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Mono Compatibility - All you need to know

In theses days, you might be wondering why making your mix sound good in mono is important. If your song is destined for radio play, there are still a lot of people who are sitting in the kitchen just the one speaker; some cellphones still reproduces sounds in mono; and last but not least, one of the best reasons that you should care of your mono Compatibility : in the club. Mostly of clubs sound systems is mono. Why ? Imagine if you are just ahead to the left speaker , and the backing vocals are in the right pan. If the club system was stereo you probably would not listen that.

Mono Compatibility

How it works ?

Positive Context: a two channel audio signal, recorded or mixed to stereo, in which its elements remain audible when summed to mono (the same signal in both left and right channels), causing no significant imbalance to the mix or cancelling to its parts or its tonality.

Why does my mix sound bad in mono?

The reason a stereo mix sounds 'massively large' is because of the quantity and nature of the side signal. If there is a lot of out-of-phase information in the stereo mix it will tend to sound very big, but this information will largely be lost when listening to the mono signal only. Watch the picture below, in the "red zone"you are losing information in Mono. You should keep your phase in the "blue zone".

Does panning affect the Mono?

Panning a mono track off‑centre reduces its level in the mono balance by a maximum of around 3dB when panning hard left or right.

What frequencies should be in mono?

We always recommend to keep all frequencies below around 100 Hz – approximately considered to be the 'sub bass' frequency range – in mono.

How can I fix a bad mono compatibility (good on stereo but low volume in mono) ?

Here some tips & tricks for Ableton Live.

You should fix all individual channels on your mix, following the steps below:

1-) insert a mono utility in the channel (Mono.adv).

2-) try the modes: stereo, left and right, comparing with stereo (turn utility on/off) analyzing which sounds better.

3-) if left or right  sounds louder and better , choose one and jump to step 5.

4-) But if left or right sounds robotic , you'll need to bring the sides back and we recommend to use our Free Download Ableton Effect Rack : RM Vibes Un-Wider (Header of this website, Menu: Free Downloads) As we can't use a signal for only left or only right , we will bring back the sides enough to keep the stereo field mono compatible. On The Effect page we explain how it works.

5-) If you want more wideness after choose left or right , use can some reverb or some plug-in to make it wider (mono compatible mode) that's doesn't affect the mono signal . Example: Izotope Imager (Stereoize Mode ON).

If you have any questions or suggestions, please leave your comment below.

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