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Stereo/Mono in Pop Vocals and Jazz
How would one know whether a particular jazz or pop vocals artist originally released their records as Mono or Stereo? When there is a Mono available I'd prefer that but often when you find a record in a shop there's no way to know if you're holding a stereo record that sounds better in its mono release, right? Sinatra's Capitol albums for example are known to be better in mono. I would imagine that in the mono era, mono is how records sound "better" than their simulated stereo releases. So... any foolproof way to know if I'm looking at a record that is also available in Mono?

Anyone know of a music forum that gets people into this kind of music together?

  • 2Bdecided
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Stereo/Mono in Pop Vocals and Jazz
Reply #1
Simulated/fake stereo should generally be avoided, but many releases from 1958-1968 are available in both genuine stereo and genuine mono (often completely different mixes, especially in the early days). If it's something I like, I'll usually try to get both and listen to whichever I find I prefer.

In some Elvis recording sessions, they had three tape machines running live:
One capturing the live mono mixdown (the most important, for the single release).
One capturing the live stereo mixdown (not judged quite so important, for stereo LP release).
One capturing a three-track "mix" (as a kind of back-up which they didn't expect to use, unless one of the other mixes was rubbish, or got damaged).

There are large differences between the stereo and mono mixes for some Beatles records:
http://www.columbia.edu/~brennan/beatles/

AFAIK, everything Sinatra ever recorded in mono-only is available on CD, and out of copyright (so very widely re-issued). Pick from any of the hundred versions of each track available on Spotify  Most of the LPs you find are compilations / re-issues. Many include fake stereo tracks of the early recordings.

There's a stage cast recording of May Fair Lady where the mono and stereo versions were recorded something like six months apart! By the time they got around to the stereo version, some of the cast had caught colds - and you can tell! (mono in white sleeve, stereo in gold sleeve - both very common).

Cheers,
David.

  • mjb2006
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Stereo/Mono in Pop Vocals and Jazz
Reply #2
If you do search for Sinatra on the Steve Hoffman forums (search titles only), you'll see several threads devoted to sound quality.

  • 2Bdecided
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Stereo/Mono in Pop Vocals and Jazz
Reply #3
Excuse my ignorance, but how do you search the SH forums? Do you have to register, or am I missing an obvious "search" button?!

Everything on SH probably needs to carry a non-DBT health warning, though many remasters do create the night-and-day difference that people claim.

Cheers,
David.

  • trout
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Stereo/Mono in Pop Vocals and Jazz
Reply #4
Quote from: 2Bdecided link=msg=0 date=
[...] how do you search the SH forums? Do you have to register [...]

Yes you have to register, otherwise their search gives you a ''you are not logged in'' type of message.
But of course you can always use Google with the [site:] operator.

  • krabapple
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Stereo/Mono in Pop Vocals and Jazz
Reply #5
Excuse my ignorance, but how do you search the SH forums? Do you have to register, or am I missing an obvious "search" button?!


You have to register.  When you login after that, you'll see more options.

Stereo/Mono in Pop Vocals and Jazz
Reply #6
AFAIK, everything Sinatra ever recorded in mono-only is available on CD

Actually, I believe that the case is that nothing Sinatra on Capitol has ever been reissued in mono on CD except for "Only the Lonely" and that the only way to get mono Capitol is on vinyl. There have been two major remasters and both were of different stereo mixes. Which is what has made the mono mixes so sought after.
  • Last Edit: 06 July, 2012, 01:08:01 PM by tinpanalley

  • JJZolx
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Stereo/Mono in Pop Vocals and Jazz
Reply #7
Then it sounds like vinyl is your answer.

In my experience, most older vinyl covers explicitly stated mono or stereo (stereo was a big selling point at first). If a CD duplicates the original cover, they'll often either remove 'mono' if mixed in stereo, or else add a 'stereo' label.
  • Last Edit: 06 July, 2012, 02:01:54 PM by JJZolx

  • 2Bdecided
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Stereo/Mono in Pop Vocals and Jazz
Reply #8
AFAIK, everything Sinatra ever recorded in mono-only is available on CD

Actually, I believe that the case is that nothing Sinatra on Capitol has ever been reissued in mono on CD except for "Only the Lonely" and that the only way to get mono Capitol is on vinyl. There have been two major remasters and both were of different stereo mixes. Which is what has made the mono mixes so sought after.
Is there a typo in your first sentence? Or do you mean that where stereo and mono exist(ed), only stereo has been released?

I like the few Frank Sinatra CDs I have - they're 1980s remasters of late 1950s stereo recordings, and they sound like it - but apart from the tape hiss they're fine. Makes you realise how subjective this is though, when you see the opposite opinions here...

http://www.head-fi.org/t/559554/audiophile...tra-suggestions

Anyone in the UK/EU is free to needledrop and commercially release the mono versions - the recordings up to 1961 are all out of copyright here (though the music+lyrics may not be - you should pay those fees when releasing such CDs). IANAL!!!

Cheers,
David.