Mono vs Stereo Sound: What's the Big Difference?

November 13, 2019 2 min read

Most--if not all--people love music. We want to enjoy our music as much as possible, which means making sure our earbuds and headphones are the best quality possible.

Part of that quality comes from the kind of sound an earbud or headphone produces. There are two main types: mono and stereo.

Mono vs Stereo

Mono or monoaural sound only uses one channel when converting a signal into a sound. Even if there are multiple speakers, the same signal will go to both speakers. This then gives the effect that the sounds, even if they are coming from separate speakers, are coming from one single position or source.

In today’s age of technology, most signals are more compatible with stereo, instead of mono sound, which was widely used for radio broadcasts in the past.

Contrary to mono sound, stereo sound uses more than one channel when converting a signal into a sound. This essentially means that each signal sent out is unique. For example, when a song sends different sounds to the left earbud versus the right, like in the classic song “Bohemian Rhapsody”, it requires and is best used with stereo sound.

Stereo sound, then, gives the effect of sound coming from different sources and positions, which is typical and very common in today’s technology, especially in speakers that are produced for the ‘surround sound’ effect.

Which is Better?

There is no real answer. It all has to do with preference and situation. For example, stereo sound is great for when you are watching a movie with lots of music and environmental sounds so you can really feel like you are in the movie.

If you tend to only wear one earbud at a time, which--believe it or not--is a thing, you may prefer mono sound. This is so you can still experience the entire song and all of its parts, even if you only have the one earbud in your ear.

Bottom Line

Mono sound is when only one channel is used to convert a signal to a sound. Stereo sound is when multiple channels are used to convert multiple signals to sounds. Your preference for either one is entirely based on you, because just like sound, everyone is different!



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