Speaker audition question

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Stereo or Mono? That is the question....

  • Mono

    Votes: 2 5.1%
  • Stereo

    Votes: 37 94.9%

  • Total voters


Well-known member
Jan 6, 2005
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When you audition speakers, do you audition in stereo or mono? and why ;)

Stereo music


I audition speakers in stereo... I think, it is because I am, just more comfortable, with stereo. I am used to, stereo seporation of the music, having listend to stereo, most of the time, my whole life. I rarely, listen to music, in mono.

For me, auditioning speakers has to be, with my own seclection of musical CD's, too... I think, it is because, I am more comfortable with music, I am more familiar with... I know, what it is supposed to sound like. I guess it's, similar to my reasons, for listening / auditioning in stereo.

In addition, it is my habit, to audition the speakers listening to how they sound with my ears three to five inches away from the speaker for several minutes. For how speakers, fill the room with sound, I also, listen to how the speakers sound, by standing or sitting, at different vantage points around the room. I can not just listen once and that's it,... I have, to have, several different listening sessions, of the speakers - I'm serious about actually purchasing, with at least a day, in between, to finially decide. It all part of my discesion making process, i. e., thinking and carefully evaluating / reviewing, just what I heard. Then hearing it again...

C'mon now, 54 views and 4 people took the time to click on the poll itself!?! I'll post the reasoning behind the question when there is a decent response. It may lead to an interesting discussion.

Robin, thanks for bein a pal and responding!

I always audition in Stereo, using a Test CD that I created myself, to assess soundstage imaging, depth, etc. It would be a hard sell to convince me that Mono is better to test imaging.
Not intending to be sarcastic, but since I listen to speakers in stereo, I audition them that way. I also audition them as 5.1, even if the store does not have an ideal setup (which is too often).
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stereo 4 me

I'm pretty much with Robin on his evaluation technique. I walk all over the room, up close, back away, several audtions over several days with music I know very, very well, not to mention recording labels (Chesky) that are known for minimalist recording techniques.

I am curious as to why anyone would choose Mono and have the same signal sent to both speakers? This method does not allow you to hear the depth and separation.
If possible (depends on equipment) I start out in Mono, just to test speaker positioning. I then switch to stereo for the remainder of the evaluation.

I appologize, I don't think my question was clear - but thanks for jumping in on a response guys!

What I was meaning, was not stereo or mono recording, but stereo or single speaker audition....

Sorry for the confusion.


Now for the interesting part - so you all don't think I'm out of my mind with this question.... I came across an article written by F.E. Toole, which attempts to arrange the "ideal listening test" should such a thing actually exist. Since there seems to be a need for qualification at the moment in the main section of this forum :) Toole recieved an Electrical Eng. degree in '60, followed by a Ph.D. and D.I.C. in the same subject. Since then he has worked in the acoustics section of the division of hpysics at the National Research Council, Ottawa. His early research was related to localization and mechanisms underlying binaural hearing. One of his primary efforts has been to improve the precision and utility of measurements and listening tests. He is active in one of the IEC working groups on such testing. Lastly, Dr. Toole has designed recording studios, control-room monitor loudspeakers, and sound-reinforcement systems for multipurpose rooms. Long bio hehe

So in this paper, Dr. Toole was determining the most appropriate conditions for listening tests/auditions for sound quality purposes, which is a little different from our personal pleasures, but will suffice. At one point in the experiment, stereo and monophonic testing was performed. It appears looking at the data, that listening in stereo seems to mask various elements of poor quality reproduction within a speaker. Those speakers that sounded very good in monophonic conditions carried this rating to the stereo condition, but the reverse was not true. To quote Toole, "... some loudspeakers that were poorly regarded in monophonic assessments received much higher ratings in stereophonic tests." Hence the purpose of this poll :)

I will throw out some quotes which I find interesting from this article and for anyone interested, I do have a poorly scanned copy on my computer that I can email to those who might be bored this evening.... :)

"In 1961, Moir observed that stereophonic reproduction could result in an apperant reduction in certain forms of distortion, a point that was reaffirmed by Dougherty in 1973."

"By observing that in stereo the instruments of the orchestra, and also the distortion products, are distributed in space, it becomes immediately clear why at least some of those unwanted sounds are less objectionable. Background noises, including electronic and tape noise, are usually uncorrelated in the two channels and present the listener with a large diffuse noie "image" resembling, in some ways, well-recorded reverberation. Distortions originating in one loudspeaker may not be proportionally matched in the other because of difference in the signals (or the loudspeakers) and would, therefore, be localized differently. In monophonic presentations everything is superimposed at the loudspeaker and, logically, would be more objectionable."
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Muad'Dib said:
When you audition speakers, do you audition in stereo or mono? and why ;)


I never thought about auditioning in mono... I always audition in stereo because that's how I listen.
Well it all depends....

I listen to mono when I (used to) desing, measure a speaker but the final listening is (ya should have mark was...) always stereo.