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Stereo or stereophony generally refers to dual-channel sound recording and sound reproduction – sound that contains data for more than one speaker simultaneously. Compact disc audio and some radio broadcasts are stereo. The purpose of stereo recording is to recreate a more natural listening experience where the spatial location of the source of a sound is, at least in part, reproduced.

Stereo means solid, and the term can be applied to any system using more than one channel, such as such as the multichannel audio 5.1- and 6.1-channel systems used on high-end film and television productions. However it is more commonly used to refer exclusively to two-channel systems.

Although stereo can have two independent mono channels, usually the signal on one channel is related to the signal on the other channel. For example, if the same signal is recorded on both channels, then it will appear as a central phantom image when played on loudspeakers. That is, the sound appears to becoming from the center between the loudspeakers.

Stereo recording was introduced in the music business in the fall of 1957, superseding monaural (single-channel) recording.

See also