Mono/Stereo


SeaCastle

Playlist Author
I was wondering if anyone knew why a good amount of Disneyland/Walt Disney World Forever releases were in mono. In most cases, the track in mono would play in stereo in the park (i.e. the Main Street, USA tracks) and in some cases, a set of tracks released would have some in stereo and some in mono (i.e. "Blue Moon of Kentucky" is in stereo and "Tennessee Waltz" is in mono and both were released together.)

Thanks in advance!
 

Club 33

Playlist Author
You pose a great point. And furthermore, some tracks were released in mono on WDW Forever and stereo on DL Forever (such as the Space Mountain Com Chat).

I don't have a better answer than that there wasn't a lot of quality control with DLF. The tracks were all over the place.
 

Magic Music

Administrator
Playlist Author
Area/BGM music should be mono. You've got mushroom speakers scattered all about in bushes, and ceiling speakers in lobbies, hallways, bathrooms, etc., that all fire upward/downward in a 360° pattern, meanwhile listeners can be anywhere near or far, so there is no way they're ever going to hear anything resembling stereo.

You can put a stereo CD into a five-slot player in a hotel, by the way, but if there is only one output going to all eleventy-seven speakers located throughout the building, it's still going to be mono sound as far as the listeners are concerned.

One thing that Disney does horribly wrong is that they do not process the tracks that they are pulling from various sources through a Dynamics Processor (AGC/Compressor/Limiter), so their Area/BGM volume levels end up being all over the place. That is a serious "no-no" and they should know better. Unfortunately, there are all sorts of professionals who don't know a whole lot about audio dynamics. Radio and TV stations, by the way, are required by law to use Dynamics Processors.

Unlike the people who go to great lengths to exactly duplicate Disney's Area/BGM loops down to the millisecond, warts and all, I actually run the tracks through a Dynamics Processor, and I also add intelligent crossfade points (silence between tracks is usually considered a "no-no"). I end up with the same music, but mine sounds a whole lot better.
 

SeaCastle

Playlist Author
Area/BGM music should be mono. You've got mushroom speakers scattered all about in bushes, and ceiling speakers in lobbies, hallways, bathrooms, etc., that all fire upward/downward in a 360° pattern, meanwhile listeners can be anywhere near or far, so there is no way they're ever going to hear anything resembling stereo.

You can put a stereo CD into a five-slot player in a hotel, by the way, but if there is only one output going to all eleventy-seven speakers located throughout the building, it's still going to be mono sound as far as the listeners are concerned.

One thing that Disney does horribly wrong is that they do not process the tracks that they are pulling from various sources through a Dynamics Processor (AGC/Compressor/Limiter), so their Area/BGM volume levels end up being all over the place. That is a serious "no-no" and they should know better. Unfortunately, there are all sorts of professionals who don't know a whole lot about audio dynamics. Radio and TV stations, by the way, are required by law to use Dynamics Processors.

Unlike the people who go to great lengths to exactly duplicate Disney's Area/BGM loops down to the millisecond, warts and all, I actually run the tracks through a Dynamics Processor, and I also add intelligent crossfade points (silence between tracks is usually considered a "no-no"). I end up with the same music, but mine sounds a whole lot better.

Very interesting, thanks for the info, Jay! Do you know the brand of speakers Disney uses? I recall seeing this information posted somewhere before, but I can't find the link. Does the Dynamics Processor in any way related to the recent debacle of television commercial volume levels, in which there has to be a limit on the volume of a commerical?

I still think it's weird why Disney would release the tracks in mono if they were recorded in stereo.
 

Club 33

Playlist Author
Area/BGM music should be mono. You've got mushroom speakers scattered all about in bushes, and ceiling speakers in lobbies, hallways, bathrooms, etc., that all fire upward/downward in a 360° pattern, meanwhile listeners can be anywhere near or far, so there is no way they're ever going to hear anything resembling stereo.

You can put a stereo CD into a five-slot player in a hotel, by the way, but if there is only one output going to all eleventy-seven speakers located throughout the building, it's still going to be mono sound as far as the listeners are concerned.

This is true...and it's not. Some sets of speakers actually are stereo separated, such as the ones along Main Street USA for example. This allows them to use stereo panning effect during fireworks shows (they did this a few times during Remember). But yes, 99% percent of the time, one is not going to experience much in the way of stereo while hearing music at the parks.

Unlike the people who go to great lengths to exactly duplicate Disney's Area/BGM loops down to the millisecond, warts and all, I actually run the tracks through a Dynamics Processor, and I also add intelligent crossfade points (silence between tracks is usually considered a "no-no"). I end up with the same music, but mine sounds a whole lot better.

Okay, I admit to following the "warts and all" approach. For me, I try to recreate what I would have if I had the original loop file/CD. I also sometimes do video edits so I like having my music tracks line up with the loops as they play.

Very interesting, thanks for the info, Jay! Do you know the brand of speakers Disney uses? I recall seeing this information posted somewhere before, but I can't find the link.

Here's one...they even have a photo of the speakers in front of the (then) MGM Studios:

http://www.ticcorp.c...ni_speakers.htm
 

Magic Music

Administrator
Playlist Author
Do you know the brand of speakers Disney uses?

Most of Disney's ground speakers used to be OmniSpeakers, made by a company called TIC, but they have now replaced an awful lot of them with a phallic-shaped speaker made by another company.

If you look at TIC's write-up for the OmniSpeakers, you will see a picture of Disney-MGM Studios:

omni325.png


I still think it's weird why Disney would release the tracks in mono if they were recorded in stereo.

It's really not that weird. It just depends on from where in the production chain the music was located/obtained. Someone can have a bunch of stereo source tapes/CDs sitting around, but reduce the tracks to mono for final playback. Grab one and you've got stereo... grab the other and you've got mono.
 

Magic Music

Administrator
Playlist Author
This is true...and it's not. Some sets of speakers actually are stereo separated, such as the ones along Main Street USA for example. This allows them to use stereo panning effect during fireworks shows (they did this a few times during Remember).

HeHe. I knew I should have mentioned that all bets are off if you're going after some sort of special effect, but for normal Area/BGM, you'd want mono. That's why I settled for saying Area/BGM "should" be mono.

Fireworks and other special events aside, have you actually heard the Paragon Ragtime-style tracks in stereo while standing on Main Street? I haven't paid any attention, myself. If you think about it, though, such a recording would be totally out of place... as Main Street is supposed to be turn of the 20th century (c. 1908)... and Alan Blumlein didn't patent binaural and stereo sound until 1931... and stereo LPs weren't available for purchase until 1958! :D

But yes, 99% percent of the time, one is not going to experience much in the way of stereo while hearing music at the parks.

That's good... because 99% of the time the sound is coming from a single-channel string of omnidirectional speakers. :p

Okay, I admit to following the "warts and all" approach. For me, I try to recreate what I would have if I had the original loop file/CD.

Well, then, I hope you are converting most of the stereo tracks you are purchasing to mono. ;)
 

almandot

Member
well, not just fireworks, but BGM itself can be stereo too sometimes. The best example is in DCA where not only do they have a rocking sound system but you often get to enjoy stereo tracks played and can visibly hear some elements of the song on one side of you and other effects on your other side(walking in the main entrance and around the bend of sunshine plaza for example)..

also, and very less noticeably, newer parade floats have started to make use of stereo too. for Parade of Dreams, the overhead speakers played in mono but the floats played stereo.. I'm not sure any stereo effects ever got noticed or taken advantage of but I certainly enjoyed how the parade sounded regardless :)
 

Magic Music

Administrator
Playlist Author
Okay, I admit to following the "warts and all" approach. For me, I try to recreate what I would have if I had the original loop file/CD.

If you think about it, though, such a recording would be totally out of place... as Main Street is supposed to be turn of the 20th century (c. 1908)... and Alan Blumlein didn't patent binaural and stereo sound until 1931... and stereo LPs weren't available for purchase until 1958! :D

This reminds me of something I find rather humorous...

[member=Horizons] and I both absolutely love the area music for The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror. We would both give anything to have a copy of the source CD. But if you really think about it... what for?

We already have a mono induction recording that sounds pretty good.

Anyone who has ever purchased some of these very old tracks knows that they were all recorded in mono, using primitive equipment, and that they sound mediocre at best. As the Hollywood Tower Hotel is supposed to be stuck in 1939, its playback equipment would be mediocre as well.

If anything, we should probably work on making our induction recording sound worse... instead of worrying about getting a source copy from WDI! :D

I still want to see this 60-minute loop as Disc 2 in a Walt Disney Records Tower of Terror 2-disc set, though! ;)
 

Horizons

Playlist Author
If anything, we should probably work on making our induction recording sound worse... instead of worrying about getting a source copy from WDI! :D

Something worse sounding, no problem. I've got five recordings of the the loop, a few of which belong in the trash. :D


I still want to see this 60-minute loop as Disc 2 in a Walt Disney Records Tower of Terror 2-disc set, though! ;)

And the boiler room SFX loop! I'm telling you, if you ever get the chance to visit ToT and it's not busy, spend some extra time in the boiler room and listen to the effects. They may be hard to hear when the queue is packed, but those sounds really add to the experience. I know Jay wants this loop as well. He likes the odd SFX loops as much as I do. I mean, he's been harping about Dino grunts for a few years now. :D
 

eyore

DLRP explorer
Premium Member
Playlist Author
Just to add the fact that the mushroom speakers illustrated are also the ones used at DLRP as well. Can't speak for the one hidden in rocks, crates etc, of course.
I haven't noticed any of the newer ones yet.
I much prefer the recordings to sound like they do in the park. On occasions, a source CD in stereo can sound much better that's true but, for me, it loses something by being TOO good. In fact, it can sometimes fool you (well, OK, me) into thinking it isn't the right recording until you play it in mono and on a less sophisticated bit of equipment. I have listened over and over to some tracks before realizing that the deep booming bass notes coming from the sub woofer (for example) don't come out as clear from that little park speaker you did the induction from -_-
 

Magic Music

Administrator
Playlist Author
...it isn't the right recording until you play it in mono and on a less sophisticated bit of equipment.

Very true. I suggest anyone who really wants to replicate what they hear in the parks purchase a GS3 OmniSpeaker ($99.95), bolt it to their living room floor, and feed it a mono signal. You should also pay some of your neighbors to wander around your house, pushing strollers, fiddling with park maps, talking/laughing/yelling at one another, etc., in order to get the rest of the Disney Parks ambience. Close your eyes... and you're there! ;)

You might think I'm joking but, seriously, rather than collecting 200 Cinderella's Golden Carousel source files, you're better off walking around the carousel for 5-10 minutes wearing an in-ear binaural microphone set-up, capturing all of the children's voices, the encroaching sounds of nearby attractions and shops, etc., if you want to be able to "relive" it at home. Because, without the ambience, all you have is a bunch of calliope music, and not Cinderella's Golden Carousel.

You will want to listen to your binaural recording through a good pair of headphones, and not a GS3, though! :rolleyes:
 

Club 33

Playlist Author
...it isn't the right recording until you play it in mono and on a less sophisticated bit of equipment.

Very true. I suggest anyone who really wants to replicate what they hear in the parks purchase a GS3 OmniSpeaker ($99.95), bolt it to their living room floor, and feed it a mono signal. You should also pay some of your neighbors to wander around your house, pushing strollers, fiddling with park maps, talking/laughing/yelling at one another, etc., in order to get the rest of the Disney Parks ambience. Close your eyes... and you're there! ;)

Perhaps this can be added to the new "Store" section of the site? :rolleyes:
 

SeaCastle

Playlist Author
Unfortunately when I was last in WDW, I didn't realize my recorder only recorded mono, which was a bummer since I had a binaural microphone. (I won't make that mistake again.) A studio-mixed ride-through of Splash Mountain is nice, but it's hearing the Liberty Belle's and WDW's Railroad's whistle in the distance, the sound of the rushing water, the screams of the nearby guests that really do it for me.

With regard to the OmniSpeaker being fed a mono signal, does this mean that the master tracks in DACS are in mono, or just that the speakers are playing in mono?
 

Horizons

Playlist Author
A studio-mixed ride-through of Splash Mountain is nice, but it's hearing the Liberty Belle's and WDW's Railroad's whistle in the distance, the sound of the rushing water, the screams of the nearby guests that really do it for me.

Building your collection will be fairly easy then. :p

I've got lots of live recordings where people are yelling at each other, kids are crying and screaming, or transportation comes by and blows the recording levels with a horn or whistle. I didn't realize I was holding your holy grail of WDW audio. :D
 

almandot

Member
With regard to the OmniSpeaker being fed a mono signal, does this mean that the master tracks in DACS are in mono, or just that the speakers are playing in mono?

well that's kind've a mixed question... when it comes to area loops, when it runs off a CD rack then it's a stereo cd track, and I think that's usually what gets fed into those omnispeakers... As far as stuff stored on digital cards; I can't say for certainty how often it's the case, but a lot of it is always stored in mono, even when it's stereo, in which case it's kept as 2 mono tracks one for left channel one for right channel.
 

gmeader

Member
I was wondering if anyone knew why a good amount of Disneyland/Walt Disney World Forever releases were in mono….
Thanks in advance!

Most Park BGM is mastered in mono even though the original source material is stereo which is why a majority of the releases are in mono. Jay’s comment below regarding mono is exactly right. All commercially available music as well as the original recordings done for the parks is in stereo originally. As for why there are mono and stereo release grouped together well that’s anybodies guess.

Area/BGM music should be mono. You've got mushroom speakers scattered all about in bushes, and ceiling speakers in lobbies, hallways, bathrooms, etc., that all fire upward/downward in a 360° pattern, meanwhile listeners can be anywhere near or far, so there is no way they're ever going to hear anything resembling stereo.

You can put a stereo CD into a five-slot player in a hotel, by the way, but if there is only one output going to all eleventy-seven speakers located throughout the building, it's still going to be mono sound as far as the listeners are concerned.

Perfectly Stated.

One thing that Disney does horribly wrong is that they do not process the tracks that they are pulling from various sources through a Dynamics Processor (AGC/Compressor/Limiter), so their Area/BGM volume levels end up being all over the place. That is a serious "no-no" and they should know better. Unfortunately, there are all sorts of professionals who don't know a whole lot about audio dynamics. Radio and TV stations, by the way, are required by law to use Dynamics Processors.

Unlike the people who go to great lengths to exactly duplicate Disney's Area/BGM loops down to the millisecond, warts and all, I actually run the tracks through a Dynamics Processor, and I also add intelligent crossfade points (silence between tracks is usually considered a "no-no"). I end up with the same music, but mine sounds a whole lot better.

Sorry Jay but I’ve got to respectfully disagree with you on this one. I don’t know which tracks you are referring to specifically but personally speaking I know that on the BGM loops I worked on I spent considerable time compressing all the dynamic life out of the recordings. My goal was 1-3db dynamic across the board for all music in a particular loop. In the case of Star Tours Florida (as one example) I spent considerable time adjusting gain within the musical pieces in addition to running it through an APHEX Compellor/Dominator in order to reduce the dynamic range to almost nothing. During mastering I would watch the meters like a hawk in order to catch anything that could be considered out of bounds. The guy who does the majority of the BGM currently at WDI spends a considerable amount of time compressing the dynamic range out of the music as well using both Mastering Plug Ins as well as outboard gear. Level control between various source tracks is of utmost importance. That being said not all BGM comes from WDI, most notably the hotels and retail spaces in which case you may have a point. As simple as BGM seems there is actually quite a process involved in getting it to “sound” like BGM. Outside creators may not know this.

And the boiler room SFX loop! I'm telling you, if you ever get the chance to visit ToT and it's not busy, spend some extra time in the boiler room and listen to the effects. They may be hard to hear when the queue is packed, but those sounds really add to the experience. I know Jay wants this loop as well. He likes the odd SFX loops as much as I do...

Regarding the Boiler Room FX. If you are ever able to listen to the tracks during a quiet moment you will notice that it’s a five-channel (if I remember correctly) loop in which all the tracks are synchronized with each other. If you listen you can hear the various sounds travel through the space as well as some very cool low-end sub material as well. It was a very eerie sounding track in the studio unfortunately the boiler room queue is so loud from people it’s very hard to hear the subtleties of the tracks.

well that's kind've a mixed question... when it comes to area loops, when it runs off a CD rack then it's a stereo cd track, and I think that's usually what gets fed into those omnispeakers... As far as stuff stored on digital cards; I can't say for certainty how often it's the case, but a lot of it is always stored in mono, even when it's stereo, in which case it's kept as 2 mono tracks one for left channel one for right channel.

Most BGM CD’s were produced (during my tenure anyway) as two mono sources on one CD. This way one CD player could effectively cover two BGM zones. Rarely was a BGM CD made in stereo. With limited rack space in the EER's it always comes down to economy of space or in other words how much stuff can you cram into one rack unit.
 

Horizons

Playlist Author
If you listen you can hear the various sounds travel through the space as well as some very cool low-end sub material as well. It was a very eerie sounding track in the studio unfortunately the boiler room queue is so loud from people it’s very hard to hear the subtleties of the tracks.

These are exactly the effects I was referring to. I don't know how many channels there are, but the sounds do travel around the room. This, coupled with the very deep low rumbling sounds you hear really add to the overall creepiness level.
 

Magic Music

Administrator
Playlist Author
I don’t know which tracks you are referring to specifically but personally speaking I know that on the BGM loops I worked on I spent considerable time compressing all the dynamic life out of the recordings. My goal was 1-3db dynamic across the board for all music in a particular loop. [snip] The guy who does the majority of the BGM currently at WDI spends a considerable amount of time compressing the dynamic range out of the music as well using both Mastering Plug Ins as well as outboard gear. Level control between various source tracks is of utmost importance.

I am glad there are people in California who know what they are doing... but I have still heard many a loop here in Florida with wildly fluctuating levels.

That being said not all BGM comes from WDI, most notably the hotels and retail spaces in which case you may have a point.

Which is where many of my observations/recordings are being made. :D

As far as I know, the loops used in the resorts, restaurants, shops, and for special events, etc., are produced by Walt Disney Entertainment's Music Department. That lets WDI off the hook, but it doesn't let "Disney" off the hook. ;)

Whoever is actually doing the work, I consider Disney's Polynesian Resort, Disney's Grand Floridian Resort and Spa, Disney's Wilderness Lodge, Disney's Animal Kingdom Lodge, Disney's Old Key West Resort, Disney's BoardWalk Resort, etc., etc., to be part of "Disney," and I know that their BGM loops are not receiving any Dynamics Processing.

I have heard a few loops in the parks with crazy levels, too, but some of these have been produced for special events (e.g., Mickey's Not-So-Scary Halloween, Epcot Food and Wine), in which case they were most likely put together by WDE.

As simple as BGM seems there is actually quite a process involved in getting it to “sound” like BGM.

Absolutely. Which is why I run my own BGM through a three-stage AGC/Compressor/Limiter. :)

I was hoping that you would chime in on this topic, by the way. :)
 

SeaCastle

Playlist Author
As far as I know, the loops used in the resorts, restaurants, shops, and for special events, etc., are produced by Walt Disney Entertainment's Music Department.

Does this include restaurants and shops inside the parks, or does WDI have the responsibility for all of the music in the parks (sans parades/firework shows that are produced by Entertainment)?
 

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