🧠Shakespeare once said "To mix in mono or not, that is the question"
🤔What is the difference between stereo and mono?
The difference is in the number of channels (signals) used. Mono uses one, stereo uses more than one. In monaural sound one single channel is used. It can be reproduced through several speakers, but all speakers are still reproducing the same copy of the signal.
🤔How do I reference my track / song / mix in mono?
Put your DAW's "utility" plugin on the master channel. This will either have a "mono" button which you can just turn on and off to reference. Or, bring the "width" knob down to 0%. This will then allow you to hear your track in mono.
⚠️Keep in mind, you want your song to sound great in BOTH stereo, and mono.
Majority of devices that we listen to music on, are stereo. Let's also be honest...wide, spacious mixes sound AMAZING! Sounds moving from ear to ear, nice reverbs creating space, etc.
This doesn't mean we can completely
forget about the mono mix though...
There are still mono club systems, as well as other devices (some blue-tooth speakers, etc) people listen on. You want to make sure that your song still translates well on those too.
The general rule of thumb is that your MAIN ELEMENTS should still show up well in the mono mix. If you find your main sounds are being "canceled" in the mono mix, you need to address this.
Layering is a great approach to having both a strong center (mid/mono mix) and a wide (stereo) mix.
For example...you can have one main lead layer a little more "center focused" (doesn't necessarily have to be dead mono) and then you can layer it with extremely wide layers to push the width. When summing to mono, the main sound still shows up, and the little ear candy layers...well its okay if they aren't as present. Their job was to stretch the width!
Hope this helps you in your next mixdown!