Recording in stereo vs mono

What is the advantage?

Okay, I am probably going to show my ignorance here. What is the advantage to record in stereo vs mono? Let me explain…

Let’s say I record all mono tracks. 10 of them. Bass, 2 guitars, a few for drums, 4 vocal tracks, etc. Each of these are recorded in mono, but when I mix them, I pan the vocals to left or right, pan guitar on right, bass on left, etc. When I play it, it sounds like stereo.

Am I missing something here? Am I an idiot? :slight_smile: I figure, why waste resources?

Well, it goes farther… I record onto a Boss recording studio that allows me to plug in guitars, mics, etc and record about 12 tracks. If I record in stereo, it takes 2 tracks per instrument. And then that limits me.

I am upgrading to a better recording device where I will have unlimited tracks soon.

So, what is the advantage of recording in stereo over panning mono tracks?

There isn’t any point recording mono instruments in stereo really I don’t think, stereo is for when there is different ‘information’ in the left and right tracks. So for example you DO want to record in stereo if you are using stereo effects, for example a stereo chorus or delay. In this case there is different information in the left and right tracks. Also if you’re double micing a guitar cabinet and getting a different sounding track in each mono pair. So in that case you have a mono signal but to two mics may be placed differently or be different mics and you get different info in each. The same if you record two takes of a guitar and pan one left and one right. This is recording mono but making stereo by doubling a part and panning. I don’t count that as recording stereo but the end result is a type of stereo I guess.

…least that’s what I reckon… :wink:

One of the advantages is to help separate the sounds/instruments by “placing” them in different locations in the “room.” This is particularly helpful where you have sounds that share the same locations audio frequency. You can do some of this by adjusting the EQ of the instruments but sometimes that will lose the quality you want. Most people find stereo sound more interesting and pleasing. Only basic radio is primarily in Mono any more. And you can always mig down to Mono from Stereo if you wish.

Hi, David. You’re not missing anything. As for recording to your Boss - there’s no point recording in stereo, wasting a track, if you’re recording a mono instrument/voice etc through mono effects etc. You can always add stereo effects later by adding extra tracks and panning them or by using stereo effects on the master channels (less power and tracks used).

Tony’s is correct. I guess I didn’t read your post carefully enough.

Thanks everyone. I have the answer. I will record say the guitar on my Boss BR1200 in mono. Then import that wav file into N-Track. Clone the track, and then mix the 2 separate tracks for fidelity/stereo.
Sweet mother of Jesus I am turning into an Engineer. :slight_smile:


I always record a stereo situation on two separate tracks so that I can pan then left or right as I see need etc. But I found no use for the actual stereo tracking in a single track. But I’ve been wrong before and I bet it will happen again LOL.

Pone thing I like to do when I have a singular sourse is use two different mics and set them up carefully to avoid sound cancelation. Then I can pick which to use or treat the tracks differently to reinforce the sound.

I’ll throw my 2 cents in and try to explain when a stereo set up would be an advantage. Suppose since you’ve enough audio recording experience to get hired to record a string quartet with genuine period instruments in a great room with plaster and lath construction you would get to choose to record the 4 instruments separate and double the tracks and pan them to recreate a stereo image or to use a single stereo mic set up to get a good direct signal from the instruments with a nice amount of the room reverberations to add much life and sparkle to the group. Of course you know to keep the mic element close so all the sources and reverberations will be in phase and you’ll pass out mints to the audience to keep them quiet for your recording. Point being the engineer has to choose the best method for the recording situation.