Back To Mono


How many of you have a dedicated mono system? Mono cartridge (alternatively digital files in mono) separate amp and speaker; in the middle in front? If so is it of a lesser sound quality than your 2 ch system, since many of the recordings don't sound great on modern equipment? Or do you just turn off one mono block and face your chair in the direction of the appropriate speaker?
Aside from the great per-stereo "Long Plays" many of the early stereo mixes were almost an after thought. Are You Experienced and Pet Sounds for example. 
Also interested in opinions on the Sargent Pepper's remix by Giles Martin. Is the original mono version just for nostalgia? Worse or just different to the new one. In other words is "as it was intended." valid?
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i have about 500 vintage mono classical pressings, and 500 vintage mono jazz, vocal and pop pressings. then i have another 250 modern mono pressings cut with a stereo cutter head. and i’m always acquiring more of each type.

so i enjoy my mono vinyl. and the top level true mono cartridges (almost always) do perform better on mono vinyl than even the very best stereo cartridges.

i have two separate arms each with slightly different mono cartridges. one is a Durand Telos with a Miyajima Infinity mono with a 1.0 mil stylus ideal for wide groove vintage pressings. the other is a Durand Kairos with a Miyajima Infinity with the 0.7 mil stylus ideal for mono pressings cut with a stereo cutter head (after about 1965-1967).

as far as the performance advantages of a mono cartridge verses a stereo cartridge it mostly has to do with the sense of separation and lively-ness, as well as lower noise and more expansive soundstage and even height and space. the music ’pops’ with a true mono cartridge. it’s more involving and pulls you into the music. and i find that there is an ease and calmness about mono vinyl that makes the sessions very rewarding.

i prefer the early Beatles and Stones mono pressings to the stereo pressings......which sound dull in direct comparisons. i have stereo tapes of some of those same recordings which i prefer to the early monos. the Pet Sounds 45 mono is not impressive, but better than the stereo 45. not heard an original mono of Pet Sounds.

i have the Beatles mono box set but it’s yet un-opened so i can’t comment.

the issue is that some of the greatest performances and recordings ever made are mono. whether it’s a new mastering, or vintage, i want to hear it as good as it can sound. the Miyajima Infinity is the best sounding mono cartridge i have heard.

here is some general information about mono pressings and mono cartridges from Ortofon that could be helpful.

https://www.ortofon.com/hifi/cartridges-ranges/true-mono/

btw; i also have three other tone arms each with stereo cartridges, and 7000+ stereo pressings.
Do you use 1/2 of your system when listening in mono or listen to both L+R speakers?
There is one "stereo" record by the Stones with Mick's vocals on one channel and the rest of the bad on the other.
Great info. Thanks 
Of course you use both speakers. There are some mono recordings that you could almost swear are stereo if recorded well. I just listened to one.

it just so happens that my Ortofon 2M Mono cart just arrived and installed on another headshell today. I have many mono LP’s, mostly classical, that I’ve been listening to with a stereo cart. I knew I was missing something by doing that.

As said, a mono cart makes a substantial improvement in sound quality with mono LP’s. I can play a mono LP with my Soundsmith Zephyr stereo cart, and it can’t come close to the presentation of the Ortofon Mono at 1/5th the cost.

Out of curiosity, have you compared mono files to LPs? And the question from my original post, St. Pepper's original Mono vs. Giles Martin's re-master?
Personally, I have no mono files, only mono LP's. And all my Beatles are original issues, or reissues released within 5-6 years max, but that is only a couple. No remasters by others.

Something tells me mono files may not be as good as their LP counterpart. But that is just a guess.