In a simple word… YES. One of the best tips I have ever recieved was to mix in mono. I’ve come to find out that it can help you discover some real gremlins that like to hide in mixes. So here are three of the many reasons why you should be mixing in mono.
One of the best things about mixing in mono is that if you get it sounding great in mono you know even in the worst scenario, it’s going to sound good. That means it will even sound great at the grocery store! This is one of our jobs as a mixer. To make a song soundS good in worst case scenarios. Mono mixing helps you to be sure that you’re achieving this.
Another reason to mix in mono is that phase issues become exposed quickly in mono. Sometimes there are things we don’t hear in stereo, but flip to mono… Whoa! What happened? That sure sounds thin! Good thing you checked that in mono. Without fail you will always be able to tell a phase issue when summing to mono. Panning can even cause phase masking issues that aren’t as noticeable until… You guessed it.. You check it in mono. Sometimes stereo reverbs can create phase issues as well as overusing stereo widening techniques. Be mindful to listen for these issues in mono, too.
I have also come to notice that when you EQ in mono it forces you to really listen to what element is competing with what. At the end of the day I end up making much better decisions based on what got masked in the frequency spectrum when summed to mono. Mixes really get clearer for me after making my EQ choices in mono. Having everything summed to the center really makes you key in on the thing that really needs to be removed or added from an element in the mix.
The third great advantage to mono mixing is that it helps you to achieve more accurate volume automation. I turn my monitors to a low level (I keep it marked on my volume control… I’m a firm believer in have multiple volume settings to keep my references at the same volume while mixing), and listen to what I want to ride. I get a static volume set and then if the element slightly gets buried I’ll ride it until you hear it just enough. Almost 100% of the time when I listen back in stereo the track sits exactly where I was hoping it would. This has been invaluable to achieving clarity in my mixes.
All of these great advantages of mixing in mono have helped me to develop better mixes, in a shorter amount of time. The great news is that it can for you too! We are big believers in mono mixing here at MixCoach Member. So, go and try some mono mixing!
Did it help? I’d love to hear from you in the comments below! As always, happy mixing guys!