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Stereo vs. Mono
MUFF WIGGLER Forum Index -> Production Techniques  
Author Stereo vs. Mono
rishin
Greetings!

I seem to be getting myself all confused over something I thought I understood (the difference between stereo and mono) but maybe do not actually. So for the past couple weeks, I've been taken the 3.5mm mix output of a VCA in my modular system, connecting that to a 3.5mm to 1/4" TS cable, and finally into a Scarlett 18i8 input which gets recorded into Logic Pro X. I believe the signal that ultimately gets recorded is in Mono.

When I was playing back what I had recorded alongside all the other tracks in the song, I noticed that the Mono recorded-from-modular track specifically felt a little naked/empty. I'm not exactly sure what the cause of this is, nor do I know if the feeling is just a feeling and not based on fact, but I think the nakedness I feel with that track is due to it being recorded in Mono. So to remedy this, I tried duplicating the track (copying and pasting the audio file into another track) and panning the new track opposite the old one in an attempt to mimic a "stereo" effect. But still something rubs me wrong about it. I'm curious if what I just did here would be the same as recording the original signal in stereo or is my understanding here just way off?

Thanks in advance!
Hi5
The signal from your modular is mono. Recording it and duplicating it for stereo isn't going to make a difference outside of using more HD space. To get any width from the mono file there are a few simple tricks to fake stereo-ness. A very easy one is to offset the two mono channels or delay one buy a few ms. This will get you a fake widening of the sound. Also, add reverb/delay to the mono voice to create more space too
rishin
Thanks for the response! In this case, yes it seems the signal from my modular was mono, but some of the modules I use (i.e Morphagene) are capable of outputting audio in stereo. How would I capture/record their respective stereo-ness?
calaveras
If you want to be in stereo, then you have to pretty much do a Noahs Ark with your modular. You will need two of each module.
Now, in some cases you can get by with one Envelope controlling two VCAs, or one LFO controlling two filters. But the things the audio actually passes through, you will need one of each. Stereo sound source>2 filters>2 VCAs>2 inputs on the Scarlett.
rishin
calaveras wrote:
If you want to be in stereo, then you have to pretty much do a Noahs Ark with your modular. You will need two of each module.
Now, in some cases you can get by with one Envelope controlling two VCAs, or one LFO controlling two filters. But the things the audio actually passes through, you will need one of each. Stereo sound source>2 filters>2 VCAs>2 inputs on the Scarlett.


Let's say the signal path was Morphagene->Rossum Morpheus->Tangle Quartetts Quad-VCA->Scarlett. The first two modules have Stereo in/outs and the quad-vca of course has four inputs and four outputs (Mono I assume). To get stereo into my DAW, would I need to take the two TS mono outputs from the quad-vca and plug them into some kind of TS->TRS/Mono->Stereo adapter before into the Scarlett?

I appreciate the help!
Michael O.
rishin wrote:
calaveras wrote:
If you want to be in stereo, then you have to pretty much do a Noahs Ark with your modular. You will need two of each module.
Now, in some cases you can get by with one Envelope controlling two VCAs, or one LFO controlling two filters. But the things the audio actually passes through, you will need one of each. Stereo sound source>2 filters>2 VCAs>2 inputs on the Scarlett.


Let's say the signal path was Morphagene->Rossum Morpheus->Tangle Quartetts Quad-VCA->Scarlett. The first two modules have Stereo in/outs and the quad-vca of course has four inputs and four outputs (Mono I assume). To get stereo into my DAW, would I need to take the two TS mono outputs from the quad-vca and plug them into some kind of TS->TRS/Mono->Stereo adapter before into the Scarlett?

I appreciate the help!


You would route each of the outputs of the modular to your interface’s inputs and pan the two channels in the daw L/R to taste. A TRS cable would not be used in this situation for a stereo signal (as with headphones), but would rather be used to carry a balanced signal, like xlr terminated cables typically do. With your specific interface I think an unbalanced TS cable, from the modular and directly into the line inputs, should work.
rishin
Michael O. wrote:
rishin wrote:
calaveras wrote:
If you want to be in stereo, then you have to pretty much do a Noahs Ark with your modular. You will need two of each module.
Now, in some cases you can get by with one Envelope controlling two VCAs, or one LFO controlling two filters. But the things the audio actually passes through, you will need one of each. Stereo sound source>2 filters>2 VCAs>2 inputs on the Scarlett.


Let's say the signal path was Morphagene->Rossum Morpheus->Tangle Quartetts Quad-VCA->Scarlett. The first two modules have Stereo in/outs and the quad-vca of course has four inputs and four outputs (Mono I assume). To get stereo into my DAW, would I need to take the two TS mono outputs from the quad-vca and plug them into some kind of TS->TRS/Mono->Stereo adapter before into the Scarlett?

I appreciate the help!


You would route each of the outputs of the modular to your interface’s inputs and pan the two channels in the daw L/R to taste. A TRS cable would not be used in this situation for a stereo signal (as with headphones), but would rather be used to carry a balanced signal, like xlr terminated cables typically do. With your specific interface I think an unbalanced TS cable, from the modular and directly into the line inputs, should work.


So would the two channels record into two separate tracks on the DAW? Or is there an option in the DAW to take two inputs from an Audio Interface and I guess combine the two inputs into a single stereo track?
shreddoggie
I didn't do a detailed analysis of what your routing is but based on your description it sounds like you may have fucked up the impedance.

The most typical sign of this is needing to use a lot of gain to get sufficient level or a lot of attenuation to prevent distortion. Signals recorded this way usually sound as you describe - weak - no matter what the level is. The most common way to make this mistake is to plug a guitar directly into a line input, you can get enough level to record but it will always sound like crap.

Check the impedance on the various stages in the signal path and make sure the right cables are used.
calaveras
I see where you are getting confused. TRS cables can be stereo unbalanced. Or mono balanced.
To make things more confusing, you don’t have to use mono balanced cables on balanced inputs. You can go TS 1/8” to TS 1/4” just fine. It won’t be balanced, but most modern gear is okay with it. You just lose the ability to drive cables longer than 18’ without degradation, and a little bit of level.

In most DAW there is a way to decide if a channel is mono or stereo. But you usually (almost always) have to make the choice before recording. In Logic there is a little icon with two “O”s overlapping for stereo. Or one “O” for mono. Iirc it shows up in the inspector and mixer views. Other daws are similar.
umma gumma
I was also thinking, check the phase of your signal?

you should be able to flip phase of individual channels in your DAW, to hear if it makes a difference in the mix
rishin
calaveras wrote:
I see where you are getting confused. TRS cables can be stereo unbalanced. Or mono balanced.
To make things more confusing, you don’t have to use mono balanced cables on balanced inputs. You can go TS 1/8” to TS 1/4” just fine. It won’t be balanced, but most modern gear is okay with it. You just lose the ability to drive cables longer than 18’ without degradation, and a little bit of level.

In most DAW there is a way to decide if a channel is mono or stereo. But you usually (almost always) have to make the choice before recording. In Logic there is a little icon with two “O”s overlapping for stereo. Or one “O” for mono. Iirc it shows up in the inspector and mixer views. Other daws are similar.


Ah I see, so whether a cable is TRS or TS does not confirm whether it's Mono or Stereo. Also I checked the track on Logic Pro X where I recorded from modular, and its input was one "O", confirming that it was indeed recorded in Mono.

However, I'm still unclear as to how to get Stereo out from my modular as my setup includes several modules that have the ability to operate in Stereo. If someone could clear this up, I'd be very grateful This is fun! This is fun!
egg
stereo channel consist of two mono channel so there is no difference using two seperate mono channel or stereo channel

send two mono outputs from your modular into your sound interfaces mono left and mono right

stereo means that left and right channel should be different from each other if they are not you will only hear big mono
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