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Mono

Posted: Wed Apr 07, 2021 8:45 pm
by hifiaf
There are areas of my musical tastes -- 50-60s modern jazz, 60s pop -- where the consensus among audiophiles seems to be that mono sounds better than stereo.

I've never been able to make sense of this: even reputedly excellent mono pressings of music I love sound to me really flat and bland compared to their stereo versions. The recent Kinks in Mono set, Bob Dylan's recent mono box, the Beatles in mono, lots of Blue Note mono... I own or have borrowed a lot of these, and have never been impressed.

So it is me or is it mono? Am I doing something wrong, expecting the wrong things?

Most pressingly, do you really need a mono cartridge to enjoy mono? Paul Rigby says you do:
Do not play mono pressings with a stereo cartridge and don’t think that pressing a mono button on your phono amp will do the job, it will not. Not because of possible damage or anything like that but because the sound will be no where near the potential of what the mono disc can produce. There is no point in paying out and wasting good money on a mono pressing by playing it with a stereo cartridge as you will only be hearing half of the disc’s capabilities. The differences are that obvious. Would you eat soup with chopsticks? Well then
https://theaudiophileman.com/beatles-mo ... l-version/

Quite a lot of trouble to put to this to the test: a cartridge swap at best, a full parallel TT/preamp setup at worst.

Is it worth the trouble?

(I do have a mono switch on my preamp, by the way, and I don't find it makes much of a difference.)

Re: Mono

Posted: Wed Apr 07, 2021 9:06 pm
by REXTON
:D I have a very modest mono setup, this materialised due to me having ~ 30-50 mono pressings. It's an area that i'd been wanting to explore for some time. I would have to say that MONO pressings can indeed sound amazing. I have a Ortofon MONO SPU which I picked up cheap, my MM phonostage is mono based. I still need a mono wired tonearm and to do it correctly a single dedicated speaker. I would definitely say that mono recordings sound better with a mono cartridge, that's just me own experience. Probably not really answered your question very well but that's my 2p worth!

Re: Mono

Posted: Wed Apr 07, 2021 9:11 pm
by hifiaf
Rexton, wouldn't it be fun to have SIX Paradise boxes, two more to handle mono??!??

This is very interesting, though -- exactly what I'm eager to hear.

I'm also wondering if anyone has experienced the so called "depth of field" experience of mono -- as opposed to the width of stereo. I've yet to experience that with my stereo cartridge setup.

Re: Mono

Posted: Wed Apr 07, 2021 9:24 pm
by REXTON
Yes I've had the "depth of field" experience with a Shirley Bassey record, this was a 50p find at a charity store and has proven to be the best experience of MONO I've ever had. I've also bought some very lack lustre MONO "special pressings" at audiophool prices at been very underwhelmed. A mono Paradise would be very nice indeed. :shock:

Re: Mono

Posted: Wed Apr 07, 2021 10:43 pm
by sq225917
You have two mono Paradise already!

Re: Mono

Posted: Wed Apr 07, 2021 11:59 pm
by hifiaf
Admit it, I'm the first person to ever come up with a plausible justification for six Paradise boxes :)

Re: Mono

Posted: Thu Apr 08, 2021 12:35 am
by YNWaN
I think you do really need a mono cartridge.

Re: Mono

Posted: Thu Apr 08, 2021 1:21 am
by hifiaf
Any mono cartridge recommendations? Maybe the Ortofon 2M...

Re: Mono

Posted: Thu Apr 08, 2021 6:34 am
by karma67
ive not tried full on mono yet,i doubt i will but the mono records i have sound great played with a stereo cartridge.
unless you are going to get into mono in a serious way i wouldn't bother.

Re: Mono

Posted: Thu Apr 08, 2021 10:42 am
by YNWaN
The few mono records I have tried have sounded very disappointing and much as Adam describes above.