Dull mono sound. Looking to get things sounding more full

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This topic contains 22 replies, has 9 voices, and was last updated by Profile photo of Dave Dave 2 years, 9 months ago.

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    Profile photo of Toe-Knee

    Good morning. Iā€™m completely new at this mix thing, but I have a background in security systems, cctv, access control etc. So programming and buttons is my thing. šŸ˜ Thank you for your time. My question here is. I have a DLive S7000 that I have been blessed with at my church. I recently took on the task of making it sound amazing, because nobody in our church truly knows how to operate it. So I am taking it upon myself to do my research, and learn how this beautiful piece of engineering works. I recently found out that none of the channels are set for stereo, but in fact were all set for mono. Making it sound dull and boring no matter what we do… (mind you, the guy I working with is deaf in one ear)šŸ¤¦šŸ¼ā€ā™‚ļøšŸ™ƒ I noticed that when changing any channel to stereo, it will take up 2 channels, so 1/2, 3/4, 5/6…etc does that mean I need to space out each instrument, and vocalist to every other channel to keep one open in between? Because when I put them into stereo mode, some channels disappeared. I hope this makes sense. Thank you again for your help.

    Profile photo of Brian

    Mixing in stereo is a complete waste of time (and can actually be detrimental) if you speakers are set up in mono. Mono is very common in live sound settings because in a lot of facilities, a person sitting on the left side isn’t going to hear any appreciable volume coming from the right speaker and vice versa. Stereo sounds great for the select few sitting in the center, but people on the sides can miss out on important elements if the show is mixed for stereo. Sending the same mono signal to the left and right speaker ensures that everyone hears the same thing. (That statement isn’t actually 100% accurate due to room acoustics, but that is another conversation all together and isn’t applicable to this conversation).

    So before you go changing everything on the console, you should look around your facility a little more to see how things are set up and have a real “heart to heart” conversation on whether mixing in stereo would be beneficial or a hinderance in your facility.

    Profile photo of volounteer

    For a church trying for stereo is not a good idea. Save stereo for your living room.

    Stereo does take two channels. So you need to use two inputs for L & R if you want stereo.
    And you could fake stereo by panning the mono input to place them like on stage. But for a church that would be a bad idea.
    Or in limited cases there are stereo inputs but mostly for playing back from a stereo device like CD player.
    But in most churches it ends up mono in the end after it goes to the speakers.

    The congregation does not care about aamazing.
    They want the music to be NOT too LOUD
    and they want the preacherman to be NOT too LOW.
    If the sound is not terrible bad and they can hear easily while not being too loud they will like the result.

    They also want to understand everything said easily and clearly.
    So use compression if you have a wide DR orator.
    And if you have background noise like HVAC then set the lowest to be 15dB above that level and compress to limit the loudness.
    Check references on intelligibility if you are unsure about this.

    There is always the fine manual for starters.
    And if you look there will be lots of videos with info on the device.

    If you really want stereo then do that for a mix sent to your livestream video but not in the nave.

    Profile photo of Brian

    To answer your original question…..

    You have to understand the difference between panning an mono channel and having an instrument that is true stereo. In live sound, the vast majority of inputs are going to be mono. A singers mic for example is a mono input device and it only uses one physical input to connect it to the system. There are some instruments that might offer stereo outputs – like electronic keyboards, some guitar rigs, an MP3 player, etc. Those true stereo devices will take up two mono channels in the system and you need to plan accordingly when you layout the console.

    However, you can pan inputs (both mono and stereo) when sending them to a stereo output which is how you will actually mix into stereo. If you have three mono singers, each uses a single input on the console. You might leave the lead singer panned in the center and pan one backup vocal more to the left and one more to the right. This creates the stereo image in the output even though the individual inputs are mono.

    Of course you have to consider my comments above. If you set your speaker system up for stereo and pan the singers as in this example, most of the people sitting in the congregation will only hear the lead singer and the singer panned to their side. They likely won’t hear the singer panned to the opposite side at all. Even if they do hear it some (because you didn’t pan the backup singers “hard left and right”), it will at a much lower level than your expected stereo output. Only the people sitting in the middle of the stereo speakers will actually hear the “mixed” output from the console. Everyone else will hear something else. So you could spend a lot of time and energy getting a great stereo mix only to have 75% of the people have a worse audio experience in stereo than they would have had with a mono mix.

    Hopefully that makes sense!

    Profile photo of volounteer

    and to add to what Brian said:
    there are various ways to fake stereo.
    time delay and loudness are the two main ways to create stereo from mono.

    but more important is what I told to our MD/A0 and A1 @FOH

    They were constantly making tweaks to ‘improve’ the sound
    and I told them that the audience did not care and could not hear the difference.
    but the audience did want other changes which were not on their radar.

    what the audience wanted was for the music to be NOT TOO LOUD
    and for the orators to NOT BE TOO LOW while also being intelligible.
    that latter means having them at 15dB above the background noise and compressing them down to 10dB DR , or 15dB DR at max.

    any other tweaks you do are simply for you and do not help the church at all,
    as nobody else cares nor can hear those subtle changes you made.

    Profile photo of Jgrift

    This post is hurting my brain. If you have a way to use some kind of imaging you absolutely should. Yes PA design obviously will determine how much you can use. But I guarantee you if you were to A-B a stereo sound to a mono one the vast majority of people (even laymen) will chose stereo. God made you with 2 ears for a reason…and it wasn’t for MONO!

    Toe-Knee. You absolutely should make every effort to improve and make a polished sound for your church. I would avoid doing any hard panning. And walk your room during rehearsal to make sure the experience is not compromised too greatly. If your stereo system is designed well an effort would have been made to create a stereo image for the most amount of people. And I would argue that a small compromise in some far left/right areas is worth it for stereo in the majority of the center. Answering your original question… you will have to move some channels around to make room for stereo inputs. Like a keyboard or tracks. Keep in mind these are always odd/even pairs like 11/12, can’t do 12/13. So some re patching will need to be done.

    Another thing to keep in mind is whether your mix is leaving the room. Most churches are still using the main LR mix to a live stream. And stereo in this mix is much more enjoyable for those at home.


    Profile photo of volounteer


    Absolutely – almost.

    Stereo is great at home.
    It fails big time in a church nave.

    And stereo is not what the congregation cares about.
    Giving some people ‘better’ sound while making it worse for others is a bad tradeoff.

    As to most churches livestream I do not know any that use the LR.
    All the ones I know use mix or some use matrix outs.
    And while the feed to our livestream is technically stereo, the content is still just as mono as in the nave.

    Profile photo of Brian

    Not to keep beating a dead horse, but another aspect of the stereo vs mono debate is the physical characteristics (coverage patterns, etc) of the speakers and where they are mounted. It’s quite possible that a speaker mounted on the right side of the space isn’t going to have coverage on the left side and vice versa. So it may be impossible for the audience to have a stereo experience in most of the space.

    Take this picture for example. Clearly a stereo mix would be completely counter productive if this was your facility. A mono output would be the only appropriate solution in this example.


    Profile photo of volounteer

    @Toe-Knee aka Tony
    You said in your profile:

    I have been blessed with taking on the awesome task of a DLive S7000 and, making the sound in our church sound better than it currently does. I am looking for all the help I can get. Thank you to everyone in advance. I hope to make some big changes for our church. God is good.

    It is always good to make things truly better.
    But knowing what better is is often difficult.
    The trick is to know when it is plenty good enough and then stop.
    At some point you will find the cost of more better is not worth what you lose elsewhere by taking resources from other items.
    Or you may find that at some point all you are doing is making something different not really better.

    What you should really do is tell us what is wrong with the sound your church has.
    Have you done a survey to see what the audience says it thinks better would be?

    What did the person(s) telling you to take the dlive and make the sound better say that better would be?
    Did they survey the audience to have an idea what the listeners think better is?

    Why do you hope to make big changes for your church?
    Who determined that big changes were needed at all?
    Did anyone define what changes were actually needed?

    Note that operations is far different than setting up the FOH mixer.
    I suspect that your mixer is probably set up correctly.
    If not then you need a competent dealer or installer to do that for you.
    Do you have problems with feedback or intelligibility or other issues?
    Fix those first.

    Then you need to learn the operations of the device.
    Operational problems will far outweigh any improvements stereo might bring.

    Finally if you really need to consider making changes then you need to learn a lot more about
    stereo itself and how it is done, audio more widely, and acoustics for starters. There will be more later on.

    After that then you might consider trying for stereo.
    But please first make sure your church actually has stereo speakers installed or you will be wasting your effort.
    And do survey the audience to see what they want improved. It is likely not converting the mono to stereo.

    Profile photo of RS

    Guys, you are making my day….. šŸ˜‚šŸ˜‚šŸ˜‚šŸ˜‚

    Profile photo of volounteer

    like the sign at the service station said
    we aim to please
    will you aim too, please

    glad we could bring some levity to you during this time of politically caused distress using covid to push left wing goals

    Profile photo of Brad

    Anyone else notice the date???

    Profile photo of Lishinsky

    The assumption that stereo in live situation is pointless is totally wrong!!
    Aldough in some cases it is true, in most cases it is stil very beneficial.

    Stereo is used not only for placing different instruments on opposite sides.
    Stereo sources like keyboards reverbs, should be reproduced in stereo and sound better even if some audience hear only one speaker.
    Further more sending identical signal to both left and right speakers will result in more unpleasant phasing and combfilter effect.

    I would In most standard PA setups more then 70% of your audience will experience better sound quality in stereo!

    Stereo is not only for your living room by far Sorry!

    Profile photo of volounteer


    And so only? 30% of the people have worse sound?
    Brians picture shows why it wont work!

    Are you saying that all those ‘experts’ who claim you need to use monitors not speakers
    and angle them at your chair which has to be in a precise location in the exact middle and distance so as to hear stereo are all wrong?

    Profile photo of Lishinsky

    Stereo does not make the sound worse for no one!

    If you mix in a studio you better sit at the exact center so you can hear equal balance between the speakers.

    But try this:

    Go to your studio if you have one, play some stereo recording and move away from the sweet spot. Now toggle between Stereo and mono monitoring.

    Hear the difference??

    This is what you been depriving your audience of!

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