Stereo vs Mono

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How do you prefer to hear the SID?

Stereo in the main
0
No votes
Mono in the main
3
50%
Depends on the job, especially if the SID is mixed in with other instruments
3
50%
 
Total votes: 6

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Commie_User
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Stereo vs Mono

Post by Commie_User » 11/07/2011 - 0:01

The Beatles' recording catalogue was re-mastered in both mono and stereo recently, causing heated debate amongst headcase fans. Many claim that due to the primacy of the mono mixes in those days, the stereo versions were the second-rate also-rans. A fuller and more impacting force of sound is cited. Yet others say the more involving sonics of stereo give the music extra depth and clarity, hence the better listen.


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And so with the Commodore 64. For playback of SID songs, I prefer listening in stereo thanks to SIDplay, multi-tracked SID overdubs in recording session or realtime SID VSTi processing. Even emulations make a fine job at reproduction and the panned channels certainly open out the sound of multi-layered voices. Yet my headphones are right now pumping out Rob Hubbard's Warhawk and Shockway Rider in the original mono, courtesy of a Hubbard music compilation disk loaded into a 64c. Sometimes the original mono balances, as the composer intended, seem to deliver a fuller, warmer and more enveloping sound, thanks to both original hardware and the absence of an often wonky balance when pulled out to stereo with a PC.


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So what do we all think then? By and large, do we prefer hearing the SID in stereo, whether it be playing SIDs or mixing our own work? Or is a strictly mono-only policy the way to go to preserve authenticity and integrity?


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Don't mind if we do: http://www.leftiness.org/Record.htm


Or, to compromise in a strict sense, maybe a mixture of SID and a Commodore peripheral can give us stereo via twin-channel mono. The SFX Sound Expander running via a second C64 does the job well. Or perhaps the SIX TRACK system:

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Re: Stereo vs Mono

Post by Analog-X64 » 11/07/2011 - 1:00

There is a similar debate going on about turning Stereo Recordings to 5.1 Surround :)

But what is interesting is a lot of the new generation, dont even understand what stereo means.

I once recorded a track and had elements hard panned to each side and posted on a forum and asked what they thought about the stereo effect and the general population didnt understand what I meant by stereo. They couldnt hear what I was saying they should be hearing.

Its like alot of people dont see the difference between DVD and HD quality.
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Re: Stereo vs Mono

Post by Commie_User » 11/07/2011 - 1:12

I suppose because stereo is the de-facto norm, nobody thinks about it. And if nobody thinks about it then they don't really know what they're after.

When I worked in an electronics place, I would often spend plenty of sales time explaining the differences between mono, stereo, outlining a stereo track played through a mono system and vice-versa. In some cases I'd actually be telling them which one they were hearing on the store system. Not since the 1960s was there a concentrated public awareness campaign on what stereo was, so they'd be learning for the very first time.

However, I've seen some truly awful flatscreen TVs in my time that I wouldn't be sure of watching a DVD or HD signal either!

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Re: Stereo vs Mono

Post by Razmo » 12/07/2011 - 11:49

I'd listen to the C64 tunes in mono, as they were originaly made... surely you can put stereo FX on a SID, and give it "something else", but in the end I prefer to listen to it the way it was made. If the SID however, was MADE for stereo listening, using two SIDs for example, then that would be my favourite way of listening (stereo).

The same goes for the AMIGA... mainly because the 4 voices are spilt into left/right speakers, and listening to a tune that was made in mono on AMIGA sound wrong in stereo to me, especialy because instruments would bounce around from left to right because the composers utilized the 4 channels to maximum, thus squeezing the samples into whatever channel was available at the time it was to sound.

If I should remaster a SID with stereo and FX plus EQ, I'd sample each of it's 3 tracks separately, and after this I'd cut all the different instruments on each track out on their own tracks... this way all instruments would have it's own track with individual audio processing to do the mixing/mastering job.

Just throwing some chorus or reverb on a whole SID sure makes a difference, but in my opinion not a very good one.
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Re: Stereo vs Mono

Post by poke16384 » 12/07/2011 - 16:36

Producing SID tunes was really about getting the most tonally and phonically from just 3 voices - you were constantly looking for ways to 'fill up' the sound. Some SID stuff works really well in stereo, other stuff goes cold and empty. Filling up the sound on remixes certainly isn't an issue but what sometimes gets lost is the way the sounds affected each other coming straight down the centre-line at you. 2 different waveforms often combined to give a third distinct sound. Start fluctuating one of the waves and you get a whole other thing going on. If you split that up into stereo, you don't get the same wave fluctuations. Wizball springs to mind, those 2 guitar type voices pitch-bending up at the beginning with the arpeggio almost hiding behind them, just peeking out. You lose that in stereo with one guitar in each ear and the arpeg down the middle.

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Re: Stereo vs Mono

Post by Commie_User » 13/07/2011 - 0:23

Razmo wrote:I'd listen to the C64 tunes in mono, as they were originaly made...

The same goes for the AMIGA...
I've ironically found myself more often enjoying 64 music in stereo and Amiga music in mono. Variety being the spice of life, and with similar effect when Pet Sounds was remixed to stereo, I found probably half or more SIDs lending themselves perfectly to stereo. Multi-layering and rapid arpeggio to squeeze more sounds in often filled the spread and let me hear things I didn't appreciate were there.

Though Amiga music would all too often be grotesquely hardpanned. Certainly for virtually all the game music I'd hear, it would be typical 1960s stereo style - percussion and bass on one side, melody and embellishment on the right. Collapsing to mono made them bed well together. And the Amiga in mono was also the order of the day - most televisions still only carried mono sound. The Amiga shipped with a Y-cable to collapse the sound to mono before it was piped into the modulator or TV line-in.



poke 16384 wrote:2 different waveforms often combined to give a third distinct sound.
I don't disagree with that though. Other times SIDs can sound distinctively picked apart when split to stereo. But it's horses for courses when you take your pleasure, especially if you can learn from the masters by dissecting their work and enjoying your discoveries.

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