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A questions - mono and stereo


Jascha
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If there is only one voice being heard on a recording, like the Bach Sonatas and Partitas, how could the same recording in mono and stereo be distinguished? I was under the impression that stereo was used to make certain voices louder in one channel, and other voices more prominent in the other channel. Is that right? Thank you for any responses.

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If, for example, you were playing the Bach S&P and I was recording you, and I used two (or more) microphones, I could pan the output into separate stereo channels, and you'd get different signals from each speaker. It would make the sound "bigger" and fuller. You'd be hearing the violin from two distinct points of view simultaneously. Subtle, maybe, but definitely audible.

You could also take a mono recording, split it into two channels and pan them wider to get somewhat the same effect. You could also eq each channel differently.

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if you heard a player playing live, you would hear it in stereo: you have two ears. what that allows us to do is hear different sides of the instrument so to speak. just as an alcove mirror allows us to see around ourselves, and see parts of our sides all at once, hearing in stereo lets us hear different sound waves coming off of the violin, bouncing off of different surfaces in the recording room.

it's a great question, sound recording is some really interesting stuff.

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Actually, it is a lot like with diamonds. If you want to see the sparkle in diamonds you have to have them lit from more than one source - or look with both eyes, since each eye will see a sligthly different 'facet.'

So - if you photograph diamonds, there will have to be two or more lighting sources - since there is only a single viewing lens - otherwise you will not capture the sparkle.

The sound of a violin is kind of like the sparkle of a diamond in that it is different at even slightly different angles from the instrument.

So - stereo recording will give some of that added sound dimension - even to a solo recording. And if the violinist moves while playing (and perhaps only Heifetz didn't) that can add to the "sparkle."

However, the original purpose of stereo recording and reproduction was to create an artifical stage that placed the reproduced instrument's or singer's sound in the same aural locations they would have in the original performance. Actually, this only occurs if the loudspeaker separation and the listener position are just right - and (as those of you have ever assembled a component stereo system know [especially one in which a speaker had reversed polarity]) the phasing is correct. Otherwise it just sounds like sound from two (or more) speakers - ever notice how fake the sound from the side or back sounds in movies? All that expense and it only distracts!

Andy

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