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What's So Great About Stereo?


Still haven't pulled the trigger in monitors. Where I'm stuck is if I should buy one or two for my basement? I don't crank it too loud so would having it be in stereo be that much cooler? Where a normal guitar cab isn't in stereo, what it makes stereo so great?


I use stereo monitors together with cabs and because of the types of amps I use it all can run at low volume and sounds incredible. The AxeFx contributes to that equation as well of course.


Fractal Fanatic
Stereo usually applies to effects for things like ping pong delays and panned chorus/pitch voices and such and it can give greater separation of tones through panning when combining different amps and/or cabs. Besides stereo imaging, dual monitors also let you use a wet/dry setup for better clarity and separation between effects elements and core tones. The downsides are cost and having more crap to lug around to gigs.


Set up a patch with a nice ping-pong delay, strike a few chords, and the fun of stereo quickly become apparent. Usually don't translate to the live performance, at least from the audience perspective, and I wouldn't carry dual monitors for live use, but at home, or studio, its darn fun, provided you have the room and budget to do it.

Standing in front of a CLR wedge playing guitar through the Axe sounds awesome. Having two CLR wedges in a stereo setup just takes it to the next level and sounds huge with dual amp or cab setups, panning delays, or different time divsions panned differently etc. Just a sonic fest for the ears


But in a basement does it really make that much difference or is one monitor sufficient?
If you enjoy what you get with a regular cab then you won't miss anything... But stereo delay, rotary, etc is really cool in stereo.


Stereo = ear porn. Simple as that, bro.

I love me some stereo, but for practical reasons, I go mono because my band gigs in mono. Logistics & pragmatics.

But if I were playing with myself in my basement, I'd be stereo all the time. Stereo is all about self gratification. If it won't stretch your finances, INDULGE and go stereo! The Axe has wad blowing stereo fx.

Doesn't matter how small your room is. Even in a closet. Ear porn is better than mono.


The meaning of the word "stereo" as it applies to guitar rigs is somewhat of a misnomer. It was originally a term that meant panning could be used during mixdown to create a virtual sound stage where instruments and voices appear to originate from "between" the speakers. In other words to create a virtual (phantom) horizontal (and vertical) sound stage.

As it applies to most guitar rigs, stereo, really means dual mono, where there are two output channels that carry different signals meant to be panned left and right. Not to create a virtual phantom image between two speakers.

Some analog guitar rigs are stereo or w/d/w, 3 channels.

Sending different audio to two different speakers can create some cool efx.

I program presets and woodshed in stereo but play live 90% of the time in mono.

I set up my presets to be mono all the way to the reverb or delay. Then split into stereo. Live I just use either L or R out for mono.

So my stereo efx are last in my preset chain and don't change the nature of the preset drastically when I play mono.


Power User
If we're talking about practicing at home, I always play in mono, but with wide stereo backing tracks. This way I hear myself clearly without being much louder than the rest of the mix.

As regards effects, I use little unless I want my sound to be heavily modified. If you do use a lot of effects, especially reverbs/delays, making them stereo with the main guitar mono helps avoid muddying the sound.


As for stage use, few people will truly hear the stereo effect unless they are in the right cone. For the guitar player, stereo sounds fun to play in. Actually I remember a concert with Steve Morse in the nineties where the sound guy did a really good job panning a stereo effect from Steve Morse's rig to fill the area, but I suspect it also depended where you were standing -- but it helped a lot in a trio setup.


I have been using the Roland JC-40, plug direct into the effect loop. Sounds great to me. I do not use the effects or distortion on the amp, I bring all that in via the AX8. Plenty loud for me, in fact, in my studio I have to have the AX8 output turned WAY down. It is light enough for an old man to haul around with little trouble. I love the stereo, I can pan stereo cabs left and right, and/or process a wet/dry/wet signal. It may not be as pure as the purists, but I can get many wonderful clean and dirty tones.



Power User
Stereo is fun. If you're just playing for fun in your basement then definitely go for the stereo setup. The only time its not practical is live with a band with 2 guitarists.


You have two ears...use them!
Sitting in front of a set of studio monitors or d/w/d rig at home.. sure.
The soundguy in me wants to shout that "stereo is worthless to a live audience", but I might hurt some feelings of those stage-side.
The reality is that stereo for live purposes is about what the musicians wants to make themselves feel good about playing.
It does not translate well to an audience, which is why most PA's run in a mono config.
Plus, most instruments [live] have a single sound source.. Keys and modelers are able to provide L/R inputs, but pretty much everything else is single source, from drums to bass to vocals. When did you last sing into a stereo mic? To be sure there are mixing "tricks" to emulate it...
I seldom pan a L/R feed hard L or R as the stereo effect is lost on most of the audience.
I want person A in the back left corner to share the same sonic experience as the person at FOH and under the right line array/stack.
Stereo makes that a challenge..
I fully expect many to disagree with this....


I use powered studio monitors (sometimes in stereo) at home and a mono Matrix FR12 for gigs. Stereo is fun and as mentioned some effects require it. But mono sounds great, too. If you just play at home, get powered studio monitors instead of a stage monitor. And get the best ones you can afford, even if you just start by buying one. I got Adams AX3 and wish I had spent a bit more on bigger speakers. You probably know this, but they will make the music you play out of your computer clearer, too.
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