3 Powerful Tips for Mixing in Mono | Soundways

Why Mix in Mono?

Mixing in mono has become a popular topic of discussion.  Some noted engineers do the majority of their listening in mono.  This practice may seem strange.  However, there are benefits to working in this way.  

Listeners using small devices will hear a mono presentation.  Often times clubs or venues use a mono speaker system.  EDM production must be compatible with this type of listening environment.  For these reasons, it is important to know how your mix will translate to mono.  

Use Reveal's Mono Elements


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Use Reveal's Mono Elements feature to preview how your mix will sound in mono.  This gives users a clean, efficient way to convert their mix to mono.  Listening in this context, engineers will be able to deal with masking and adjust relative levels with precision.  This workflow ensures that your mix will maintain sonic integrity when converted to mono.  Here are some tips for mixing in mono:

Tip #1:  Perform Level Adjustments

Listening in mono can cause relative levels to become apparent.  If a vocal clashes with a snare or the guitars crowd the mix, this will become easy to hear.

Adjust the relative levels while listening in mono.  Then, listen in stereo and pan your instruments to the appropriate place.  This will create a wide stereo image that is balanced and mono compatible.  

Tip #2:  Eliminate Masking

Panning is a common way to deal with masking.  This technique may work in stereo.  However, panned elements of a mix can still cause masking if converted to mono.  Try listening to your mix in mono to deal with masking.

In this context you may find that some instruments fight for space.  Use EQ to adjust the instrument that is causing the problem.  Identify the frequency range that masks other instruments.  Use EQ to cut out some frequencies in this range.  This will reduce the effects of masking.  

Tip #3:  Minimize Phase Issues

Listening in mono causes phase issues to become apparent.  Some stereo miking techniques aren't mono compatible.  These techniques may sound great in stereo.  However, phase cancellations can cause comb filtering when played in mono.  

It is important to check mono compatibility while tracking.  When placing a stereo pair of microphones, be sure to preview in mono.  You may find that the sound of your stereo pair has changed when listening in mono.  If this is the case, you may have phase issues.  Use X/Y and M/S techniques to create a wide stereo image that is mono compatible.

Core Production Bundle

The Core Production Bundle optimizes translation to all playback systems.  It allows engineers to focus on the most important area of a mix, the audio core.  The core is the frequency range which the human ear finds most sensitive, 2kHz - 5kHz.  Engineers have previously used NS-10's to hear details in the core.  These speakers may work for some mixing applications.  However, they aren't accurate for mixing bass and introduce distortions.  Reveal is the first plug-in developed for core listening.  

Place Reveal on your DAW's master bus.  Turn on Critical Listening mode to make EQ and level adjustments.  This workflow ensures that your mix translates to all consumer devices.