When going through mixing tutorials online, many people advise us to try mixing in mono. But, why? Why should you mix in mono in the world of stereo? You may feel that it's dumb to mix in mono, but there are several advantages of mixing in mono!
Let's talk about why you should also mix in mono.
What is Mixing in Mono?
Mixing in mono is a mixing technique used by many mixing engineers around the world.
In this technique, a stereo width plugin is used on the master/mix bus to turn the stereo signal into mono. Almost every DAW comes with a stereo width plugin that can be used for this purpose.
Example of a stereo width plugin
Sometimes, instead of using a stereo plugin, the mono/stereo switch on the audio interface is used.
While the signal is in mono, all the tracks are mixed. Once a great balance is achieved, the signal is turned into stereo by turning off the plugin or turning the audio interface switch to stereo again.
After that, the tracks are panned according to the needs, and the stereo image is established.
But why mix in mono?
There are various advantages of mixing in mono. Let's discuss the advantages of mixing in mono.
Advantages of mixing in mono:
1. Balancing the Mix
It's way easier to get a perfect balance of the tracks while mixing in mono. While mixing in stereo, it might be hard to get a perfect balance, especially, if you do not have a proper mixing environment.
2. Creating Separation
While mixing in mono, it's very easy to check if any track is covering up the track's main elements. You would never want that any background element covers up the lead element like vocal or lead instrument.
3. Less distracting
While mixing in stereo, one might get distracted by the various elements that form the stereo image. While mixing in mono, we can solely focus on getting a proper balance and separation.
4. A great balance in mono mix translates better on both large and small speakers
Unless the listener is using a great pair of stereo headphones or a great stereo system, the chances are, your mix might not translate well on the speakers if not mixed in mono properly. Everyone wants their song to song powerful and clear on both large and small speakers. Mono mixing is the trick you can use to achieve this!
Disadvantages of mixing in mono:
1. Less focus on stereo mixing
While mixing in mono, one may start to ignore and sometimes even forget about the importance of stereo mixing. This problem can be solved by giving some time to make sure the mix sounds great in stereo too.
2. Stereo image may become weak
When we spend too much time mixing in mono and don't focus on mixing in stereo, the stereo image may become weak. This problem can be also solved by making sure that the stereo image is not weak after mixing in mono.
Mono mixing is a great technique that you should definitely try. It helps to make your song more powerful and balanced. However, don't forget to make sure you don't ignore stereo mixing and the stereo image of the song.