The majority of our mono music recordings are available in a format we call “Ambient Stereo”. This uses a recently developed digital audio technique to extract ambient information from a mono signal and spread it across the stereo soundstage. The effect is totally mono compatible – if you’ve a mono switch on your amplifier you can get back to the original mono without any signal loss or phasing.
While this doesn’t try to turn mono recordings into stereo ones (and sounds nothing like the horrors of fake “electronically generated” stereo of the past), it does allow for a sense of “breathing space” around the central mono image of the original recording, which is retained in the middle of the soundstage.
Over time this format has become preferred listening by the overwhelming majority of Pristine’s customers when buying recordings originally made in mono.
After initial suspicions even esteemed reviewers have developed a taste for Ambient Stereo – here’s Henry Fogel in Fanfare in early 2017 in a review of Karl Böhm’s 1960 Metropolitan Opera Tristan und Isolde touching on the subject:
“Pristine has done its usual amazing work on the restoration. In the ambient stereo version that I listened to, the sound is natural, surprisingly open and with a realistic perspective between voice and orchestra.”