The majesty of mono

A colleague who wishes to remain anonymous might have written:

What do you mean you want me to send you a mono version of this massive AIFF audio file for the next podcast!? How the heck am I supposed to do that?

To which I might reply:

Ah, I see, the majesty of mono has not been revealed to you. Just peek behind this curtain….

Let’s say one were producing a podcast and this same one wished to keep the size of the podcast small. Using a lossy compressor such as MP3 or AAC is a good start but you can cut your file size in half by issuing a single-channel (mono) podcast rather than a two-channel (stereo) ‘cast.

And now that we understand that the podcast is ultimately going to be in mono anyway, why burn up bandwidth by sending a stereo AIFF file?

Any number of audio and multimedia tools can convert a stereo recording into a mono file but let’s use iTunes to do the job as nearly everyone on earth has a copy and it’s free. It’s like this:

1. Add the stereo file to your iTunes library.

2. Choose iTunes -> Preferences -> Advanced -> Importing, choose AIFF Encoder from the Import Using pop-up menu, select Custom in the Setting pop-up menu, and in the resulting AIFF Encoder window, choose Mono from the Channels pop-up menu and click OK.

3. Click OK to close the Preference window and choose Advanced -> Convert Selection to AIFF. iTunes will convert the file from stereo to mono.

You can apply this technique to other kinds of conversions. All the encoders includes with iTunes—AIFF, WAVE, MP3, AAC, and Apple Lossless—let you convert from stereo to mono.

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