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Re: [RedHotJazz] How to play in true mono?

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  • Michael Rader
    Just a couple of points about Howard s answer: - The mono button to be found on some amplifiers, like a 25 year old+ amplifier I have in my basement, simply
    Message 1 of 13 , May 23, 2005
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      Just a couple of points about Howard's answer:

      - The mono button to be found on some amplifiers, like a 25 year old+ amplifier I have in my basement, simply combines both channels, so the noise is still there, but may be less obtrusive. Some CDs are characterised by a glorious stereo spread of surface noise because whoever transferred the original discs played them in stereo.

      - Older amplifiers, like a very cheap Japanese job I had in the 1970s, had additionally the option of playing each channel separately, which can make the world of difference on a mono recording, since you can switch off the surface noise from the noisier channel.

      - Colin Bray told me about a fairly simple device called the audio signal director, available from KAB electronics in the USA (www.kabusa.com), which costs about $100. With this you can select channels, combine both channels or switch channels, i.e. hear what is on the left channel to you right and vice versa. I use this for playing mono records and I guess you could also use it for CDs. The only problem is that you would probably have to hook it up anew each time you switch between analogue records and CDs: I think there's only one input and there would be a problem with ouput due to the use of preamplification for record players. You could always buy two or make your own. The circuitry is probably quite simple, but beyond my own technical capabilities.

      There is additionally the option of only recording one channel onto a copy of the CD (see my other mail).

      Cheers,

      Michael Rader

      Karlsruhe, Germany

      RedHotJazz@yahoogroups.com schrieb am 23.05.05 08:58:09:
      >
      > on 23/5/05 7:19, Michael Rader at Rader.Michael@... wrote:
      >
      > > I think both Gerard and Howard mentioned the possibilty of playing CDs in
      > > mono. My question is how do you do it? Combine both channels into mono or play
      > > just the one channel with less noise? Most modern amplifiers no longer have
      > > the option of even combining into mono, let alone playing each channel
      > > separately. There are gadgets for the purpose, such as something called an
      > > audio noise director, which I have for records.
      >
      > The answer is that I have an amplifier which does.
      >
      > I am unhappily aware that replacing it when it dies may prove an expensive
      > business since this requirement is now distinctly a minority one, but how
      > can you play 78s without a mono button? They sound vile with stereo surface
      > noise. It's still there of course, it's just easier for the ear to ignore
      > it, and this evidently applies to badly made CDs as well as 78s.
      >
      > Incidentally I have no idea whether a mono button generates "true mono", but
      > it sure reduces the intrusiveness of surface noise.
      >
      > Howard Rye, 20 Coppermill Lane, London, England, E17 7HB
      > howard@...
      > Tel/FAX: +44 20 8521 1098
      >
      >
      >
      >
      >
      >
      > Yahoo! Groups Links
      >
      >
      >
      >
      >
      >


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    • Howard Rye
      ... Yes, indeed. I strongly suspected that you knew a lot more about the technicalities of this than I did! Yes, the noise is still there, you just notice it a
      Message 2 of 13 , May 23, 2005
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        on 23/5/05 8:19, Michael Rader at Rader.Michael@... wrote:

        > Just a couple of points about Howard's answer:
        >
        > - The mono button to be found on some amplifiers, like a 25 year old+
        > amplifier I have in my basement, simply combines both channels, so the noise
        > is still there, but may be less obtrusive.

        Yes, indeed. I strongly suspected that you knew a lot more about the
        technicalities of this than I did! Yes, the noise is still there, you just
        notice it a lot less, at least you do if you are used to playing old
        records. It probably still sounds like listening to music in a hail storm to
        most "normal" people.

        Your next point sounds like an even better commercial for never ever having
        an amplifier without a mono button.


        >Some CDs are characterised by a
        > glorious stereo spread of surface noise because whoever transferred the
        > original discs played them in stereo.
        >
        > - Older amplifiers, like a very cheap Japanese job I had in the 1970s, had
        > additionally the option of playing each channel separately, which can make the
        > world of difference on a mono recording, since you can switch off the surface
        > noise from the noisier channel.
        >
        > - Colin Bray told me about a fairly simple device called the audio signal
        > director, available from KAB electronics in the USA (www.kabusa.com), which
        > costs about $100. With this you can select channels, combine both channels or
        > switch channels, i.e. hear what is on the left channel to you right and vice
        > versa. I use this for playing mono records and I guess you could also use it
        > for CDs. The only problem is that you would probably have to hook it up anew
        > each time you switch between analogue records and CDs: I think there's only
        > one input and there would be a problem with ouput due to the use of
        > preamplification for record players. You could always buy two or make your
        > own. The circuitry is probably quite simple, but beyond my own technical
        > capabilities.
        >
        > There is additionally the option of only recording one channel onto a copy of
        > the CD (see my other mail).


        Howard Rye, 20 Coppermill Lane, London, England, E17 7HB
        howard@...
        Tel/FAX: +44 20 8521 1098
      • Michael Rader
        As Howard suggests, the mono button only just partly disguises the problem. The real solution is to have something that can play channels selectively. Some
        Message 3 of 13 , May 23, 2005
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          As Howard suggests, the mono button only just partly disguises the problem. The real solution is to have something that can play channels selectively. Some home cinema sets have a mono button, but again this just combines. Also, some devices have a mono switch for use with FM radio (weak transmitters), which can't be used for any other functions, such as listening to CDs.

          Having said that, I have to confess that the "noise" on one channel of the Jack Hylton CD was due mainly to a defective earplug. The CD sounded far better on other headphones, even though these are ancient and missing the foam rubber cushion. I'll continue to experiment, maybe with the Cl. Williams this time, and report back.

          Cheers,
          Michael

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        • Joel Fritz
          ... The mono button makes each channel the sum of the left and right channels. As far as what constitutes true mono, it s a semantic deal. You can record on
          Message 4 of 13 , May 23, 2005
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            Howard Rye wrote:
            > on 23/5/05 7:19, Michael Rader at Rader.Michael@... wrote:
            >
            > > I think both Gerard and Howard mentioned the possibilty of playing CDs in
            > > mono. My question is how do you do it? Combine both channels into
            > mono or play
            > > just the one channel with less noise? Most modern amplifiers no
            > longer have
            > > the option of even combining into mono, let alone playing each channel
            > > separately. There are gadgets for the purpose, such as something
            > called an
            > > audio noise director, which I have for records.
            >
            > The answer is that I have an amplifier which does.
            >
            > I am unhappily aware that replacing it when it dies may prove an expensive
            > business since this requirement is now distinctly a minority one, but how
            > can you play 78s without a mono button? They sound vile with stereo surface
            > noise. It's still there of course, it's just easier for the ear to ignore
            > it, and this evidently applies to badly made CDs as well as 78s.
            >
            > Incidentally I have no idea whether a mono button generates "true mono", but
            > it sure reduces the intrusiveness of surface noise.
            >
            > Howard Rye, 20 Coppermill Lane, London, England, E17 7HB
            > howard@...
            > Tel/FAX: +44 20 8521 1098
            >
            >
            >


            The mono button makes each channel the sum of the left and right
            channels. As far as what constitutes true mono, it's a semantic deal.
            You can record on one channel using multiple inputs.

            Stereo records have one channel in the up and down direction and the
            other in side to side. Since 78s have information only in one plane
            (mostly side to side) scratches or surface imperfections in the other
            can cause problems.

            One solution that may involve more work than it's worth is to record the
            cd to your hard drive, use a sound editor program to combine the two
            channels, and dub it to a new cd. Free to cheap editors can combine the
            two channels by addition. Fancier ones give you pretty much all the
            ways you can add or subtract two channels.

            I can't blame anyone for just wanting to listen to the music without
            having to worry about post processing a cd that cost money.
          • aclassicjazzfan
            While I ve learned an enormous amount from Michael & Howard about the intricacies of stereo equipment and reproducing music files in various formats, I feel
            Message 5 of 13 , May 23, 2005
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              While I've learned an enormous amount from Michael & Howard about
              the intricacies of stereo equipment and reproducing music files in
              various formats, I feel bad that my initial inquiry about the sound
              distortion on several CDs has prompted them both to go through so
              much trouble on my behalf, but I certainly appreciate their efforts.

              Michael notes that two of the CDs in question were produced during
              the same period. True, "Odds & Bits" is Timeless 55 & "Clarence
              Williams & His Orchestra, vol. 1" is Timeless 56. Why, then, does
              disk *one* of the CW set sound fine while disk *two* sounds like it
              was recorded "in a hailstorm"? (wonderful metaphor, Howard) I don't
              yet have vol. 2 in this CW series (Timeless 57). Can anyone report
              on its sound quality? I do have most of the Timeless volumes just
              before 55 and just after 56 and they all sound fine. At least in
              the case of Timeless, the problem seems to be limited to just a
              couple of CDs produced within a narrow time frame.

              What baffles me is why some Timeless & Retrieval CDs would have the
              same problem. I know both companies are based in the Netherlands.
              Do they share plants and personnel? Promise me, though, that you
              won't travel to foreign soil to find out!

              Gerard


              --- In RedHotJazz@yahoogroups.com, "Michael Rader"
              <Rader.Michael@w...> wrote:
              > As Howard suggests, the mono button only just partly disguises the
              problem. The real solution is to have something that can play
              channels selectively. Some home cinema sets have a mono button, but
              again this just combines. Also, some devices have a mono switch for
              use with FM radio (weak transmitters), which can't be used for any
              other functions, such as listening to CDs.
              >
              > Having said that, I have to confess that the "noise" on one
              channel of the Jack Hylton CD was due mainly to a defective earplug.
              The CD sounded far better on other headphones, even though these are
              ancient and missing the foam rubber cushion. I'll continue to
              experiment, maybe with the Cl. Williams this time, and report back.
              >
              > Cheers,
              > Michael
              >
              > __________________________________________________________
              > Mit WEB.DE FreePhone mit hoechster Qualitaet ab 0 Ct./Min.
              > weltweit telefonieren! http://freephone.web.de/?mc=021201
            • Howard Rye
              ... Well, I ve got it. I suspect I haven t played it yet and I ll be honest that I m not really very keen on playing it in stereo to find out whether it would
              Message 6 of 13 , May 23, 2005
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                on 23/5/05 18:34, aclassicjazzfan at gfitzpatrick@... wrote:

                > Why, then, does
                > disk *one* of the CW set sound fine while disk *two* sounds like it
                > was recorded "in a hailstorm"? (wonderful metaphor, Howard) I don't
                > yet have vol. 2 in this CW series (Timeless 57). Can anyone report
                > on its sound quality?

                Well, I've got it. I suspect I haven't played it yet and I'll be honest that
                I'm not really very keen on playing it in stereo to find out whether it
                would have been more sensible to stick to the LPs!

                Howard Rye, 20 Coppermill Lane, London, England, E17 7HB
                howard@...
                Tel/FAX: +44 20 8521 1098
              • Michael Rader
                The Retrievals in question bear the legend Made In Germany while the Timeless do not. The Timeless Clarence Williams are from 2001 the Brunswick Odds and
                Message 7 of 13 , May 23, 2005
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                  The Retrievals in question bear the legend "Made In Germany" while the Timeless do not. The Timeless Clarence Williams are from 2001 the Brunswick Odds and Bits from 1999, while the Retrievals are from 1999 or 2000. I think that there is some noise on the Clarence Williams Vol. 2, but won't draw any final conclusions before checking my headphones
                  ;-).

                  Michael

                  > While I've learned an enormous amount from Michael & Howard about
                  > the intricacies of stereo equipment and reproducing music files in
                  > various formats, I feel bad that my initial inquiry about the sound
                  > distortion on several CDs has prompted them both to go through so
                  > much trouble on my behalf, but I certainly appreciate their efforts.
                  >
                  > Michael notes that two of the CDs in question were produced during
                  > the same period. True, "Odds & Bits" is Timeless 55 & "Clarence
                  > Williams & His Orchestra, vol. 1" is Timeless 56. Why, then, does
                  > disk *one* of the CW set sound fine while disk *two* sounds like it
                  > was recorded "in a hailstorm"? (wonderful metaphor, Howard) I don't
                  > yet have vol. 2 in this CW series (Timeless 57). Can anyone report
                  > on its sound quality? I do have most of the Timeless volumes just
                  > before 55 and just after 56 and they all sound fine. At least in
                  > the case of Timeless, the problem seems to be limited to just a
                  > couple of CDs produced within a narrow time frame.
                  >
                  > What baffles me is why some Timeless & Retrieval CDs would have the
                  > same problem. I know both companies are based in the Netherlands.
                  > Do they share plants and personnel? Promise me, though, that you
                  > won't travel to foreign soil to find out!
                  >
                  > Gerard
                  >
                  >
                  > --- In RedHotJazz@yahoogroups.com, "Michael Rader"
                  > <Rader.Michael@w...> wrote:
                  > > As Howard suggests, the mono button only just partly disguises the
                  > problem. The real solution is to have something that can play
                  > channels selectively. Some home cinema sets have a mono button, but
                  > again this just combines. Also, some devices have a mono switch for
                  > use with FM radio (weak transmitters), which can't be used for any
                  > other functions, such as listening to CDs.
                  > >
                  > > Having said that, I have to confess that the "noise" on one
                  > channel of the Jack Hylton CD was due mainly to a defective earplug.
                  > The CD sounded far better on other headphones, even though these are
                  > ancient and missing the foam rubber cushion. I'll continue to
                  > experiment, maybe with the Cl. Williams this time, and report back.
                  > >
                  > > Cheers,
                  > > Michael
                  > >
                  > > __________________________________________________________
                  > > Mit WEB.DE FreePhone mit hoechster Qualitaet ab 0 Ct./Min.
                  > > weltweit telefonieren! http://freephone.web.de/?mc=021201
                  >
                  >
                  >
                  >
                  >
                  >
                  > Yahoo! Groups Links
                  >
                  >
                  >
                  >
                  >
                  >


                  __________________________________________________________
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                • Bryan Wright
                  ... The easiest (and cheapest) way to hear true mono if your amplifier doesn t have a switch is just to get a couple of Y-cables with standard RCA connectors.
                  Message 8 of 13 , May 24, 2005
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                    > > My question is how do you do it? Combine both channels into
                    > > mono or play
                    > > > just the one channel with less noise?

                    The easiest (and cheapest) way to hear true mono if your amplifier doesn't have
                    a switch is just to get a couple of Y-cables with standard RCA connectors. Get
                    the first RCA Y-cable that will take two RCA inputs (from your turntable or CD
                    player's outputs) and combine them to one RCA output. Then get a second RCA
                    Y-cable that takes one RCA input and splits it to two RCA outputs. Connect
                    these to the inputs on your amplifier. Voila -- instant mono! Each of the two Y-
                    cables costs about $6 at Radio Shack, so you can do the whole thing for about
                    $12 and the results are well worth it (I notice a tremendous difference when I'm
                    playing 78s). Essentially, you're combining the stereo signal into one mono
                    signel, then splitting it back to two identical mono signals so that you can hear it
                    out of both of your stereo speakers. I have a stereo/mono switch on my mixer,
                    but when I'm transferring records to CD, I bypass the mixer aand use this
                    cabling setup because the mixer sometimes introduces a tiny bit of noise.

                    Hope this helps!
                    Bryan
                  • Bryan Wright
                    ... The easiest (and cheapest) way to hear true mono if your amplifier doesn t have a switch is just to get a couple of Y-cables with standard RCA connectors.
                    Message 9 of 13 , May 24, 2005
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                      > > My question is how do you do it? Combine both channels into
                      > > mono or play
                      > > > just the one channel with less noise?

                      The easiest (and cheapest) way to hear true mono if your amplifier doesn't have
                      a switch is just to get a couple of Y-cables with standard RCA connectors. Get
                      the first RCA Y-cable that will take two RCA inputs (from your turntable or CD
                      player's outputs) and combine them to one RCA output. Then get a second RCA
                      Y-cable that takes one RCA input and splits it to two RCA outputs. Connect
                      these to the inputs on your amplifier. Voila -- instant mono! Each of the two Y-
                      cables costs about $6 at Radio Shack, so you can do the whole thing for about
                      $12 and the results are well worth it (I notice a tremendous difference when I'm
                      playing 78s). Essentially, you're combining the stereo signal into one mono
                      signel, then splitting it back to two identical mono signals so that you can hear it
                      out of both of your stereo speakers. I have a stereo/mono switch on my mixer,
                      but when I'm transferring records to CD, I bypass the mixer aand use this
                      cabling setup because the mixer sometimes introduces a tiny bit of noise.

                      Hope this helps!
                      Bryan
                    • Michael Rader
                      For one thing, we don t have Radio Shack in continental Europe - I don t know for certain about the UK, but anyway there are equivalents and you can easily get
                      Message 10 of 13 , May 25, 2005
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                        For one thing, we don't have Radio Shack in continental Europe - I don't know for certain about the UK, but anyway there are equivalents and you can easily get Y-cables in most chains tores like MediaMarkt, Saturn, Dixons and whatever else there is ;-).

                        However, when using this solution for mono recordings which have a stereo spread for extraneous noise, I would suggest hooking one output channel on the CD or record player - the one with less noise - with a y-chord to give two identical mono outputs. This is OK if your gear is located so that you can plug and unplug inputs and outputs easily. If it's sitting close to a wall in some shelves, as mine is, this is probably not the easiest solution, since depending on where more noise is, you might have to hook up anew for every record you want to play. Combining both channels into one retains the noise, even if it might be less obvious.
                        Cheers,

                        Michael

                        Karlsruhe, Germany



                        RedHotJazz@yahoogroups.com schrieb am 24.05.05 17:09:48:
                        >
                        > > > My question is how do you do it? Combine both channels into
                        > > > mono or play
                        > > > > just the one channel with less noise?
                        >
                        > The easiest (and cheapest) way to hear true mono if your amplifier doesn't have
                        > a switch is just to get a couple of Y-cables with standard RCA connectors. Get
                        > the first RCA Y-cable that will take two RCA inputs (from your turntable or CD
                        > player's outputs) and combine them to one RCA output. Then get a second RCA
                        > Y-cable that takes one RCA input and splits it to two RCA outputs. Connect
                        > these to the inputs on your amplifier. Voila -- instant mono! Each of the two Y-
                        > cables costs about $6 at Radio Shack, so you can do the whole thing for about
                        > $12 and the results are well worth it (I notice a tremendous difference when I'm
                        > playing 78s). Essentially, you're combining the stereo signal into one mono
                        > signel, then splitting it back to two identical mono signals so that you can hear it
                        > out of both of your stereo speakers. I have a stereo/mono switch on my mixer,
                        > but when I'm transferring records to CD, I bypass the mixer aand use this
                        > cabling setup because the mixer sometimes introduces a tiny bit of noise.
                        >
                        > Hope this helps!
                        > Bryan
                        >
                        >
                        >
                        >
                        > Yahoo! Groups Links
                        >
                        >
                        >
                        >
                        >
                        >


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                        Mit WEB.DE FreePhone mit hoechster Qualitaet ab 0 Ct./Min.
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                      • aclassicjazzfan
                        ... 57). Can anyone report on its sound quality? I do have most of the Timeless volumes just before 55 and just after 56 and they all sound fine. At least
                        Message 11 of 13 , May 28, 2005
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                          --- In RedHotJazz@yahoogroups.com, "aclassicjazzfan"
                          <gfitzpatrick@u...> wrote:

                          > I don't yet have vol. 2 in the Clarence William series (Timeless
                          57). Can anyone report on its sound quality? I do have most of the
                          Timeless volumes just before 55 and just after 56 and they all sound
                          fine. At least in the case of Timeless, the problem seems to be
                          limited to just a couple of CDs produced within a narrow time frame.
                          >
                          > Gerard


                          I've just acquired "Clarence Williams & His Orchestra, vol. 2: 1933-
                          1937" (Timeless 57). I regret to report that all cuts on both disks
                          in this set have the same sort of sound distortions (short "buzzes"
                          or static) as does disk two in volume 1 (disk one sounds fine). This
                          seems to confirm Michael's theory that the Timeless CDs from 2001 had
                          a production problem. Fortunately, the noise is less intrusive on
                          vol. 2 than on vol. 1. In any case, the music is wonderful.

                          Gerard
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