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SkywardScott

Mono vs. Stereo delays

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Hello, I'm looking to buy a helix soon and have been constantly reading forums/watching videos. One thing I read about is mono vs. stereo delays and reverbs. I read that using a stereo delay on a mono speaker would sound bad. When I'm playing live, I will go stereo XLR to FOH and then mono line to my QSC K10 for stage sound. If I keep the same stereo patch, will it sound bad through my speaker? What's the best way to do this? Thanks!

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I've never had a problem with it. Both the XLR and 1/4" outs have a MONO out - where everything is summed. So you should be just fine sending a stereo feed to FOH and a mono feed for monitoring.

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In general, if you are setup for stereo, going out only one of the channels (mono) will mean you will lose the audio on one channel. Using a truly stereo delay like the Ping Pong, if you're patch is setup for stereo, and only using one of the outputs, you will lose one of the repeats. Having said that, I if you plug only into the 1/4" left/mono, it will sum (combine) the stereo signal to mono so you won't lose anything. The XLR's will do the same thing. It may change the sound though due to phase/frequency cancellation. I think this is what they are talking about.

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A good sound man won't mix a gig stereo. Half the audience wouldn't get half the sound and anything "cool" via stereo effects would only be heard be the people standing in the perfect spot between the speakers. Just a little info

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That being said I use a stereo rig and have for years. The trick for me is just a pan things just slightly left and right. It definitely thickens and spreads without getting that awkward phase or loss of signal on one side.

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As AlexKenivel points out, I wouldn't count on very many sound men providing two channels for your stereo signal.  Typically they don't want to deal with it and once it gets projected out into the audience area the stereo separation is marginal at best.  Of course if it's your PA you can choose to do it, but with over 30 years doing live sound reinforcement, you're not going to get the effect you want in 90% of the venues out there once it starts bouncing around in the room.

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One 'two channel' thing I've heard people get away with in a typical live venue are big obvious fast sweeping ping pong delay effects. Even if you're sitting at one side, you still hear some variation of the effect, and it still sounds ok depending on what the rest of the band are doing at the time.

 

Things to avoid are panning instruments/vocals one way or the other where the mix will sound 'out of whack' for anyone not sitting in the central part of the sound field. Same applies to modulation effects (like chorus/phase), stereo reverb/separation, and frequency dependent channel allocation. Basically, stereo doesn't do much for anyone but the people in the middle of the sound field.

 

Yeah, standing in the centre with a swirling chorus/phaser and stereo reverb can sound magic, but it won't be representative of what most of the audience is hearing.

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