I analysed the music “That’s what I like” from Bruno Mars, mixed by the maestro Serban Ghenea, and I fund interesting things :
Next to the fact that in full mono the song sounds very good, I noticed some of the instruments are not EQd on the low end of the side part. Here is a screen shot.
My ears detected 2 instruments, the lead synth and the lead bass of the music.
On the Mids I detected the same lead synth, bass, and now the lead voice and a piano which gives the rhythm of the music.
On the High Mids it’s the same things like before with the lead percussions + hit
On the Highs it’s all the same things I mentioned before
So, to resume I think it’s important to choose what we would like to keep for the sides and maybe do it during the mixing process, unless we have a lot of stems during the mastering process. I think I would prefer do that during the mixing part. It’s possible I missed some instruments, but the main infos are here.
Now let’s speak about mixing in mono : I noticed the mix sounds very good in mono, the sides are only there to sublimate the song. There is a possibility the mix has been mixed in mono, but of course I’m not sure. It could be an idea to put last on the Mix Buss Ozone (or an another plugin) a click on the mono button, then mix and during the process try to bypass the mono to see the result.
I (and the world) like the work of Serban, I think it’s not an accident he receives a significant part of the next hits to mix. As there is no material about his mixing technics, it’s the only way to find out some technics, and maybe integrate them into our own mixes. I think it’s a sure value. What do you think ?
Mixing in Mono could be very interesting, If I refer to “That’s what I like” from Serban, the mono mix is amazing, mixing from the beginning in stereo could add more problems. I am sure it’s possible to add the stereo at the end of the mix, when the mono sounds great.
Now, everybody has his own opinion, but I think that 80% don’t have the possibility to hear in real stereo, included the ones who don’t care. Here is my list :
- Radios : unless you have 2 radios linked, it’s mono.
- Clubs : unless you are on the center, I’m not sure you hear the full stereo sound (people who are at the bar, etc.)
- Cars : you don’t hear full stereo because your sit is on the left of right (even with a Maserati you aren’t on the center)
- earphones : the mass of the people have bad earphones (I mean the type AirPods etc.), listen to streaming with low quality sound. Stereo in this case doesn’t matter too much I think
- headphones : this is the case where mass people do listen in stereo, but there still is the problem of the quality of the headphones and of the streaming services.
- Supermarket : you don’t hear in stereo
- outside : you don’t hear in stereo
Yeah, I used to mix in mono but moved to mixing only in stereo and now I am back to mixing in mono/stereo. I find mixing stereo elements in mono but flipping back to stereo to double check things works the best. I set panning, stereo widening, Haas, delays (including delay based effects) and reverbs in mono and audition in stereo when happy with the mono mix and it always sounds great in stereo, the same is hardly ever true the other way around.
Yes, you are right we still live in a very mono world and I think mono compatibility is still very important, it takes longer to mix this way and I think some producers have got a bit too lazy, this is evident when analysis some of the top releases at beatport.
I’ve been saying this for a while - if your audience is the general public and not the Club goers, then the chances are that they listen to your music on a laptop, iPad or phone, even without headphones, hence not hearing your mix in stereo, but in mono. Your research proved that this is why Sabian’s mixes sound great in mono. He knows his target audience, and he knows that the majority will listen to his music in mono. I always test my song mixes on my cell phone speaker and on my MacBook Air. Especially to make sure that the listener can hear the kick and the bass. Also, I find it a great way to check the de-essing.