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Not just another Mono vs Stereo differences topic
15 May 2014
3.35pm
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c64wood
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I know there are differences between the mono and stereo.  Instrumentation, vocal effects, speed of the track, fade out, etc. And I'm aware of all the discussions on why one is better than the other.

I am not a record producer or an engineer so this may be a stupid question, but I was wondering why are the differences there to begin with?

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15 May 2014
4.44pm
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Mr. Kite
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The mono versions were mixed with The Beatles there ad the stereo without, at least in the beginning, so they might choose to fade out a song earlier, for example, then the producer alone might.

Any major changes between the two such as instrumentation, I don't know.

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15 May 2014
5.08pm
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meanmistermustard
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The Beatles had no input in the mono mixes for a long time, they were often either out on tour, fulfilling tv or radio commitments or on holiday when the mixing was being done by George Martin. It wasn't until 1966 and the Revolver songs that they began to attend the mixing sessions.

The differences were more down to being human, time, and, probably for later on with Pepper and The White Album , experimentation. Different mixes were deliberately sent to the US for some of the songs, be it for the films (And I Love Here, I'll Cry Instead ) or albums (And Your Bird Can Sing , The Word ) so George Martin must have known.

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15 May 2014
9.46pm
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Inner Light
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Mono was the set standard in the 60's so every Beatles song was mixed first in Mono and the Stereo versions were done a couple of weeks later without the Beatles being present. Remember, stereo was a new thing in the mid sixties so the focus was on the mono mixes. I have always loved the mono mixes. They seem more punchier with more bass response then the stereo mixes and also the Beatles were present for most of the mono mixes and not the stereo ones until the later in the decade.

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15 May 2014
11.13pm
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IveJustSeenAFaceo
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I've always wondered about that myself. Like, why isn't it just a straight fold down?

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16 May 2014
1.51am
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Bongo
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IveJustSeenAFaceo said
I've always wondered about that myself. Like, why isn't it just a straight fold down?

Wouldn't that be a fold down from Stereo, not mono????

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16 May 2014
1.53am
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IveJustSeenAFaceo
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Bongo said

IveJustSeenAFaceo said
I've always wondered about that myself. Like, why isn't it just a straight fold down?

Wouldn't that be a fold down from Stereo, not mono????

That's what I meant. Why isn't the mono the exact same thing just with some different EQ and only comnig out of one speaker?

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16 May 2014
1.49pm
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c64wood
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Thanks IJSAF for clarifying.  Apparently I was not clear in my initial post.  I was trying to clear.

But yes, why is it not the same exact song?  The same master tape, just one mixed for one speaker and one mixed for two speakers.  Did the engineers use different takes or tapes?  Took liberty to add more echo here or there?

 

IveJustSeenAFaceo said

Bongo said

IveJustSeenAFaceo said
I've always wondered about that myself. Like, why isn't it just a straight fold down?

Wouldn't that be a fold down from Stereo, not mono????

That's what I meant. Why isn't the mono the exact same thing just with some different EQ and only comnig out of one speaker?

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16 May 2014
2.13pm
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Joe
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I think they're different disciplines. Imagine a director filming in monochrome, who is then asked why he didn't just film in colour and remove it in post-production. It's not the same thing at all.

First of all, remember that stereo was relatively new in the 1960s. The studio engineers would have spent much longer training and working on mono recordings and mixes, which is why there's a lot of crazy psychedelic panning on some stereo Jimi Hendrix or Pink Floyd recordings - they were trying out stuff because there were no legacy rules.

I've heard engineers from that era say that nowadays they couldn't do a mono mix to save their lives. I did wonder why that might be, when on the surface mono might appear easier, but there's more of an art to getting separation from the sounds if you only have one audio channel to work with.

Sounds that would have been separated in the stereo spectrum can clamber all over one another in a fold-down mix, making it sound all mushy and imprecise. Backing vocals on the left and right might sound great, but when merged might drown out the lead singer. Mono needs more careful balance and EQ to compensate. That's a brief version of why 60s record labels wanted separate mono and stereo mixes - there are recording sites which have detailed discussions on mono mixing which I'll let you search for.

The fact that people are still asking these (perfectly valid) questions makes me wonder why Apple didn't explain the differences better in 2009. A lot of people genuinely think the mono box is just fold-down stereo mixes, and wonder why so many fans got excited over it.

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21 May 2014
2.08pm
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c64wood
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Thanks Joe!  Mono and stereo is a very interesting topic indeed.  But was I was referring to was the differences for example:

 

The guitar transition between "Good Morning Good Morning " to "Sgt Pepper Reprise" is different.  And the audience noises are different.

The cowbell in Taxman starts at a different place.

The bit of guitar feedback in "Tomorrow Never Knows " in the line "Love is all and love is everyone"

She's Leaving Home at different speeds.

 

Sorry if it seems as if I am beating a dead horse.

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21 May 2014
5.57pm
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vonbontee
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Is there any difference between the mono and stereo "Ticket To Ride "s? Beside the obvious, I mean; did the two use any different recorded takes? I'm thinking specifically of a lead guitar part, the part Paul (I think it's Paul) plays after the "She oughta do right by meeee." To my ears, the stereo sounds more twangy and reverb-y, while the mono sounds more overdriven.

The first version of the song I heard, the one I got to know, was the one I taped off of AM radio, obviously monaural, in January of 1981, and had that overdriven sound. Practically every other subsequent version I heard on actual recordings I acquired was stereo and never sounded like the one I'd first gotten to know. Just never sounded "right". But the mono version from the box sounds to me the way it did as I originally heard it. So is it just the different mix I'm hearing, or a completely different recording?

(I can't detect any similar differences between the two in the rest of the song, only that twice-played guitar part.)

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21 May 2014
6.13pm
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Ron Nasty
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Basically, @vonbontee, no. If you take a look here, the first song it shows is Ticket To Ride , and its four mixes.

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21 May 2014
9.49pm
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vonbontee
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Thanks, Ron. So it is just the different mix, then? Wow, that's quite a remarkable difference.

Someone said 'What were you gonna do when it's all finished,' and I said 'I don't know but it'd be good fun being a DJ.' And since then I've become a DJ, only by word of mouth, you know. SO any minute now you'll read, 'Ringo leaves to become a DJ' but it's not true. - Ringo Starr

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