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Topic: 5.1 Surround Mixing? How many of you do it?

  1. #1

    5.1 Surround Mixing? How many of you do it?

    Whats the reality of 5.1 mixing these days? I'm obsessed with wanting a setup just to experiment, but for all you guys working in the field, do you, or are you required to send in 5.1 mixes? Or do you send in stereo mixes still for the most part?


  2. #2

    Re: 5.1 Surround Mixing? How many of you do it?

    bump :-D

  3. #3

    Re: 5.1 Surround Mixing? How many of you do it?

    Alot of it - always depends on the delivery medium, of course.

  4. #4

    Re: 5.1 Surround Mixing? How many of you do it?

    I have found that the reality of surround mixing of music for film is that surround is mainly used to widen the stereo image and for ambience/reverb. Of course there is much more that can be done with surround, but generally it is distracting in a cinema if distinct sounds come from behind the audience - the audience focus needs to be on the screen.

    As I have only a stereo setup at home, I only supply surround mixes where there is provision in the budget to mix elswhere. Otherwise it is good old stereo. If you can afford a surround setup and gain proficiency in surround mixing, go for it - if your project's main format utilises surround (cinema, DVD, for instance) it can be folded down for stereo delivery to other formats (video etc.)

  5. #5

    Re: 5.1 Surround Mixing? How many of you do it?

    Actually, for you guys that are surround mixing, is this more for sound design?

    I dont really see the need for surround music unless its for some special performance perhaps like a symphonic concert dvd or something. Or am I wrong? DOes anyone have clients asking for music mixed in surround?
    - SCA - Sound Studios -

  6. #6

    Re: 5.1 Surround Mixing? How many of you do it?

    I had my music mixed for 5.1 for a feature I did a couple of years ago. I went to someone who had many years of experience, and it was worth it. That said, I was sadly surprised to hear that, in the final mix, by another engineer, my music had been brought mostly to the front, probably as to not interfere with the ambient sounds.

    I now have a small surround system in my studio, the Studiophile series by M-Audio. I'm using it only for my electroacoustic/experimental work, and in a way, I'm glad that I haven't been asked to do surround mixes for my tv work. It takes more time to mix (since you have more choices to make), and the preparation of the stems (the individual speaker tracks) takes longer then when in stereo. I could see it being really useful for game music work though.

  7. #7

    Re: 5.1 Surround Mixing? How many of you do it?

    I use the M-Audio LX4 system for surround monitoring, and have mixed things in surround and then downmixed them to SRS Circle Surround, so they can play in basically any format from stereo to 6.1 - but I won't hold my breath to hear the distribution of folks that listened to it in anything other than stereo.

    Look at DVDs, where you have separate mixes for stereo and surround. I think most folks are looking for ambient and LFE out of their surrounds in that context - with an exception going to the pop music stuff that's released for that format. I put a Godsmack disc on my system and played it in both Dolby 5.1 and with the SRS track selected, and enjoyed the heck out of both. So for musical material I think it's definitely becoming more mainstream, but don't toss out your stereo CDs just yet...
    Houston Haynes - Titan Line Music

  8. #8

    Re: 5.1 Surround Mixing? How many of you do it?

    Hey Guys, interestingly enough, I was recently talking to Scott Selfon who works for Microsofts Xbox division.

    I asked him the same question; is there a need for surround music in games? Essentially he agreed that surround is best put to use for sound fx, not music (talking strictly games here).
    - SCA - Sound Studios -

  9. #9

    Re: 5.1 Surround Mixing? How many of you do it?

    Up until recently I really didn't like surround. I'm so used to the phantom center that the center speaker bothered me, and the rear speakers just sort of made things sound washy and undefined.

    But in October I was in San Francisco for AES, and I stopped by to visit a friend who's remixing all the Talking Heads albums in 5.1 (he mixed a lot of the original albums). They sound frikking incredible. I think what he's done is going to revolutionize the way people think about surround.

    The first thing is that he gets the phantom center right first, and then he just puts a little bit of the center speaker in to cement the image. It isn't distracting at all.

    And instead of thinking of five speakers as different points, he'll make things stick out of the front by throwing just a little bit into the surrounds with maybe a 7mS delay. So he gets incredible depth rather than a bunch of junk flying around your head.

    There's much more to it than that, and of course he also uses the rear speakers as point sources a little too.

    But this is quite different from any surround I've ever heard. Your focus is still in the front, and he's done a lot more than just throwing the reverb into the rear.

    It makes me want to get into surround mixing.

  10. #10

    Re: 5.1 Surround Mixing? How many of you do it?

    I've wanted to do a surround album for a couple years but as an independent band we just don't know how to deliver it. SACD and DVD-A are too expensive to master and they don't seem to be doing all that well. i suppose we could do some kind of Dolby Digital or DTS release, possibly. It's a shame there isn't more going on yet in the world of deidicated music surround releases. I love the idea of having a MiniMoog solo come from behind your head for no reason.

    Two albums ago I recorded a Leslie cabinet from all four sides just so that some day O could pan them all out and sit rght in the middle of it That day is not here yet, though!!

    On the subject of Surround: Who Needs It?? I suggest Bjork's Verspertine album.

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