Ongoing History of New Music

Ongoing History Daily: Is mono the new stereo? (part 1)

When stereo records began seeping into the mainstream in the late 50s, music fans were told that binaural recordings offered much more realism, enhancing the listening experience. And this wasn’t wrong.

After all, we have two ears which allow us to discern the direction from which sounds come. It proved to be a handy thing for our ancestors when they were always worried about being eaten by lions.

By the time we got to the late 60s and early 70s, things had all been sorted. If you closed your eyes, you could easily imagine the soundscape in front of you: singer in the middle, guitars slightly off-axis to one side, drums at the back with cymbals panned across both channels. After an aborted attempt at extra realism with quadraphonic sound, we eventually ended up with 5.1, THX, Dolby Surround, and ATMOS.

Yet there are people who believe that mono recordings are superior to stereo. Why? More next time.

Alan Cross

is an internationally known broadcaster, interviewer, writer, consultant, blogger and speaker. In his 40+ years in the music business, Alan has interviewed the biggest names in rock, from David Bowie and U2 to Pearl Jam and the Foo Fighters. He’s also known as a musicologist and documentarian through programs like The Ongoing History of New Music.

Alan Cross has 38453 posts and counting. See all posts by Alan Cross

Let us know what you think!

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.