Mono Track To Stereo

For all those people who find themselves with a mono USB microphone in a stereo show.

Tracks > Mono Track To Stereo.



but I’m open to persuasion.

How often is it necessary to convert a mono track to a stereo track? On Mixdown or Export, if there is stereo material it will automatically be converted to stereo. If there is only mono data then it will automatically be converted to a mono file (irrespective of whether it is a 1 or 2 channel mono track).

The only reason that I can think of for needing to convert a mono track to stereo is if you want to apply a stereo effect (such as stereo reverb, stereo chorus or ping-pong delay). More commonly stereo reverb would be applied to mix of tracks, in which case the individual mono tracks would be panned appropriately in the stereo field, and when “Mix and Rendered” would automatically become a stereo track.

If required mono track to stereo track is only 2 clicks anyway:

  1. Edit > Duplicate (or Ctrl+D)
  2. Track drop-down > Make Stereo Track

The disadvantage of having a special “Mono > Stereo” button is that many users would think that it turned their mono track into stereo :confused:
In reality it would turn a 1 channel mono track into a 2 channel mono track.
It may also encourage the myth that a stereo track is required for sound to come out of both speakers.


Yes. So?

<<<In reality it would turn a 1 channel mono track into a 2 channel mono track.>>>

Or, classically in the US, Two-Track Mono. Yes.


You haven’t said anything bad yet.


  1. Edit > Duplicate (or Ctrl+D)
  2. Track drop-down > Make Stereo Track

Now you’re putting a Track Function under Edit. Wrong. I didn’t know it was there. I wonder how widely known that tool is and would associate it with Tracks.

Tracks > Mono Track To Stereo, just calls those two functions.

“Duplication of effort!” he cried. Let me introduce you to Photoshop. If you ask five different artist how to generate a particular picture, you will get five different – sometimes radically different answers. Guaranteed. I did it once in the Design Division on the second floor.

And they will all get a desirable result. I’m finding that the hallmark of high quality software is the absence of a single, enforced, straight-line pipeline. Single lines generate Forum questions.


Audacity user: “I’ve converted my mono track to stereo, but it still sounds like it’s mono. What’s wrong?”
Koz: “Oh good grief, not again - it’s sounds like it’s mono because it IS mono. When it says ‘mono-to-stereo’ it doesn’t really mean stereo, you stupid person”.

Method 1

  1. Edit > Duplicate
  2. Track drop-down > Make Stereo Track

Method 2

  1. Tracks menu > Add New > Stereo Track
  2. Ctrl + A (or just select both tracks)
  3. Tracks menu > Mix and Render

Method 3

  1. Ctrl+D
  2. Pan one to the left and the other to the right
  3. Mix and Render

Method 4

  1. Import mono track twice
  2. Track 1 - Track drop down menu > Left Channel
  3. Track 2 - Track drop down menu > Right Channel
  4. Export

Method 5

  1. Set pan position to 0.1 (or any non-zero value)
  2. Mix and Render

Method 6

  1. Ctrl+SHIFT+M
  2. Track drop down > Make Stereo Track

And the question we haven’t addressed - why do you want to do it anyway?

Get rid of the split stereo track to mono. Its redundant and confusing, and clutters up the audio track drop down menu.

Most burning software will convert a mono wave file to stereo. Or to put it another way, the single track wave file will become 2 channel audio on an audio CD.

A common use for this feature, and the reason that it was introduced, is for people that routinely record two instruments/sounds as a stereo track - one instrument left and the other one right, and then want to split into two mono tracks.

Consider a singer-guitarist with a mixing desk and a standard stereo sound card.
Plug the guitar and vocal microphone into the mixing desk - pan the microphone left and the guitar right - record as a stereo track - split to mono - you now have the vocal on one track and the guitar on another and the two instruments can now be processed individually.

This is not the only use, but it is a very common use in which it is extremely convenient.

i have needed to do it. but you are right. do not need a button.

will cause more confusion than help. do put that tip in the wiki andor docs.

how many average users know it is automatically converted or how to do it manually.


no no no.
i have needed that ability. can’t diddle one track alone without it and then make it back to stereo.

<<<Audacity user: "I’ve converted my mono track to stereo,>>>

But as you point out, a touch of the balance controls and it is Stereo! It’s only two-track mono if they’re the same.

Remembering that the original post had two instruments on line at the same time in a stereo show. One entirely left and the other entirely right.

Stereo Track to Mono
Mono Track to Stereo.

Who was the champion of Stereo Track to Mono? How did that slip by? Surely there’s other ways to do that.


I can think of many scenarios when it necessary to split stereo tracks into mono tracks.
This can of course be done by;

  1. Split Stereo Track
  2. Click on drop down menu of first track - Left channel > Mono
  3. Click on drop down menu of second track - Right channel > Mono

For many users, splitting stereo tracks and making 2 mono tracks is a common, frequent and essential task. The “Stereo to Mono” feature cuts down the job from 3 steps to one, and for these reasons it is, in my opinion, well worth its menu space.

On the other hand, I can think of only one situation where it is actually necessary to convert a single mono track into a stereo track, and it is not a common reason at all. In fact it is probably not actually required any more often than “Split Stereo to Left”, “Split Stereo to Right” or “Swap Left and Right”, but I don’t hear anyone asking for those.

My main argument against “Mono Track to Stereo” is that it is for a perceived need that does not really exist. This is the point where I’m open to persuasion. If anyone can show me the need for this feature I’ll be happy to change my vote.

Just to add to the list of reasons why not - it also adds unnecessary confusion if it is in the same menu as “Make Stereo Track”.

What I would be in favour of is making the number of channels that are recorded more accessible. In live recording projects it is frequently necessary to switch from 1 channel (mono) to 2 channel (stereo) and back again, ant it’s a small PITA to have to go “Edit menu > Preferences > Devices > Channels=…” each time. If multi-channel support is ever fully implemented, then easy selection of the channels to be recorded would become even more of an issue.

For me, the Champion is definitely Brian Davies - his ClickRepair utility has a little check box to turn your stereo show into mono - and what’s more it can be set to work while the clicks are being removed too.

It worked a treat for me on the version of Carole King’s It might as well rain until September that I transcribed from a compilation LP of my wife’s. Before processing it was a horrible false-stereo - sounds so much better now its “Back to mono” as Phil once said :slight_smile:


For many users, splitting stereo tracks and making 2 mono tracks is a common, frequent and essential task. The “Stereo to Mono” feature cuts down the job from 3 steps to one, and for these reasons it is, in my opinion, well worth its menu space.

I don’t think it is worth the menu space.

But my main reason is more along the lines of what you’d agree with. Doing it manually ensures that the user understands what is happening. Figuring out that I had to choose mono for each track if I want them to be mixed on export was an important concept to grasp as a user. Otherwise I would still be a little confused concernig how it works.

I’m a little time crimped right now, but what happens if you drop a mono narration track into a full stereo musical show? I know it’s an article of faith that all the parts of a show need to be in the same standard for best results.


You mean if you wanted to drop the mono narration track into the same track as the stereo show?
Then yes, you would need to convert the narration track to stereo - but why would you want to put the narration into the same track as the stereo show? Isn’t it usual in video to have separate narration and music tracks? There must be a reason for that.

There’s no problem having one or more mono narration tracks and one or more stereo tracks in the same show. On mix-down/export the mono tracks will mix equal left/right, just like when you play the production through your headphones.


however it is completely possible to create a stereo track from two existing mono tracks
and its relatively simple…

in regards to the thread posting you we’re quoting, this is what he should do,
or you for that matter if you ever nedded to:

step 1:split the stereo track into 2 mono tracks

step 2:create 2 new mono tracks

step 3:copy the first existing track and paste into new mono track 1.

step 4:copy the second existing track and paste into new mono track 2.

step 5:take the first pair of duplicates and pan one hard left, the other hard right.

step 6:take the second pair of duplicates and pan one hard left, the other hard right.

you now would have the same amount of noise from each of the before said mono tracks going to each speaker.
all you would need to do is amplify or compress the tracks to taste.
or add fx if needed.

also something to keep in mind…
when pasting make sure the cursor is at 0:00

That’s interesting. Could you give a more detailed description of how you do that?

Thread transferred to Wiki Pending Feature Requests page - retained here on the Forum in Audio Processing as it is useful reading.


that is your opinion

many of us douse it

it should stay as is IMHO

it should be obvious why so many people need it
but for now
i leave it as an exercise to the student to figure out

As I said, I’m happy to change my view if anyone can illustrate why it is necessary, though there have been as yet no compelling arguments put forward.
It is not at all obvious to me why so many people need it - perhaps you could elucidate.

I agree.