In Praise of Mono Recordings

I sit at my desk, listening to Miles Davis playing “‘Round Midnight,” from his 1957 album ‘Round About Midnight. The sound is crystal clear, with each instrument balanced against the rhythm section, as Miles shares the lead with John Coltrane on tenor sax. I’m listening to the original mono mix of this album, and it sounds like the musicians are in my room.

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Around three minutes into the song, when Coltrane’s sax takes a solo, the mono mix has a cool, smooth sound; the stereo mix feels harsher, with reverb and artificial space trying to fill the stereo soundscape. The mono sounds real; the stereo sounds contrived.

Read the rest of this article in The Loop Magazine.

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2 replies
  1. Glenn F says:

    Kirk, Thanks for the mono recording recommendations. I just bought the 2CD (mono and stereo) of Brubeck ‘Time Out’ and am really enjoying the mono side. The only disappointment is the quality ‘Take Five’ which has a lot of white noise and pops. Did you notice this? Do you know why only ‘Take Five’ has this problem?

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