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Recording in 5.1 surround. HELP!!


Kevne

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Hello all.

 

I have a new dilemma this week. Hoping y'all can help.

 

I have recently been set a task... to play "war" sound effects (guns, bombs, planes, tanks etc) in 5.1 surround through the venues surround system.

 

Firstly, is this even possible? I have the audio tracks that I want to use, so is there some software that will allow me to pan them across the 5.1 system and then encode them onto a DVD?

 

I thought that encoding the tracks onto a DVD then using a DVD player to decode the 5.1 would be the simplest option but mabey I'm wrong.

 

I hope someone can help. This one has really stumped me!!

 

Kevin

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From what I understand you could use separate source players (5) then route them via your matrix outs on your fancy desk. One source for each OR have 3 and use the left channel for one of your 5 and the right for another and so on till you have 5 separate outputs, then route them all through a 6th output to your sub woofer, that's my budget way of doing it minus a computer. Although you will have to create your tracks using one. (stereo's pretty good you know)
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I'd be inclined to look at a PC playback solution such as SCS. This will allow any effect to be routed to any or every amp. The sub would be dealt with by sending signal to one output connected to the LF amp as well as the required speaker.
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You could encode it as old-style 4.1 surround, if the decoder supports this. You can use normal stereo mixing software, and you'll be able to record it onto an audio cd using the following rules :

 

-Sound that is just in the left or right channel goes to the left or right speakers

-Sound that is in both channels goes out of just the centre speaker

-Sound that is normal in one channel, and inverted in the other goes out of the surround channel.

 

Of course you'll only get mono surround, and you don't get 4 discrete audio channels (i.e. you can't have the same sound coming out of the right and surround channels at the same time, for example). I've made a test CD using these rules, and it works perfectly on our Dolby SR-A system that we've got for our cinema.

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or go the retro way

8 track tape recorder,record each sound effect on a separate track

for playback return the 8 tape outputs into 8 channels of the desk,route each channel were you want it to go,no need for matrix,aux's work fine along with the main left and right,press lay and sit back.

Used this method to great effect for the servants bells and Marley's entrance on Christmas carol a good few years ago

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The discreet method suggested above may be better - the surround sound system fitted, for cinema use, I'm guessing - may not give you what you need.

 

If the idea is to be able to place booms and bangs around the auditorium, and pan planes around the place, then 5:1 or similar could be tricky - these systems are not designed to be able to provide full range form all the channels, and for feature films you can isolate out the dialogue, normal left and right have the full range, and then some ambience from the rear channels. My own efforts to do this using SX to DVD were variable. Keeping a soundscape, low level in the rear speakers and panning moving sources left and right works quite well, but spot effects are quite difficult

 

If I were you, I'd put in a quad system with four separate (not matrixed) channels - then you can pan anything, anywhere without concerning yourself with the restrictions of matrixed channelling.

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I'd be inclined to look at a PC playback solution such as SCS. This will allow any effect to be routed to any or every amp. The sub would be dealt with by sending signal to one output connected to the LF amp as well as the required speaker.

 

 

this is exactly how we did our 5.1 sound for a show in our studio theatre last year, except we used SFX rather than SCS. It worked very well in terms of dierction, but of course a true 5.1 experience was only possible from a couple of prime seats.

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Lots of software out there will let you do a surround mix. Personally, I use Adobe Audition where versions 1.5 and 2.0 both have this facility. (I can't remember when it was implemented...earlier versions may have it as well.

 

However, to ENCODE this mix to 5.1 will require some specialist software which can be a bit pricey. There are "free" options for this encoding as well, but I've heard varying reports about the reliability/compatability of the results.

 

For this, plus the reasons mentioned above by paulears and others, I'd drop the 5.1 idea and go with the discrete multichannel playback others have suggested. This has the added benefit of being far more flexible in terms of adjustment when you get to the theatre.

 

Bob

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However, to ENCODE this mix to 5.1 will require some specialist software which can be a bit pricey. There are "free" options for this encoding as well, but I've heard varying reports about the reliability/compatability of the results.

Bob

This is exactly why we went for the SFX option - the soundscape was developed by the composer in 4 weeks in the rehearsal room - (he was improvising live music in the piece as well so was there all the time which can be unusual for composers) and mixing / routing all worked out in SFX and as snapshots on the digital desk we bought specially..then in production week it was pretty painless - just a question of getting the speakers in the right place and finding the right level.

 

the other reason was all the kit we bought for the project has been extensively used over the eighteen months' worth of productions since that show, but none of it has been 5.1, so expensive encoding software would have been a complete wast of money in terms of capital investment, as it would have been written down as a project cost which on our relatively small budgets wouldn't necessarily have been seen as a priority, whereas we were in a position to look at capital purchases at the time.

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I'd be inclined to look at a PC playback solution such as SCS. This will allow any effect to be routed to any or every amp. The sub would be dealt with by sending signal to one output connected to the LF amp as well as the required speaker.

 

This sounds good, but dony you need some sort of special sound card with a different output for each channel?

 

Thanks for the help guys.

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I'd be inclined to look at a PC playback solution such as SCS. This will allow any effect to be routed to any or every amp. The sub would be dealt with by sending signal to one output connected to the LF amp as well as the required speaker.

 

This sounds good, but dony you need some sort of special sound card with a different output for each channel?

 

Thanks for the help guys.

 

yes, but these needn't be that expensive - our MOTU 828 MkII firewire card which we use with SFX is now available for a bit over £400 - considerably less than we paid a couple of years ago, the USB version cheaper still, and there are cheaper options around.

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