Monoaural vs. Stereo Streaming

I noticed that the Multi Mic from ReSound only does wired streaming in mixed mono mode. Was wondering, “Why not Stereo?!!”

However, if the point is to use the Multi Mic as an Assistive Listening Device in public places, not to stream stereo music, it turns out that the best PA systems are MONO. The difficulty and serious problems of enjoying stereo broadcast sound in an auditorium are laid out in the following McSquared blog post:

I also found the Wikipedia article on “The Beatles in Mono” rather interesing-apparently, all their earlier albums were only put out in mono as it was in the days before stereo was fully developed. George Harrison’s comment on his initial reaction to stereo is most amusing:

At that time […] the console was about this big with four faders on it. And there was one speaker right in the middle […] and that was it. When they invented stereo, I remember thinking ‘Why? What do you want two speakers for?’, because it ruined the sound from our point of view. You know, we had everything coming out of one speaker; now it had to come out of two speakers. It sounded like … very … naked .[11]

from: The Beatles in Mono - Wikipedia

P.S. the other interesting point is that in normal listening, when you’re far away enough from stereo speakers, it’s effectively monoaural listening…

I think for HA’s, earbuds, headphones, loudspeaker output spread out in a room in a house, dodgy usefulness in a car…all can make perfectly good use of stereo.

For large room or general loudspeaker output…always push out in mono. In a pub up to an auditorium. Stereo is pointless when you can’t hear the content in the other speaker way over there somewhere else.

I have both stereo and mono of the Beatles discography. The US distribution butchered the original mono so an actual stereo version was made but indeed…after the band approved the mono mix, they left the stereo to someone else.

Brian Wilson of the Beach Boys did just about everything in mono. Then the company butchered it with that goofy duophonic fake echo crap to make it seem like something trying to resemble stereo.

So it would be disappointing if the MultiMic only does mono.

Thanks for the comments. I agree I’m a bit disappointed if the Multi Mic only does mono but the only time I’ve used it to stream wired audio has been to listen to talk podcasts while exercising or YouTube videos on my computer so I’m not missing the stereo and I look to the PC+ or ASHA (someday) to do stereo music streaming without having to be connected by a wire to anything.

The one thing I was wondering about “mixed mono” is apparently from limited skim reading, one cannot just mix two separate stereo channels together and get a great result - so I take it the “mixed mono” reference is probably indicating intelligently combining two different sound tracks to get the best possible monaural sound. The same thing applies to creating a black-and-white photo out of a color photo. One usually gets an inferior result if one just treats the RGB channels as grayscale and adds them together.

The other thing about mixed mono vs. stereo was that I think that I read that monoaural sound heard in both ears is better for speech intelligibility than stereo sound with each channel heard separately in each ear. So if the most important thing about wearing hearing aids is to UNDERSTAND SPEECH, not to stream music, playing streamed monaural speech will presumably give me somewhat better speech understanding of podcasts or other shows that I’m purely listening to than stereo sound recording one human speaker from different physical positions in a room and sending a somewhat different sound signal to each ear (all of the above assuming both ears are corrected to the same hearing capability). Normally, I should imagine when facing a speaker that we are effectively hearing (for the distance involved from the speaker) a “monaural” sound in both ears although I’m sure that one could argue with different reflectivity and absorbtivity from surfaces on each side of the listener that that’s not true.

And also I think ReSound’s mechanism of focusing on a speaker with one HA and providing all around awareness with the other HA would implicitly be playing different speech sounds into each ear from the external mics on each HA - so one can go figure on that!