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Difference between stereo and joint stereo?

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Now, to get really picky and stuff...


If you take two mono audio files recorded at different times (i.e., not two microphones capturing the same sound source simultaneously) and pan one left and one right, the result is stereo. Thing is, it's a stereo mix of two mono sound sources.


If you capture the audio of a sound source with two microphones simultaneously, whatever signal is picked up by the left mic is actually mono. Same with the right mic. When played back simultaneously (and panned hard L/R), what you hear is true stereo.




Let's say you have a truly mono sound source playing out of Logic. Say, a mono hand clap, panned right up the center. Now bounce it as a stereo file. The result is a "dual mono" file where the information in the left and right audio files is identical. There's no real point in making dual mono files unless the sound is actually panned off-center. In that case, the sound will be identical in both files, but one will be louder than the other.





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If you're talking about Joint Stereo in context with the creation of MP3 files, then the definition changes a bit. There are a few different methods in use for creating joint stereo MP3 files, but the basic idea is to take everything that is identical to both the left and right channels and encode that as one chunk, then take the difference, (what's left over) and encode that to another chunk.


Theoretically, this gives you better quality for a given bit rate, but that doesn't always work out. Some encoders downmix all the low frequencies to mono first before doing the joint encoding. I don't know exactly how Logic's joint stereo encoder works, though. Never used it.

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