Identifying Stereo Recordings
When you are trying to decide how to work with an audio clip, you need to know
whether a two-channel recording was intended to be stereo or not. Usually, the person
recording production sound will have labeled the tapes or audio files to indicate
whether they were recorded as stereo recordings or dual-channel mono recordings.
However, things don’t always go as planned, and tapes aren’t always labeled as
thoroughly as they should be. As an editor, it’s important to learn how to differentiate
between the two.
Here are some tips for distinguishing stereo from dual mono recordings:
Â Stereo recordings must have two independent tracks. If you have a tape with only
one track of audio, or a one-channel audio file, your audio is mono, not stereo.
Note: It is possible that a one-channel audio file is one half of a stereo pair. These are
known as split stereo files, because the left and right channels are contained in
independent files. Usually, these files are labeled accordingly: AudioFile.L and AudioFile.R
are two audio files that make up the left and right channels of a stereo sound.
Â Almost all music, especially commercially available music, is mixed in stereo.
Â Listen to a clip using two (stereo) speakers. If each side sounds subtly different, it is
probably stereo. If each side sounds absolutely the same, it may be a mono
recording. If each side is completely unrelated, it is a dual mono recording.