In the music production industry, there are two primary forms of audio; these are mono and stereo audio. The form of audio affects the type of sound produced. Mono and stereo are common because they offer a wide range of varieties. In simpler terms, mono and audio are fundamentals in the audio engineering market. For this reason, good audio or sound engineer needs a little guide to mono and stereo. This write-up discusses stereo Vs. Audio.

What is mono audio?

Mono audio, also known as monophonic audio, refers to one sound. In the simplest terms, mono audio is any sound recorded and played back using a single audio channel. For instance, if you are recording a guitar using one mic, it is known as a mono sound. This is because you are using one channel (the mic) to pick up the sound from the guitar. It is worth mentioning that the mono sound does not necessarily include sound from one source. For instance, you can record several instruments using a single microphone. This is still a mono recording as the sound is captured via one channel, which is then used to play it back.

What is stereo audio?

Stereo, known in full as stereophonic, refers to a full sound. A stereo sound is recorded using two or more channels and played back via more than one channel. For instance, a sound from a guitar can be recorded using two mics and or played back through two channels. The sound can be played back through two channels by using audio playback systems.

There are two types of stereo. They are;

  • True stereo- this refers to when an audio source is recorded with two microphones. For instance, if the sound from a guitar is recorded with two microphones.
  • Pseudo stereo, also known as simulated stereo, is where a sound plays through two channels but is not recorded in the true stereo form. For instance, if you record sound from a guitar using one microphone and play it back through two channels.

What is the difference between mono and stereo sound?

The difference between mono and stereo sound lies in the number of channels applied for recording and playing back sound. It is worth noting that the sound can either be from a person or a musical instrument. While the difference between mono and stereo sound is usually clear among sound engineers and music producers, most listeners may not notice the difference. The most notable difference to listeners is usually that stereo sound contains a perception of width.

Which one is the best?

There isn’t one sound that is better than the other. Therefore, whether stereo is better than mono, or vice versa, depends on what you are recording or what you want to wish to achieve as a sound engineer or producer.

Final Word

It is worth mentioning that when mono audio can be played through a stereo channel. In this case, the signal will remain the same. On the other hand, when stereo sound is played through a mono channel, the stereo signal will be transformed into a mono sound.


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