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5.1 Surround Vs. Stereo Mix Down


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I just finished editing a 50 minute recording of a large work for trombone and quadraphonic electronics unsing Samplitude 8.1. I’ve mixed three stereo tracks (1 trombone stereo track, and two stereo tracks for the quad electronics) to 5.1 surround sound. (I am not a Samplitude beginner – I’ve been using it since version 2.5 -- but I am not a member of the more advanced forums.)

Using the snapshot function on the mixer, I have set Samplitude to play back in either 5.1 or stereo. Even when using stereo headphones, the 5.1 mix sounds much more open and clear (or airy as it is sometimes put), and there seems to be much more punch to the bass even if I turn off the LFE channel. I don’t get that effect when listening to the stereo mix on headphones (or speakers.)

I know that using multiple channels on a sound card usually gives one better sound, which might also be a factor creating the difference.

But still, I am wondering why the positive qualities of 5.1 surround come through even on headphones. Are there techniques for getting that same kind of open, powerful 5.1 quality when creating a stereo mixdown?

It would seem possible, since I get the 5.1 effect when listening to that mix on headphones.

Any comments are welcome.

William Osborne

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Unless you yourself created a wierd routing problem, I agree that turning off the back channels should generally give you the same as the stereo. Except that sometimes the front stereo image is broadened by also having the same thing on the rear (this depends on how you do your surround sound -- it is typical of 4.0 ambisonics).

However, wierd effects have been reported when a stereo mix and a sursound mix share the same VIP.


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