Ripping MP3s of vintage music in mono

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Ripping MP3s of vintage music in mono

#1 Post by Lawrence » Wed May 28, 2008 9:40 am

ITunes has a setting to rip variable bitrate MP3s in mono, not stereo. (Edit -> Preferences -> Advanced -> Importing -> Setting (Custom) -> Channels (Stereo or Mono). Doing so saves a tremendous amount of space: the resulting MP3s are less than half the size. (You can either save the space at the same minimum bitrate (same quality level) or double the minimum bitrate (double the quality) in the same amount of disc space.)

Does anyone know of a reason why I should NOT rip an MP3 of a vintage (mono) recording in mono? Does anyone anyone do so as a matter of course? The answer seems obvious, but I just wanted to check to see if anyone came across some unknown technical pitfall, either with the MP3 format, itself, or with the way vintage recordings are recorded onto CDs.

Years ago, I recorded some minidiscs in mono because they actually pitched it as a way to get more music on a single disc (and it didn't matter for vintage music). And it worked fine, and allowed me to get twice as much music on a minidisc, with no drop in sound quality. I ultimately considered it useless (and even foolish) to rip vintage music in stereo. And I know that minidiscs used a compression format similar to (or a rival to) what MP3s use, which is how they got the music to fit on smaller discs. Is recording in mono the same with MP3s, or is there something unique about MP3s?
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Re: Ripping MP3s of vintage music in mono

#2 Post by SoundInMotionDJ » Wed May 28, 2008 9:51 am

Lawrence wrote:Does anyone know of a reason why I should NOT rip an MP3 of a vintage (mono) recording in mono? Does anyone anyone do so as a matter of course?
There is no reason that vintage music can not be recorded in mono. There is the risk of laziness when ripping modern music - you might end up with mono versions of modern music. That said, most PA systems are setup to run mono anyway.

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#3 Post by Toon Town Dave » Wed May 28, 2008 3:22 pm

Besides space, I don't see any difference either way. Space is cheap and as Stan said, it's common to have monaural PAs. The space argument may have been a consideration a few years ago but not now.

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#4 Post by GemZombie » Thu May 29, 2008 8:23 pm

I forget the terminology, but I think "Joint Stereo" is kind of the "VBR" of stereo/mono... in that it compresses the channels and ends up with smaller size than the other stereo option. (I don't use iTunes to rip -- or at all -- so the option for joint stereo might not be there, but it is in other rippings engines).

It might not compress as much as mono, but In my laziness factor, it's my default setting and seems to get me the best bang for my byte.

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#5 Post by trev » Thu May 29, 2008 10:56 pm

Some CDs of mono recordings (ie: ones mastered from LPs) are in stereo with slight differences in the noise in each channel. It's rare that it would be enough to justify sticking with stereo, but it's something to be aware of.