Why are mono soundtracks not liked much?

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by Patrick McCart, Sep 15, 2001.

  1. Patrick McCart

    Patrick McCart Lead Actor

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    I noticed that many DVD reviews usually will give a poor rating for a mono soundtrack...
    DVD's like It Happened One Night and Casablanca are mono, but the sound is REALLY good.
    I know some mono films have been re-mixed to 5.1 (most to great quality) like Wizard of Oz, North By Northwest, and Fantasia...and they get great audio ratings.
    What exactly makes mono tracks so "bad" and do you refuse to buy a DVD with only the original mono track?
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  2. Jon Robertson

    Jon Robertson Screenwriter

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    Because many people have lots of speakers all around the room and feel somehow "ripped off" that they aren't all being used.
    In the same way that many will stretch a correctly-framed 4:3 film to fill their 16:9 screen, they want to use every inch of their home theater gadgets, to the point of bastardising the original experience, which many DVDs do an excellent job of preserving...
    [Edited last by Jon Robertson on September 15, 2001 at 03:19 PM]
     
  3. Adam Tyner

    Adam Tyner Screenwriter

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    Just to add another track to the discussion -- I was really impressed with the mono audio on CTHV's 13 Ghosts.
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  4. Kevin Leonard

    Kevin Leonard Supporting Actor

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    quote: What exactly makes mono tracks so "bad" and do you refuse to buy a DVD with only the original mono track?[/quote]
    Well, a lot of HTF members are "how-it-was-originally-done" purists. Remember all the whining and bitching about the Superman DVD being remixed in 5.1 (which sounded fine to me btw)?
    I've noticed that a lot of studios (Anchor Bay, MGM, Criterion, etc.) are issuing their older films with new remixes as well as their original soundtracks. Which I think is best: that way you can please both groups.
    Personally, I don't care if it's 1.0, 2.0 or 5.1...as long as it gets the job done and I can hear everything fine. I've heard some great mono mixes.
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    [Edited last by Kevin Leonard on September 15, 2001 at 03:42 PM]
     
  5. Rolando

    Rolando Screenwriter

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    Well Jon's view is a little grim and not 100% accurate. No offense meant honestly, I agree that these types do exist but there are other more logical reasons.
    Wanting sound from all speakers is nice but not if it is detrimental to the sound quality or "feel" of the movie. What Jon described (especially the stretching a 4:3 image to fit a 16:9 TV) is just as evil as Pan 'n' Scan and many other things HTFers oppose.
    The problem with the announcement of a mono track on DVD is that we all know we will get a really crappy super compressed thin sounding Dolby Digital track not even closed to what it could or should sound like. (Phew! talk about a run on sentence!)
    Many have mono laser disks than sound better than the "upgraded" DVD counter part. I also think that a well planned out, newly re-mixed from the original sources 5.1 track can really make for a more immersive experience.
    Don't forget that even mono theatres had multiple speakers. Mono DOES NOT mean there is only one speaker or only one is active. It means that no matter how many you have they are all getting the exact same signal and are out-putting the same audio material.
    Let's not forget that a re-mixed track can sometimes sound almost exactly like the mono track but another advantage is range. Simply put: Higher highs and lower lows. It's fun sometimes for an explosion to sound like an explosion no matter the age of the film. Just watch the Punisher DVD and sit through that first explosion of a drug lord’s house and it sounds so lame. In contrast anyone who went to see Star Wars Special Edition in a theatre with 6 track Digital sound CANNOT say the Death Star explosion did not rock the house!
    I do agree however that a movie should not have a brand to soundtrack that does not even resemble the first. We don't want new, we want improved original.
    Just my 2 cents of course
     
  6. Jon Robertson

    Jon Robertson Screenwriter

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    Rolando - I was referring to those foolish individuals, not to the fine, film-respecting patrons like your good self and the many others found on these boards.
     
  7. Jerome Grate

    Jerome Grate Cinematographer

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    Well the object of DVDs is to get the best possible sound and video. But from my perspective a good movie is a good movie despite the sound.
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  8. TimW

    TimW Agent

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    >I know some mono films have been re-mixed to 5.1 (most to great quality) like Wizard of Oz, North By Northwest, and Fantasia...and they get great audio ratings.>
    Actually, Fantasia was the first film to make use of stereo channels in the theater environment, so it's original form should be considered stereo.
    Tim
     
  9. Greg_Y

    Greg_Y Screenwriter

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  10. Christina_DQ

    Christina_DQ Stunt Coordinator

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    I don't mind mono tracks(o 2.0 ect for that matter)if it's the original track & sounds great. Thats what matters most!
    Heres a list of some movies i own on dvd & which soundtrack i prefer.....
    Halloween THX L.E.- DD2.0. I thought it sounded better than the mono track,was louder & had a much better "feel" than the 5.1.
    Texas Chainsaw Massacre- mono, sounds great,has that gritty intense real "feel" that the stero track doesn't do justice.
    Phantasm- mono-again sounded better ect.
    Suspiria L.E.- DD2.0-sounds great-though i just got it & will give the other tracks a run through.
     
  11. Peter Apruzzese

    Peter Apruzzese Producer

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    quote: Don't forget that even mono theatres had multiple speakers. Mono DOES NOT mean there is only one speaker or only one is active. It means that no matter how many you have they are all getting the exact same signal and are out-putting the same audio material.[/quote]
    This is absolutely wrong, a theater with only a mono system has exactly one speaker planted dead-center behind the screen. A film with a mono soundtrack is only to be played through the center speaker and never through any others. Mono really does mean only one channel of sound, at least for movies. I suppose some theaters take mono signals and channel them through the left and right backstage speakers as well as the center, but all this does is royally screw-up the sound.
    [Edited last by Peter Apruzzese on September 15, 2001 at 11:32 PM]
     
  12. William Ward

    William Ward Supporting Actor

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    I'm looking into making mattes for the sides of my WS tv for when I view 4:3 AR films.
    I usually use the stereo mode when listening to mono movies. It gives a slightly wider soundstage even though it goes to the center when you sit in between the speakers. I agree with the assessment that when studios release mono or stereo soundtracks(especially when this is the only soundtrack presented) they use that crappy dolby 192 kbps crap that couldn't stand to hold a 1509 kbps PCM soundtrack's jockstrap. It just makes the track seem weaker.
    I was a 5.1 junkie when I first got my HTB but after about three or four months I started progressing to the original tracks. Basically, if the film had a six channel sound format(digital or magnetic) I'd prefer the 5.1 mix. But if it was originally mono I'd like that it be kept that way or if a re-mix is done that they keep it faithful to the mono mix. Re-doing the sound effects in Jaws wasn't my idea of a faithful "5.1ing" of a mono track. I do like the fact that they didn't put in any hokey surround sounds that would seem out of place in that movie. It is pretty well centered except for a few spots.
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  13. Mattias_ka

    Mattias_ka Supporting Actor

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    Well PatrickMcCart I think that there are 2 kind of people collecting dvd general speaking:
    The ones that are movie lovers = Wants the ORIGINAL experience, mono, stereo, 1.37:1, 2.35:1...
    The ones that are more into sound, picture insteed of the movie = Wants a remix DD 5.1 even from old classics that are in mono. Also want EVERYTHING in 16x9 even if you have to matt of picture info that should NOT be matted.
    Anchor bay's coming release of Bad taste that will include DD 5.1 and DTS 6.1!! From a ULTRA lowbudget movie made in ultra low mono!
    I also think that Rolando is right about Laserdisc having better mono sound than dvd's DD mono. A great site that sometime compare dvd vs ld is http://www.dvdscan.com
     
  14. Kim Donald

    Kim Donald Stunt Coordinator

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    I don't mind mono tracks but wish the signal would be sent to FL C FR as mono and not just to the center channel as this gives a fuller sound closer to what would be heard in a theater.
    kd
     
  15. Elbert Lee

    Elbert Lee Supporting Actor

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    I sometime end up using the TV speakers for MONO dvds. Sometimes, the "spatializer" effect of the TV speakers spreads the sound out a bit more rather than collapsing everything into the center speaker of your HT system. If I view a mono DVD in STEREO on my system, my entire audience has to sit in the sweet spot....
    - That's why I don't like mono DVDS!
    Elbert
     
  16. Glenn Overholt

    Glenn Overholt Producer

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    Patrick - you say many, and not all. I hope you meant that.
    My take is that some mono DVD's are ok. Like others have said, if they remix it to spread out over the fronts and the center, it sounds much better. The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly comes out of just the center, and it sounds horrible, but many other B & W's from the 40's & 50's sound just great, because someone had the brains to get the sound to come out of more than one speaker.
    Hope that helps.
    Glenn
     
  17. Jon Robertson

    Jon Robertson Screenwriter

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    Would everyone prefer mono soundtracks if they were spread across the front three speakers?
     
  18. Jim Robbins

    Jim Robbins Stunt Coordinator

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    I feel the same about Mono as I do about OAR. If that's the way it was in the theaters, then That's what I want it to be. Let the others have artifical stereo and color the black & whites.
     
  19. Bhagi Katbamna

    Bhagi Katbamna Supporting Actor

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  20. Lewis Besze

    Lewis Besze Producer

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    It's not about the original mix or intend it's about fidelity,at least to me.
    Most mono tracks comes from old movies,and their represent a vintage recording quality,and the fact that they deterioate over time didn't help either.
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