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Stereo or Mono for radio production?

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Lara Van Meer
Stereo or Mono for radio production?
on Dec 27, 2013 at 6:36:44 pm

Hello everyone,

I am preparing an interview for an internship in a Radio.

I would like to know, when you record the voices for the trails or the skits, you record it in Mono, right? And for the background music, do you create a mono or stereo track?

And o you Bounce the file in Mono or Stereo?

I feel so stupid for asking this, but I have always worked with files that had been sent to me, or record instruments for music, and then knew if it has to be mono or stereo.

While I'm at it, do you have any links of website/pages I could read about Radio Broadcasting or Radio sound production?

Thank you for your help.


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Mark Spano
Re: Stereo or Mono for radio production?
on Dec 27, 2013 at 9:29:17 pm

For sources, think about what you're trying to capture. When you listen to a person speaking, you're generally isolating in on their voice, and hoping to hear that above any background noise or room noise. So a single microphone mono recording is ideal. For a singing performance, it depends largely on the context of the recording location. If recording in an acoustically unpleasant room, a close-miked mono recording is advantageous. If recording in an acoustically pleasing area, such as a concert hall, a single mic mono recording is still advantageous, and a stereo mic recording would be as well, with the ability to blend these after the fact.

Music is subjective, but since the mid 1950s, people generally expect music tracks to be heard in stereo. Mono is acceptable only if the delivery format or reproduction system is only capable of mono.

About bouncing: you must ask yourself what the delivery requirements are. Is it for radio broadcast, or compact disc? Stereo bounce, since these formats can handle it. If it is for low bandwidth/low bitrate delivery, such as a podcast or an audiobook or an automated phone prompt system, often these require mono delivery. If unsure, try to sample another project already completed in the system you're using, and see how it's been done.

A great source for learning how to record different sources with microphones is Tonmeister Technology. It may be difficult these days to find in print, but this has been my manual and reference throughout my career. Another book with great insights into this subject matter is The New Stereo Soundbook.



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Lara Van Meer
Re: Stereo or Mono for radio production?
on Dec 27, 2013 at 11:23:55 pm

Thanks a lot. It's really helpful !


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Bill Davis
Re: Stereo or Mono for radio production?
on Dec 30, 2013 at 4:20:13 pm

My mantra for my entire career...

Mono always (unless there's a specific use case for Not Mono.)

With that standard, you don't wast time worried about comb filtering, stereo imaging, phase cancellation, and less experienced folk downstream screwing things up because they don't know any better.

Largely, FM broadcast has been stereo for music in living rooms. AM broadcast (which has a vastly longer reach and generates more money than FM traditionally) has been mono.

Every stereo broadcast station is mono-compatible. Few mono stations are stereo compatible - and watch out when someone has to collapse the stereo field into mono for broadcast - since that can be where things get tricky. I"ve seen cases when a stereo signal with phase issues got summed to mono and trashed the announcer voice or some mono recorded instrument due to phase problems.

FWIW.

Know someone who teaches video editing in elementary school, high school or college? Tell them to check out http://www.StartEditingNow.com - video editing curriculum complete with licensed practice content.


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Peter Groom
Re: Stereo or Mono for radio production?
on Dec 31, 2013 at 11:00:44 am

My 10p
Mono for vo record. Stereo mix ensuring phase compatibility.
Years ago I worked on radio. We had to ensure mono compatability as we were on mw and .
Then each station became mw or fm so we stopped even thinking about mono on fm broadcast.
It depends on if the station simulcasts or not.
Peter

Post Production Dubbing Mixer


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Bill Davis
Re: Stereo or Mono for radio production?
on Jan 2, 2014 at 6:35:33 am

[Peter Groom] "My 10p
Mono for vo record. Stereo mix ensuring phase compatibility.
Years ago I worked on radio. We had to ensure mono compatability as we were on mw and .
Then each station became mw or fm so we stopped even thinking about mono on fm broadcast.
It depends on if the station simulcasts or not.
Peter
"


Listen to Peter if you're feeding the broadcast beast.

In these days it's way to common that a guy wants me to check out their "commercial" and sends me a file that's 1:14 long - and sure enough, their "commercial" is going on their website only ...

Broadcast is it's own thing with strict rules. Everything else is a mess. No standards to speak of. In that wild west environment, a simple mono track with exactly the same content on every channel you can get access to - is probably the safest thing you can do. Unless some knucklehead plays back two tracks of the mono with a slight delay and sums them together, in which case you're hosed anyway. (sigh)

Just as a note, that last giant monster Rock concert you went to in the stadium? Almost assuredly mixed to mono. When you have a big space to fill with sound anything else is kinda nuts!

FWIW.

Know someone who teaches video editing in elementary school, high school or college? Tell them to check out http://www.StartEditingNow.com - video editing curriculum complete with licensed practice content.


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