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Topic: Some deeper analyses of the subject

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Posted by Romy the Cat on 01-03-2005

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Lately, here and there, among the “advanced audio people” become very fashionable to spread bravado about themselves that they “more evolved” because they dropped the “slavery of stereophonic reproduction” and went back to mono installations. My numerous observations of what and how those people did, along with my analyses of their result and practice, combined with my personal exploration of the mono subject convinced me that that bravado worth nothing. All of know to me people and installations did turn to mono ONLY because they were not able to achieve (due to the different reasons) a properly performing stereo installations. The subject of a properly performing stereo is quite complex, mostly not familiar to wide public and practically not explored by the “weekend audiophiles”. Most audiophiles listen just dual mono sound instead of stereo sound and the phantom images they mistakable call as “stereophony”. Nothing could be further from truth! Anyhow, beware of the declarations of “love to mono”. Actually do not beware, but juts walk…

Posted by drdna on 11-16-2008
I have lately been comparing the stereo and mono versions of many recordings from the 50's, and I have found that even when using the same stereo needle and closely matched for stamper number, the mono version is consistently better than the stereo version to me.

Certainly the overall sound is more solid, due to both speakers sending the identical signal with "dual" mono, but also there is a intensification of the emotional understanding and intellectual understanding of the music.

My guess is that this is because the distraction of stereo pseudo-images is gone, allowing the listener to focus on the music without there brain devoting energy to soundstage etc. so more capacity to allow for higher levels of perception.

Does anyone else experience this? What is the opinion?


Posted by Paul S on 11-16-2008
Adrian, although I find plenty of "mono" recordings that sound better to me in "mono", I will always take good stereo over good mono, other factors being equal.  Sure, some "stereo" is so poorly done that it just does not work as stereo.  But I have also found, fairly recently, that some recordings I always thought were plain old "mono" have turned out to sound better played in "stereo".  Perhaps in these cases the "mono" recordings are "binaural"; I don't know.  Whatever the reasons, ambience, air, spectral balance , imagining and "weight" from a given LP are all much more natural in the "correct" setting, whatever it turns out to be.

The system I have now has done two new-for-me things with the stereo vs. mono thing: 1)  Some mono recordings have turned out to have space, ambience and overall sound at a level I never dreamed was available.  This has been especially gratifying to me with respect to certain older recordings of great performances of great music.  2)  Good stereo has been a real mind bender!  I find it hard to believe anyone would prefer, for instance,  the EMI Calas/La Scala Tosca in mono!

A real pisser that just came up is reading that Rudy Van Gelder actually recorded many if not most of the golden-era jazz Blue Notes in either binaural or stereo as well as the mixed-down mono.  First Classic sells me a ton of $30 mono LPs that are NOT as good as the originals, then they turn around and hint that, "you ain't heard nothin' yet!" Shades of SACD!


Best regards,
Paul S

Posted by Romy the Cat on 11-17-2008


I know what you are talking about and in a way I might concur with it. However, I disagree with it.  There are people who claim that they prefer mono to stereo but upon closer inspection I always witnessed that stereo was not done properly in their cases. In case I have recording from mid 50s and the recordings were available in dual formats – mono and stereo then I always prefer stereo, unless stereo was gone very badly (microphone position etc…)

Here are a few arguments why I feel people feel that Mono is better:

1)  Earlier on, when stereo was dominating, performances were better.
2)  The early stereo was very bad as people so not well know how to use it.
3)  Mono equipment was made with less global feedback
4)  Many of early stereo recordings from begin of 60x were made with early SS electronics that was not good.
5)  Many acoustic systems are phase-screwed and can’t play mono well with both channels.
6)  Many acoustic systems setup that do not play good stereo but rather 2 channels with stereo separation
7)  Many stereo recordings are incorrectly recorded
8)  Early stereo equipment: electronics, cartridges, heads, cutters and so on had a huge crosstalk that made it very bad stereo.

The elimination of stereo pseudo-images I think does free up some mind resourced to look deeper into music. By 2 week of food abstinence would make to enjoy a regular apple with the force that is not available for you when you are not starving. So, I think the right question would be if the perfume is good in mono then what kind benefits we get if we have it in properly made stereo. I feel that offers a LOT of advantages and not only imaging.

The caT

Posted by haralanov on 06-16-2010
Here is a VERY interesting paper



There is a common misconception that the addition of stereophonic sound-reproduction was the necessary, correct step in perfecting monophonic recording. It is believed that, because we hear with two ears, sound should be recorded with two microphones if it is to sound natural. It is also believed that stereophony exists as a natural, scientific phenomenon. Neither belief is correct. The attempt to reproduce the way sound is heard by means of stereophonic sound reproduction is a misunderstanding that is the result of a fault in logic. Since recording is a duplication of sounds, only the sounds can be duplicated, not the manner in which they are heard. The introduction of stereophony and its universal acceptance has had the unfortunate effect of slowing progress in the improvement of recorded sound quality and keeping the general level of musical experience substantially below that which is truly possible, both through recordings and in live performance.
Hearing is classically accepted as the most important of the senses. Of all five senses, the effects of hearing are the most powerful. It is humanity's chief means of becoming familiar with and communicating emotions. Today, recordings are the means through which the greater part of society is introduced to the vast scale of human experiences that can be had through sound. It is important, therefore, that society take a careful look at the universal use of stereophony in sound reproduction.


The word "stereo" is currently used as a blanket designation for all sound reproduction. This is a misrepresentation. Stereo is only a means of achieving an effect of directionality. In fact, it is only one of many ways directionality can be sonically produced, and a very limited one at that. Stereo is limited to producing only a frontal, horizontal plane, with no means of reproducing sounds that come from above, below or behind, nor can it accurately reproduce depth. (Impressions of depth are a combination of the arbitrary disposition of the loudspeakers and the listener in relation to the listening room, which is different in each situation. It is a form of auditory illusion, not an accurate duplication of the depth of the recorded event.)

Most people have the impression that the stereo signal is a complete entity that is made up of two incomplete halves of a complete signal, each of which essentially contains only half of the sounds. That is not true. When two microphones are used, each channel is a single, complete monophonic signal documenting every bit of the particular sound event, but each from a slightly different position (in theory, only about as far apart as our two ears, i,e., the width of a human head).

It is important to understand that there are no stereo sound sources. From any given position in space, all sound sources are monophonic.1 In live sound as well as sound reproduction, the effects that produce the impression of dimension and direction take place within the listener and not in the sound source(s). The stereophonic signal does not, in itself, include the spatial, stereophonic effect. It only includes two mono signals, which would produce no effect of spatial dimension if they were played by themselves, played through two separate speakers standing next to each other, or electrically combined and fed through one speaker (played back monophonically). The spatial effect only occurs through separation of the two signals in space in relation to the listener, and that effect changes in relation to any change in position of the two speakers and the listener. Live sounds may occur at various distances and in various directions in relation to the hearer, but each one is always a separate monophonic sound whether the source is stationary or moving. Sounds are only directional in relation to the hearer. They are given directionality during the act of hearing, which occurs after the sounds are produced or reproduced and therefore has nothing to do with the manner in which the sounds are produced.

Stereo is based on the premise that, because sound is heard with two ears, the correct way to reproduce sound is to simulate the way it is heard, i.e., by recording two separate signals, using two microphones separated by a distance equivalent to the width of a human head. That is a misunderstanding of the realities. Stereophony as thus defined is an attempt to reproduce the way sound is heard. This is illogical and impossible. Human hearing could never be duplicated in the recording process because hearing consists of more than just two ears. The shape of the ears plays a role in distinguishing the direction of sounds, and the rest of the body also plays a role in the hearing and experiencing of sound. None of these aspects of hearing can be duplicated by microphones.

The hearing experience takes place only in the hearer and only after the sound has been reproduced by the sound system. This phenomenon is incidental to and completely separate from both the production of the sounds and the characteristics of the sounds. What comes out of the speaker is a duplication (more accurately, an approximation) of the sound as it was produced by the source and colored by the space in which it was produced. It is not, nor can it ever be, a duplication of the hearing process. In fact, the shape of the sound source and the materials of which it is made determine the characteristics of a sound. Any recording, whether in stereo, quad, or any other mode, can only duplicate the sound as produced by the sound source, not as heard by a listener. The characteristics of the sound source and of the sound itself are what must determine the technical means used to record it. How a sound happens to be heard is completely incidental to and has no bearing on the production or accurate reproduction of that sound.

Stereophony should play no role in considerations regarding sound quality in the construction or evaluation of components, even those meant for stereo reproduction. All auditioning and evaluating of the accuracy of components, especially loudspeakers, whether by the manufacturer or the buyer, should be done with a mono signal, with no attempt to reproduce spatial effects. All aspects of the rest of the sound system, except the depiction of space, should also be auditioned monophonically. The only function of the electrical components of a sound-reproduction system and the loudspeakers is to produce an acoustic signal that as closely as possible resembles the electrical signal fed into it by the source. Nothing more! In fact, it is impossible for a sound system to do anything more than that. The signal itself does not, and cannot, include any effects, such as the depiction of space. Those effects take place in the listener after the sounds have already been reproduced monophonically. Technically the aim is to reproduce two entirely monophonic signals as accurately as possible. The two channels should be kept completely separate from each other, all the way through the sound-system until they have been reproduced monophonically in space by the loudspeakers.

The fact that the two signals of stereo are cut in the same record groove and that most components have two channels that share the same power supply and therefore have some interaction is merely an economic compromise. If it were possible, each channel should be absolutely independent from beginning to end. But that is generally impossible, because, to perfectly synchronize the channels, the two signals have to be combined somewhere. Either the two channels are combined in the record groove or as parallel tracks on the same tape. On any systems that would be practical for the end-user, some interaction of the signals is unavoidable either in the signals on the record groove itself, in the needle as it traces the signals, in cross-talk between the channels of the recorder, or in the sound system.

The problem of designing a sound-system, including building a loudspeaker, is to arrive at the most accurate possible reproduction of each separate signal that is fed through it, whether that signal is a monophonic signal or one channel of a stereo recording. Even if two or more signals are ultimately to be combined to produce spatial effects, the only way to assure that each signal will be reproduced as accurately as possible is to reproduce each signal as separately as possible. As will be shown in Section V, the effects of combining two signals distract the listener from the more important qualities of sound. Therefore, all system development, testing, and evaluation of sound-quality should be done monophonically, even if stereo is desired. Especially with loudspeakers, any technical decisions of design, such as the size and shape of the speaker or how the drivers are mounted in the speaker, should be arrived at only with the need for accurate rendition of a single signal in mind. Practices such as mounting the drivers unsymmetrically in stereo-pairs within the cabinet have nothing to do with how accurately that speaker will reproduce sound and can, in fact, compromise the sound-quality if the preferred position of the drivers for stereo listening is not the ideal position for accurate reproduction of a single signal.


In order to know if a system's reproduction of spatial relationships is accurate, one would have to know if the reproduction matches those relationships exactly as they were at the microphones during the recording. Since heads are differently shaped and no one can be in exactly the same place as the microphones, the spatial effects of direction, depth, etc., will be different for each person in the room. Even the engineer, listening with speakers or earphones, who decides on the microphone placement and mixes the signals to his liking, is only deciding subjectively how he wants the impressions of space. The monitoring equipment has already changed the spatial relationships and made them different from the spatial relationships at the microphones. And those relationships in the monitoring booth will be different from every other listening room.

An attempt to achieve precise reproduction of the spatial dimensions of a sound event by means of stereo is therefore doomed from the beginning. All that can be achieved is a particular spatial effect that may be preferred by the particular listener but cannot lay claim to being a reproduction of the original. Therefore, the prevalent procedure of evaluating sound-quality on the basis of the reproduction of such spatial effects as “soundstage", "imaging", "dimensionality" (terms currently used in professional circles) or on the basis of impressions of height, width, or depth are futile, since it can never be known whether the reproduction matches the original. All that is possible is to prefer a certain sound-system's reproduction of spatial dimensions over that of another system, but it is not possible to know when the reproduction corresponds to the original, even if the listener had been in the room in which the sound originated.

The characteristics of sound are so bound up with the size, shape, dimensions and materials of the source that they can only be reproduced exactly by duplicating the entire original physical situation. That would mean the same musicians in the same hall (or an exact duplication of the hall), sitting in exactly the same positions, etc., which is an impossibility. Therefore, absolutely exact reproduction of the spatial characteristics of a sound by another sound medium is impossible. It certainly cannot be achieved by differently shaped objects of different reflectivity, i.e., speakers, in a differently-shaped space of a different reflectivity, i.e., the listening room. Thus, and definitively, any attempt at reconstruction of the spatial characteristics of a sound source can only be a flawed approximation, which the listener can never be sure is the way the original sounded.

Furthermore, in stereo reproduction, there is only one very small area, equidistant from the speakers, within which the volume of the two separate channels is balanced. The equalization, i.e., the loudness of the different frequencies (highs, lows, middle, etc.) in relation to each other, can also be different in various parts of a room. But a room's equalization can be compensated for during playback and is a variable that has to be adjusted anyway for differing volume levels in relation to an individual listener's hearing at the time of the playback.2 The one perfect area for the listener relative to the two stereo speakers is a small area in the exact center between and in front of the speakers, which extends only a small distance front to back. In any other positions, not only are the stereo balances wrong, but part of the content is missing. Obviously, for larger numbers of people (theater productions, movies, etc.), mono sound reproduction is more accurate for the bulk of the audience; it is, in fact, the only non-flawed possibility of reproducing the entire musical content.


The expressive content of sounds is contained in the dynamic variations of the sounds. In fact, it is the dynamic content of the sound. The presentation of the dynamic subtleties is, therefore, the most important problem of sound reproduction.3 Problems of instability in the sound, which can plague the stereo spatial effect relative to the listener's position in the room, do not occur in the dynamic content of the sounds, which remains the same throughout the room. No matter how the balance of frequencies or stereo imaging may be changed, the sounds retain their dynamic-expressive character relative to each other as they flow in time.

Until the advent of stereo, spatial relationships were unimportant, even undesirable in the bulk of the world's music. In most classical music, the introduction of directional effects in the sound-reproduction distracts the listener from the important factors that actually contain the musical experience. The most important aspects of sound, especially those of classical music, have nothing to do with spatial effects and can be reproduced satisfactorily in mono.

A stereo signal introduces extraneous "effects” that distract from the more important dynamic aspects of music. Except for the pickup cartridge, stereo effects have nothing to do with the quality of the system components. The reason is that, in the sonic arts, spatial relationships are a very insignificant component of sound and are particularly insignificant in music. In most classical music, they can be eliminated without at all degrading the quality of the artistic experience.

The reason spatial effects distract from the expressive qualities of music lies in the limitations of human consciousness. Most people can only concentrate on one thing at a time, which, in music, is usually the melodic line. Few can concentrate on two things at a time. Since our consciousnesses are too limited to be simultaneously aware of all the components of music, concentrating on spatial effects distracts from the important aspects of music.

To understand why the stereo-spatial aspects of music-reproduction have been accorded such predominance, to the point of obscuring the truly important aspects of music, one must know that the easiest-to-hear aspects of sound are the directions the sounds are coming from. The most difficult-to-hear aspects are the subtle expressive nuances.4 Many people cannot hear subtle expressive nuances. Few are oriented towards listening for those nuances and practically no one takes pains to be sure they are hearing them correctly. Furthermore, long-playing record-playing equipment has, without exception, not as yet been able to reproduce the finest nuances of records. The record-listening public has not, therefore, experienced nuances as fine as they can be. It is taken for granted that they are hearing the exactly the same nuances as in the original.

In controlled situations, our institute has found that, although they do experience something, many people are incapable of accurately hearing expressive nuances either live or reproduced. They experience either a coarser form of the actual emotion of the performances or a completely different emotion.5 Even those capable of hearing fine nuances cannot hear them the moment they sit down to listen, especially with recordings. It takes quite a while for most people to settle down enough physically to begin to register the subtleties of the music and to experience the emotional content. To understand why, one must realize that what is heard is not the sound vibrations coming from the sound source; what is heard is the vibrations of the hearer's own body when it is caused to vibrate by the sound-waves striking it. Therefore, any nuances finer than the vibrational state of the body itself are not heard. Essentially, unless the body is in a physical state that is as fine as the music being listened to, the music is filtered through, and degraded by, the coarseness in the way the body is vibrating. This point is crucial to understanding why spatial effects figure prominently in most people's considerations of sound reproduction. Besides being easy to hear, spatial effects do not demand a particularly great refinement of body. Being able to notice and make-out spatial dimensions and directional effects impresses listeners who are not hearing the full content of the music, and gives them the impression that they are getting something out of the recording, when they are actually missing the point of the music.

If, from the beginning of a listening session, one would carefully observe what aspects of the music one becomes progressively aware of, one will notice that, besides notes and words, the first things one is able to hear are the simple spatial relationships (right, left, center, etc.). The last thing one is able to hear is the expressive, i.e., the emotional, content. The notes and spatial relationships can be called the “informational" aspects of sound, while the expressive content can be called the “experiential” aspect.6 The point to be made is that, without the experiential aspects, there really is no music, and that a distortion or change in the expressive content of a recorded performance is tantamount to changing the words in a sentence so that they mean something totally different from what the writer expressed. In other words, a complete falsification. On the other hand, it makes no difference to the quality or intensity of the way one experiences the expressive content of the music if the so-called "sound stage" is changed to give one or another impression of height, depth, and width, nor does it matter if the orchestra seems to be spread out in front of the listener (unless the music was specifically written for stereo, or has some of the expressive content contained in the directions of the sounds. The Beatle's album Sergeant Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band has excellent examples of both).

The spreading out of the sound in space is totally unimportant to and contrary to the aims of most music written before stereo became popular. In their orchestration, composers took great pains to create particular sound colorings by blending together the sounds of different instruments. Halls were designed so the sounds would thoroughly blend together before reaching the listener. When a conductor has balanced his orchestra, there is no need for separation of the instruments by spreading them out in differing directions in order to hear the different voices; whatever is supposed to be heard can be differentiated even from so far away that all the sounds of the orchestra essentially come from the same direction. Similarly, if a recording of such a well-balanced performance is correctly equalized to match the original, the balance that the conductor has achieved can be heard in mono, without the supposed help of stereo “separation”. This is an important point for the music-loving public because it means that older recordings of such excellent performances can, to a great degree, be restored since it is mainly their imbalances in the frequencies that obscure their detail and not a lack of stereo effects.

One must assume that composers know what their music should sound like, but, originally, composers were singularly unimpressed by stereo. Virgil Thomson went so far as to call it a “technological pretext” giving the recording companies “another excuse for recording the standard works all over again" (A Virgil Thomson Reader, p. 144). Another composer has mentioned that stereo is an excuse to sell new, more expensive equipment. No composer whom I asked or with whom I listened to music was the slightest bit interested in the depiction of spatial effects.


Few people can concentrate on more than one thing at a time; but music consists of many things happening all at once. In fact, music is the ultimate consciousness-expander because, if you are not a Mozart, there is almost always more to be aware of than is humanly possible. Even with a single melodic line there are both the notes and the expression to be conscious of. For all but a very few particularly "gifted” individuals, consciously registering the expressive content of music demands every bit of concentration, awareness, and poise that can be mustered, especially when the expression is as fine and delicate as it should be in most classical music. In the finest ear-training and conducting classes, which even included seasoned professionals, there are enormous differences in sensibility to nuance and expressive content. Particularly interesting is that neither the ability to recognize tones (perfect pitch) nor extraordinary memories that allowed students to write down, from memory, anything the teacher dictated, was of help in hearing the expressive content. For example, many conductors (and other musicians too) with amazing ears for recognizing notes and hearing mistakes were and are strikingly deficient in expressive interpretive qualities. In most of these cases, the orientation towards the informational (mental) aspects of music takes up all of their powers of concentration and keeps them from registering the nuances of expression. Therefore, the addition of artificial informational material, such as the spatial effects of stereo, will distract most people from the more important experiential aspects of music.


While the depiction of directional effects has little effect on the experience of most fine music, monophonic reproduction with only one loudspeaker is not the solution. That is because the body is sensitive to unequal sound-pressure levels, i.e., whether or not the sounds around it are of equal strength (volume). The body itself, which is highly sensitive to physical imbalances, has to recreate the vibrations produced by the sound-source, and this happens most effectively when the whole body is equally subjected to those vibrations. Music coming predominantly from one side creates an uncomfortable feeling of imbalance that is especially disturbing and distracting when the body is in the requisite relaxed, sensitive state necessary to hear fine musical nuances. Our tests have shown that music from four equidistant speakers, arranged as in quadraphonic listening, is the best arrangement, whether they play mono, stereo, or quad. The sound-pressure level is then most evenly distributed around the body.

The body's sensitivity to the lateral balance of sound is one reason why stereo seems to many to be superior to mono with one speaker. In stereo, when the listener is located exactly between the two speakers that are balanced for volume level, the sounds at least come from both sides. But in this respect, mono is still preferable, because the sound from both sides has the same volume level, while it varies in stereo. Because the musical experience is predominately physical, mono with at least four speakers surrounding the listener is the most effective way to experience recorded music.


Originally, stereo was thought to be the next necessary step in perfecting sound-reproduction. But it was not. Monophonic sound-reproduction was still gravely flawed when stereo was introduced. The first step should have been to perfect monophonic sound-reproduction. Some companies were well on their way towards doing so. The last monophonic Mercury recordings were very close. It remained mainly for playback techniques and equipment to be perfected in order to retrieve the information which was on the grooves.

The introduction of stereo halted progress by introducing a whole new set of problems, namely the preservation and reproduction of two signals simultaneously. The state of the technique at that time was not able to combine two signals and still preserve the quality already achieved in monophonic recordings, especially not in phonograph pick-up cartridges. Sound quality, particularly in the playback, deteriorated markedly.

It is an individual's prerogative to want sound-reproduction that includes some sort of depiction of the placement of sounds in space. But to call stereophony accurate sound reproduction is a falsification. Stereo is an extraneous effect added to sound, a special phenomenon similar to 3-D in photography and cinema: both stereo and 3-D are effects that may be interesting, even "kicky”, but they are only effects and have little to do with the way we really hear or see.

Since hearing the expressive content demands all of most listeners' concentration, the addition of other effects such as those of stereophony, keeps the listeners from experiencing the real content of the music if they pay attention to those effects. Such distracting sound-reproduction has been the rule for over three decades among laymen and even among professionals, most of whom use recordings to help study scores (with the prevalence of recorded sound in our society, those who do not outrightly use recordings for study, still cannot avoid listening to and being influenced by recordings). The legacy of stereophonic sound-reproduction is a loss of sensitivity to and awareness of delicate, fine interpretative nuance in music. A full understanding of this fact must be cause for considerable alarm, because music is the flagship of a society. It leads, serves as an example for, and sets the tone of every other civilized pursuit within that society. It is the best civilization has and must be preserved at the highest possible levels.

Posted by Romy the Cat on 06-17-2010
Thanks, Haralanov. I did not read it deeply, would need a week or so to do it.  Something that I have read in this article I do not agree with. I have seen a few similar works. One of them was mathematically proved that Mono “is better” or at least able to be better. I never knew how to deal with it. The fundamental problems with stereo are well know but it does not prove that MONO is “better” or self-sufficient. I need to red more what this guy says. Of cause there are better settings then stereo but the current recording techniques are not compatible with anything else then stereo…

The Cat

Posted by jessie.dazzle on 06-17-2010
The Anstendig Institute wrote:

"...The attempt to reproduce the way sound is heard by means of stereophonic sound reproduction is a misunderstanding that is the result of a fault in logic..."

Yes, it would be better to record each source of sound with individual microphones placed right there near each source, then to reproduce those sounds at home with individual speakers placed so as to duplicate the original arrangement of sources. And yes, this would mean moving your speakers according to a map supplied with each recording.

Consciousness is simply the identification of the information supplied by our senses.
Perception is nothing more than the integration and interpretation of that information.
Perception of what we call reality depends first on consciousness, then on interpretation. 

This is the foundation of what we call sanity; it also happens to be the cornerstone of audio.
The world we perceive via our ears is defined solely in terms of pressure acting on our ear's tympanic membrane. Our ears are nothing more than pressure receptors1. As concerns sound, there is only pressure; there is no space, no depth, only pressure. The notion of space depends entirely on the differences in pressure over time as relayed by each membrane, and on the calculation of that difference by our brain... Another word for this calculation is interpretation; our brain interprets the information so as to create an image of the physical reality that really is out there, and can be easily verified by venturing physically forward and invoking the sense of touch.
Nevertheless, depth and space in sound remain a total illusion, evolved out of a necessity to survive.
The world we see is perceived via our eyes only as light acting on our retinas; to the retina this light is not three dimensional, its simply light (and absence of light); it is up to our brain to interpret the light and assign to it the properties of space. Once again, it does this by comparing minute differences as relayed over time via two physically separate receptors. But as far as each eye is concerned, it is still only light, and light has no physical dimension. Once again, it is our brain that creates the illusion of depth and space.
In both cases we are dealing with total illusions, or tricks of the brain, which have proven so reliable that we have come to take them as truths.
A musical event captured in stereo by a pair of microphones placed roughly where our ears might be, or a camera equipped with dual lenses simulating the distance between our eyes is an attempt to capture the event as we might capture it if there in person, and is in theory, up to this point, completely without fault. 
Playing that event back via only two speakers or viewing the scene via two slightly different images as in the case of a Viewmaster, rusults in an illusion; both are convincing for the following reason:
Our vision is most accurate and clear at the center of our field of view and rapidly deteriorates towards the periphery; if this were not the case, in order to successfully pull off the illusion, we would require that the Viewmaster provide 360° panoramic views for each eye. Our hearing is also directional and most clear when we face the source of sound; as a function of survival we have learned to discriminate and disregard peripheral sounds; if this were not the case, two simple speakers may not suffice in delivering the information necessary to create a convincing illusion. 
Audio is an abstract representation of the original event. In the case of the original event, the information getting through to the listener's brain is also abstract and incomplete, as he is by nature discriminating all the time; in both cases the brain creates a complete illusion.

True, there would be differences relative to the illusion created while listening at home, but the point is that they are both illusions.

The reason stereo "works" is entirely due to this natural (acquired over the course of evolution) auditory selectivity, and to our brain's resulting capacity to create from raw, often incomplete information supplied by two sources... A complete illusion. 
So yes, the notion of space as produced by our brain when listening to stereo sound is totally faked, but so too is the "reality" our brain churns out from ANY input delivered by both our ears and our eyes; in one case the raw information is pressure, in the other it is light, neither of these have properties of space.

1For the purposes of this discussion the ear's function facilitating balance is left aside.

Posted by zanon on 06-17-2010
Does anyone know of CD mixed especially for headphone?

Maybe two mics, 6 inches apart, is the correct way to record for such a playback system.

Posted by Romy the Cat on 06-17-2010
I started to read the article but I honestly have difficulties. I know Mark Anstendig – we met on-line a few years back in old Mahler forum. We had some correspondence between us for a while and then Mark started annoy me. Mark is former conductor. I do not know what he does now but he fancies himself as some kind of audio thinker. In past talking with his about audio I felt that he swims in very shallow water. So, I kind of lost interests. I am not sure that Mr. Anstendig is familiar with reasonably implemented nether mono or stereo and I have no idea what base he has to make his claims. Still, I did not read the article…

Posted by Romy the Cat on 06-17-2010
 zanon wrote:
Does anyone know of CD mixed especially for headphone?

Maybe two mics, 6 inches apart, is the correct way to record for such a playback system.
All of them. Zanon, most of the CD are mastered by electricians in headphones. Where did you see a good playback in mastering studios? A pair of monitor mounted in the wall? Anyhow,  I do not know how the “for headphones” but definitely by headphones

Posted by Amir on 06-18-2010
we could publish an article about crosstalk problem of "stereo" and then we try to prove that mono is better than stereo.
I think it's OK that with stereo we have some problems but we forget all thing in audio should Value with our brain not under paper or oscilloscope.
now some like to say Ambiophonics is perfect for replacing Stereo but i think if we decide to go toward Ambiophonics just because it's better on paper maybe we go to a wrong road.
many years ago industry removed low power single ended tubes but now we should see they should come back.

in my brain audio is more like art and less like science.

Posted by zako on 06-18-2010
I have been recording professionally for over 30 years...Both monophonicly and in Stereo,,,,Ambiophonics to me came closer to what i hear naturally..But decoding properly was not caught on by the general public...

Posted by Romy the Cat on 06-18-2010

 zako wrote:
I have been recording professionally for over 30 years...Both monophonicly and in Stereo,,,,Ambiophonics to me came closer to what i hear naturally..But decoding properly was not caught on by the general public...

Zako, Ambiophonics is wonderful but unfortunately the Ambiophonic decoding is not compatible with stereo recordings. It is hard to say why Ambiophonics did not take off. Still, the subject of this there was the irrational in my view promotion of Mono buy some fools as some kind of advance model…

The caT

Posted by zako on 06-19-2010
Of course not,,,Ambiophonic should not be compatible with anything else...and monophonic is not compatible with a horse,,,  But the so called multi micing of orchestras Is "multi micing MONO"   I think it is you to claim irrational,,,in suggestion its a advance model,,,calling people fools or morons because they find some mono recordings..sounding better,,,Remember alot of YOUNGER people never new mono recordings exhisted,,being only brought up that stereo was the norm,,,

Posted by el`Ol on 06-19-2010
 Romy the Cat wrote:

Zako, Ambiophonics is wonderful but unfortunately the Ambiophonic decoding is not compatible with stereo recordings.

Romy, are you sure you don't mix it up with Ambisonics? Ambiophonics is for stereo.

Posted by el`Ol on 06-19-2010
 zanon wrote:
Does anyone know of CD mixed especially for headphone?

Maybe two mics, 6 inches apart, is the correct way to record for such a playback system.

The problem is that even with artificial head recordings you don't get a proper front location. However it gets better when you use the impulse response of your own head, a source at 0° in an anechoic room, and any stereo recording with the proper interaural delay, can also be a sphere or a disk. Ambiophonics starts with a variation of that idea: Place the speakers in front of you, exacly in the same distance, and provide some kind of crosstalk cancellation (physical or electronic).
Here are two examples of removing the in-head sound of headphones (a rather diffuse effect and for that price it can't be called interesting):

Posted by Romy the Cat on 06-19-2010
 zako wrote:
I think it is you to claim irrational,,,in suggestion its a advance model,,,calling people fools or morons because they find some mono recordings..sounding better,,,Remember alot of YOUNGER people never new mono recordings exhisted,,being only brought up that stereo was the norm…
I absolutely disagree with your position. I ridiculer people and do consider them fools who artificially hype up advantages of monophonic Sound. The fact of wonderful monophonic recordings that were done roughly before 1955 does not proved absolutely anything.  There are VERY MANY JUSTIFICATIONS AND REASONS why the RECORDINGS AT THAT TIME WERE BETTER than after 60s and those reasons are absolutely irrelevant from the mono vs. stereo debate. BTW, in mid 50s some recoding were mane in dual format – mono and stereo (on the very same equipment) and if they were not mastered and pressed by Morons then those recordings are vondefule illustration that stereo is way ahead.

The Cat

Posted by zako on 06-21-2010
Getting slightly off topic from stereo recordings,,, I was at a live concert,,sitting way up high and all the way back in the balcony in what i call POLOCK Heaven,,,The music i heard was full bodied and without the stereo localization,,,i was amazed at how clear and concised the orchestra was,,,No special micing highlights to emphasize instraments...St Louis Powel Hall,,Home of St Louis Symphony,,origionally was a movie theater and converted to this wonderfull hall for live music venue,,For other music events... I was sitting way off center all the way back,,,looking down on the stage,,and did,nt care,,,The music swelled up as one complete sonic wave with full force,,,The last time i expierenced this was at a summer outdoor concert in Chicago (Chicago symphony orchestra)  ,,,No PHONY stereo locolazation mics just good music,,,and i realized that most of the audience also didnt care about instrument locolization,,they were there to enjoy the performence,,,

Posted by gormee on 06-22-2010

My experience is similar to Zako. I regularly attend Classical Concerts at the same venue and deliberately purchase tickets in different seating positions. Sitting high up in the auditorium I cannot localise instruments. If I close my eyes the whole music hangs in the air. It comes together in a small sphere the size of a small ball. The best piano I have ever heard was when I was sitting front on. I could not see the player and was in line with the bass in the orchestra. I was hit with a wall of sound. The harmonics were amazing.

At home I listen to ABC classical but my reception is not great so I press the mono button on my tuner. I will readily admit that my system is not mature enough to get decent stereo. However, increasingly I began to like the presentation of listening to one speaker. It began to annoy me when listening to stereo. I just don't get the illusion my system is portraying. As I see my hi if system as listening to an event I think I should be able to use my system to give me the presentation which appeals to me. Because of the inherent problems of summing the right and left channels of stereo I decided to simply place my speakers together. No soundstage or imaging but I am finding the presentation of the music more involving. Even when playing my CD and vinyl stereo the mono like presentation is more pleasing to me. 

I am going to a violin concerto on Saturday night and I know from experience that there will be many spectators at the same concert experiencing a very different event to me. 

The ultimate purpose of audio for me is to try and use the equipment to present music the way I would like to hear it. This site more than any has given me an insight into how to do this although I must admit I still feel that I have a lot to learn.



Posted by Romy the Cat on 06-22-2010
Guys, I think you use a slightly faulty logic in here. No one would deny the differences in presentation between live events and playback.  I would not argue with what ‘zako’ or ‘gormee’ said. I would however disagree about the way in which they use own arguments.

First of all the stereo localization during playback is not the only attribute of stereo, not to mention that sources localization during the life event are there and it the localization just wary with distance. The localization in live music work a bit different - I do not want to go into desiccation of the differences. What however I would like to note (in context of this thread) is the mono is not the answer to make recorded music more impactful. If whatever arguments you have against stereo are correct then how monophonic sound address those arguments?

My position is not to worship stereo but to degree with the people who falsely proclaim the mono has any practical advantage over properly implemented stereo. It is not to mention that in 100% of all cases what I was arguing the subject it was always was the case that mono was forced (not chosen) environment.

The Cat

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