Stereo vs Mono vs Combined

When we’re talking just about the bass, what is the difference in stereo vs mono in terms of inputs and outputs on a pedal? Most bass pedals just have a mono in and mono out. Some give you the option of stereo or mono. Does it degrade the sound at all to go from a stereo input to a stereo output? Most basses just have a mono out. Is this anything to do with L/R channels?

As you can tell, I’m a bit lost on this one. :stuck_out_tongue:


Most musical instruments have a Mono output and the cables were used to are Mono TRS “Tip Ring Sleeve”. Stereo cables such as those on our headphones are TRRS (2 rings for 2 channels), and if you have one with a mic, well you probably guessed by now: TRRRS

There are some pedals that split your signal so you can process 2 channels with different effects and then give you the option to combine them back into mono for one signal (this is essentially what a blend knob does!when in middle position) or keep it stereo if you are sending it to 2 different locations.

As far as audio quality, I can’t answer that, but I doubt it makes much of a real difference considering what all these modern pedals do, and how many musicians use them.
I do remember that when connecting Mono Signal into stereo inputs, the Left channel was the dedicated mono channel, not sure if this still matters.


Thanks. So, if I’m understanding this right. The stereo bit has nothing to do with the left/right channel bit in the modern age? e.g. That is carried even on a mono output?

When people talk about stereo inputs, I tend to see keyboards (musical, not PC) mentioned. Not sure why that is either.

The reason I’m asking this is because my new Helix Stomp has a stereo out, but also has a mono out using the Left channel (as you mention). I didn’t know whether I should try to use the stereo out if I can, or just use the mono out because it doesn’t really matter and one cable is easier than two.


Well, stereo in general it’s designed for left/right listening and recording. If you’re asking whether or not it matters for your bass, then no. Just use the left channel.

Since you have the option, you can experiment with your stereo outputs by adding an effect to each channel and then an A/B splitter (also referred to as an ABY) in reverse, and use it to switch effects on the fly.

Some people will use the stereo out to have one clean channel and one effects channel on stage.

Source Audio pedals will allow you to use both channels and either send them out stereo, combine simultaneously to mono, or even Cascade (Stack) them to mono as if your have 2 pedals back to back. Your pedal might give you these options as well.


Just use the mono out unless you wish to use the helix to do stereo widening, panning, or other effects.

Your bass is a mono signal. It might be split into stereo by some effects in the helix (especially reverbs and so on), but in general, you won’t suffer with a mono out.


You can get to the same solution a variety of ways by splitting the signal to both channels later in a mix, for effects, or for where bass sits in the sound field, etc.

Yet another ‘feature’ some marketers put on some pedals that may be useful, or not.

I always used to say when buying stereo equipment (when that was a thing), that the amps always come with at least one knob you will never ever use, but a marketer decided it was important to ‘differentiate’ their amp from the competition.

I am sure in all this bass eqiupment I have I am ignoring more knobs and features than I am using.


funny you mention that, i am currently in the process of doing a stereo rig to see what happens. everybody chuckles when you say you have a stereo bass rig, i get it (it is very derek smalls). but i want to see how different effects and my beat buddy drums sound in stereo.


Yeah any effect with stereo splitting should sound awesome. The HX might even have a stereo splitter as a separate stomp.


The only band I have seen with stereo in concert, with panning, is the Pink Floyd family (Floyd, Waters, Gilmore). They had it so you felt the music was spinning around you in places. Fits their vibe.

Really awesome


Which version? Gilmour, Mason, Wright? Or Waters also?
The Floyd part threw me off. I believe Pink Floyd were the first group to do a Surround Sound concert, and albums.


I’ve seen Pink Floyd wall tour, which was Mason, Gilmour, Waters, and Wright. Then Waters with Clapton, Pink Floyd with Gilmour, Wright, and Mason, two different tours but was really Gilmours band at that point