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"Digitally Extracted Stereo"

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atrocity

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I think this has been discussed here in the distant past, but I've just fallen down the rabbit hole at https://www.monotostereo.info, where there are quite a few examples of songs that people have converted from mono into shockingly convincing stereo. I wound up looking it up after buying a CD with the processed version of the Shocking Blue's "Venus" on it. Pretty sure the Beatles example was posted here long ago but I don't remember being aware of any of the others.

I'm finding that in a lot of cases even after YouTube's lossy compression that the upmixes actually sound cleaner than the mono originals. Not sure if that's just stereo playing tricks on me or if the upmixers are playing EQ tricks once they have the individual elements.

I'd swear that the version of "How High the Moon" manages to separate Mary Ford's double-tracked vocals and puts each performance in its own channel. It's mind-boggling.

Obviously the tools they're using would be incredibly useful for making surround mixes as well.
 

monotoSTEREO

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Thanks for the mention of my website! As the tools for spectral editing and sound source separation continue to improve, you can expect to see more releases making use of this technology in the coming years. You can expect some truly incredible upmixes from mono to stereo to be released commercially this year. And yes... these tools would indeed be incredibly useful for making surround mixes as well!
 

EMB

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The technology continues to improve, but it's really the users of these tools that make or break a mix, and most of the time, they know their stuff and what they need to achieve. I've been very impressed with the better of the oldies I've heard in DES.

The Eric label has put out quite a few highly enjoyable releases that use DES to fashion some mighty convincing stereo mixes of songs that either were not recorded in multitrack or else those tapes have been left buried in the vaults, or even lost. The mileage does vary--some mixes you'd swear are back-in-the-day sounding, while others are fun to hear but don't quite meet that standard. Still, who thought we'd live to hear some tracks in any kind of stereo, even if digitally created? Eric is also very good about noting what tracks are DES, and if they can find stereo tapes for something, they'll use it (or clean up a vinyl source of that mix).

Stereo to quad and 5.1. That's been going on for years, and some results are equally impressive, but commercially, no one has really taken a chance.

ED :)
 

Wunlow

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The technology continues to improve, but it's really the users of these tools that make or break a mix, and most of the time, they know their stuff and what they need to achieve.
+1 on this, as it still boils down to hard work, skill, and a lot of time.

For some of our vintage 3-D Film Archive 3D bluray releases, there were titles that originally had 3-channel sound mixes in the L/C/R format. Problem is most of these mixes were either junked or deteriorated long ago after their initial theatrical runs in multi-channel in the 1950s. (Unlike audio only releases, the studios at that time saw little use for multichannel mixes after their premiere release) It has been the Archive's goal to recreate said mixes when they are no longer available, as they were part of the original intent. Surviving mono tracks are still provided in lossless DTS-MA for purists, via bluray's multiple audio options.

Eckhard Buttner has done the majority of our mono to 3-channel conversions, and even in the first iterations, his mixes never cease to bring a smile to my face. With his first samples, I was shocked with using a mono track as a source how individual instruments, dialog and effects could be split apart and effectively re-layered in 3 channel stereo. Music somehow seems crisper, more detailed, more refined. Because it is 3-channel mix vs a 2 channel stereo mix, it's harder to mask/hide artifacts, plus cinema mixes require strict dialog placement requirements, so if one listens to channels isolated they will hear occasional artifacts, but when listened to under normal listening conditions, one can at times be hard pressed to know these were not original L/C/R mixes, or not made from dialog, music and effect stems. For each title Eckhard spent 10 plus hour days for weeks dolng his work and it shows. His titles for us include "Those Redheads from Seattle", "Cease Fire" , and "the Maze". Each title brings a different stereo feel, due to the original production designs and surviving elements. "Redheads" for example, has great musical numbers, but the surviving mono track for Redheads had built in compromises, so I really do mean it sounds better than the source elements have a right to, with improved dynamics, fidelity, and soundfield placement. The other mono mixes were in great shape. "Cease Fire" is a war feature shot in the battlefields of Korea, and 3 channel sound again sound plays a vital part, but for totally different reasons. "The Maze" has a haunting score and creepy moments again vastly heightened by 3 channel stereo.

If this comes off as a plug to some on our titles, my apologies. My driving point here is if ten years ago you would have told me this kind of work was possible, even without D/M/E stems, and me having heard a good number of remixes from some of the biggest studios, I would have said it was impossible.
 

humprof

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Interesting thread. Another outfit doing great mono-to-stereo (in addition to plain ol' mono)--he calls it "Ambient Stereo"--is Andrew Rose's Pristine Classical.
 

monarchee

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I wouldn't put Andrew Rose's work in the same field as monotostereo. His expertise is in cleaning up very old recordings and make them sound as good as new. He then adds a very light form of reverb to give the mono sound some space.
 

GOS

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Thanks for the mention of my website! As the tools for spectral editing and sound source separation continue to improve, you can expect to see more releases making use of this technology in the coming years. You can expect some truly incredible upmixes from mono to stereo to be released commercially this year. And yes... these tools would indeed be incredibly useful for making surround mixes as well!
I'm trying to buy 3 CD's on your site and as you know, with 3 you get to choose a freebie. Only, I find it very cumbersome to figure out exactly what are the choices.... any help would be appreciated. Yes, I see the catalog number, but then finding it is hunt and peck.
 

monotoSTEREO

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I'm trying to buy 3 CD's on your site and as you know, with 3 you get to choose a freebie. Only, I find it very cumbersome to figure out exactly what are the choices.... any help would be appreciated. Yes, I see the catalog number, but then finding it is hunt and peck.
I don't sell any CDs on my website. Perhaps you are referring to CDs that Eric Records sells, which I feature on my website. If you have any issues with their website you should contact them directly. They are very responsive to their customers.
 

GOS

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I don't sell any CDs on my website. Perhaps you are referring to CDs that Eric Records sells, which I feature on my website. If you have any issues with their website you should contact them directly. They are very responsive to their customers.
OK, not knowing you - I assumed incorrectly. Your link in your signature was the start of my finding Eric Records.
 

monotoSTEREO

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Why bother? - it just seems like 'colourising' black and white movies to me.
Why bother listening to any music in stereo? For the same reason that the overwhelming majority of musical recordings have been mixed to stereo since stereo started to become commercially available. Hearing them in stereo allows you to enjoy the interplay between the musical elements from a different perspective than when they are layered in a mono mix. As I have liked to say in the past, we usually don't hear live music in mono. Even when it is presented in mono, we hear it as something other than mono due to the reflections arriving at our ears from different angles and times in any given venue. Since the process is nondestructive, the original mono source will continue to be available for years to come. If you don't care to hear it in stereo you can always take comfort in that!
 

atrocity

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Why bother? - it just seems like 'colourising' black and white movies to me.
One big difference: I've never seen colorization/colourisation that looked completely natural and didn't draw attention to itself. The mono to stereo process(es?) we're talking about here result in songs that sound exactly like they were mixed in stereo from the beginning.
 

monotoSTEREO

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The mono to stereo process(es?) we're talking about here result in songs that sound exactly like they were mixed in stereo from the beginning.
Generally speaking, the tracks presented in Digitally Extracted Stereo (DES) fold down to their original mono sources. As with any stereo mixes, there may be small amounts of added reverb to present a more cohesive, aesthetically pleasing soundstage. Most importantly, the Digitally Extracted Stereo mix retains the "feel" of the original mono source. I suppose that the same question could be asked as to why bother upmixing mono or stereo movie audio to surround sound. If it can be done in a realistic way, does it not make one feel that they are closer to being in the presence of the original performance?
 

kap'n krunch

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One big difference: I've never seen colorization/colourisation that looked completely natural and didn't draw attention to itself. The mono to stereo process(es?) we're talking about here result in songs that sound exactly like they were mixed in stereo from the beginning.
Oh.. in the beginning, colorization was really baaaad.. but I must say that recently the technology has advanced a LOT...especially for shows that were first B&W and then in color.. my ex got me the first season of Bewitched on DVD in COLOR (colorized) and I must say , it looks basically like the "real color" seasons...
 

Soundfield

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I'm just off to stick a couple of plaster arms on the Venus de Milo- it should then look much more realistic.
 

atrocity

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my ex got me the first season of Bewitched on DVD in COLOR (colorized) and I must say , it looks basically like the "real color" seasons...
I got some cheap promo DVD with a few episodes on it and the work really is pretty impressive. I think it's still often easy to spot it if you're looking for it, but it certainly isn't in-your-face annoying like the 1980s stuff. And TV shows like that do seem like a logical use of the technology--it's not as if black and white was a carefully considered aesthetic choice in that context.
 

himey

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I'm just off to stick a couple of plaster arms on the Venus de Milo- it should then look much more realistic.
You obviously missed the point about still being able to listen to the original mono mix, it isn't going anywhere unlike your poor analogy.
 
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