Back To Mono Part 1: Mix In Single Speaker Mono


This is the first post in a series where we will be discussing how listening in Mono can help your mixes.

Mixing can be real tough, the first couple years. You are constantly losing your perspective while mixing and having WTF? moments where you thought you nailed the mix and and really the bass is taking away from the vocal. One of the ways to get a different perspective on your mix is to listen in single speaker mono. Often times if you are A/Bing your mix to another song you can get lost in the stereo field. Doing an A/B with one speaker in mono immediately clears up any confusion you may have had and instantly exposes flaws in your mix. This technique got me through many tough times in my early years of mixing and is still valuable when I find myself burnt out on a mix. It quickly dumbs down what you are listening to, exposing simple balances and helps you identify trouble frequencies. Most Monitoring Systems offer the facility to listen in mono, however you may need to flip the power on one of your Powered Monitor to take advantage of this facility. While many people often tell you to check your mixes in mono, one of the key elements to helping you understand your mix in mono is to hear it come from a single sound source, hence why we must turn off the second speaker.Lately I have even been using some awesome in-wall speakers that have been great for this as well. Stay tuned for more ways mono can help you!

Jesse Cannon is the editor of Musformation. He produces records at his studio Cannon Found Soundation. Follow him on Twitter at @JesseCannonMusF. For more info please visit his website.

  • Anonymous

    yep. mono referencing has been a well known mixing technique for a long time.
    if you dont have a good monitor controller with a mono button or just are to lazy to turn off the monitors(mine are personally soffited so i can’t flip the switch in the back) most daw’s these days offer a mono switch

  • KattyBlackyard

    Great post! I’ll subscribe right now wth my feedreader software!

  • mike

    Yes, mono is a great way to simplify, and in fact, I listen to everything in mono through one speaker all the time. In studio, at home, and everywhere *but* the car ‘cuz it’s so tough to come by an old radio that’s not stereo these days. Ever hear a center mixed vocalist move around mysteriously because your speakers weren’t placed just so, or toed in enough? All that becomes moot in mono, and if you’re into vinyl, playback’s always quieter in mono. Just my 2 cents of course…