Submitted by thewhippinpost on Sat, 25/11/2006 - 15:39.

Kicking-off with 10 digestible nuggets of sound mixing essentials you should be practicing when either shaping sounds or balancing the mix.

You might know all, or some of these tips already - cool. However, they've been chosen precisely because they are ones we most-often let slide from our thoughts when dancing with the fairies in laa-laa-land (Note: I'm talking about you here - I've personally never been to laa-laa-land, preferring STRICTLY HETERO nightclubs instead, HTH).

1: Use MONO Sound Sources

That's right!

Some of you might be shocked to learn this - I know I was when first told. I mean, MONO is crap right? We're into (what is it now?), 9-Channel surround-sound or sommat daft like that, aren't we! And what about your synth? I bet it sounds amazing in full-width panoramic swirling stereo doesn't it?

It just wouldn't sound the same in MONO, right? I feel ya, trust. But listen-up...

First-off, ask yourself: what sound source, in nature, is truly emitted in stereo? Aye, got you thinking hasn't it!

If you're sat there shouting: "All natural sound sources are in stereo - they're all around us!" Well yeah, that's how we hear them, true. But that's more likely a result of things happening to the soundwaves whilst travelling to our ears.

You see, sound-waves are reflected, blown-about, and dampened etc., don't forget. We perceive distance, direction and space through clues such as volume, and the difference in time sound takes to enter both ears; ie., hitting the left ear louder and quicker than the right.

Drowning in Stereo

Recording your sound-sources in stereo (or using stereo samples) can make it very difficult to find a "hole" in the mix for other instruments to sit. This can lead to excessive EQ-fiddling to create one - cue battle of the sounds.

A well-recorded MONO sound source, on the other hand, can be placed with relative ease onto the sound-stage, allowing you to better-handle what, and how, effects should be applied with regard to neighbouring instruments, and their positions and frequencies in the mix.

Remember these things:

  • Record in stereo - record again in stereo! With mono, you just tweak the panning and effects (if any) until seasoned.
  • If 2 mono sound parts are sharing the same frequency range then just try and simply pan them slightly: one to the right, other to the left (a couple of notches either side is usually enough).
  • If you must record in stereo, use 2 mono channels to capture right and left separately.

Final Killer Tip

Test your mix in mono! Use the MONO button on the mixing-panel (or desk) to sum the channels together into one (MONO) channel. This will put all sounds into the centre.


  • You'll hear if any phasing is creeping-in (like a comb-filtering effect).
  • You can correct any sounds that have disappeared.
  • Many club PA systems (believe it or not), use mono! Don't be embarrassed - I've read enough posts on forums to know this is a fairly common phenomenon!

What to listen for

Tone and volume consistency.

Yeah I know... how to explain that in writing, eh! Use your noggin: you're after consistent clarity basically; sufficient to identify the instruments in both mono and stereo. If it ain't happening, go back into the mixing panels and identify what's causing your mono upsets by looking at your stereo files and/or added stereo effects.

Hi Please would you kindly

Please would you kindly help with the following question:

I am using Video studio 11. I need to know how I can modify the captured video sound to be having 2 channels. I am using a camera called Sony PD 150, which is recording in Mono sound. This has now made the captured video sound to be having only one sound channel.

I am now looking for a solution with in the software that can help me to modify the captured video sound so that it can have the 2 channels.

Please your support will highly be appreciated.

I added a special mono

I added a special mono imager normally used to widen stereo in reason 4 just after the main master output, especially because of youtube.

I noticed that some of my tracks sounded very bad once on youtube's mostly horrofied mono sound format, it was mainly because i have many mono dr rex files to playback for example break beats, and i made them stereo by delaying either the left or right channel with 8 milliseconds.

But you understand, youtube makes it all mono again, so the breakbeats starts having unwanted fazers the problem is in that little delay to make it stereo.

Solution, the ultimate solution as i see it would be to take frequencies out the mono dr rex breakbeats, some go to the left, some go to the right, but if you make the master output mono again as youtube does, you simply get the original sound, without that unwanted resonance/cheap fazer effects. BUT IT IS NOT THAT SIMPLE.

In reason it is very difficult to make mono breakbeats spreading spectrum frequencies to left and right seperatedly.

Any tips?