Mix Like A Pro – Monitor in Mono

Why Monitor in Mono?

by Simon Duggal

In many professional studios you will find a single speaker (usually Auratone or similar) located between the left and right nearfield monitors. This is used for monitoring the mix in mono.

Many professional mix engineers monitor quietly in mono for two main reasons:

  1. It is much easier to judge the relative levels and equalization of instruments, voices and effects when they are superimposed on top of each other rather than when they are spread between your speakers.
  2. Monitoring quietly reduces the likelyhood of ear fatigue obscuring your judgement.

Balance and equalize your track whilst monitoring quietly in mono and you’llĀ  have more accurate control overĀ  the placement of your audio parts. When you switch back to stereo your mix will sound bigger with greater separation between the instruments.

Pan your audio tracks to the desired positions whilst monitoring in stereo and then switch to mono to balance and equalize instruments, voices and effects levels. Ideally you need to be listening in true mono from a single source point or dedicated centrally positioned speaker. If this is not possible for any reason, then switching your stereo speakers to mono, turning one speaker off and monitoring quietly on the other is a good alternative.