#2
Any XLR input you use will be recorded in mono, that's just the way XLR works. When mono sounds are received by a piece of hardware such as a computer or an amplifier, it will recognize that only one channel is being used and automatically duplicate the signal onto the other channel. It's ok if only one meter is picking up the signal, it's normal
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#4
if you have a mono signal - it will be mono no matter what you do. True stereo comes from a pair for mic's or a pair of outputs from your POD or whatever. These can be combined by your mixer/ software in a variety of ways but that is what stereo really is.

You can create a 'stereo effect' by splitting your mono signal and sending the two signals to your mixer/ interface and then panning each one appropriately - you can use a DI box as a splitter, or a Y-lead or even your mixer if you have the right outputs (you can take the signal in through channel one, out again from pre-fader buses AUX 1 and AUX 2 and then back into channels 3 and 4 panned left and right respectively so that the mix of 3 and 4 can be sent out via the stereo bus to your recorder/ interface/ whatever).

A real stereo signal will be in stereo eve when the pan pots are left centered, as the effect is created during recording.
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