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Mono versus 5.1

Old 10-05-04, 07:16 AM
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Mono versus 5.1

I'm new here and hope I don't get flamed, but I was just wondering how many people prefer mono sound on old movies to 5.1 or even Pro Logic or Dolby Surround?
Personally, I own quite a lot of older movies on dvd and am fed up with classics like: The Haunting (1963), Citizen Kane, Casablanca, King Kong (1933), Inherit the Wind, Judgement at Nuremberg, The Offence, all the Hammer horror movies to name but a few, all being churned out with flat, unexciting Mono sound (even when they try to fool us by putting it on 2 tracks!) when their images are reputedly "digitally re-mastered".
Now I know purists will probably be jumping around by now, and okay, if you prefer the original, there are certainly plenty of copies out there to grab, but I feel that surely with the terrific advances in sound enhancments these days, people like me could be pleased as well!
As George Lucas said, "Sound is half the movie!"
I can't imagine the vast majority of viewers preferring dull, one track Mono to the excitment of 5.1 or even the others. And it doesn't have to be in action movies either.
Undoubtedly, like many here, I originally saw a lot of these movies when they first came out and of course I enjoyed them the way they were, but times change, and surely the fantastic innovations that have been made with sound in the cinema can re-vamp a lot of these older titles.
I suppose it's all a matter of choice like a lot of things, but my personal choice is that these movies would gain a new lease of life with enhanced soundtracks not just re-mastered images.
Having read some of the posts here, I can see that some won't agree as they seem to think that some of these "enhancments" have ruined some movies e.g The Godfather. But personally give me 5.1 or even Pro Logic anyday over dull, lifeless, flat Mono -I had enough of that first time round!
Just wondered, are there any others out there who feel as I do?
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Old 10-05-04, 07:37 AM
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Some mono tracks have been remastered to 5.1 for DVD release.

I wouldn't call myself a purist, and will admit that some older films could possibly be enhanced by a 5.1 track; but I don't think it's a necessary to enjoy the film. I don't see how Citizen Kane (or a lot of other movies) could be improved with a 5.1 track. A lot of modern films being newly released with a 5.1 track don't take advantage of all speakers and remain relatively mono anyways.
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Old 10-05-04, 07:45 AM
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Re: Mono versus 5.1

I sometimes listen to the remixed audio track, but I'd be sorely disappointed if the original mono track was not included. A remixed 5.1 DD or better audio track is a nice treat, but the original audio track is essential.
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Old 10-05-04, 08:35 AM
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I imagine a large part of it is an economic, cost-effective measure to not have remaster every mono track to 5.1
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Old 10-05-04, 08:43 AM
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I've always been shocked by the double standards that DVD fans have. I don't understand why more people don't demand the original audio format. Of course, these same people are shocked whenever when a transfer is full frame let alone not anamorphicly enhanced.

If a film is recorded in mono why should they tamper with the original sound to make it fill your other speakers? It was never intended to do this. I've got a color TV. Why aren't black and white films always in color? Oh yes. The art aspect of it.

I don't like it when films are remastered to 6 channels when they were originally mono, stereo, or just regular surround. I'd like the original theatrical experience.
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Old 10-05-04, 10:53 AM
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I want the original sounds tracks. When they do digital re-mastering on the picture, they're usually trying to restore the picture back to it's original condition. When you create a 5.1 track from a mono source, you're not restoring it; you're creating something new. That's a big difference in my mind.
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Old 10-05-04, 10:58 AM
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How many people prefer black-and-white pictures on old movies to color?
Personally, I own quite a lot of older movies on dvd and am fed up with classics all being churned out in flat, unexciting black-and-white when their images are reputedly "digitally re-mastered".
I can't imagine the vast majority of viewers preferring dull, monochromatic black and white to the excitement of Technicolor or other processes. And it doesn't have to be in action movies either.

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Old 10-05-04, 11:02 AM
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Additional sound remixes are ok, but I would like every DVD release to include the original soundtrack. Many of the remixes of mono-soundtracks are particularly bad and sound terrible.
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Old 10-05-04, 01:18 PM
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Originally posted by chente
Additional sound remixes are ok, but I would like every DVD release to include the original soundtrack. Many of the remixes of mono-soundtracks are particularly bad and sound terrible.
My thoughts exactly. Do a new 5.1 remix if you want to, but put the original sound track on there as well.
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Old 10-05-04, 01:35 PM
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I know alot of people who prefer the original track for The Terminator, rather than the new, remixed 5.1 track.
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Old 10-05-04, 01:59 PM
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In the typical home theater, the mono makes movies like "The Terminator" seem soo much smaller. When I flipped between the mono and 5.1 release it's as though the movie collapsed to the size of the screen from an otherwise much larger sensory perspective. But I agree that I don't much like "padding" out the original mix, but do appreciate the larger soundstage feel.
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Old 10-05-04, 02:51 PM
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Sound mixes are a rule-breaker for me. I am definitely an OAR, B&W if B&W guy but I really do like a new 5.1 mix over original mono or stereo in most cases. Granted, I hate "fake" sounding 5.1 remixes but for the most part I prefer the newer 5.1 remixes to original mono or stereo.
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Old 10-05-04, 08:35 PM
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I prefer mono in some cases. As someone stated above The Terminator is one of those rare examples where the mono track is actually more enjoyable than the 5.1EX track. One thing I hate about the remix on The Terminator is the gunshots. The shotgun sounds like it has an exhaust muffler attached to the end of it and Arnies pistol is irritating. I prefer the mono gun blasts to the 5.1EX remix. One thing the 5.1EX mix improved was the score. But not much else.

On the flip side Conan the Barbarian is a mono release on region 1 but on region 2 its been remixed to 5.1 and thats an improvement because of one reason...the music score in 5.1 compared to the region 1 mono release is quite fantastic.

Star Wars ANH was originally released in mono in '77 I think and I doubt many of you would prefer its mono track to todays 5.1EX mix (even with the rear reversals).

I'm neither here nor there on mono vs Dolby - DTS. If a film sounds more natural in mono then I'll override the 5.1 remix(es) and use the mono track. IN some cases a remix works (Jaws, Conan etc.) but in some cases it doesn't but the good thing with The Terminator is that you have a choice between the two.
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Old 10-05-04, 09:36 PM
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I agree with what most of you have said. I don't have that much of a problem with a new sound mix, as long as the original mix is included as well.
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Old 10-05-04, 09:46 PM
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Originally posted by blinkin_winkin
If a film is recorded in mono why should they tamper with the original sound to make it fill your other speakers?
It is my opinion that the problem is as follows: monaural != center speaker track.
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Old 10-05-04, 10:01 PM
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Re: Mono versus 5.1

Originally posted by Rad14
Undoubtedly, like many here, I originally saw a lot of these movies when they first came out and of course I enjoyed them the way they were, but times change, and surely the fantastic innovations that have been made with sound in the cinema can re-vamp a lot of these older titles.
I agree. The same goes for visuals. Why do they still put out DVDs of old films with their old special effects? Surely the fantastic innovations in special effects can revamp a lot of these old duds. Heck, why stop there? We've got 3-D technology, too. Surely the fantastic innovation of 3-D video can improve on the flat, unexciting 2-D experience.

We should do it like this: get together a bunch of young people obsessed with "new" and "exciting" and get them to revise every film every time it gets released on video. Get rid of those dull, lifeless filmmakers as soon as possible.

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Old 10-05-04, 10:05 PM
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This thread is disgraceful.



We're this far along and nobody's mentioned Mon Mothma?
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Old 10-05-04, 10:32 PM
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Although a remix could sounds great at times, the original sound mix would always be preferable.
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Old 10-05-04, 10:52 PM
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Originally posted by hogfat
It is my opinion that the problem is as follows: monaural != center speaker track.
And therein lies the issue especially for "big" movies. A mono track at home sounds little like the experience of that mono track in a cinema.
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Old 10-05-04, 11:07 PM
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Mono does not mean 'bad',HT 5.1 junkies should realize that.

I think you should catch a revival of a mono film sometime and experiance it theatrically before judging how 'inferior' mono is. If the print is restored and in decent quality,it should sound amazing.

I know I was blown away seeing Friday the 13th,Jaws,Beyond The Valley of the Dolls and Repo Man theatrically in their original mono mixes. It was just as engulfing in audio nirvana as a well done 5.1 mix.

Besides most new films do not make good use of 5.1. I caught Starsky & Hutch at a friends house on their 5.1 system and was underwhelmed.

It was largely a mono/stereo affair,mostly center speaker since there was alot of dialogue. Then the few sporadic surround pans sounded horrible and gimmicky. Mostly used for a split second pan of a car driving across the screen,or a bullet flying by.

Yet the film was a waste audio wise(and as a comedy,was pretty lousy itself). They should have just made the film in mono or stereo,as there was little to no surround action at all. Even the music was front speaker only..and just about everything else as well.

We then watched The Butterfly Effect afterwards and I was blown away by the 5.1 mix.

So obviouslly not all films need 5.1 mixes,and just because a film has 5.1 audio does not mean it will sound 'great' or 'better'.
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Old 10-05-04, 11:58 PM
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I think Duel is a good example of taking a mono soundtrack and remixing it in 5.1 and improving the enjoyment of the movie.
I listened to the original mono mix on my Duel dvd and its fine, but i think the remix is excellent.
It's also interesting to me that Paramount has a history of doing 5.1 remixes on their older films but did not do any for the Friday the 13th boxset.
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Old 10-06-04, 12:36 AM
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It's best to let 'sleeping dogs lie'. Remasterering or adding 5.1 to an
original audio mono track of pre-digital era will certainly cause more unplesantness to the ears rather than enjoyment. It will
sound not original.
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Old 10-06-04, 12:36 PM
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Originally posted by BananaMan
Star Wars ANH was originally released in mono in '77 I think and I doubt many of you would prefer its mono track to todays 5.1EX mix (even with the rear reversals).
In 1977, Star Wars was released to theaters in three different sound mixes: mono for some theaters, Dolby Stereo for others, and 6-track surround for 70mm prints.
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Old 10-06-04, 01:24 PM
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Originally posted by C.H.U.D.
I know alot of people who prefer the original track for The Terminator, rather than the new, remixed 5.1 track.

i can't listen to the new 5.1 mix. if sarah connor isn't getting killed by the noisy mono gun then the movie just isn't the same.
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Old 10-06-04, 10:57 PM
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Originally posted by blinkin_winkin
I've always been shocked by the double standards that DVD fans have. I don't understand why more people don't demand the original audio format. Of course, these same people are shocked whenever when a transfer is full frame let alone not anamorphicly enhanced.

If a film is recorded in mono why should they tamper with the original sound to make it fill your other speakers? It was never intended to do this. I've got a color TV. Why aren't black and white films always in color? Oh yes. The art aspect of it.

I don't like it when films are remastered to 6 channels when they were originally mono, stereo, or just regular surround. I'd like the original theatrical experience.
With that logic, we'd still be watching silent movies. "Sound? Who needs sound?"

The fact is that as time moves forward, technology and in general, "things" get better.

For example, when the technology came about that we could watch and own our own copies of movies for home viewing, we were all thrilled shitless. These were the Beta-Max and VHS days. Wow, to think that we could own a film in a small plastic self-contained case called a video cassette, was something special. The picture was pretty shitty, and the sound, most probably were mono, hey but who cares, the TVs back then were either small or had rounded screens.

But now, we can have a movie on a little disc the same size as a CD, and not only that, it comes with extras!!! Multiple language tracks, and even commentaries....and then we have some people who still want the original mono tracks....oh the horror!!!

I swear, talk about double standards, first we want the best picture/transfer, and then great sound, but bitch if the original mono/stereo track isn't included. I'm shocked that the purists don't still want all the little film scratches and black spots on the print to come across on the DVD.
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