What’s the difference?

Comparing stereo vs. monosound

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What’s the difference?

Hank Johnson, Staff Writer

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Have you ever been listening to your favorite song on a good pair of headphones, and it feels as if the music was coming from different places (both within and outside of your head), as if the band was playing for you alone? Don’t worry – you aren’t going insane. That’s just, “Stereo Sound.” The definition in the Cambridge dictionary is “A way of recording or playing sound so that it is separated into two digital signals and produces more natural sound.” Stereo Sound’s counterpart is, “Mono Sound,” defined as “Recorded or broadcast sound that comes from a single direction.” If you don’t quite understand it open your iPhone, plug in some headphones, put on a song (I found that The Beatles’ “Maxwell Silver Hammer” worked perfectly), then go into your Settings>General>Accessibility>Mono Audio and toggle the slide.

Now that we understand what they are the question remains: which is better?


Pros of Stereo

  • Immersive sound
  • Higher quality
  • Better mixing


  • Difficult to record
  • Need for more than one speaker
  • Need for quality equipment and instruments


Pros of Mono

  • Recording is easy and costs less
  • Artistic Intent
  • Punchier Sound


  • Basic sound
  • Not as layered and complex
  • Not as delicate of a sound


Honestly there is no correct answer, there is only preference. Generally I prefer Stereo Sound unless the artist wants mono. If you truly want to have the best experience then just flip the switch and see what happens.