Mixing in Mono....What's the Point?

mixing Apr 28, 2023

As a seasoned audio engineer, I've noticed a common issue with many of my students' mixes - they often sound muddled in the low/low mid-range. It got me thinking, have they checked their mixes in mono before making the final print?

Now, I know most of us love to mix in stereo, and it's easy to get carried away with panning instruments hard left and right, leaving the bass guitars and kick drum in the center. But when you fold everything to mono, you'll notice a low-end buildup that can make the entire mix sound muddy and boomy.

Why does this happen, you ask? Well, those guitars and other instruments panned to the sides contain some low-end frequencies that even a high-pass filter can miss, and when all the sound sources meet in the center, those low-end frequencies become too much, and "here comes the mud."

So, here's a tip - try EQ-ing your bass and guitars to sound good together in mono before switching back to stereo. You'll be amazed at how much better and less muddy your mix sounds. This simple trick will save you a lot of time and effort tweaking the mix in the end.

Remember, your mix won't always be played in perfect stereo. Sometimes it will be heard in a mono source, and you want to ensure your mix sounds as good as possible in that situation too. So go ahead and try mixing in mono. Trust me; you'll be pleasantly surprised by the results!


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