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Stereo/Mono in Pop Vocals and Jazz
post May 8 2012, 00:08
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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?
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post May 8 2012, 11:01
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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:

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 wink.gif 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).

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