Is A Live Concert Stereo Or Mono


Someone the other day said to me by e-mail when I asked if the Mono LP were better than the Stereo LP and he answered have you ever hear a live concert , they are in MONO.

I wasn't sure if he was kidding or not.

what is your take on this

Oh yeah.. he prefered MONO..
I'm still trying to figure this one out, will have to get both a stereo and mono copy of the same LP and see..
comments welcome on this 2 part deal
macallan25
Live is neither mono nor stereo.

It's real, not a reproduction.
Yeah, TVAD'S right and who says live sound is best anyway? Kind of off topic but when I read that our hifi's should sound lifelike I don't know, some of the worst sound I've endured was live and some of the best musical moments I've enjoyed have been at home.
... some of the worst sound I've endured was live and some of the best musical moments I've enjoyed have been at home.
Bizango1 (Threads | Answers)

Second that.
Depends on how the microphones are placed. Obviously, if there is only one microphone the recording is Mono, even though the live performance could be heard in stereo if the band is divided more or less evenly across the stage and you are sitting dead-center in the audience. It is recorded in Stereo when there are two or more microphones placed to record the right and left side of the stage performance separately. Those two separate channels can have some overlapping music and still be Stereo. Many Mono recordings were actually recorded in Stereo and mixed to Mono, or "folded-down" to Mono. So a Live Concert can be both Mono and Stereo to the audience depending on where you are sitting and whether you are listening to the live sound of the actual performers or to the performance as broadcast over the amplification system used in the concert hall.
This vaguely reminds me of a test in college way, way back when - about something like "directionally-biased point source emitters" or some such gobbledygook. The level and amount of math expected for the answer probably helped convince me that an exclusively academic regimen is not the only way to put food on the table...

Mono? Since when is the whole world mono? Well, unless your name was van Gogh (but don't start with me on that, 'cause yeah I know and that was only meant as a feeble attempt for a feeble laugh...)? Mono might barely describe a solo artist performing in an anechoic chamber - how the heck does mono do justice to a whole wide stage full of orchestra? Tvad knows the deal, and the equation for real is not solved by being some kind of audio cyclops with a single ear growing out of your forehead.
The equation for real is not solved by being some kind of audio cyclops with a single ear growing out of your forehead.

I love it, that is Great English.
I could be off the mark here but the point your emailer may have been trying to make, and how it differs from Tvad's assessment, is whether the performance is amplified or not. If it is not then Tvad is right on that it is not stereo or mono it's real. If however the performance is amplified and played through speakers around the stage or on either side, I think that "reproduction" is normally done in mono so people sitting outside of exact center will hear the entire performance too. Maybe someone will chime in and correct me, but this is what I have surmised from personal experiences. I don't know why a mono recording would conceivably sound better but I'm sure someone else will chime in on that concept.
Concerts are actually reproduced from stage right and left speaker stacks running in a stereo mix. The engineer (the guy sitting in the audience working from a mixing console) runs the show in stereo but mixes it so that there is directionality from the speaker stacks and on-stage amps but with a view towards mixing the show to make sure even those in far right and left seats can hear everything. Bottom line result is sort-of stereo from the front and sort-of mono from the sides.

Nwext time you are at a show ask the engineer before the show when he at the console waiting for the houselights to go down (but not too close to the start of the show). Having worked many years with them they are generally friendly and will answer simple questions.
G'day all, this is actually a very good and interesting question! I'm always believed, and read that the invention of stereo recording was an attempt to reproduce the sound of an actual live performance!

Yet as a regular attendee of live music performances (unmiked) myself and sitting pretty well in the middle of the venue my own impressions are that 'stereo effect' (left /right directionality) is discernable, but only marginally so which leads me to believe that much 'stereo' on recordings is deliberately exaggerated!

Whilst that sounds great coming over a stereo system, in my opinion it isn't the real thing! Regards Fap.
I would think the individual instrument would be mono with there own speaker location. So we would here the drummer center keyboard guitars and other instrument where the group players would be located for the concert. The same as it is when we listen at home. Plus we have line of sight to help with location for it to appear we are hearing stereo. Stereo is really a way for us to here the location of the instrument is it not.
Apparently none of you have attended a Pink Floyd concert. They used multi-channel reproduction since the 1970's at their shows.
I would say that live shows are better....
Live unamplified instruments playing are not mono, stereo or multi-channel. Those terms are only appropriately used when describing amplified, reproduced sound. There seems to be some confusion because nearly all mid to large venue concerts are amplified. If you're at a Pink Floyd concert you're not listening to the band play, you're listening to a big concert hi-fi system reproduce what the band is playing.
Unamplified music is perfect and can not be reproduced in the home via a stereo or mono system. Amplified events will vary by venue and seating position. Without stereo or multichannel reproduction at home our ear/brain system will not be able to accept the illusion of real instruments playing. Mono is psychoacousticaly less dimensional and directional which is picked up quite easily by the average person. Some people are tone deaf, can not process spatial acoustic information or discriminate between even a violin and a viola. Whatever floats your boat is what you should listen to...the human animal is very fickle:O)
Listen to the Stones live. Not so good. But when they track over in the studio, they sound great, as long as you like their music. Very few bands sound as good or better live, although I've heard Ten Years After and Black Oak Arkansas sound as good or better live, most of the time you're better off listening to studio music IMHO. Srereo is better.
Unamplified concerts I would suggest are multi-dimensional, essentially you have the sound of each seperate instrument mixing with all the other instruments. All this sound arrives at the listener with varrying intensities and timings. I don't hear anything close to stereo or mono at these concerts, this is 'real' sound. I hear only a poor facsimilie of this sort of soundstaging with stereo.

As for mono vs. stereo recordings. I generally prefer stereo except in earlier stereo mixing when sounds were often hard panned to either side. Therefore, a voice may come directly out of the left side speaker, drums out of right, ugh! Listen to late 60's, early 70's rock recordings, way too many do this crap, I prefer the mono releases on these, much more natural sounding.
How many ears do YOU have? If you have two...EVERYTHING you hear is in stereo. Your ears help your brain to place 'noise making' things in your spatial recognition.

Additionally, there are select ranges of frequencies that actually 'trick' the brain into thinking that things are in a different 'place'. For instance, a frequency right around 3000 Hz may sound as though it is coming from behind you, rather than from in front of you. This is the effect of the brain's interpretation of sound.

For me, I almost always prefer stereo recordings...that is except for the mentions Sns made...I hate it when a voice is coming right from a speaker...it drives me MAD!
Unamplified concerts I would suggest are multi-dimensional, essentially you have the sound of each seperate instrument mixing with all the other instruments. All this sound arrives at the listener with varrying intensities and timings. I don't hear anything close to stereo or mono at these concerts, this is 'real' sound. I hear only a poor facsimilie of this sort of soundstaging with stereo.

Agreed 1000%. Very well put!

How many ears do YOU have? If you have two...EVERYTHING you hear is in stereo. Your ears help your brain to place 'noise making' things in your spatial recognition.

In a sense, but with some major differences. Our two ears do a much better job of interpreting a complex mix of frequencies, harmonics, arrival times, arrival directions, phase relationships, etc., than two (or more) microphones can do. Even more so considering that what is picked up by those microphones is ultimately listened to through two speakers EACH of which can be heard by BOTH ears, and with all of the sound arriving from one or both of only two directions (apart from room reflections which more often than not will only introduce additional inaccuracy).

Regards,
-- Al