Can I turn my Mono file into a Stereo after it's done?

Hi… I just started to use my Audacity program recently and I did my first show in mono, but was asked to provide it into stereo. Can I change it to stereo now after it has been done? I checked for this in the FAQ manual but could not find anything on it. Thank you.
Diane M.

No, you can’t turn a mono file into true stereo. You may have to start-over. Do you know what they mean by “stereo”?

What kind of program is it? Do you have a stereo file with silence on one side?

Is it a stereo sound/source, or are there multiple sounds/tracks that can be made into a stereo recording?

…A normal stereo has different sounds on both sides. There are a few ways to make simulated stereo.

A mono file will play out of both speakers.

Or, you can make a “dual mono” file with the same sound in both channels. That’s inefficient for uncompressed files because the duplicated data takes twice as much space, but it’s how “mono” CDs are made because all audio CDs have 2 channels.

You would think that would be an easy answer, wouldn’t you?

If you listen on headphones right now, your voice should be coming from the center. Look on the left of the blue waves and it should say MONO.
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It’s a snap to “convert” the presentation to “stereo” (note the quote marks), but all we’re going to do is duplicate your voice so you have two of them and then assign them left and right. If, after you finish with that dance, you listen on headphones, you will still be coming from the exact center.

Select the existing track by clicking just above MUTE. Control-D (duplicate). Use the top track drop-down menu way over on the left > Make Stereo Track.
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I used to do that with single voice tracks I supplied to the video editors because I knew we both knew it didn’t make any difference at all, but it was a little easier for them to deal with in their editor.

This is where it gets magic. In “real” “stereo” (more quote marks) left and right blue waves are different. You shoot stereo with two or more microphones. You can’t do that now, but you can throw effects into the show to make it “sound like” stereo. Fair warning, if you do that wrong, you can give people a headache.


Thank you All for replying…

To answer the questions from DVDdoug,

well, I thought it is just so that it will play out in stereo, but I can ask for specifics.
The show is a church service with some gospel and worship music and preaching, just under 1 hour.
And the request came from the local community radio station that will broadcast it.

That’s ok if I cannot turn this one into stereo, they will run it mono, but I will have to do it in stereo on my next one.

However, when I click on the down arrow in the Audio Track with an (X) at the left, it opens up but
and it shows Left Channel and Right Channel below the ticked Mono…
and the Make Stereo Track is greyed.

You can’t leave out any steps. You have to duplicate the existing track and then Make Stereo Track should becomes active now that it has two tracks to work with.

I will have to do it in stereo on my next one.

some gospel and worship music and preaching

Are you up to that? I get six microphones and I’m not even breathing hard. One for the preacher (do not double mic the lead voice), two for church ambience and possible congregation sing along and two at the choir and one solo.

I’m making that up, but have you ever shot stereo?


Duplicating the mono track is probably the best solution for you…

  • Live mixers/PA systems are almost always set-up for mono because people sitting on both sides need to hear the same thing. That’s true for churches and it’s true for Rolling Stones concerts.

In churches and small music venues some sound usually comes from the stage (drums & amplified instruments, etc.) and some sound comes from the PA system (vocals). A choir may be a mix of direct-acoustic and amplified sound through the PA.

  • In the recording, you’d usually like to include some audience/congregation sound which you don’t want mixed-into the live PA system. Of course, those channels are only faded-up where appropriate.

…All of that means if you record from the PA mixer you are not getting the best mix and for a “professional” recording you need a separate mixer or multi-track audio interface (or a mixer that allows multiple mixes) for the recording. You can “split” the PA microphones, or some mixers have individual channel-outputs, and then you need additional mics for instruments that are not sent through the PA system and for the audience/congregation.

…As a compromise you might try recording the left channel from the PA mixer and the right channel from a microphone. (You’d need a small-inexpensive mixer for that, if-only to use as a mic-preamp). Then, mix that to mono (so it doesn’t sound unnatural) and duplicate for a “stereo” formatted file. (Or, just record in stereo with both mixer-inputs panned to center.)

Thank you DVDdoug and kozikowski… you have given me great ammunition to work with which I will put to use.

Right now, I am doing all of the segments myself – music, talking, praying and preaching – from my home office.

The radio station will be putting up my first show this Sunday, which is mono. Now I’ve just finished my 2nd show for next week and it is getting better and better all the time… however that’s the one I was asking if I could turn into stereo – so I will try this “duplicating” the track that you said, and see how it goes.

The next show I will be starting after this, tomorrow, is #3 and I will see if I can get that into stereo right off.

Thank you so much for your help…


I will try this “duplicating” the track that you said, and see how it goes.

It should go into a stereo show that sounds mono. That’s what duplication does.

The official obsessive name for that isn’t stereo, it’s two-track mono.

Stereo is where the sopranos and altos are mostly on the left and tenors and basses are mostly on the right.

I am doing all of the segments myself – music, talking, praying and preaching – from my home office.

Maybe you could talk about that a little more. I think the mental picture we have is stunningly different from what you’re actually doing.

Given enough time and using overdubbing and other sound production tricks, you could perform an entire Sunday yourself including multi-voice choir. But I suspect you’re not doing that, either.


Hello Folks!

I’m back… I am now starting a brand new project and going along with the Tutorial…

However, when I get to setting the stereo feature, the input channel only shows mono – even when I go to Edit Preference, it only gives me Mono option.