Mono or stereo?

Peter Korsten peter at
Thu Mar 31 18:15:27 CEST 2022

Hey Niall,

> Stereo’s good if you’re using synths with onboard effects or pad 
> machines like your Proteus - or if you like the way your synth handles 
> stereo (sequenced or otherwise modulated panning effects, eg). But so 
> many sounds just aren’t suited to stereo “sourcing,” and is better 
> handled as mono and managed downstream in whatever’s doing the mixing. 
> There also a lot to be said for having one thing do the job of mixing 
> and positioning in the stereo field, rather than tweaking each 
> individual device.

That's what I was thinking. It ought to be mentioned, though, that I 
have two Proteuses (Protei?), with quite a variety of different ROMs. 
Also, E-Mu effects tend to be weak, as Tony humorously pointed out of 
Facebook. But I can't see myself hook up a synth with 128 voices with 
sounds as diverse as dance, hip-hop, vintage synths and organs, and 
ethnic instruments, over a mono cable.

Almost everything in the list in my reply to Jay is from the 1990s, so 
they come with built-in effects. But those may not be very good, and it 
just muddles things up.

What I forgot to mention, though, is that I want a couple more synths, 
notably a MicroWave 2 and a Super Bass Station or maybe a Pulse+. So 
then I'd be looking at more like 24 inputs.

> Of course a lot of this also has a lot to do with where your audio is 
> going and what you do with it - are you automating your mix with a 
> DAW, or playing a mixer (hardware or software interface), or who knows 
> what else. If you’re doing the heavy lifting of mixing on your 
> computer, it seems to me that mono channels are your best bet, 
> certainly the best use of your money.

That's the basic idea.

> I reckon I’m in the same camp as Jay now and when we talked about this 
> here some fifteen years ago: most sources are mono, and there’s a 
> reason mixers typically have lots of mono channels and maybe two or 
> three stereo pairs. There are, of course, exceptions, and for that, we 
> have stuff like the Speck Xtramix and other expensive stuff, or stereo 
> line mixers like the Rane SM series that can be linked via Ethernet 
> cables.

Anything more expensive than MOTU or Presonus isn't an option for me. 
The Behringer X32 rack is very interesting, but I'm afraid that 
expanding it will be an issue, because it'll have to be done via AES50, 
which nobody uses except Behringer and Midas (which they own).

> I’ve seen a lot of marketing buzz about the UDO Super Six’s binaural 
> mode, and, while I’m sure it sounds pretty amazing in the right 
> context, I’m not sure it justifies any additional price it may introduce.

That's definitely not on my radar. I've got a silly amount of sound 
producing hardware and software already.

One thing I've been considering is chucking an ADAT card in my PC, and 
use converters. I'd have to remove a PCIe card, for example that 
Thunderbolt card that doesn't work. That also limits my choices, unless 
I purchase a new motherboard... and I'm a bit done with spending money 

- Peter

More information about the music-bar mailing list