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Friday, September 2, 2016

Stereo or Mono? Which is Best for Recording in a Home Studio

When you decide to work out of a home studio for your voice over, you encounter a ton of questions. Which acoustic foam is best? What kind of speaker stand do I need? How can I eliminate ALL ambient sound?

You’ll discover the answers to all of these, and they’ll likely make perfect sense. But one that seems to stump a lot of VO newbies is how you record in a home studio, specifically the reasoning behind recording in mono instead of stereo.

Let’s discuss.

First, what is the difference between recording in stereo and mono? It’s simple, really. Stereo means multiple audio sources (or channels), and mono means one. Now, it seems like using multiple channels would result in a richer, more complex, and more natural-sounding recording, right?


The reason we record in mono is because the only “channel” we’re using is our voice. And your voice, while you can make a range of sounds with it, is still a single instrument and not a full-on orchestra.

Because of this, we record in mono. There’s no benefit to recording vocal tracks in stereo. Now, does it hurt to record in stereo? Not at all. But if you do, each channel will have the same sound - and you’ll have a file that’s twice the size of a mono file.

Of course, there are exceptions to every rule. Let’s say you’re doing a recording a session with someone else. In this case, you would record in stereo, because there are two voices present. Multiple voices = multiple channels, making stereo the best recording format.

The bottom line is this: when you’re recording all by your lonesome in your home studio, do it in mono. It’s pointless to do it in stereo, and the only difference will be an unnecessarily large file with no added benefit. 

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