close, and the air is causing an unwanted thump.

    14 inch hihat 2
    14 inch hihat 1
    15 inch hihat
    cymbals
    SGL-LAYr-HD Bass drum
    SGL-LAYr-HD Piccolo snare
    SGL-LAY-rHD snare
    SGL-LAY-rHD toms
    04 Fusion drum kit
    DBL LAYr-HD piccolo snare
    DBL LAYr-HD snare
    DBL LAYr-HD toms
    GM classic Jazz drumkit
    GM fusion drum kit

  6. #6

    Re: Stereo versus Mono

    Wow, Holy Useful!! Thanks a bunch. So my next question then is this, if I center pan the violins are they still going to come out of the left channel slightly?

    Also, is there a way to get the percussion center panned so that I can adjust them to the right or left or are the samples permanently sent to the left or right respectively?


    Thanks in advance, You guys are seriously awesome and fast with your responses.

  7. #7

    Re: Stereo versus Mono

    Great stuff, and it might go a long way in explaining the pitfalls of many GPO renderings seeing as a lot of instruments are mono, and not being panned (or panned correctly).
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  8. #8

    Re: Stereo versus Mono

    Quote Originally Posted by Dane Grant View Post
    ...my next question then is this, if I center pan the violins are they still going to come out of the left channel slightly?

    Also, is there a way to get the percussion center panned so that I can adjust them to the right or left or are the samples permanently sent to the left or right respectively?...
    Answer to first question - No, there's no way the violins will come out to the left if you bounce down to mono tracks.

    If you bounce those percussion instruments to mono tracks, even though they are stereo samples, you will then have full control of where you can pan them.

    I've gotten less fussy about all this than I used to be. You'll lose some volume in a stereo instrument which has built-in panning, if you change it to mono--but that's no big deal, you just up the volume as needed. If you bounce any of these instruments to stereo tracks, there's a limit to what you can do with panning, because you can end up fighting the panning which is part of the original stereo image. Like if you take the audio track of a harp, which is panned far left originally, and try to pan it hard right, you'll get a ghost of its original sound.

    In Sonar when you ask for the audio tracks to be inserted for a soft synth, you have a choice of either all mono tracks or all stereo tracks, but not a variety of some mono and some stereo tracks. I often just go for the easiest route and ask for all stereo tracks, and then pan instruments at least approximately where I want them with the Aria mixer, so that then I only need to make small adjustments in the resulting audio tracks.

    But I used to always do mono audio with mono instruments and stereo with stereo instruments - as I said, I've become much looser in my approach, and it really hasn't made any difference. I know how to adjust things at the point where they need to be adjusted in a project.

    As long as one understands the nature of the original samples, you can make any number of choices during your project.

    Graham, I'm not so sure about what you're saying. People do make individual choices about panning, and while it's true they may not always know what they're really doing, I'm not sure if this mono/stereo question explains what you think are incorrect settings in some renderings you hear. Like, the GPO harps are all panned left - but that's not the only choice of where harps can be placed. The exact opposite panning is the other traditional choice, for the harp to be on stage left (audience right). I always put my harps on the right side of the stereo image - Harps have so much high frequency content, I think they sound better over there with the low cellos, opposite of the high frequency 1st strings. So I do that panning in Aria. Some of what you may think of as incorrect could sometimes be specific choices of the musician/engineer.

    But GPO was designed to work As Is, out of the box - so that all instruments already have at least one configuration of a traditional orchestral seating chart built into them--regardless of whether the samples are mono or stereo. Each instrument is in a slightly different position, and a lot of people make perfectly acceptable recordings doing absolutely NO changes in Aria or GPO. They just go about their business of developing each instrument's part in a piece, and leave all the defaults as they are - That part of GPO really is instant. One has to have a pretty good reason to make changes, like in my example above where I have a strong preference for the harps to be on the right.

    Randy

  9. #9

    Re: Stereo versus Mono

    So if I center pan and mix down a flute riff to a mono track is it the same as a center panned flute mixed down as a stereo track?

    So then all I have to do is bounce those stereo samples to mono tracks and then I can move them around as I wish. That's convenient because I was wondering how to get those percussive sounds to move without the "ghost".

    (By the way, good advice on the harp!)

  10. #10

    Re: Stereo versus Mono

    Quote Originally Posted by Dane Grant View Post
    So if I center pan and mix down a flute riff to a mono track is it the same as a center panned flute mixed down as a stereo track?

    So then all I have to do is bounce those stereo samples to mono tracks and then I can move them around as I wish. That's convenient because I was wondering how to get those percussive sounds to move without the "ghost".

    (By the way, good advice on the harp!)
    Yes, think of what mono is - one channel instead of stereo, two. A single channel, mono sound can be moved anywhere freely in a 180 degree arch, because it's just a single point being moved on that arch. A stereo signal is more complicated, with a bit of the sound appearing at both the left and right.

    So yes, a centered flute mono track is the same as a centered flute stereo track.

    BUT notice some of DPDAN's advice on the above C&Ps. The stereo samples have that more complex stereo image going on, and it's useful audio information. You don't want to necessarily always strip those down to mono just so you can pan them. The stereo Oboe, for instance, sounds great, and mostly precisely because it's stereo. If a sample Library has a lot of stereo samples, it has a 3-dimensionality which makes it all sound more natural.--So be careful with what you're doing.

    The pianos are stereo, but too wide to fit naturally in an orchestral setting. Some people just render them to mono, but the other choice is to narrow their stereo width with a plug-in designed for that, like Sonar's Channel Tools which can easily narrow the spread of a stereo sample. You get some of the cool stereophonic effect happening with the instrument, but it's more tamed.

    And with some audio editing, you can flip the signal of a stereo patch--like some people worry about the piano being panned in stereo as per the player's perspective, when actually that should be reversed from the audience's perspective.

    --You Can pan stereo instruments to a certain degree, not just in huge amounts. If you end up with a stereo track of an instrument which is primarily on the left, and you want it on the right, don't pan it, actually flip the signal. If your recording software can't do that, use a dedicated audio editing program like Sound Forge, or the free Audacity - those can flip the signal for you.*

    *--but as with my example of the Harp - if you know you want the left-sided instrument on the right, pan it that way in the first place in Aria, then render the audio. You'll still have the benefit of the stereo sampled recording, without the problems of trying to pan a stereo Audio track.

    Randy

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