Ok I was pretty excited to get this to work, get it hooked up, and see how it would (hopefully) improve my sound.
Well… not so much LOL. So After all my research today, I have to call the box a success, because it absolutely works, BUT it did not improve the sound as I would have liked.
Evidently there are issues when you combine two signals like the Left and Right from a Stereo signal, I can’t fully explain it, but the short version is, when you combine two like signals they cancel each other out to a certain extent. This box is combining the signals as I asked it to do, physics is cancelling out quite a lot of the high frequencies so it sounds like I’m listening to my music through a sock. :/
Have I learned something? yup! Did I get to build something and have fun in the process? yup! Ok so mission accomplished, more or less lol.
So, after making all these new discoveries I did more research, there must be a way around these shenanigans! I did more searching on the Rane website and actually found that not only did the original author of the Why not Wye article still work there, but I found his email address!
I emailed Dennis Bohn, pleading for mercy and would he spare a moment of time to further explain to me why this seemingly simple solution to my audio woes had actually made it worse?! Much to my surprise, Dennis got right back to me! WOW! Here is his response.
Yes, you are correct about the potential loss of fidelity due to monoing a stereo signal.
The problem is one of phase cancellations (and—flipside—amplification). This occurs when the same frequencies are present in the two different channels but are out-of-phase, i.e., one is positive and the other is negative, so they cancel; and if they are in-phase then they add and it gets louder in that band. And this happens even when the signals aren’t exactly 180 degrees out of phase; just at a lesser amount.
A true hi-fi mono signal can only be created by recording a sound source with one microphone, or multiple microphones but summed at the recording board. Cancellations and amplifications can still happen but it is the recording engineers job to minimize such anomalies.
It is ironic that this is most noticeable with the best sound sources since they have a better dynamic range with extended high frequency delivery.
Sadly modern recordings are so compressed and processed that this phase cancellation phenomena is seldom noticed. Too many modern recordings sound mono to begin with.
This says that you may be happier with just using one channel to listen to, rather than going to all the trouble of monoing. Strange but true; you might like it better.
However, the best solution is to go back to stereo and get some sort of a stereo playback system. Even a smaller, cheaper one may sound better than a bigger mono unit.
Hope this helps.
Thanks for the inquiry,
Mystery solved! So, one thought… I have a box that will produce a suitable output for a sub woofer! In the event that I rebuild my work system I will no doubt add a sub. So this box may yet find a permanent home in my work system!
Also, another article I came across showed that the high frequency losses experienced and values for those losses so I applied an EQ curve to compensate and the audio is greatly improved but I can tell there is some obvious loss of detail. I will likely begin looking for a new amp to build and suitable speakers for my cubical environment! Woohoo! new project LOL! I love building stuff. Even when it doesn’t work out, I learned something I wouldn’t have if I hadn’t tried to change and improve my system and now I know why it didn’t work.
Enjoy the music my friends!