Using mono vs stereo effects?

VST, AU, etc. plug-in Virtual Effects discussion
pascual
KVRist
426 posts since 15 Jul, 2003 from costa rica / oregon

Post Sat Dec 14, 2019 3:55 pm

So not until recently (bought waves plugs), haver I found that I have to choose between using stereo vs mono versions of my plugins.
How important is it to choose one over the other? Cpu usage? Quality?

Gracias.
B.
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acousticglue
KVRian
829 posts since 27 May, 2008

Re: Using mono vs stereo effects?

Post Sat Dec 14, 2019 4:20 pm

What do you want it to sound like? That is the question

yellowmix
KVRian
1442 posts since 11 Aug, 2012 from omfr morf form romf frmo

Re: Using mono vs stereo effects?

Post Sat Dec 14, 2019 4:22 pm

Waves has been around for a long time and they provide backwards compatibility almost to a fault. Some DAWs rigidly enforced track channel types so that is the historical basis. The DAWs did this to optimize CPU usage. Plugins have since evolved and can automatically adjust. But there are still instances where you may expressly want a mono plugin. Most commonly, Waves is often used in live situations where stereo processing is extraneous.

Also, there are mono/stereo plugins in the Waves range that heavily depend on what the plugin is doing. One example are reverbs. You may want a mono reverb, a reverb to accept a mono input and output stereo, a stereo reverb to accept a stereo input and output true stereo (where some of the left signal can be heard on the right as in real life), and stereo to multichannel/surround sound.

As for importance, think about the end results and choose what it takes to get there. If your CPU is handling the load fine then don't worry about it. If your CPU starts to struggle there are likely many other places where you can optimize or make compromises. But definitely read the manual. Waves often includes CPU-saving features especially in the older plugins.

pascual
KVRist
426 posts since 15 Jul, 2003 from costa rica / oregon

Re: Using mono vs stereo effects?

Post Sat Dec 14, 2019 4:27 pm

acousticglue wrote:
Sat Dec 14, 2019 4:20 pm
What do you want it to sound like? That is the question
I want it to sound awesome.
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pascual
KVRist
426 posts since 15 Jul, 2003 from costa rica / oregon

Re: Using mono vs stereo effects?

Post Sat Dec 14, 2019 4:29 pm

yellowmix wrote:
Sat Dec 14, 2019 4:22 pm
Waves has been around for a long time and they provide backwards compatibility almost to a fault. Some DAWs rigidly enforced track channel types so that is the historical basis. The DAWs did this to optimize CPU usage. Plugins have since evolved and can automatically adjust....
Super thanks for this answer!
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jochicago
KVRian
769 posts since 26 Feb, 2018

Re: Using mono vs stereo effects?

Post Sun Dec 15, 2019 12:38 pm

Not all plugins auto adjust. For CPU savings, I find it's best to pick the mono version when working on mono tracks. You can test this yourself by studying the CPU report in your DAW as you move the plugins around.

However, some plugins can receive mono and put out stereo data. An example would be a reverb that wants to give you a more 3d feel so it takes the mono signal but creates some auto-panning/ping-pong as it reverberates. So keep that in mind when you are reviewing your plugins mono/stereo options, and of course the channel has to be stereo in the DAW for that effect to even work.

ramseysounds
KVRian
589 posts since 9 Jul, 2014 from UK

Re: Using mono vs stereo effects?

Post Sun Dec 15, 2019 4:18 pm

jochicago wrote:
Sun Dec 15, 2019 12:38 pm
channel has to be stereo in the DAW for that effect to even work.
Ive seen so many people miss this simple but obvious point
I wonder what happens if I press this button...

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