Today I’m going to share with you something that could possibly be the SINGLE best thing you can do for your mix.

It’s something I’ve talked about before, but I can tell you it’s something that most people are going to ignore. Why? Because it it hurts.

It’s uncomfortable…maybe even awkward.

What is it?

Mixing in mono.

There are few things that make you as happy as a big, fat stereo mix that sounds wider than your speakers. But do you know what happens when you pop that mix back to mono?

Well, do you?

Here’s the thing…mixing in mono is kinda like asking, “Does this dress make me look fat?”…and actually EXPECTING an answer.

See, I’m convinced that some women don’t want you to answer the question, but some of them do.

Even if it hurts.

Even if the answer is “Well…”

If you don’t want to know the answer to the question, don’t ask the question.

And when it comes to mixing, if you don’t REALLY want to know if your mix sounds good, don’t listen to it in mono.

Because I guarantee you that listening in mono will hurt your feelings at some point. That mix you think sounds amazing will sound muddy and boomy in mono. What does that mean? It means your mix is muddy and boomy, and you were just “hiding” it behind a wide stereo image.

See, mono sits all the tracks on top of each other. There’s nowhere for them to go, because they’re all panned dead center.

And this can expose all sorts of issues in your mix.

Issues that you can then address.

Issues that you can FIX.

Fixes that will make your mix sound pheNOMenal when you flip it back to stereo.

I’ll be honest, mono ain’t for the faint of heart. If you enjoy lying to yourself, stay away from the mono button.

If, however, you really want to get better, and you want to know if your mix makes you look fat, then start making mono mixing a part of your regular routine.

To see both how I set up mono mixing on my system AND how I use it to clean up my mix and make it shine, teeter on over to:

and join the Production Club.

Joe Gilder

P.S. I’m extending my offer to the end of the month. So if you join the Production Club before the end of June 2012, I’ll give you one of my “Understanding” products for FREE. Just forward me your receipt.

P.P.S. Oh, and by the way, here’s what one of my long-time Production Club members had to say about it:

“For me, my true mixing abilities began to shine when I started taking Joe’s classes.” – William B. from Maryland

  • Andrew Bauserman

    Joe – Can’t help throwing in another comment on mono mixing:
    If your mono mix doesn’t sound at least this good, you’re doing it wrong ;)Janet Devlin on X-Factor (mono mixes) of the “full” versions in stereo, for comparison


  • Jon

    Hey Joe, so I’ve always wondered…what is the point of mixing in mono if no one listens to anything in mono anymore?  Do people still listen to stuff in mono??  I know technically if you don’t mix in mono, your mix could be bad because of the stereo field, but is it really that big of a deal if no one listens in mono anyways?  Thanks!

    • A Different Jon

      But people DO listen in mono all the time, they just don’t realize it. If you’re listening to music sitting in front of your awesome computer speakers, sure, it’s a great stereo image. But if you crank your tunes so you can listen as you rummage through the fridge, make dinner and grab a cold one, you know what happens? Mono. A lot of mepole listen to music on their phones… Mono. The music that plays in Wal-Mart while you’re shopping for socks and potato chips… Mono. A lot of people actually still listen to the radio in their cars (crazy, I know) and that’s not exactly a top-notch stereo image there either. Just food for thought. Sorry if I stole your thunder, Joe. I guess it wasn’t really stealing since I think I was made painfully aware of this from your forum here. Thanks for all you do Joe!

      • A Different Jon

        Did I say “mepole”? I don’t know what that is but I think I meant “people”.

      • Nice catch, great points Jon!

      • Andrew Bauserman

        Adding to A Different Jon’s list:
        * FM radio collapses to mono as the signal gets weaker
        * Live venues (clubs, intermission at a concert) run mono systems
        * If your song makes it into a TV sound track, some of us with old TVs will hear it in mono

        Point is: you can’t guarantee stereo, and you want to sound the best possible under as many conditions as possible.

        • Good points. I don’t care so much about what format the mix will be listened to on, I just like the mixing benefits of listening in mono.

      • Jon

        Oh my gosh I guess I just never thought of that!  Thanks, “Different Jon”!! 😀

    • CameronN

       Also, mixing in mono will push you to use other tools than panning, so that when you when somebody listens to it in stereo, it will sound even better.

      • Exactamundo.

        • Letzter Geist

           one of the benefits of mixing in mono, one that i use regularly, is getting the levels of vocals to translate well onto other systems. sometime when mixing in stereo, the vocals with be too loud or too quiet, but, hit the mono button (or pan both channels to one speaker like i usually do), then adjust your vocal level to sit well, and more often then not, it will be the “perfect” level that will translate well on big speakers, headphones, in the car, etc…

          • Great tip, Letzter. Lead vocal level is always a challenging thing to set and forget.

    • You don’t leave your mix in mono. You mix in mono to get it right, then do panning and your stereo mix is MUCH better.

      • Jon

        Oh yeah Joe, sorry didn’t mean I was going to leave it in mono…worded that weird. 🙂  Thanks!