The human ear hears sounds in stereo, and the brain uses the subtle differences in
sounds entering the left and right ears to locate sounds in the environment. To re-
create this sonic experience, stereo recordings require two audio channels throughout
the recording and playback process. The microphones must be properly positioned to
accurately capture a stereo image, and speakers must also be spaced properly to re-
create a stereo image accurately.
If any part of the audio reproduction pathway eliminates one of the audio channels,
the stereo image will most likely be compromised. For example, if your playback system
has a CD player (two audio channels) connected to only one speaker, you will not hear
the intended stereo image.
All stereo recordings require two channels, but two-channel recordings are
not necessarily stereo. For example, if you use a single-capsule microphone to record
the same signal on two tracks, you are not making a stereo recording.