It still seems odd in today’s digital age that we still do our voice over recordings in mono. When stereo sounds so much better, mono seems archaic and a throw-back to old 78 records and gramophones.
However, there is a good reason why we record our vocal tracks in mono. Here’s why…
The whole purpose of stereo is to create a convincing sound that fills the room. A sound that resonates between the loudspeakers and gives a sense of width to the audio.
Stereo is about space and directionality — the ability to make the sound appear as if it was coming from a particular direction and then filling the space around the listener. This is great for music recording when you want to separate different instruments or recreate a concert sound where the sound seems to be coming from all directions instead of just one.
Your voice however is a single instrument. Your voice is not an orchestra. You may be able to make lots of different sounds from it but all those sounds are coming from one direction – that space below your nose!
Therefore there is nothing to be gained by recording your voice in stereo. You only need one microphone to record your voice because you’ve only got one mouth. This means that a mono recording is fit for purpose.
Of course there are exceptions to every rule and if more than one voice is being recorded in a voice over session then using stereo is fine because you have more than one instrument – you have two mouths and two voices involved in the recording.
How a mono voice sits within a recording that has a stereo music background is a whole other subject and best left to the audio engineers! This is when acoustics, positioning of mics and the management of ambience plays a vital part.
What are your thoughts on mono versus stereo voice recording? Do you have anything you would like to add? Please share here…