Mono source - Stereo or Mono track?

Sorry for this really basic question!

All recording tutorials advise that mono sources, such as vocals, guitars, bass guitars etc should go onto a mono track.
However, whenever stereo inserts are added the results are in mono. This is obviously an unworkable limitation.
I’ve seen many different mono to stereo workarounds on YouTube which require a degree of faffing around.
Surely the obvious and simplest way to go is to create a stereo track for these sources in the first place, then stereo inserts can be heard in all their glory.
So why the advice to always create a mono track?
Am I missing something?

Ok, I see that the question has been asked here before.

Seems that many/most(?) create a stereo track for mono sources.
This does beg the question - why do tutorials advise mono tracks? Is there a downside to using a stereo track for a mono source ?


Because if you would use Stereo Track with Mono source, you would hear the signal on the left or right side only. The input is mono and you can route it to the left- or right- channel of the Stereo track only, not to both of them.

Out in the world in general if you record a mono source to a stereo Track it will often result in file twice the size as it would be on a mono Track. I think this is the source of the advice. In this age of cheap drives that is less & less of a concern.

That said Cubase is able to figure out your source is mono and not create twice the data where it isn’t needed.

There is lots of "common wisdom’ advice out there that once made sense because of technical constraints but no longer does. Reader beware.

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Thanks Martin,
I must be doing something wrong… that works, because I hear bass guitar in L&R.
If I create a mono “Bass Guitar” bus in Audio Connections, then create a stereo track, route that track to the Bass Guitar bus, play in some bass guitar… it will record a mono track (1 wave form) that plays L & R and works with stereo plugins.

Thanks Raino,
As in my reply to Martin, the way I have it setup, it records in mono (only 1 wave form), but works with stereo plugins.
Seems you’re right: CB appears to have cleverly figured out that it is a mono source into a stereo track, which makes the “mono track for mono source” advice totally obsolete.


Could you attach a screenshot of Audio Connections > Inputs and your Audio Track, where we can see the Input routing, please?

Thanks Martin, hope this is enough info.
The fact that you’ve asked me to upload a screenshot makes me think there’s something wrong with the setup :worried:


The Bass Gtr is Mono Input, not Stereo. The Bass Gtr Test is Mono Track, not Stereo (ony 1 waveform). So everything is as expected.

FWIW, I have recorded a while ago for test purposes a litle guitar clip, using two tracks for the same playing :

  • one, mono, for the SM57 that was recording my amp
  • one, stereo, for the DI output of it.

But both have a mono input bus (see the screenshot)

So, why the stereo one ? Because I use the Mono to Stereo effect as insert in it, while routing one of it Sends to an FX track with REvelation reverb. IOW, the mono track to have the miced amp sound and the other for the processed stereo DI one. Absolutly love this setup results with the ability to adjust the balance between the two…