I Like Stereo in Music

Discussion in 'Other Topics' started by Kadir, Feb 16, 2017.

  1. Kadir

    Kadir Active Member

    A while ago, stereo music got DISSED on a discord channel. The dissers (I think @ratxt1 @deluks917 and @keithburgun ) discussed some of the negatives of stereo sound, and couldn't find any positives. Their conclusion: In an ideal world, all music would be mono.

    I don't think that's true, though. Here are some positive things about stereo sound which, in imo opinion, outweigh the negatives:

    1: Stereo can be subtly used to improve the sound of individual instruments. Listen this song for a few seconds:

    Notice that the claps are spread out slightly across the two channels. Each clap consists of multiple sounds which are panned slightly differently, and the left side hits just a little before the right side (usually). 99.9% of people will not consciously notice this unless it is pointed out to them, so we know Glass Animals didn't do it to show off their sikk studio techniquez or whatever. They made the claps this way because it sounds better!

    Subtle enhancements like this are pretty common! Stereo has probably been increasing your enjoyment of music without your knowledge. Spooky!

    2: Stereo can be used for gimmicky audio tricks.

    I actually don't like gimmicky audio tricks, but it's nice that they're available for people who want them! People listen to music for many different reasons. If some guy wants to signal that he's DIFFERENT by listening to the Beatles song Revolution 9, or if some other guy wants to signal that he's DIFFERENT by creating Revolution 9, the Beatles song, who are we to judge? Dramatic stereo panning allows Revolution 9 (the Beatles song) to send a stronger signal! Woo

    3: Stereo allows more parts to be audible. For me, this is the best feature of stereo.

    To demonstrate this, I will need you to listen to music for about 7 minutes. I'm sorry! Please bear with me as you listen closely to the guitars in this song:
    For whatever reason, that upload of the song is in mono! Now try listening closely to the guitars in STEREOPHONIC SOUND:
    Wowow! There's a lot of extra detail. See if you can hear these things in mono, then stereo:
    • The lead guitar (right) starts every phrase in the intro/verse riff with a low note
    • The rhythm guitar (left) stops palm muting when the verses start
    • During the first half of the choruses, the lead guitar chords slide down while the rhythm's stay put
    • What the rhythm guitar is playing during the outro
    With stereo sound, two instrument parts with similar range and timbre can be clearly audible at the same time. It's pretty great! I like it.

    Last edited: Feb 17, 2017
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  2. GSGBen

    GSGBen Active Member


    I don't understand how this is a possible conclusion to get to for people with both working ears. Sitting in a stereo field is just so less fatiguing, so comforting, enjoyable and just plain nice sounding compared to the same source in mono that I really can't comprehend this.

    Mixing in mono is great (and at quiet volumes), and I highly advise it, but when you flick that switch and listen to your mix in all its stereo glory again it's like the difference between sitting at attention on a hard stool and floating in a hot bath.
    Kadir likes this.
  3. GSGBen

    GSGBen Active Member

  4. keithburgun

    keithburgun Administrator, Lead Designer Staff Member

    I don't remember dissing stereo. My opinion on stereo is "I don't really care". If there is music coming out of 1 speaker, 2 speakers, 5 speakers, or just fed directly into your brain via a Nano-Tube, what concerns me is "what the music actually is". I agree with everything you wrote here - obviously, stereo can be used to do all kinds of things. 5.1 audio can be used to do even more kinds of things.

    Anyway, it's a nice post.
    Kadir likes this.
  5. BrickRoadDX

    BrickRoadDX Well-Known Member

    Also, strokes so fuck yeah.

    Keith, let no one say you aren't intellectually consistent WRT art analysis/appreciation.
    Kadir likes this.
  6. Erenan

    Erenan Well-Known Member

    Previous conversation about stereo occurred here.
  7. keithburgun

    keithburgun Administrator, Lead Designer Staff Member

    Yeah. I do think it's kind of a gimmick, but like all gimmicks, it has some value. Just way less than almost everyone thinks. I guess since that post my opinion on stereo has probably softened * a little bit *.
  8. Bob Shelline

    Bob Shelline Well-Known Member

    Something that fascinates me is the ability of our ears and brain to determine the 3D location of sound with just two inputs. From what I understand it has to do with the slight delay between the inputs of each ear.
  9. SwiftSpear

    SwiftSpear Active Member

    It's 2 Dimensional triangulation.
  10. deluks917

    deluks917 Well-Known Member

    Stereo is terrible for people who commonly listen to music out of earbuds. It is sometimes also terrible for people listening on a laptop. Its just infuriating when I can clearly tell which side of my laptop is palying which guitar.
  11. Plumlum

    Plumlum Well-Known Member

    Moving a sound to the left or to the right is a mastering technique kind of like EQing. If you move a guitar all the way to the left so that it doesn't play from the right at all, that's bad. But moving a tiny bit has good effects.
  12. Erenan

    Erenan Well-Known Member

    That sounds more like mixing than mastering.
  13. Cet3

    Cet3 Member

    I listen to music out of earbuds and like hard-panned guitars. You are wrong. Reality is not defined by your pet peeves.
  14. SwiftSpear

    SwiftSpear Active Member

    Shots fired :)
    keithburgun likes this.
  15. GSGBen

    GSGBen Active Member

    Huge fan of hard-panned things. Left-Center-Right, but mix mainly in mono.
  16. Erenan

    Erenan Well-Known Member

    I like stereo double tracking my guitar parts.

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