The Beatles hate me. Well, not personally, of course. Unless of course John Lennon cursed my mother for daring to disturb him and Yoko in a restaurant in London many moons ago. But he doesn’t seem the type, does he?(Wouldn’t put it past Yoko, though…)
On the long and somewhat depressing list of things that my body doesn’t do properly, is a right ear that just never grew a nerve. It just doesn’t work, never has, never will. Because it’s only the one side, and the other ear is just fine, it’s not a big deal, most people never realise, and I barely notice it myself most of the time. It can be a bit annoying if someone is speaking very quietly on the wrong side of me, or in noisy places, but otherwise I just forget about it. Until I pop in my earphones and try to listen to the Beatles.
Stereo sound is a great and wondrous technological step forwards, it is Progress. It is Better. But the thing about Better is that it’s not always better for everyone. The Beatles, along with quite a few other bands, especially in the 60’s it would seem, had great fun with the fresh new wonders of stereo, and therefore used it to play around with their songs. In some cases, they just messed around with the levels a bit, in others, they tried putting the instrumental part on the right track and the vocals on the left, or vice versa. And that’s all very well and good, but if you’re only listening to one track, it is infuriatingly weird.
For example, Eleanor Rigby has the first 2 words on the left track, then all the rest is instrumental. The vocals are all on the right track, with virtually no instrumental. So if I have earbuds as I do on my iPod, I can pick: karaoke version, or a cappella. If I have a headset, as I do at work, I don’t have the choice. California Dreaming by the Mamas and the Papas is another strange one, here they messed with the harmonies. You get the bass singer and some of the music on the one side and the rest on the other. This makes the fact that all the leaves are brown (and the sky is grey) sound very spooky and sad…
All this is very fine and well but sometimes I would just like to be able to hear the songs I like as they should be heard. So I’ve been searching high and low for a tool that will let me convert my music to mono without having to open and hand mix each one. And it looks like I may just have found it: Factory AudioConverter
I will be trying it out this weekend, hopefully, and with a bit of luck, I should finally be able to listen to my music properly, even if it is by voluntarily shunning Progress and taking a big step backwards into the dark age of Mono.