Mono or stereo?




The crunch question


If you prefer mono and don´t see stereo as an option, this question does not have to ask itself. No problems in the studio, in the amplification on stage and also not in the transmission through the PA.

However, there are some features that are really fun to play in stereo: chorus, flanger, delay, pitch shifter, rotary and multi-amp setups (2 or more virtual amps at the same time – Axe-FX and Helix can do this) sound only in stereo really fat and wide. In the studio there are certainly no problems, but live on stage.

It starts with a broad stereo signal that is not PA-compatible. A simple example: the listener standing in the middle of the stage takes the stereo panorama of the guitar player as desired; another one, who is on the far right or left, hears the pan-delay (delay in stereo, with the repetitions of the original signal alternately between right and left) only half. This is also the case with a multi-amp setup, where e.g. On a Vox on the right and a Marshall on the left. The solution for the PA: Either the stereo guitar player programs his sounds more mono-compatible by not making extreme pannings, or the man at the FoH (mixing console, mostly in front of the PA in the auditorium) turns the two stereo channels of the guitarists slightly more to the center. The last one is, however, the slightly worse variant.

So how do I amplify my  s t e r e o – s o u n d  on stage? Also there are several possibilities .. 


Amplification in mono


The stereo signal must therefore be reduced to a single mono signal.

  1. You only amplify the right or left channel. Disadvantage: You only hear the half.
  2. You mix the signal from the stereo signal to a mono channel. Advantage over variant 1: You can now hear stereo delays and multi-amp setups better. Disadvantage: stereo chorus, stereo flanger, stereo phaser .. sound very bad because of deletions, which leads us to the logical conclusion … 


Amplification in stereo


Only in this case, you have the possibility to hear sounds in stereo correctly. You usually use 2 equal mono amps and set them apart. Whom 2 amps are too heavy, an amp in stereo is the solution. For small and medium-sized stages there is the BlueAmps “Blue 3”. If you like it a bit fatter and LOUDER, the BlueAmps “Ultimate” or the “Spark Full Stack” is recommended. The advantages are obvious in comparison to the amplification in mono. Everything is amplified as you have it in the studio, over headphones or over the stereo amp has programmed. Because of the speakers near to each other, the panorama is, of course, not as far as the studio monitor or headphones, but at least no sound information is lost, as it would be the case with a mono amplification.





I´d like to say something about the topic “in-ear”. Of course it is the best for musicians to listen to on stage. It is even better if the listeners are linear or a non-linearity is corrected with an EQ in front of the in-ear transmitter. For me, an in-ear system is not enough, because I always lack the interaction between the guitar and the loudspeaker, which is noticeable with a lack of sustain. So I ALWAYS put an FRFR amp on the stage.