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Re: Stereo or Mono for radio production?

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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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