Converting stereo to mono -- what am I missing? :-o

Hey there Steinberg forum! New poster but longtime Cubase user here :slight_smile:

I’ve been using Cubase Studio 4, 5 and/or 6 for years now, and ran into a problem today that confounds me… Though I might be missing something really obvious (probably, and hopefully), I can’t think of any reason why this problem is occurring. Here’s what’s wrong…

Back when I was still new to home recording, I used to record everyting in stereo (eg guitars), until at some point of course I learned to record things that give a mono signal in mono (insert rolling-eyes-at-self emoticon here). I’ve been playing around with several older projects recently though in the hopes of making something out of them yet, and decided I want to convert all those old unnecessarily-stereo-recorded guitar tracks into mono tracks, in order to save disc space (and in order not to have the studio engineer snigger at me for sending him stereo tracks for recordings that clearly should have been recorded onto mono tracks). The issue is this: both obvious ways that I can think of for converting stereo tracks to mono don’t seem to yield the results I was expecting.

  1. I first went into the audio pool, selected a track that had a guitar solo on it, had Cubase convert it into mono, and then inserted it back into Cubase in place of the original, stereo-recorded track. Easy-peasy, I thought. The problem? The resulting track sounds just slightly quieter than the original stereo-track. Trying to compensate for the lost amount of volume, I’d say it’s about 1,5dB that’s lost. There’s no loss of quality when I even out the original stereo-track and the newly created mono-track in volume and then compare the two (in other words, they do seem to sound identical, luckily), but that little bit of volume that’s lost confounds and scares me. What’s causing that volume to be lost in the conversion from stereo to mono?

  2. The second option I tried yielded an equally weird result: I decided to take the less direct route and to export the tracks through audio mixdown (mono export), and then to import them back into Cubase onto newly created mono tracks. A slight detour, but effective nonetheless, I figured. The issue here? Contrary to the loss of volume I experience when converting files within the pool (as described above), the resulting mono track now sounds exactly as loud as the original stereo track (as it should – both the tracks themselves and the master are at ‘0’ btw), and yet, inexplicably, it clips! The original stereo track doesn’t clip at all, for the record, but the mono export does – it’s even visible on the waveform, and clearly audible. Also scary, 'cause it leaves me doubting the integrity of exports out of my Cubase sessions as a whole – how can I still be sure that nothing is lost or added (eg volume) when exporting through the audio mixdown screen? Logically there shouldn’t, but apparently something is making those exported mono tracks clip, even though the perceived volume is the exact same as that of the original stereo tracks.

So there you go… I’ve spent the better part of the last hour-and-a-half searching the net trying to find info on this issue, but my search turned up nothing. This leads me to believe that either I’ve stumbled onto something strange…or that I’m a complete noob for missing something insanely obvious. I’m hoping for the lattter :slight_smile: