What do you record as mono and what as stereo?

Any “rules” when it comes to recording/mixing as far as what should be sent mono and what should be sent stereo?

My mixes stopped sounding like mud the day I stopped using stereo effects and stereo instruments. These days the only time anything is in stereo is if the sound is in isolation or I want it to jump out of the mix.


That’s not exactly a solution lol.
Watch stuff on YT how to use reverbs and other FX to compliment your mix.
Difference is huge.


Every instrument except the kick and bass generally has some some form of stereo effect and panning applied within my mix. Well sometimes bass may have a smidgen of widening, reverb etc. but very subtle.
I do use extreme stereo effects on bass and kick during breakdowns etc. but not generally in the body of a track.
It is predominantly about adjusting volume levels, eq and panning first and foremost, then applying stereo effects for each and every instrument, ensuring one instrument doesn’t clash when combined with another, within the mix.
Finding this balance of each and every instrument to sit in its own place within the frequency spectrum and stereo field is what makes a great mix, and is the really exciting and challenging part of mixing in general for me


Usually I do kick snare and bass all mono and center.

Panned left at about 10 o clock (but it really depends) I’ll have a mono sound
with a mono effect

Panned right (maybe at two o clock roughly) I may have another mono sound doing something and a mono effect right behind it. So the mono effect rests behind the mono sound.

If I use stereo it’s usually like a chorus or haas widener to make a sound jump out of the speaker (cliche phrase) while kick snare and bass hold it down as mono and center. Mostly anyway

That’s it most of the time. As far as panning, stereo, and mono go.

For a while I experimented with playing my entire mix through a boss wave radio and with a stereo mic up close. A Sony PCM 50 It sounded really alive open and naturally glued together as a final mix. but the dead center was all ways missing a little. Maybe I could just leave out the kick bass and snare in the center and only reamp the rest and then combine the two for a hybrid combo… I experimented for months and was fascinated how even moving the mics a millimeter could give the whole mix a new tone color. I’m super off topic now though whoops

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Mono recording for mono input.

Doesn’t make sense to me, to record a mono-signal to stereo channels. At least this I do, if I use my hardware recorder. Stereo would just be more memory used and only for the sake of redundancy.

But there are no rules.

If we apply stereo effects to a recording the corresponding DAW-track should be stereo, of course :wink:

I always rec in mono unless the source has a particular stereo depth that I want to capture. Even then, I nowadays record in M/S if using mics, just for mono compatibility’s sake.

My reasoning is, if you can make a mix sound good in mono, its probably going to sound great after that once you add a smidgeon of stereo spatiality to it (via panning/haas delay tricks, reverbs and whatnot), whereas the opposite can vary greatly.


I record almost 90% in mono unless I know I’ll want something nice and wide. I add reverb,panning, delay etc later in the process. Sometimes even when I’ve used an onboard FX say on my A4, I’ll listen to the patch in mono and if it doesnt’ detract too much I’ll record it that way.

I have also found that recording in mono has helped clean up my mixes (which is what the poster above means, I believe). Record in mono, stereoize your mix later.

Get something prepped and give it a shot. You really don’t have much to loose but time by trying it.


lol true, and yet in favour of bigfrogs statement … it’s kind of illutrating an existential truth:

start simple.

Record/Sample all bassdrums mono I reckon. Same for snares. Then pan the snare when purposed in a kit.

If a stereo-sampled bassdrum has a stereo flange movement within the sound event, it often sounds awkward converted to Mono. So, maybe just use the left or right channel to grab a Mono file from i guess, i dno.

Hammond Leslie, Lush Behringer Deepmind, Korg Prophecy … these kinds of yummy synths i would record/sample in stereo.

some commercial sample packs have great snaredrums with spatial movement tho