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Studio monitors or monitor?

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Tom Prigge
Studio monitors or monitor?
on Sep 8, 2015 at 7:00:20 pm

Right now, because of space and other limitations, I edit my voice overs with headphones (Sony MDR 7506). When (more likely if) I could find a space at home to have studio monitors, would I need two of them? I'm recording in mono after all. It seems to make sense to me that I would only need one monitor. Am I wrong? Why? If by chance I am correct and only one monitor is needed, where would you place it?


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Bill Davis
Re: Studio monitors or monitor?
on Sep 8, 2015 at 8:25:48 pm

The "standard" of twin speakers came with Stereo. Having two sources let recorded music producers achieve the illusion of space so that an array of musicians (think an orchestra) was more sonically accurate recreating the concept of, for example, the horns on the right and the tympani on the left.)

You're correct that if your mixes are exclusively mono - it doesn't matter.

One speaker directly above your monitor (where the center "dialog" channel is placed in theatrical surround setups) will do fine for mono playback..

Just be wary if you DO bring in stereo sources (background music tracks, etc) to edit in a mono world - that summing stereo to mono can - in some cases - lead to phase issues. It's not super common anymore because producers usually understand how to make their stereo recordings "mono compatible" but it can happen.

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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Ty Ford
Re: Studio monitors or monitor?
on Sep 9, 2015 at 12:09:43 am

Hi Tom and welcome to the Cow Audio Forum.

Your brain processes sound binaurally. Presuming that you have two ears, no, I would not get just one speaker. Maybe if you had one ear, yes.

Regards,

Ty Ford
Cow Audio Forum Leader

Want better production audio?: Ty Ford's Audio Bootcamp Field Guide
Ty Ford Blog: Ty Ford's Blog


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Bruce Watson
Re: Studio monitors or monitor?
on Sep 9, 2015 at 3:57:58 pm

[Ty Ford] "Your brain processes sound binaurally. Presuming that you have two ears, no, I would not get just one speaker. Maybe if you had one ear, yes"

This is one of those (exceedingly) rare instances where I disagree with Mr. Ford. If you're listening to a mono recording, a single speaker can be sufficient. If you have one speaker, you can still use both ears to listen to it. No rules against that.

That said, just because you only need one, doesn't mean you can't use two. For example, if you ever listen to music while you work at your desk, two might be a better choice. If you ever edit video and need to add a stereo music bed to parts of it, two will certainly be a better choice. And if you're ever going to want to use two, you might was well buy a stereo pair initially.


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Tom Prigge
Re: Studio monitors or monitor?
on Sep 9, 2015 at 1:18:36 pm

Thanks for the answers Bill and Ty. Interesting takes on my question. BTW, if I only had one ear, I'd have to wear a monocle!


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Bill Davis
Re: Studio monitors or monitor?
on Sep 11, 2015 at 5:32:40 pm
Last Edited By Bill Davis on Sep 11, 2015 at 5:39:57 pm

Our hearing works the way it does because we have the most sophisticated audio processing unit in existence between our ears.

The moment you capture anything via a non-human system - the ability of the brain to process that information spatially gets degraded.

Systems like stereo and binaural recording try to work around this - but it's never the same.

One tiny example is how a person with diminished hearing on one side, will instinctively turn their good ear towards an important sound to increase acuity. You can't do that with a recording in real time playback.

Period.

That said, not using paired speakers is a really non-standard setup simply because removing ALL the ability to produce spacial separation from the start is kinda silly in a world where so much content is produced that way.

I mix all my videos in Mono. But countless times a month, I get field footage in and have to assess whether the clips from the field were recorded stereo, mono left or mono right. Yes, I could train myself to always LOOK at the computer UI to tell me that. But it's easier when working sound to just HEAR the sudden shift to LEFT only when I'm in playback.

YMMV.

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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Simon Wegman
Re: Studio monitors or monitor?
on Sep 30, 2015 at 2:55:41 am

For what you're doing now, it seems like one monitor is sufficient, however if your situation changes and you need to do any kind of work in stereo, you might have a hard time finding an identical monitor to complete your stereo set, depending on whether that model is still currently in production. Also, some monitors are sold in matched pairs (they analyse each monitor's frequency response and pair the ones that happen to be the most similar). What kind of monitor(s) were you thinking of getting?


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Tom Prigge
Re: Studio monitors or monitor?
on Sep 30, 2015 at 1:21:57 pm

Simon--I didn't have any particular model of monitor in mind. My question was just out of curiosity. But your point is a good one about matching.


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