Mono vs. Stereo

  • Salute boyz,

    I am aware that there had been a little bit of talking about this topic, but haven't found anything helpful really...


    So - Does the Kemper sounds good on MONO as much as it is on STEREO?

    Do you use the Kemper on MONO at all?


    I tried it for a bit and immediately it sounded noticeably different... For example I had an Air Chorus on, with STEREO it sounded very subtle like I wanted, but then on MONO it became super noticeable, had a very different effect on the sound, and even sounded more like a phaser...


    Any suggestions/answers?

    + If you use yours on MONO what's your experience? :)

  • A lot depends on the context in which you're using it. I'm strictly a studio rat these days, and stereo guitars for a classic rock mix tend to be more difficult to fit in with other guitars, keyboards, etc. so I use mono exclusively. And for what I'm doing, the tones are outstanding.


    However, as I mentioned to someone the other day, it's not a one size fits all thing. If you're doing a three piece with just one guitar part, you may want a wide stereo guitar to fill up the space. Also, if it's just you hanging out by yourself and playing, stereo could be a more gratifying listening experience. So there are cases where that might be the best approach.


    That said, it makes sense that there are effects that would sound different in mono than they would stereo, so it's a matter of first deciding if you need stereo or mono guitars, and then finding the sounds you want.

  • However, as I mentioned to someone the other day, it's not a one size fits all thing. If you're doing a three piece with just one guitar part, you may want a wide stereo guitar to fill up the space. Also, if it's just you hanging out by yourself and playing, stereo could be a more gratifying listening experience. So there are cases where that might be the best approach.

    This. Perfectly described Chris.


    For me:

    • Studio work with several guitar tracks in a recording and playing in a double guitar band all calls for mono use. Actually no stereo effects involved then. In the studio stereo effects are applied often later in the process even if the Kemper effects are outstanding (I use them a lot during re-amping of different signals).
    • For gigging / live / rehearsal in my three man band (dr, bass, git) I use a lot of stereo effects, preferable delays to do what Chris described before: Fill spaces and create ambience

    No right or wrong here. Just make sure the sound fits to the context you're in. And if the chorus sounds awkward used mono, then use another one or switch to an effect which is more suitable then.


    By the way: Careful when you want to go stereo in live situations with PA in venue. Often these are not operated in stereo. Make sure to have this clarified and agreed upfront especially when you have sounds tweaked for stereo which otherwise wouldn't work that well.

  • Sorry to possibly derail the thread a little bit but I am doing guitar lessons via Zoom which I will be using my Kemper, the Focusrite interface I am using has 2 xlr ports, and I plan to take a mono signal out from the main out of the Kemper to Zoom as it can't detect SPDIF.


    Is 1 x 1/4" to XLR jack sufficient to do a mono signal? I don't think stereo is necessary for a live guitar lesson sound esp if the set up on the other side isn't as good as mine.

  • Is 1 x 1/4" to XLR jack sufficient to do a mono signal? I don't think stereo is necessary for a live guitar lesson sound esp if the set up on the other side isn't as good as mine.

    Yes but also set the output to Master Mono or you will lose one half of any stereo effects.

  • like others have said, it all depends. For just playing at home practicing or messing around I go Stereo through my studio monitors all the time. For recording, usually Stack only in mono but sometimes Master Mono. For playing in a band mono all the time but I never play in trios. As I’m often i. A 10 piece band with keys and horns I go mono live. If I was doing a Police tribute or something I would probably go stereo.

  • Yes but also set the output to Master Mono or you will lose one half of any stereo effects.

    Cool i think it’s set as that a default anyway but will double check this. Got a 1/4” to xlr mono jack on the way so hoping this will get me through Zoom lessons. Does it matter which port I plug it into i.e left or right?

  • The cable turned up unexpectedly today! I plugged the 1/4" into the L of main output then the XLR into analogue 2 of the Focusrite, but its not picking up any sound from the Kemper? I've set the monitor output for both analogue 1+2?

  • Cool i think it’s set as that a default anyway but will double check this. Got a 1/4” to xlr mono jack on the way so hoping this will get me through Zoom lessons. Does it matter which port I plug it into i.e left or right?

    default is Master Stereo.


    Once set to mono it doesn’t matter whether you plug into left or right

  • default is Master Stereo.


    Once set to mono it doesn’t matter whether you plug into left or right

    Ok, I think its now on master mono - I actually had to plug it from monitor output to get any sound though.


    Should the connection end be xlr from the Kemper instead of a 1/4"? Cos I think I got the wrong cable (male xlr). Should it be a female xlr out of main kemper then TRS/1/4" into the front of the interface so it detects it as an instrument and not a mic?

  • The cable turned up unexpectedly today! I plugged the 1/4" into the L of main output then the XLR into analogue 2 of the Focusrite, but its not picking up any sound from the Kemper? I've set the monitor output for both analogue 1+2?

    Which output are you using on the Kemper? It has XLR outs (Main Output), so a regular mic cable should do the job rather than needing a conversion to 1/4".


    Am I missing something?

  • not sure why that would be. I use an old Focusrite Saffire which has Mix rather than the newer software so I’m not totally sure what the Focusrite settings should be but 1/4” to 1/4” in should be fine if the interface has combo inputs that automatically switch to mic level when an XLR is connected. Otherwise XLR to XLR should work fine.

  • DonPetersen

    Changed the title of the thread from “MONO VS. STEREO” to “Mono vs. Stereo”.
  • Here are a few debugging thoughts.


    1. Plug your headphones into the Focusrite to see if you hear the Kemper there. This takes Zoom or any other software out of the loop for diagnostic purposes.
    2. I can't tell which model / generation your interface is, but I see Inst, Air and Pad. If Pad is a level pad, I'd make sure that's disengaged.
    3. Make sure 48v is disengaged on the Focusrite (just a safety precaution).
    4. Verify the Kemper output is set to Master Mono
    5. Using a mic or whatever's handy, verify that your XLR mic cable is reliable
    6. Check your Master Volume knob setting
      1. You mentioned it was giving you audio out of the Monitor output, so your Master Volume may be set differently than the Monitor output volume.
    7. It would help if we knew the exact model and generation, (e.g. 2i2 2nd Generation) of your audio interface.

    Spend some time on these and let's see if we can isolate and solve the problem.

  • Haven't tried the headphones yet through the Focusrite. But I did manage to get sound coming out of my monitors and through Zoom last night with lessons, just not from main output.


    Its the 8i6 3rd generation interface.


    Output is set to master mono yes (I think!).


    I used the XLR mic cable earlier today for a lesson and it was working fine.

  • Tried again with an instrument cable from main output L. The output volume was -0.32db so I adjusted to 0.13db and now I have sound!


    Not tried XLR cable yet but I think this should work solely for Zoom lessons. If its general jamming or the lessons are in-person I'll use SPDIF.

  • I use mono exclusively....why? Because I think its sounds tigher. In a band context with another guitarist, its difficult enough to find sonic "space". Stereo yes sounds wider but that depth can work against you.


    Persoanlly ( and this is a real sweeping statement) I'd only use stereo live if I was a single guitarist and the focus was on effects ( more ethereal/indie music). For straight ahead rock, mono...