Stereo vs Mono: Difference, Uses and Which One to Choose?

Stereo vs Mono: Difference, Uses and Which One to Choose?

stereo VS MonoStereo vs mono: In the world of music production, both stereo and mono have great importance because of their variety. People all over the world love music and love to enjoy their favorite music as much as possible. So here comes the necessity of differentiation, which caused the invention of stereo, which uses two channels, and mono, which uses a single channel.

By curiosity, A large number of people search what is stereo, what is mono sound or mono audio meaning? So, in this article, I’ll easily demonstrate these two, with differences and their usage and which one you may need.

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What is mono audio?

mono audioMono is the short form of Monophonic or Monaural, mono audio meaning one sound.

While recording music or any sound, it’s recorded by one audio channel and while playing back, it’s also played using one audio channel that is called mono audio. From recording to playing back, everything has to be done using one audio channel.

If you use one microphone for recording different instrument sounds at the same time, it’s still mono audio. No matter how many instruments you use, because you recorded through one microphone. Converting a sound to a signal, mono use only one channel. So it doesn’t matter if you use several speakers while playing back audio, because the same signal will pass through all the speakers.

Let me give you an easy example.

While your mom and dad are singing together, your brother is playing guitar for them in music cooperation. At that time, you recorded that audio through one microphone and played it back for listening using one or several speakers. That’s it, and that’s the general principle of a mono audio system.

Source: Wikipedia

What is stereo sound?

stereo music

Stereo is the short form of stereophonic, which means full sound.

While recording music or sound, it’s recorded by two or more independent audio channels, and while playing back it’s also played using two or more audio channels that are called stereo. From recording to playing, everything has to be done using two or more independent audio channels.

If you use two microphones when recording different instruments sounds, and also playback through two different channels, that is stereo. When converting a sound to a signal, stereo use two or more channels. If you have only single speaker, you’ll only be able to play mono sound. It doesn’t matter if the audio is recorded by two channels. Because of one speaker, stereo sound will be converted into a mono sound to play them perfectly.

To get the stereo sound experience, you need to have at least two speakers or an earphone. After converting the signal to stereo sound, the right channel and left channel will get each sound differently. That means your speakers will play the stereo sound uniquely through the L and R channels. It’s easily noticeable with earphones; you can hear two different sound sources in both ears.

Source: Wikipedia

Now that we know how these two sound types work, I'm sure you have a basic idea of their differences, so let me give you another detailed comparison.

What is the difference between mono and stereo 

what is stereo soundThe main difference between stereo and mono is that from audio recording to audio playback, mono uses a single channel while stereo uses two or more independent channels. Mono audio can play through a stereo channel, though the mono signal will remain the same. But, when a stereo sound is going through mono, it will change its stereo signal to a mono sound. Sum up, it depends on how you recorded the audio and how many channels through you’re going to play it.

When it comes to the comparison, people often ask, " Stereo vs Mono, which one is better?" Or is mono audio better?

To be honest, it depends on the user's choice. If you watch a movie through a stereo speaker, you’ll feel the sound with more width and depth, which gives you a live experience. If you like to listen to music using a single speaker, then a mono is for you. Mono sound ensures that you hear all the parts of music through one speaker.

For listening to music in stereo, sound can be multi-dimensional and in 3D, while mono is constant. If you’re having a party in your whole house, every audience will hear the same thing in mono and there will be no variation in the audio. The audio type we used to hear like MP3 and WAV are stereotype audio file format.

Difference between “Mono vs stereo recording”. For recording and reproduction, mono is less expensive than stereo and it’s easy to record. On the other hand, it’s hard to record sounds in stereo because it requires skill and technical knowledge.

In real life, both mono and stereo have great importance and are used in various cases. So, let’s see their usage in our life.

As we know, mono is constant, so it’s used for public programs such as talk shows, telephone, and mobile communication where people can hear the same thing. It’s also highly used for hearing aids and also in some Am stations.

On the contrary, stereo sound is not constant and it’s mostly used in watching movies or television, so people can get the real thrill of the videos with 3D sound. It’s also highly used in music players and Fm radio stations for its sound variation.

Understanding the difference between these two is critical especially when buying headphones for listening to classical music or any other music genre that you’re fond of. 


For starters, the type of speakers and by extension the headphones you use should produce the original sound without overemphasizing the treble and the bass. 


There are newer headphone brands that allow users to switch between mono and stereo thus giving you a taste of both. 


The two have their advantages and disadvantages when it comes to the overall listening but for music players, stereo always carries the day due to its sound variation. 


As you read on, you’ll come to appreciate the place of both mono and stereo, when it comes to the quality of your recording and listening."

Stereo vs mono: Which one to choose?

Stereo sound system

Now, let us closer to our life application: your “home stereo system” which usually consist with amplifiers or preamplifiers and stereo speakers. When it comes to building the home stereo system, people are frequently confused because they don’t know which system is best fit for them. And one of the main factors is choosing mono audio or stereo audio when they purchasing an amplifier or preamplifier for their speakers. Before purchasing a mono or stereo product, it is necessary to understand the difference between an amplifier and a preamplifier.

Well, let me explain to you in short, A preamp boosts the weak signal to line level and an amplifier boosts the line level signal to the speakers. If you have a powered speaker or an active speaker, you need to buy a preamplifier. Because the Active speaker has an amplifier inside. If you have a passive speaker, and the sound comes through a weak source such as a microphone, you will need to purchase a preamplifier and an amplifier, both for getting better quality audio output to the speakers.

Once you have decided on an amplifier and preamplifier situation, then you can choose between mono or stereo, depending on your preference.

No matter you run a bar, a club, a restaurant, a hotel, or you’re planning to have a whole-house audio setup. Mono audio will produce an equal signal to both L and R channel speakers. That means you can have equal surround sound without any variance. No matter how many zones and how many speakers you want to play at a single time, you can sync all the zones and play the same music without any variation.

If you're an artist or a sound producer, you'll likely have stereo capabilities in your soundtracks because it will give them a sense of direction that will make your music come alive. If you’re a normal person who just wants to get 3D dimensional realistic sound while watching a movie, listening to music, or while playing a game. You can even use a stereo for a multi-room setup. It should be noted that for hearing multi-room stereo, you need at least two speakers in each room, so a person in the room feels the stereophonic sound properly.

Some people also ask is it possible to switch between mono and stereo mode?

The answer is yes, it’s possible. With this Up2stream Amp V4, you can easily switch between mono to stereo mode. Arylic’s made this amplifier class-d categorized, which is recognized for its high efficiency. If you don’t have an idea what a class-d amplifier is, then you may refer to this article.

So, sum up all the facts, make your own decision based on your preference.

Now you may be interested in finding some stereo and mono-based products. I have a good recommendation for you:

Arylic system will exactly meet your needs. Both stereo and mono devices come with an advanced wireless feature with easy control functionality. It allows you to stream your music over Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, and Airplay. Which stereo and mono amps will enhance your speaker and subwoofer performance. The products come with finished and DIY variations to fulfill your demands. which may fit your budget.

Let me give you a quick view of the advantages.

  1. Support WIFI & Bluetooth streaming
  2. Support Airplay, Spotify Connect, DLNA, UPNA protocols
  3. Support Spotify, Amazon Music, Tidal, Deezer, Qobuz, Napster, TuneIn, Internet Radio, and iHeart Radio.
  4. Support local files, USB Storage, and NAS streaming
  5. Multiroom/multizone streaming

Want to discover more? Then click and view the product from Arylic.

Thanks for reading. If you like our article, feel free to leave your comments and share this article!  What is your preference? Mono or Stereo?  Let’s see you in the next!


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