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William

We Need A "5.1 To Stereo" Function

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Samplitude begins with a set of original stereo or mono tracks from which one can create either a stereo mix or a 5 .1 mix.

I have noticed that often 5.1 mixes sound better than stereo mixes, even when using stereo headphones to listen to both. There are some basic reasons for this aside from any particularities of effects routing.

The 5.1 mix has an LFE channel that adds punch to the bass. And one can use the panorama functions of the 5.1 mixer to overlap the channels in ways that are impossible in a simple stereo mix. (The stereo panorama function doesn't emmulate the kind of panorma mix you can get using the 5.1 functions.)

It would be great if there were a way of creating a stereo mix of the 5.1 mix. I don’t mean the sense of surrounding space, but the general qualities of the panorama mix and the LFE channel. Samplitude should consider building a “5.1 to stereo” function into their mixer.

In the meantime, how can I do this? I have thought about trying to make a stereo recording of the 6 channels of the 5.1 mix by playing it into another computer. (Or maybe I can loop the six channels back into the 2 channels I still have free on my sound card.) Will this reproduce in stereo the qualities of openness, transparency, and punch that the 5.1 mix has?

William Osborne

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Hi William,

I fully second the need for a downmix functionality.

There are several methods how this can be done.

Your statements about the LFE are rather a misconception. The acronym means Low Frequency Effect channel, not * Extension. So, on a calibrated system no punch is being added.

Will this reproduce in stereo the qualities of openness, transparency, and punch that the 5.1 mix has?

From my personal experience is NOT possible. How should it be? Stereo is Stereo and does not offer more than Stereo. You can not do anything in Surround first and hope to transfer that to Stereo retaining all qualities. You will be happy acheiving an ACCEPTABLE version by downmixing, nothing more.

Cheers,

Sebastian

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When following some threads here it appears that downmix functionality will be unavoidable in future. However, IMHO generally an automated downmix just sounds AWFUL in comparison to a dedicated stereo mix, because surround mixes usually have different targets than being compatible to automated downmix routines...

I consider such functionality only useful for always being aware what damage can happen to a fine surround mix...

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>It would be great if there were a way of creating a stereo mix of the 5.1 mix. I don’t mean the sense of >surrounding space, but the general qualities of the panorama mix and the LFE channel. Samplitude should >consider building a “5.1 to stereo” function into their mixer.

Yes, but the usage often may give unexpected results e.g. phase problems.

Other possible options which might be more useful are a dolby stereo

mixdown (which should be more transparent than starting with 2 channel

stereo in the first place) or headphone surround.

>The 5.1 mix has an LFE channel that adds punch to the bass.

You can easily setup a stereo AUX with a FFT filter as a low pass to get exactly

the same effect.

>The stereo panorama function doesn't emmulate the kind of panorama mix you

>can get using the 5.1 functions.)

Don't forget: since version 9 every AUX send has a complete panning section including

phase inversion and stereo width options. This should give you a lot of freedom for your

stereo mix as well.

>In the meantime, how can I do this? I have thought about trying to make a stereo recording of the 6 >channels of the 5.1 mix by playing it into another computer. (Or maybe I can loop the six channels back >into the 2 channels I still have free on my sound card.)

It should be much more simple: just bounce your surround mix in a new VIP with

mono files. Now switch the resulting project to stereo and mix the channels as you

like.

Regards,

Volker

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Volker, I think that the Prologic matrix is a viable quick and dirty approach. The phase issues are actually induced by the choice of the user anyhow. (production practises....) If you record and pan with level only there are no phase issues.

The question is also how to handle the versions in parallel. That's half way solved. Some Mixer Options would be necessary to better handle the monitoring of both versions.

Cheers,

Sebastian

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Don't forget: since version 9 every AUX send has a complete panning section including

phase inversion and stereo width options. This should give you a lot of freedom for your

stereo mix as well.

Can someone point me in the direction of a write-up that tells me what I can do with these surround aux send/buses and how, please?

For instance, for converting Ambisonic B-format signals to 4.0, I am currently using a plugin to route a track in phase to (Lf plus Lr) and inverted phase to (Rf plus Rr), while the same plugin in a different track routes the second track in phase to (Lf plus Rf) and inverted phase to (Lr and Rr).

Will the aux sends enable me achieve this more simply?

david

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Thanks to all for the very interesting comments and suggestions.

Some time ago, I tried exporting all six 5.1 mono tracks and placing them in a new VIP set to a stereo mix. There were obvious phasing problems. The 5.1 mixer seems to do something to avoid these phasing problems.

I am using MBD in the master controllers of both mixes (stereo and 5.1.) This results in a different overall sound for each. The MBD boosts each track of the 5.1 independently (or so it seems,) while the stereo master boosts all the tracks together as a whole. This results in a stereo mix that is denser and less transparent.

If I place MBD in the individual stereo tracks problems arise with distortion because I am also using MBD in some of the objects. And the cross track panorama settings are different as well.

Some of my double MBD routings stem from the problems of trying to record the enormous dynamic range of a classical solo trombone and still have everything sound relatively present. Some parts whisper, and some parts blast.

I think I will have to upgrade to 9.1, create an entirely different VIP for the stereo master, use different settings in many of the individual objects, create special aux sends to create a wider feel to the panorama (assuming I understand Volker’s message correctly,) and add an aux to create a pseudo LFE quality in the bass. Even then, I suspect I will still only be able to approximate the sound I hear when listening to the 5.1 mix on stereo headphones.

It would be so much easier if something that sounds like the 5.1 mix could be bounced to a stereo track, though that might involved hairy technical issues I know little about.

William

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Some time ago, I tried exporting all six 5.1 mono tracks and placing them in a new VIP set to a stereo mix. There were obvious phasing problems. The 5.1 mixer seems to do something to avoid these phasing problems.

That's a statement hard to understand. Again: the pan function in the Surround Pan is pure level. Potential phase issues origin from somewhere else.

The MBD boosts each track of the 5.1 independently (or so it seems,) while the stereo master boosts all the tracks together as a whole.
Note that there is a (documented?) possibility to drive the trigger signal from a sum of all channels. I'd call that an operating issue.
If I place MBD in the individual stereo tracks problems arise with distortion because I am also using MBD in some of the objects. And the cross track panorama settings are different as well.

???

Some of my double MBD routings stem from the problems of trying to record the enormous dynamic range of a classical solo trombone and still have everything sound relatively present. Some parts whisper, and some parts blast.
Rather a player, room, or miking issue. A Compressor alone will not solve this. How did you record? Is it Trombone solo or with Ensemble?
I think I will have to upgrade to 9.1, create an entirely different VIP for the stereo master, use different settings in many of the individual objects, create special aux sends to create a wider feel to the panorama (assuming I understand Volker’s message correctly,) and add an aux to create a pseudo LFE quality in the bass. Even then, I suspect I will still only be able to approximate the sound I hear when listening to the 5.1 mix on stereo headphones.

You can do THAT now. No upgrade needed.

Cheers,

Sebastian

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